Aug 31, 2009 5:30 PM by James Jarman
The U.S. Postal Service is expected to lose $7 billion this year and is looking to save money by closing offices across the country, including here in Colorado.
In the middle their financial crisis, we got a tip that the post office is paying extra to drive a letter carrier around, because the carrier lost his license after a couple of drunk driving arrests.
We followed the carrier and found he's driven to his route, so he can walk it, but sometimes he gets driven around his route by another postal employee.
We wanted to know why he gets driven, and isn't keeping a valid driver's license an important part of the job? Neither he nor his driver would talk to us about it.
Later, Post Office Customer Relations Coordinator Ron Perry told us us it all comes down to a union contract. "We have a contractual obligation to provide them, or make every effort to provide them with productive work," he said.
We asked why not give the carrier a route that he can walk without being driven at all, or give him a job inside?
"It has to be every effort to find productive work," he said, "not bump someone else in order to, again it has to be available productive work."
Perry says over the past several months, 4 employees have driven this carrier. 2 were managers who re-adjusted their schedules; 2 others were injured and couldn't deliver mail themselves. "So, whether they were driving the employee out there, or doing some other duty the cost to us was the same."
Despite the extra efforts made to keep the carrier on the same route, such as the drivers, and sending out a truck with the rest of the mail - because it's too much for him to carrier all at once - the Post Office says it does not cost them anymore money.
Perry says out of the 743 city carriers in Colorado Springs, 3 can’t drive because of DUI's.
At this time, News First 5 has chosen not to release the name of the individual mail carrier we followed, given that he is not the only carrier in this type of situation. To identify him and not the unknown number of others across the country who've been charged with DUI and lost their licenses, could be unfair to him. We feel this is a system issue, not just an issue about 1 person.