USPS spokesman says letter was ‘sent out premature’
Arbor Circle residents, told by the U.S. Postal Service they were losing home mail delivery Aug. 1 unless they had curbside boxes installed, are keeping the service.
David Van Allen, a USPS spokesman in Cleveland, said the letter sent to Arbor Circle residents, dated Saturday, was “rescinded” Tuesday — the day The Vindicator reported on the issue — because it was “sent out premature.”
When asked to clarify his statement, Van Allen said the Youngstown office made the decision without consulting the district office in Cleveland.
In a Tuesday letter to customers on Arbor Circle, George Augustine, the USPS customer service supervisor in Youngstown, wrote: “After further consideration and discussion, the previous letter requesting you to either move your mailbox or obtain a post office box is rescinded.”
It fails to mention the local post office making the decision without the approval of the district office.
Josh Blumental, an Arbor Circle resident, said he and others who live on the Liberty Township street “were blindsided by” the Saturday letter.
When he contacted local postal officials about the letter, Blumental said he was incorrectly told that the district office in Cleveland had made the decision.
The proposed halt of mail delivery on Arbor Circle stems from a postal carrier’s being attacked by a dog in November.
“The dog is still there and there is continuing frustration with it,” Van Allen said. “If a carrier feels menaced in a neighborhood, there can be a temporary delay in delivery until the issue is resolved.”
Blumental said there hasn’t been an issue with the dog since that November attack.
“No one on the street has seen that dog since November, and the owner got a P.O. box,” he said.
“The post office was punishing the entire street for one person. The question is: Are there other dogs on other streets that run wild and nothing happens there?”
Blumental credits The Vindicator for playing a role in getting the post office to rescind the letter by writing an article in Tuesday’s edition.
“It attracted attention,” he said. “Thank you for doing your part and helping bring attention to this.”
Liberty Trustee Jodi Stoyak said the article “spurred the post office to rescind” the letter.
Stoyak, who learned about the issue from Arbor Circle residents at Monday’s trustees meeting, said she was prepared to write a letter to the post office urging it to change the decision, but didn’t have much hope it would work.
“I was thrilled to learn about the decision,” she said. “It was strange that they made this decision because of the dog. Neighbors haven’t seen the dog since the bite. We wanted to try to help the residents. I think we got lucky on this one. But it’s a great happy ending.”