DC Congresswoman Norton seeks answers from PMG on letter carrier’s murder

Nov 26, 2013

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Following this weekend’s tragic murder of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier Tyson Jerome Barnette in Landover, Maryland, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S Postal Service and the Census, wrote today to the U.S. Postmaster General regarding long-standing concerns about the risk of requiring postal employees to deliver mail after dark and requesting responses to several related questions within 30 days.

Norton, in her letter, wrote, “I understand the financial challenges that USPS faces because of congressional failure to move a bill. I also very much appreciate USPS’s determination to deliver mail in a timely fashion, especially during winter months, when darkness comes much earlier in the day. However, I do not recall delivery after dark being as frequent in prior years.”

The full text of Norton’s letter follows.

November 26, 2013

Dear Postmaster General Donahoe,

I write concerning the tragic death of Tyson Barnette, a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier who was killed on Saturday evening while delivering mail on his designated route in Landover, MD. As a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S Postal Service and the Census, I am deeply concerned about the apparent risk of requiring postal employees to deliver mail after dark.

I understand the financial challenges that USPS faces because of congressional failure to move a bill. I also very much appreciate USPS’s determination to deliver mail in a timely fashion, especially during winter months, when darkness comes much earlier in the day. However, I do not recall delivery after dark being as frequent in prior years. I therefore ask that you send me responses to the following questions:

1) Is delivery after dark routine across the National Capitol Region?

2) Is delivery after dark routine in the District of Columbia?

3) What are the reasons that mail cannot be delivered during daylight hours?

4) Has there been an increase in delivery after dark in recent years? If so, has this increase been a result of personnel cuts?

5) Have there been cuts in the number of letter carrier personnel in the District of Columbia? In the region? If so, how many personnel have been cut?

6) Do the after-dark delivery hours reflect cuts in other parts of USPS that impact the timeframe that mail is delivered?

7) What changes, if any, are being considered to reduce the risk to the lives and safety of letter carriers?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I ask that you give full and fair consideration to this request, consistent with applicable law, rules, and regulations. I request a response within 30 days.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

  • Acarrier

    Maybe the congresswoman needs to answer some questions as to why the congress hasn’t passed any reform bills. If congress would relax the standards imposed on the USPS, we could make some changes.

    • common sense

      If you don’t know why Congress hasn’t passed reform, you haven’t been paying attention. The GOP controls the House and has no interest in doing anything to help the USPS except maybe slash wages and benefits and destroy the unions. The Senate is useless too, since the Democratic majority doesn’t have the balls to get rid of the filibuster altogether, and go with majority rule.

      More to your point though, the USPS doesn’t need Congress to do anything to eliminate night deliveries- the PMG could do that this afternoon if he actually cared!

      PS- Eleanor Holmes Norton represents DC- she doesn’t get to vote on legislation.

  • tradarcher50

    Come on Norton! Do you expect anyone in postal management to tell you the truth. Postal management are recruited to be liars, trained to be liars, and promoted because they are liars.

  • Clerk

    It’s just not in the DC area……. it’s everywhere. Wake up Congresswoman!

    • common sense

      Norton seems to be wide awake- it’s the other 535 who actually CAN VOTE on legislation that need to wae up!

  • adavids

    5 day in the light is the way

  • GeeGee

    I want to know what are the 6 figure postal employees doing while I’m working in the dark…… at home with their families.

  • Tony

    Daylight savings time year round… As we did in the 70’s to conserve energy! Carter wasn’t as bad a President as people thought!

  • Afraid to Say

    I carry mail in Florida. Our postmaster just informed us that our new start time will be 9 am beginning 12/7/13. That will put me out after dark almost every day. With all the new automation for getting the mail processed faster our start time has gotten later and later.

  • Texas mailman

    Last night in Ft Worth Texas I made my last delivery at 7pm.
    When I left the station for home, there were still 14 carriers on the street. When we clocked in at 8:30 am, our cases were full of mail and we could easily start at 7:30. Some stations in Ft Worth start at 9. The problem starts with a House and Congress determined to destroy the company. A Postmaster who is determined to do the same. They are hoping to push this whole company towards privatization costing hundreds of thousands of Jobs across America. Who cares right? The recession is over and the stock market is at record levels. Why not allow private investors get more wealthy by purchasing the USPS, slash the workforce, make it a Wal Mart type company and sleep well at night. There can be no other explanation for the reckless style of management. Good luck getting anyone to tell the truth. It will go down as one of the great American lies.

  • Maria

    Fully staff is the answer we went from over 50 to 38 we need help

  • Greg Bilhimer

    In my office we’re getting later all the time, heavy mail, they cut our clerks (management deemed we had too many, of course they determined this on a light week in the summer when no one was on vacation !) so now they cant get the mailed passed out to us or parcels sorted to us on time.
    They readjusted all the routes, way bigger and people are retiring now. We’ve lost several in the last two months, last one Tuesday was his last day.
    Management everywhere just plods along like minions waiting for another order from DonaGru.

  • Capitolregioncarrier

    As a letter carrier that have carried mail on Capitol Hill in the late 80’s early and mid 90’s, it hard for me to believe this is the first time the Congresswoman have been made aware of late night deliveries.
    There were many night deliveries to her constituents who live just blocks away from the Capitol during the winter season. This is not new to any carrier that have carried mail in the Capitol Region for at least the past two decades.

  • BIGTIME

    GET A ANSWER YET ? YEAH , DIDNT THINK SO !

  • Reagan Reorganization

    Go bankrupt, reorganize with all part timers that only work 6 hours a day and hire a whole bunch so no one works past 2pm. How about giving all customers free post office boxes and eliminate delivery all together?