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Missing mail given stamp of disapproval

March 03, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Missing mail given stamp of disapproval

SHARPSBURG - A missing post office box number could mean missing mail for Sharpsburg residents.

Sharpsburg town officials told the local postmaster Monday night they didn't understand why the U.S. Postal Service was having trouble delivering mail to the boxes at the post office.

Sharpsburg Postmaster Joanne Wollett told the mayor and Town Council Monday night that some mail had been returned to sender because the address did not include the required post office box number.

The post office does not provide home delivery for most Sharpsburg residents, who get their mail at the post office.

Wollett said Postal Service machines don't recognize street addresses, and that town residents should tell correspondents how to properly address envelopes.

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"We understand you're automated. We don't like it and we don't have to accept it," said Councilman Ralph Hammond.

Gordon P. Seabury Jr., regional manager of post office operations, said the problem won't go away unless people properly address mail. He said the problem isn't limited to Sharpsburg and has occurred across the country.

Mail sent to residents living in areas without home delivery should include the post office box number on the next to last line, Wollett said. Mail without post office box numbers is stamped, advising residents of the needed change.

At least one person's W-2 forms were sent back twice because the post office box number wasn't included in the mailing address, Mayor George Kesler said before the meeting. Another person's insurance was canceled because the renewal notice was returned to sender, he said.

With two-thirds of the town's post office's staff being new, they don't know everyone's post office box number, Wollett said.

"I would never, never send back a piece of mail if I knew where it went," said Wollett, who became postmaster on Dec. 20, 1997.

Councilman Russell Weaver said he was baffled as to why postal workers couldn't check a list of residents, find the corresponding post office box number and fill it in when needed.

Seabury said the post office has to operate like a business and cannot afford to do that with about 521 post office boxes in Sharpsburg.

Weaver and Kesler said they would provide that kind of customer service for their customers.

Wollett said she would put an advisory on how to properly address mail in the town's newsletter, The Town Crier.

Councilwoman Denise Troxell suggested residents who do not know the post office box number of the addressee, call the addressee and ask for it.

Many people have no control over how others address mail to them, Kesler said.

Former mayor Ron Milburn said some businesses insist on using street addresses rather than post office box numbers.

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