Norton Writes to Postmaster General with Questions Following Tragic Murder of Postal Service Worker

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

Published: November 26, 2013