Santa Rosa neighbors get their mail, and an apology

Santa Rosa's acting postmaster Wednesday paid a visit to the postal patrons who'd been told by her agency to move their mailboxes from their front doors to the curb, and whose delivery service was suspended when they failed to comply.

Julie LoDolce apologized to the residents, handed them their stored-up mail and promised that walk-up delivery will resume immediately.

LoDolce brought with her to the neighborhood off Hidden Valley Drive the Santa Rosa Post Office customer service supervisor, Gurpreet Kaur, who apparently acted without the postmaster's knowledge or permission when she sent out letters directing about 10 postal patrons to move their mailboxes to the street.

Kaur "sort of overstepped her authority, got a little overzealous," said USPS spokesman James Wigdel in San Francisco. "There were some procedures that were not followed precisely."

Wigdel said he could not comment on whether Kaur might face disciplinary action for improperly suspending patrons' mail delivery after notifying them that "safety issues" with their driveways required that they move their house-mounted mailboxes to where they can be reached by a carrier in a vehicle.

The apology by her boss, LoDolce, coupled with LoDolce's promise to immediately resume home delivery, appears to end an episode that proved perplexing and insulting to several neighbors on Winding Ridge Drive, Winding Ridge Court and Stonewood Drive.

The third week in January, each received from Kaur an identical "Dear Postal Customer" letter. It advised them that Kaur had recently become aware that an unsafe condition existed at their homes because "the letter carrier is required to drive up and turn around/back up in your personal driveway to service your mailbox."

The letter asked that residents relocate their mailboxes to the curb.

Lifelong neighborhood resident Mike Haas figured that for the letter to be sent to him was a simple mistake. He said his carriers have never once driven up his driveway, that they park at the curb and carry his mail the short distance across the driveway to the front door.

Haas said he phoned Kaur to inform her of the apparent error, and she insisted repeatedly that there is a safety issue at his house and he must install a mailbox at the curb.

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