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'Unacceptable' post office issues reported in East Tennessee

Several people said they aren't getting their mail on time and can't find stamps at some locations. Rep. Tim Burchett said someone needs to be fired.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After several reports of mail delays, post offices without stamps, and offices that closed when they should be open, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett said the U.S. Postal Service's management in East Tennessee is "unacceptable."

In Knoxville, Suzan Bowman said she does not get her mail every day. Several of her neighbors reported not getting mail on Tuesday. 

Also in Knoxville, signs posted outside at least two post offices said the office would change its hours. The post office in West Knoxville said it would only be open from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. because of "staffing shortages." 

In an email, U.S. Postal Service Spokesperson Albert Ruiz said the sign was "inadvertently posted," but he did not say who posted the sign. 

Ruiz said all Knoxville post offices were open at regular hours, but when 10News visited one of the Post Offices with one of the signs out front outside the hours of 12-3 p.m., it was closed.

"Local management has been made aware and the sign was removed," Ruiz said. 

Credit: WBIR

In Maryville, Congressman Tim Burchett's office said they received a "spike" in calls about significant mail delays. 

"We've had numerous complaints," said Burchett. "To be honest with you, we're not getting a satisfactory response."

Rep. Burchett said he heard from one constituent who said he hadn't gotten mail in more than a week and a half. 

"They're not paying attention to their customers or their employees," Rep. Burchett said. "It's management, and dadgummit, they better straighten it up." 

Similarly, in Knoxville, Suzan Bowman and her neighbors said they don't get their mail every day. On Tuesday, Bowman said she and her neighbors didn't get any mail. 

"You come outside, you go to your mailbox, and there's nothing there," Bowman said. "It's also my business address, so I'm not getting my business mail as well." 

Ruiz sent a statement addressing both of those issues to 10News. 

“The Postal Service plays an important role in the community and we are committed to providing the best service possible. We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced by customers living in the Knoxville and Maryville, TN, area. Local management has been made aware and is taking steps to address the concerns...

We can confirm that our workforce, like others, is not immune to the human impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Ongoing industrywide delays in ground and air transportation network and recent winter storms across Tennessee have also created challenges for the Postal Service."

Last month, the Post Office in Lenoir City posted a sign outside their front door that said they didn't have any stamps. Ruiz said that was a "temporary shortage" of stamps. 

After 10News asked about the issue, stamps were returned to the Lenoir City Post Office. 

In regards to all of the issues with the Postal Service in East Tennessee, Congressman Burchett said his office is in touch with the Postal Service in Nashville to get answers. 

Rep. Burchett said his issue is not with the people who sort mail or deliver mail, it's with the management. 

"They better straighten it up," Burchett said. "Somebody needs to be at the very least fired." 

For now, the USPS is asking people to contact their local post office.

"We urge any customers with concerns or questions about their mail delivery service to contact their local Postal Office, so that we can look into and resolve their concerns promptly. Customers may also visit our website at www.usps.com/help."

RELATED: USPS: Sign claiming Knoxville post offices would shorten hours due to staffing shortages has been removed