Cambridge Mail Revamped

Local Residents May See Major Improvements in Service

Cambridge residents may be seeing more dependable mail service in the future, said District Manager James F. Walsh.

The Cambridge Postal Service, which until September was a branch office of the Boston Postal Service, was declared an Associate Postal Office by a congressionally appointed committee this September.

This new status will enable local postal management to stabilize the workforce and reduce delivery problems, said Frank J. Carbonneau, Cambridge postmaster.

In the past, vacancies have been filled through the Boston office, and Cambridge workers could bid for those positions. But now, the city can hire from its own roster, said Carboneau. Until this change, Cambridge did not even have a postmaster of its own.

Mike Allen, superintendent of the Central Square office, said this new independence will help to decrease the station's high turnover rate and improve service.

Structural changes in the office are a direct result of an agreement made last July when Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-Mass.) teamed up with representatives from two congresional subcommittees to discuss postal issues with members of the Boston and Cambridge postal union and management, said Walsh.

This meeting, which took place in July, was initiated to respond to complaints that Cambridge residents have been voicing since 1988, said Walsh. Residents complained that post office delivery is sporadic and often incorrect, Walsh said.

"[Every party involved] agreed that the postal services in Cambridge was sub-standard," Walsh said. "What came out was an us against them argument [between union and management]."

Although management is hopeful about the change, postal union members remain skeptical.

According to Walsh, postal union members had expressed concern that the new associate office would not fill vacancies or aid over-worked employees.

Although the Cambridge district's "associate" status is only one month old, positive changes have already been made, Carbonneau said. "Already union and management have worked through the bidding process and stabilized the workforce," he said.

But as far as delivery service is concerned, Walsh said, "It's too early to tell. We're just getting started."