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On Time for Local U.S. Delivery

For the second quarter in a row, Omaha had the best local mail delivery in the nation: 96% on-time, tied with Seattle. Omaha postmaster EvaJon Sperling tells the Virtual Stamp Club it's no surprise. "We know because we keep track of this on a daily basis, but it's always nice to have national recognition.

"Our goal is to make sure that every piece of mail that we handle is handled well, is handled right, and within the standards that our customers have a right to expect," she added.

The secret of Omaha's success, according to Sperling, is the workers. "I believe the primary reason that we do so well is that we have an absolutely fantastic workforce," she said in a telephone interview. "We have employees who truly care about what they do. They care about the customers that they serve."

Near the bottom of the list for the Continental United States are Charlotte and Boston, each with 88% one-day across-town delivery. Sperling is reluctant to give the postmasters of those cities any advice because every city is different. "I would not attempt to tell them what they're doing wrong because I can't look at their systems from here, but I believe that they, too, are working on their processes, and I know that they're going to improve."

Sperling says improving service outside local areas is going to be a tougher nut to crack. "That mail passes through the hands of commercial airlines, it goes in a variety of ways."

Letter carriers are the ones who deliver the mail, but union spokesman Drew Von Bergen in Washington says the on-time improvement is a team effort. "We can only deliver what mail that we have put before us when the individual letter carrier is put to work in the day, so it takes a lot of coordination and cooperation among all levels of the Postal Service to make it successful."

Von Bergen, of the National Association of Letter Carriers, says not all the new systems the Postal Service is implementing really work. "There are many problems that we have found in how Management implements automation and in many cases, mail is actually being delayed rather than improved."

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