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Post office discards newsletters

May 09, 2002|BY JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Approximately eight Sharpsburg Town Crier subscribers didn't receive their newsletters in the mail this year because the post office discarded them, the newsletter's editor said.

Town Crier Editor Jan Wetterer told town officials Monday night she made that discovery last month after checking with the post office to see if a subscriber's newsletters were being held while he was out of town.

The newsletters were discarded because the subscribers had new addresses, Wetterer said. When an address changed in the past, Wetterer was notified and could pay to pick up and put new addresses on the newsletters, she said.

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The newsletters were discarded because they had an "invalid endorsement," Sharpsburg Postmaster Rick Lease said.

The post office had changed its policy, requiring "address service requested" to be on the newsletter. Wetterer was still putting "address correction requested" on the newsletter.

Wetterer told the mayor and Town Council members Monday night she was never notified of the policy change.

Hagerstown Postmaster Keith Guerrin said that policy change occurred two years ago. There was a grace period allowing bulk mail permit holders to adjust to it, but they weren't notified formally of the change.

Post office employees would have pointed out the invalid endorsement on the newsletters when they were dropped off to be mailed, Guerrin said.

Wetterer said she drops off the newsletters at the Sharpsburg post office and was never told about the policy change.

Lease said it's up to bulk mail permit holders to keep up with such changes. The changes are not posted on a bulletin board or mailed out to permit holders, he said.

When asked how permit holders would know about the changes, Lease said, "I don't know, to tell you the truth."

The discarded newsletters would have been sent to the Frederick post office to be recycled, Lease said.

Mayor Sid Gale said he would write a letter to the regional postmaster in Frederick, Md., about the incident.

It's "not good customer service," Gale said after the meeting.

The Town Crier has mailed hundreds of the newsletters out of the local post office. The postmaster should have made Wetterer aware of the change instead of discarding the newsletters, he said.

Councilman Russ Weaver suggested Gale send copies of the letter to U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and Maryland's senators.

"It's ridiculous," Weaver said.

Gale said he would hold off for now on sending copies of the letter to the town's congressional representatives.

Subscribers whose newsletters were discarded can contact Wetterer to see if she has copies of the back issues available.

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