Dear Sen. Susan Collins:

My name is Donna Culbertson. I am the membership director for Village NetMedia. We are a locally owned weekly newspaper company in Rockland.

I am writing to you today with hopes that you can shed some light on the situation with the U.S. Postal Service operations here in Maine and across the United States.

As you can probably surmise, I am not writing to you because my company is happy with the service that the Postal Service provides for our newspapers. It is hard enough trying to keep our doors open without the day-in and day-out calls from customers complaining that they are not receiving their papers (for which they have had to pay a premium). Most of my customers receive papers two to three weeks late. Some arrive with sections missing; some do not receive them at all for a month and then they get three and four bundled together.

Lately, the calls have increased to the point that I can’t keep up with the situation. Right now, customers are not getting any papers for at least two months. This is not how we mail them out. We take the papers to the local post office here in Rockland every Wednesday afternoon.

It bothers me to hear the Postal Service doing its woe-is-me because it is running at a deficit these days. If it was more concerned with the service provided instead of the lining of pockets, maybe the business wouldn’t be going out the door.

We are losing customers on a daily basis due to the poor service provided to our newspapers. What are they doing with our mail? I realize that newspapers are mailed on a Second Class status but come on. I could drive these papers faster than they getting delivered. Doesn’t the Postal Service realize that every customer we lose becomes a loss for it, as well? You and I are held accountable for our jobs, why is the Postal Service above this requirement?

My company spends approximately $12,000 to $14,000 a month for delivery service through the Post Office. I am beginning to wonder if we should be exploring new avenues in order to get the papers to their destinations.

Many customers tell me that when they call their local Post Office they are told that our company is not mailing the papers; that we are holding them and then we mail once a month. That is false information. Where do these postmasters get this information? I know they are not down on the floor of our plants sorting the mail.

I have spoken with personnel from the Portland Post Office many times to try and get this mess straightened out and I have been told by a supervisor that it saddens him to see all the mail that is not getting processed due to cutbacks in staff. Maybe if the service was up to par, people would have a little more faith in the Postal Service and use it more.

I hope you can offer me some kind of explanation about this situation. I am frustrated and disappointed in the Postal Service. Whatever happened to customer service and we go the extra mile for you? I would appreciate any opportunity to discuss this with you.

Thank you for your time.

Donna Culbertson is Village NetMedia membership director in Rockland.