Postmaster gives high marks in watchdog groups

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If people can reach the post office with their complaints quickly, Rogers said, "things can get solved quickly and it makes everybody happy."

Shepard, a longtime community activist, started the "113 ZIP Code Task Force" last month to solve problems she and others were experiencing in 113 ZIP codes, which range from Ridgewood throughout northern Queens to Little Neck.

Shepard has received complaints ranging from long lines at some post offices to undelivered or misdirected mail at private homes and apartment houses.

Shepard has said the new group is a way to connect people with the massive private company that Rogers said delivered about 778 million pieces of mail in northern Queens last year alone.

Since the 113 ZIP Code Task Force has been in effect, providing a hotline to let residents log their postal complaints, Shepard said the quality of service in post offices in the area has improved.

"I think we're seeing a change," she said.

Rogers, who has been the Flushing postmaster since 1997, oversees an area that includes 31 postal stations and branches and about 2,000 employees.

"Sometimes you run into problems," he said "and people don't say anything. They let things build up and then one day they go ballistic.

"If you have a group like this, you tend to get your feedback quickly," he said.

The postmaster, whose career with the agency began as a letter carrier in Flushing in 1973, said competition from delivery businesses like Federal Express and UPS has cut into post office's revenues.

Rogers emphasized that the post office answers to the federal government but does not receive any tax dollars, making it difficult to improve facilities or build new branches where they are needed.

"We run on what the public gives us, just like any other business," he said. "It's a lot more complicated than people think."

Earlier this month Rogers joined forces with U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) to announce an effort to improve the Forest Hills Post Office.

"Forest Hills has 34,000 deliveries every day," he said, making it one of the busiest in the area.

"The whole key is communication," he said. "You need to let people know what's going on."

There are two hotline numbers for residents in 113 ZIP codes, Rogers said. Those living in ZIP codes from 11354 to 11367 can call 718-321-6814. Those in ZIP codes from 11368 to 11385 can call 718-321-6897.

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