A group of around 50 citizens met at the Gem of the Hills Community Center on Thursday, July 19, to discuss the postmaster at the Blanco Post Office. The meeting was called by Debbie Triesch of Dirt Works and Robin Moore of Dirt Rents, both local companies which have had problems with the postal service in Blanco.
Brian Liberty, the acting manager of Central Texas Postal Operations for the United States Postal Service, was sent by the USPS to hear concerns voiced at the meeting.
"Dirt Works is one of the businesses in Blanco that has experienced difficulties with the current postmaster," began Debbie Triesch. The meeting was called to form a committee to present the problem to the postal authorities, she continued.
Triesch read from a prepared letter, "We, the people of Blanco, demand the postmaster, Rudy Hernandez, be forced to be retired, terminated, or transferred to another post office outside of Blanco County, Texas."
Through letters read aloud by Triesch, or comments from the audience, claims were made against the local postmaster about "unbusiness-like actions," berating and belittling employees and customers, delayed or returned mail, and a wide variety of other charges.
Wayne "Dirt" Dworaczyk, owner of both Dirt Works and Dirt Rents, spoke about his letter to the editor, which appeared in the Blanco County News in April and, he says, started the whole ordeal. In the letter, Dworaczyk related his problems with the local post office. Dirt Works requested two new post office boxes, but none were available and they were told to put up mailboxes on Highway 281 at Rolling Hills Rd., where the businesses are located. The company felt the mailboxes on the side of a busy highway were unsafe and insecure, and requested cluster box units (CBUs).
"Rudy's answer to us was that because one person did not want to change from the mailboxes to C.B.U.'s that it was not going to happen," wrote Dworaczyk. "I was appalled!"
When a temporary postmaster arrived during the current postmaster's leave, Dirt Works again requested two CBUs and, this time, the request was granted. The company installed the boxes themselves, said Dworaczyk, and with only two CBUs installed, a waiting list was started for people who wanted a box on Rolling Hills Rd.
A request was made for a third CBU, but Dirt Works has not received a response from the Blanco Post Office.
"All I was trying to do was do something right," Dirt Dworaczyk said, referring to the hazard created by mailboxes along US 281.
The meeting continued with a question-and-answer session with USPS' Brian Liberty.
"I cannot comment on any personal actions for anybody inside the postal service because of privacy laws that are set up by the US government," Liberty began. The USPS can, however, address the service issues. "I've read all the letters you have in your possession. They have been forwarded to San Antonio [USPS office.]" Liberty noted that the meeting was also videotaped, by Dirt Works, for later reference by the USPS.
Liberty pointed out that the audience made up of 50 members of a city with a population of 2,000. A petition had been circulated around town, said an audience member, and over 200 signatures were collected. This situation is a microcosm--a small, representative group out of a much larger whole--Liberty said.
The issues brought up at the meeting, or through letters, would be taken back, brought up with people at a higher level in the USPS, and resolved in a quick fashion, Liberty stated. He indicated that one service issue that was mentioned by several in the audience, returned mail, is now automated, but local postal employees should manually catch the letters before they're sent back. As with organizations around the country, Liberty said, there's stress applied by the push for productivity, doing things better for less, and the post office and its employees are affected.
"These are issues that need to be corrected here, with this individual," Liberty said. "If we can't correct certain things with the individual, then we will take further action."
"I'm here because of your concerns," Liberty concluded. "They have been heard."