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Congressman Bobby Rush Calls On Chicago Postmaster General To Resign

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Now a political powerhouse is calling for the Postmaster General in Chicago to step down.

Video Transcript

- If you got mail today, consider yourself lucky. The US Postal Service telling us that all downtown routes felt the effects of the weather and the pandemic. But the failures inside Chicago's postal hub go back months.

- Now a political powerhouse calling for the postmaster general in Chicago to step down. CBS2's Chris Tye's always investigating. He broke the news of an internal investigation into Chicago's mail on Monday. Chris, what do we know now?

CHRIS TYE: So, Brad and Erica, it was a CBS2 investigation that first alerted Congressman Bobby Rush to this problem in the first place. He called for an internal investigation by the post office into four dysfunctional branches on the South Side. That report came out at the beginning of the month, calling for the termination of postal workers who failed to show up to work. Rush says from an accountability standpoint, that's not nearly enough, saying the firings need to go all the way up the local post office food chain.

BOBBY RUSH: Postmaster Prater, resign immediately.

CHRIS TYE: Wanda Prater is Chicago's postmaster. Her department getting stamped with scathing reviews.

PAT DOWELL: We don't deserve the type of treatment that we're getting in Chicago.

CHRIS TYE: This summer's investigation into these four South Side branches came back with failing report cards-- over 62,000 pieces of delayed mail, over 18,000 non-deliveries, and 53 delivery vehicles found unlocked. The Inspector General report came loaded with pictures of these unlocked trucks and cart after cart of non-delivered mail. What it did not include was a call for changes in management, despite finding management at all four stations did not accurately report delayed mail.

PAT DOWELL: It's time for a change. It's not the Pony Express days anymore.

CHRIS TYE: But days like today still feel like it.

ROMONA SCHWARTZ JOHNSTON: We've reached almost two weeks with no mail, and--

CHRIS TYE: Romona Schwartz Johnston tried getting in touch with her Logan Square branch just this morning.

ROMONA SCHWARTZ JOHNSTON: The phone rang for four or five times. Then it was picked up and hung up. And so I just did that for half an hour just to see what would happen.

CHRIS TYE: Her kids' Valentine's Day home crafts were ordered three weeks ago. The post office telling her they're still in a truck somewhere. With others waiting on medicine and paychecks, she knows others are worse off. But what she doesn't know, whether firing the local boss will solve the problem.

ROMONA SCHWARTZ JOHNSTON: I don't know if a change in leadership is the right way to go or if it really is about a change in leadership and also process.

CHRIS TYE: And we asked to speak with the Chicago postmaster today. A spokesperson declined that request. We will continue to ask for that interview in coming days and weeks. And, by the way, they said that what they're doing is focusing on the recommendations from that report, which call on making sure they accomplish all of their daily checklists and their delivery metrics. Chris Tye, CBS2 News.