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Stauber, Klobuchar introduce bill to force change in rural mail delivery

The Bemidji Post Office on May 8, 2024.
Larissa Donovan
The Bemidji Post Office on May 8, 2024.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Congressman Pete Stauber and Sen. Amy Klobuchar in response to the inspector general's audit that found nearly 80,000 pieces of delayed mail at the Bemidji Post Office.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Pete Stauber and Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation to require the U.S. Postal Service to implement recommendations made in a recent audit of the Bemidji Post Office.

The bipartisan Rural Mail Delivery Improvement Act was introduced in late May in Congress.

Numerous failures by district management and 78,948 pieces of delayed mail were just some of the findings in the audit report issued by the USPS Inspector General’s Office last month.

The audit performed in December 2023 echoes what Bemidji postal workers and community members said they were experiencing at that time after a sudden influx in packages from large third-party shipper — identified as Amazon by locals, but unnamed in the audit report.

According to the report, USPS headquarters failed to ask the Bemidji Post Office if it could handle the expected increase in volume. They also failed to tell the Bemidji Post Office about this agreement until eight days before third-party packages would start arriving.

The inspector general made five recommendations for improvements from the audit, but Postal Service leadership currently disagrees with two of the five.

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Sen. Tina Smith sent a recent letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, where she called the findings damning and expressed shock at the Postal Service’s dispute with some of the recommendations.

"... You dispute [these recommendations], all which address the systemic failures to prepare the Bemidji facility for Amazon drop shipments, by stating that such procedures and strategies already exist. If they already existed, why did they not prevent the issues documented in Bemidji?”

In a news release, Stauber said his deep concerns about postal issues in Greater Minnesota have led him to request fixes of Postal Service leadership, but those seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

"Enough is enough. Decisive action must be taken immediately to improve the efficiency and reliability of mail delivery,” he said.