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Bronzeville, Near South Side

Service At Troubled Bronzeville Post Office Improving, Ald. Says, But ‘Still Not Where It Should Be’

Fewer neighbors attended the meeting, but those who did are still not thrilled with the service at their neighborhood post office.

Left to right: Mack Julion, Keith Blane, Deundra Campbell and Scheronda Hall-Byrd respond to residents' concerns about the Henry McGee Post Office at a July 16 town hall.
Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
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BRONZEVILLE — Five months after residents packed a South Side auditorium to decry a notorious Bronzeville post office, Ald. Sophia King (4th) said things are finally improving.

On Wednesday, King addressed a much smaller crowd at a third community meeting to discuss service at the Henry McGee Post Office, 4601 S. Cottage Grove Ave. She said calls to her office about rude customer service agents, long lines and missing packages were down.

“It’s still not where it should be … but I don’t want to discount the improvement that I have seen,” King said.

A lack of staffing at peak hours and late or missing deliveries were common problems the U.S. Postal Service has been working to address in recent months, said Scheronda Hall, the office’s acting manager.

In response to complaints about staffing, the post office recently added a clerk and ensured a clerk was at each window during peak hours, Hall said. A roaming lobby assistant is now available to sell stamps and envelopes as well, which Hall hopes will keep lines moving.

Compared to the first meeting, which was standing room-only at the NEIU Carruthers Center, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd., a lot less neighbors attended the Wednesday meeting. But those who did come were still not thrilled with their neighborhood post office.

Lake Park Avenue resident Alma Kitchen said things weren’t much better at her last visit to the post office a week ago.

“I try not to even go in that building,” Kitchen said. “You go in happy and come out feeling mad, because customer service is not that great.”

Kitchen said she never received a package she ordered and had to request a replacement from the seller — a consistent problem, she said. But it appeared the most recent incident was due to a misunderstanding over who was to blame.

The package in question was never received by the Postal Service and was likely never sent by the shipper, said customer relations coordinator Musette Henley.

Neighbors also complained of late deliveries, saying it was unsafe for mail carriers to be walking the streets after dark.

Recent complaints are likely due to the summer being “peak vacation time” for mail carriers, said Mack Julion, Chicago branch president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. There are still four or five carrier vacancies yet to be filled, so the vacation requests are especially taxing.

Another meeting to address concerns will be held in the fall, King said.

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