The U.S. Post Office in Turner. Sun Journal photo

Something is going on at the Turner post office. 

The question is: what? 

As more and more locals complained about shoddy service at the post office Friday, answers remained elusive. Some are speculating that several members of the post office staff are out with COVID-19, although by the end of the day Friday, there was no confirmation of that. 

The people working at the post office on Buckfield Road on Friday afternoon said they could not talk about the issue.

Town Manager Schaub did not return messages with questions about the matter. 

USPS communications specialists Amy Gibbs and Steven Doherty, who are authorized to talk about it, likewise did not return messages. 

No information about issues at the post office were offered on the official Town of Turner website. 

All that was left for the people of Turner to do was to air their complaints on a community forum on Facebook, where Turner resident Annamarie Heath started a thread dedicated to the topic of the post office and its unknown woes. 

“Is anyone else in Turner having problems with the Turner post office?” wrote Heath. “I have packages out for delivery since Wednesday and when I call for an update they are extremely rude, and still not delivered them.” 

Responses came back quickly. Several people reported having trouble receiving packages, getting mail or even getting their hands on a roll of stamps. One woman said she mailed out a birthday card Sept. 28, with money inside, but as of Friday night, the card had not been delivered.

“What do I even do?” she wanted to know.

Many in Turner would like to know the same thing. Several have complained in various places about postal problems, only to be told that the post office staff was badly short-handed due to sickness among the staff. 

“I was told yesterday that their entire staff is out and they are using people from other offices,” wrote a Turner woman, a nurse. “Said to expect delays for a couple of weeks.” 

“I called yesterday morning, same results,” offered another Turner woman. “I hadn’t received mail since last Friday. We did finally get mail late yesterday afternoon. She mentioned they were short handed.” 

Heath, who had been waiting for her daughter’s birthday gift to arrive, said she complained to Amazon about her undelivered packages, a complaint that ultimately ended up at USPS headquarters. That complaint generated still more signs that the little post office in Turner had been beset by illness, causing regular employees to be out of work. 

“So the USPS Department of Consumer Affairs just called me and assured me my packages would be delivered today,” Heath wrote in the Facebook thread. “She explained about them being short-staffed.” 

Is it COVID-19 related? Nobody in a position to know seems willing to say. By 7 p.m. Friday, the Sun Journal had not received calls back on inquiries left earlier in the day about troubles at the post office.

Turner has been hit with cases of coronavirus in recent weeks, causing the town schools to be closed down for a time. Four confirmed cases of COVID-19 at three Turner schools at the end of September forced the closure of all town schools for a week. 

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