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Moorhead woman campaigns to get new mail carrier | INFORUM | Fargo, ND
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Published February 04 2011

Moorhead woman campaigns to get new mail carrier

Video inside: Sherry Rousseau explains her complaint.
Wanted posters hang in post offices across the U.S. A Moorhead woman has flipped the idea on its head, hanging a poster reading “Not Wanted” on her door, announcing her ire with her regular postal carrier.

By: Dave Roepke, INFORUM

Wanted posters hang in post offices across the U.S.

A Moorhead woman has flipped the idea on its head, hanging a poster reading “Not Wanted” on her door, announcing her ire with her regular postal carrier.

Sherry Rousseau, 1106 5th Ave. S., has been filing complaints dating back to August about the carrier who handles the route that includes her home just north of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

It’s got her upset enough that she asked the Moorhead Post Office to stop her home deliveries two weeks ago, unless they would be willing to only deliver the one day a week there is a substitute on the route. So far, that’s meant no mail delivery to her home.

“You know how dogs go berserk when they see the mailman? That’s what my nerves do,” Rousseau said.

Peter Nowacki, a Minneapolis-based spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said that in his experience, it’s rare for a disagreement between a customer and a carrier to prompt a request for mail service to be cut off.

“Honestly, it’s one I’ve never heard of before,” he said.

Rousseau has a long list of concerns with her carrier, Terry Julin. She claims he has delivered mail as late as 9 p.m., blocked her driveway with his truck and declined to ring her doorbell when the mail arrived after 2:30 p.m.

Last month, she said, he tried to take the sign asking for a courtesy ringing of her doorbell from the lid of her covered mailbox.

Phone messages left for Julin weren’t returned.

Moorhead Postmaster Renae Ingersoll declined to comment but said she has been trying to resolve the long-running dispute.

What Rousseau wants is a new carrier assigned to her route, but that’s not the way it works, Nowacki said. Carriers bid on routes based on seniority, and the particular routes are set to be as efficient as possible.

“We can’t just arbitrarily change territory from one route or another,” he said.

As for Rousseau’s specific issues, Nowacki said the Postal Service does strive to get all mail to mailboxes by 5 p.m., and a consistent delivery time is the goal, albeit more difficult during Midwestern winters.

“Ideally, we’d love to have it so customers could set their watches by us,” he said.

Nowacki also said it’s the Postal Service’s practice to have carriers not park on private property, and there are no postal regulations barring the sign Rousseau posted in her mailbox. A request for a bell-ringing in the case of late mail isn’t unreasonable, he said.

“It would be something we would try to accommodate,” he said.

Rousseau said she feels like her concerns haven’t been addressed and the remedies suggested haven’t been appropriate.

In a Jan. 14 letter from Mike Bata, a Postal Service manager in South Dakota, she was told Julin couldn’t be removed from her route. Bata suggested getting a curbside mailbox or renting a post office box.

Rousseau said she has disabilities preventing her from opening a post office box. And the whole point of asking to be notified of late deliveries is to avoid having to frequently check her mailbox because of those same physical difficulties.

“Every time I’ve made a complaint, they’ve dug in their heels,” she said.

She also said a representative with the national office of the Postal Service told her last weekend that her only recourse would be to contact her congressional delegation. So she sent a nine-page letter to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Rousseau isn’t the only one with complaints about mail service in her neighborhood. Nearby resident Barb Peterson said she has also been frustrated by erratic delivery times.

“Some days it’s 5:30, and sometimes in 2 in the afternoon,” Peterson said.

Others in the area have not had similar issues. In a spot check Thursday of neighbors who live on the same block, four residents said they didn’t experience any of the issues that have troubled Rousseau.

Nowacki noted that Julin is a 25-year veteran of the Postal Service with a favorable service record.

“He does a very good job,” Nowacki said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535