Selis Manor Assured of More Oversight on Mail Delivery

Selis Manor, on W. 23rd St. between Sixth and Seventh Ave., is a residence for the blind and the visually impaired. | Photo by Scott Stiffler

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC | Helen Murphy is determined to get better mail service for the residents of Selis Manor.

Murphy — who has lived for over 30 years at the residence for the blind, visually impaired, and those with physical disabilities — noticed issues when the regular mail carrier was not on the job.

“The substitute guys are putting mail in the wrong mailboxes,” she said in a phone interview on Fri., May 11. “They are belligerent. They’re not picking up the outgoing mail.”

Selis Manor, located at 135 W. 23rd St. btw. Sixth and Seventh Aves., has special outgoing mailboxes in the building’s lobby, Murphy explained.

“It’s a courtesy from the board — they gave it to us,” she said.

Murphy said the substitute carrier only bought “two measly bags” to pick up mail, which could include bill payments — leaving the bulk for the regular carrier.

Mail has also been arriving late, according to Murphy, who said that there have been times when they come at around 7 p.m. to deliver — a problem for residents waiting on checks that they need to take to the bank.

“When we get it, we get the wrong pieces,” she said.

Murphy called the post office — the Old Chelsea Station (at 217 W. 18th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) — to complain, and was told the information would be passed on to the carrier. But the issues have remained, Murphy said, noting that the regular mail carrier is great.

Chelsea Now contacted other Selis Manor residents, who declined to be interviewed. Murphy said that others are afraid to speak up and that they want their mail on time.

However, Nancy D. Miller — CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired that provides services at Selis Manor — said by phone she regularly meets with tenant representatives and “it hasn’t come up as a major issue in the building.”

The building’s management company declined to comment.

Murphy said the issues have been going on for about a year, and she recently contacted Community Board 4 and elected officials about the problem.

“It’s just not right,” State Senator Brad Hoylman said by phone.

Upon hearing about the issue, Hoylman reached out to Selis Manor and the local post office.

“It’s unacceptable that anyone’s mail service should be interrupted, much less an entire building of 185 tenants, most of whom are visually impaired or blind,” he said in an emailed statement. “No one should miss a bill deadline or wait on urgent correspondence because of a government agency’s staffing problems.”

He said his staff “has connected the resident and the management company with my federal counterpart, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, so that the issue can be resolved directly” with the United States Postal Service.

Maloney’s office was made aware of the issue on Mon., May 14, and a caseworker who handles postal issues “was able to connect with one of the Selis Manor residents. He is now working with that individual to find a solution to their problems,” Grace Harman, a spokesperson for Maloney, said in an email.

Community Board 4 District Manager Jesse Bodine said by phone that he reached out to the postal service to see “what they can do to increase supervision when they have temporary carriers.”

Xavier C. Hernandez, spokesperson for the postal service, said, “Local management have confirmed that they will work with staff to ensure Selis Manor receives the best possible service each day. Additionally, delivery will be monitored by management and an alert notice has been placed in the sorting case as a reminder to the regular and substitute carriers of the reported delivery issues at this address.”

Hernandez said delivery times vary due to “fluctuations in mail volumes, unscheduled employee absences, transportation delays, and other factors affecting operations.”

He added, “You may be assured, however, that every effort is made to complete all mail deliveries as early as possible each day.”

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