Congressman Testifies on USPS Handling of Poplarville Post Office Crisis

Published 7:08 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Mike Ezell provided testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability regarding the United States Postal Service’s management of the extended predicament surrounding the post office in Poplarville, Mississippi.

During the hearing, Congressman Ezell expressed frustration, stating, “For 708 days, the residents of Poplarville, Mississippi, have been without a permanent post office.” The issue originated when the Poplarville post office roof collapsed on January 2nd, 2022, due to termite damage.

Ezell outlined the timeline of events, noting that the original post office was declared irreparable nearly a year later. In the interim, the USPS set up two temporary mobile vans at the bottom of the hill, which Ezell described as “similar to ice cream trucks.” He pointed out that these vans were inaccessible to most of the population.

Postal workers faced substandard conditions, including a lack of restroom facilities and a broken air conditioner amid Mississippi’s summer heat. Ezell emphasized, “My constituents were told not to worry, that this would be a short-term situation while a permanent building is located. However, temporary trucks are still in use.”

Congressman Ezell disclosed that, on the day of the hearing, he received information that the heater in one of the trucks had failed, leading postal workers to work in cold temperatures. He expressed concern for senior citizens facing challenges accessing mail and noted instances of elderly citizens falling.

Despite repeated attempts to obtain updates from the post office, including requests for briefings and meetings with the vice president of facilities, Congressman Ezell stated that he still needs to learn when a permanent, adequate building will be ready. He criticized the USPS for ignoring the severity of the situation or showing indifference.

Ezell concluded his testimony by urging the community to consider implementing guidelines for situations like the one in Poplarville. He proposed guidelines that would mandate the USPS to communicate with local leaders and require a solution to be agreed upon within 180 days of determining that an old post office is no longer usable.

“The residents of Poplarville, Mississippi, deserve better than this,” Congressman Ezell emphasized, expressing his commitment to ending the protracted crisis. The hearing shed light on the challenges faced by the community and raised questions about the responsiveness and accountability of the USPS in such situations.