The Case Against The

UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE REFUSAL TO DELIVER MAIL

 

The following is an on-going report of the Georgetown, Ohio postmaster's unwarranted and illegal withholding of mail to my legally located and maintained mailbox located at 6500 Hillman Ridge Road. Pleasant Township, Brown County, Ohio. As the U.S. Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office investigates, I will be seeking the advise of my attorney as to what other legal action is available.

The postmaster, Scott Compton, has told me other persons served by his Georgetown post office might be targeted for stoppage of mail delivery, please contact me,  Chuck Klein, if you are having delivery problems. 

UPDATES: THIS SITE WILL BE UPDATED AS NEWS OCCURS. PLEASE CHECK BACK. 

PREFACE;

As events unfold in this abuse of power, I will be posting updates to this website USPS NEWS for reference by the media, my fellow Brown Countians and my elected officials. As I have explained below, Postmaster, Scott Compton, Georgetown, Ohio post office, unilaterally halted delivery of mail to my mail box on the pretext of claiming the road is "Unsafe". Inasmuch as there have been no deterioration to the subject road (actually improvements) it is most mystifying as to why this action was taken, especially since he and his superior will not tender a definition of "Unsafe". 

Without delivery of mail a round trip of ten miles to the Georgetown post office is necessary to claim my mail. My wife and I are 75 years old and with the cold weather coming on and the cost of gasoline, we find it difficult to make this journey on a daily basis and thus are only getting mail a few times per week.

 

STATEMENT OF THE CASE:

On 20 Oct 2017, The Georgetown office of the United States Postal Service (USPS), through its agents, unilaterally and without just cause terminated delivery of mail to my box located at 6500 Hillman Ridge Road, Pleasant Township, Brown County, Ohio. This capricious act was done without notice or warning and has never been justified. I don’t doubt the Postmaster has the power and right to temporarily suspend delivery of my mail for downed trees, power lines, washouts or even a road that has deteriorated over time. But this is not the case with Hillman Ridge Road which has been improved upon since delivery began over two years ago. Whereas Postmaster Compton has indicated other roads may be deemed “Unsafe” and other patrons will have their mail held hostage, this could result in a class action suit (see 2 e viii).

 

THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES:

John M. Smith: Georgetown, OH Postmaster up to about 2015 -  John.M.Smith4@usps.gov  

Scott Compton: Georgetown, OH Postmaster from about early 2016 to present - Scott.A.Compton@usps.gov  (937-378-1055)

 Derrick ___: Regular carrier from at least 2014 up to present

 Dennis Williams: Compton’s supervisor - Dennis.W.Williams@usps.gov  

 Lisa Chapman-Walters: Supervisor who approved the moving of my mailbox in 2015 - Lisa.m.chapman-walters@usps.gov  

 

PLEASANT TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE:

Frank Heibling, 6826 Hillman Ridge Road (home and cell phone numbers have been provided to Mr. Compton)

 

1) THE YEARS 2014-2017:

a) In 2014, I sought permission of the post office to move my mailbox ¼-mile south to the junction of the public road, Hillman Ridge Road, and my property line which is less than ½ mile from my house. The reasons are, obviously convenience, but more important is the ½ mile rule. If the mailbox is more than one-half mile from the house, the post office is not obligated to deliver to the house packages that won’t fit in the box or mail that requires a signature.

 b) Though then Georgetown Postmaster John Smith objected to the move, the Postal Area Supervisor, Lisa Chapman-Walters, approved the relocation. I moved my box on 11 April 2015 at my expense and also provided a gravel turn-around specifically for the postal carrier [See Note 1].This was a Sunday and the following Monday; carrier Derrick began delivering mail to this new location. 

c) On 26 Oct 2016, an incident occurred where my neighbor (who lives at 6510 Hillman Ridge Road) refused to yield to the oncoming postal carrier, Derrick, while on this ¼-mile portion of the subject road (my wife and I witnessed this confrontation). She then filed a complaint with the post office claiming the road was “unsafe”. Postmaster Compton, without notification to me, stopped the delivery of mail to my box. He told me later that he has to have the Safety Department inspect the road to determine if it is safe. On 4 Nov 2016, Compton visited my home and told me the Safety Department will have their inspection of the subject road complete no later than 9 Nov 2016 and if they find the road to be safe, my mail delivery will resume. He also said, he, personally, didn’t see any safety problem when he drove over the subject portion of the road. Mail delivery to my box resumed Thursday,, 9 Nov 2016 and was continuously delivered until 20 Oct 2017. 

 d) The subject road dead ends at my property line. Other than my wife and me plus the neighbor and maybe her daughter are the only regular travelers over this portion of Hillman Ridge Road. Any other traffic would be delivery vehicles such as UPS, FedEx et. al., none of which have ever indicated to me that the road was “unsafe”.

 

2) THE YEAR 2017:

a) On 17 October 2017, while transacting business at the Georgetown post office, Postmaster Compton ushered me into his office and told me, I will have to move my mailbox (to its pre-2015 location ¼ mile north). He said the reason is the final ¼ mile of the subject road needs to be larger or additional pull-overs added and that the road is “Unsafe”. Compton refused to provide a definition of “Unsafe”.

b) Between the time the box was moved on 11 April 2015 and 20 Oct 2017, the subject road has been repaved with blacktop and all the over-hanging limbs have been removed from the east side of the road and all vegetation/brush has been removed on the west side of the road. In other words, the conditions of the road have improved. To my knowledge there have been no reported accidents on this section of road in the 11 years I’ve lived here. The road has existed for well over 100 years.

c) On 20 Oct 2017 delivery of mail to my mail box located at 6500 Hillman Ridge Road, Pleasant Township, Brown County, Ohio was halted. Postmaster, Scott Compton unilaterally, without notice and without cause, ordered his carrier, Derrick, not to deliver mail to my box.

d) On Monday morning, 23 October 2017, I phoned Postmaster Scott Compton. He advised that the carrier refuses to travel over the subject road due to unspecified safety concerns.

e) Subsequent email and conversations with the postmaster and his superior, Dennis Williams, brought forth the following revelations:

          i) The post office will deliver mail to my box if the Township added pull-overs to the road;

          ii) The post office will not accept pull-overs – only a full widening of the road;

          iii) The postal “Safety Department” inspected the road 7 Nov 2017 and found the road to be "Unsafe" (the same “Safety Department that found the road to be safe in 2016?). They issued a report that was emailed to postmaster Compton. This was weeks after Postmaster Compton unilaterally declared the subject road "Unsafe" and halted my mail delivery.

          iv) After numerous email requests, both Mr. Compton and Mr. Williams have refused to provide a copy of this report. (See Note 2)

          v) After numerous email requests, both Mr. Compton and Mr. Williams have refused to provide answers to my questions: What conditions have changed to suddenly make the road “unsafe”? What is the USPS definition of “unsafe”?  (See Note 3)

          vi) I have offered to pick up my mail two days per week if they will deliver the mail the other four days while we all negotiate with the Township Trustees to improve the road. The offer was refused.

          vii) I emailed the following to Williams and Compton on 16 Nov 2017: “If I agree to moved my mailbox to its previous location will the USPS agree to waive the half-mile rule, i.e., deliver to my door any packages that won’t fit into my mailbox or mail that requires a signature?” The email was ignored. 

          viii) On 2 Nov 2017, I met with Pleasant Township Trustee, Frank Helbling. He told me there are many roads “worse” than the final 1/4 mile of Hillman Ridge Road. When I related that information to Scott Compton with the question, “Does this mean others will be facing discontinuation of their mail delivery?” Compton answered, “yes”.

 

3) CARRIER DERRICK:

a) 23 October 2017, 2:30pm, I stopped carrier Derrick on his route. He told me he is concerned for his safety on the subject road, but admitted he has never been in an accident on the subject road that he travels six days per week for the past two plus years. Most significantly, he stated he believed, “the neighbor at 6510 Hillman Ridge Road told her sons not to back up for the mail carrier.” If carrier Derrick feels threatened or intimidated, he should bring this matter to the attention of law enforcement authorities. There is no record or claim he has done so.

b) Carrier Derrick also told me the USPS Safety Department has ruled the subject portion of the road is unsafe and he has been ordered by Compton not to deliver my mail. In addition, he said the subject dead-end road is too narrow and doesn’t have enough pull-overs thus necessitating the rare times he must back up to allow an oncoming vehicle to pass. He admitted that many roads he travels have narrow portions that require pulling over or someone backing up. Inasmuch as carrier Derrick has never been involved in an accident on the subject road, his concerns seem to be strictly for a matter of his convenience of not having to backup or waiting a few minutes for the road to clear - rare occurances. 

c) Further, he then told me postal regulations require that he is not allowed to back up. When I pointed to the obvious sign on the dashboard of his postal vehicle, directly in front of him, saying, in large bold letters: “AVOID BACKING UP IF NOT NECESSARY” he conceded he was allowed to back up when necessary.

 

4)  SUMMARY:

a) There seems to be a dispute as to when the “Safety Department” visited the road and how many times, if ever.

b) There have been no law enforcement reports of accidents on the subject road.

c) The mailbox for 6500 Hillman Ridge Road was legally located with the approval of the USPS. The USPS had ample time to determine the safe or "Unsafe" conditions of the subject road BEFORE allowing me to move my mailbox.

d) The postal service has a legal obligation to deliver the mail to that location.

e) The road conditions for the subject road has not deteriorated. To the contrary, the road was resurfaced two years ago. On the west side the vegetation/over-growth has been stripped and fence line removed and over-hanging limbs trimmed on the east side in early to mid-October 2017

f) At the very least, Georgetown Postmaster Scott Compton is guilty of:

          i) MISFEASANCE: Using his power to halt delivery of my mail without just cause;

          ii) NON-FEASANCE: Failed to deliver my mail without just cause, as he is legally required to do;

          iii) MALFEASANCE: Conspired with Mr. Dennis Williams and carrier Derrick (and maybe others) to continue to withhold delivery of my mail without just cause. 

g) Yes the ¼  mile section of this dead-end road is narrow and yes there are very few places to pull-over and yes it is an inconvenience if one has to back up to a pull-over – but this is a very short section of road and there is very little traffic and thus two vehicles meeting where one has to back up is very rare. There are many other portions of Brown County roads that have these same conditions.

h) If the USPS wishes the subject road to be widened and/or pull-overs added, it is an issue they should take up with the Township Trustees – not punish me.

  

NOTE 1:

[email correspondence between Chuck Klein and Lisa Chapman-Walters - *** message separations. BOLD and italics added]


From: Chapman-Walters, Lisa M -
Cincinnati, OH
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2015 7:53 AM
To: cklein@chuckkleinauthor.com
Cc: Smith, John - Georgetown, OH ; Ferguson, Sherri K - Cincinnati, OH

Subject: Georgetown Customer Service
 
Mr. Klein,
 
I am in receipt of your recent email regarding the movement
of your mailbox on Hillman Ridge Road.  After discussing the issue with the
current Postmaster in Georgetown, the placement of your mailbox will be
permitted at the end of your driveway on 6500 Hillman.  In addition, you
will not be required to retain a letter from Pleasant Township Trustees nor will
you be required to create a turn-around for the mail carrier. 
 
In closing , I would like to extend an apology for the
inconvenience this issue may have given you.  I would further like to add
if there are any additional issues please do not hesitate to call on
me.
 
Lisa
Chapman-Walters
A/MPOO Area 3
Lawrenceburg Post Office

(812) 537-2626

*************************************************

NOTE 2:

email correspondence between Chuck Klein and Dennis Williams - *** message separations, BOLD and italics added]

 From: Chuck Klein

Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:52 AM

To: Williams Jr, Dennis W - Cincinnati, OH

Cc: Post Office Chapman-Walters

Subject: Re: Hillman Ridge - Last try

 I’m trying to obtain all the available information in order to be well informed at any such meeting. I need to see the dated “safety” report(s) and I need answers to previous questions and proposals. To reiterate, resume my mail delivery by Friday, 17 Nov 2017, and promise not to disrupt my mail delivery in the future and all will square, i.e., I won’t file suit.  ck

  *********************************************

From: Williams Jr, Dennis W - Cincinnati, OH

Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:38 AM

To: Chuck Klein

Subject: RE: Hillman Ridge - Last try

 Mr. Klein,

 I am trying to set up a meeting with you or telephone conference to explain the hazardous situation out there.  Please advise what your availability is so I can plan accordingly.

 Thank you,

 Dennis Williams, Jr.

A/Manager Post Office Operations

Area 7 Ohio Valley District

  ************************************************

From: Chuck Klein [mailto:cklein@chuckkleinauthor.com]

Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:18 AM

To: Williams Jr, Dennis W - Cincinnati, OH <Dennis.W.Williams@usps.gov>

Subject: Re: Hillman Ridge - Last try

 Please send the “Safety” report that Mr. Compton claims to have and had promised to send to me, but then refused because you told him not to.

 Chuck Klein

  ******************************************************

From: Williams Jr, Dennis W - Cincinnati, OH

Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 11:02 PM

To: Chuck Klein

Subject: RE: Hillman Ridge - Last try

 Mr. Klein,

Would you be available anytime this week to discuss your current situation with your mail delivery?  I’d like to arrange either a meeting or teleconference with myself and a member of our safety staff to go over the safety hazard.

Please let me know your availability.

 Thank you,

 Dennis Williams, Jr.

A/Manager Post Office Operations

Area 7 Ohio Valley District

 *********************************************

 NOTE: 3 

[email correspondence between Chuck Klein and Dennis Williams - *** message separations, BOLD and italics added]

From: Chuck Klein

Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 3:15 PM

To: Williams Jr, Dennis W - Cincinnati, OH

Cc: Postmaster

Subject: Re: Hillman Ridge Mail Delivery

 Mr. Williams,

Thank you for your response.

 1) What is the definition of unsafe?

 2) When did the conditions become unsafe?

 3) What changes occurred that resulted in “unsafe” conditions? In other words, if the conditions were safe up until 19 Oct 2017 (last day mail was delivered to my box), what changed to make it unsafe?

 In 2016, the Georgetown postmaster ruled the road to be “unsafe”. After 10-days of not delivering my mail and an inspection by the USPS Safety Department, it was determined the road was not “unsafe” and my mail delivery was resumed. What has changed?

 Please see attached.

 Since you have failed to provide reasonable means to support this unilateral, capricious decision to withhold my mail delivery, I strongly suggest you resume delivery while matters are worked out with the Township Trustees. Unless you agree by no later than Thursday, 9 Nov 2017, I will take the issue up with postal higher-ups, news media, my congressional representative and/or others.

 Chuck Klein

 ****************************************************

 From: Williams Jr, Dennis W - Cincinnati, OH

Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 2:48 PM

To: Chuck Klein

Subject: RE: Hillman Ridge Mail Delivery

 Mr. Klein,

 I had our Safety team out there to evaluate the situation.  It was in our best interest to reach out to the local government that is responsible for maintaining Hillman Ridge and ask to widen the road and to accommodate two passing cars.  Right now the Postmaster is working with that department to see what solution they can come up with.  Unfortunately, at this time I cannot allow mail service to your home as it is unsafe.

We are aggressively trying to determine a solution for your situation.  Once we hear back from the local government office we will reach back out to you.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you,

 Dennis Williams, Jr.

A/Manager Post Office Operations

Area 7, Ohio Valley District

  ***********************************************

 

From: Chuck Klein

Sent: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 2:37 PM

To: dennis.w.williams@usps.gov

Cc: Postmaster

Subject: Hillman Ridge Mail Delivery

 Hello Mr. Williams,

 Scott Compton has told me you visited my end of Hillman Ridge Road (2 Nov 2017) to determine whether this portion was safe or unsafe. He also told my you would tender a written findings of this visit. Please allow me the courtesy of sending me this report as I have been without mail delivery since 20 Oct necessitating a 10+ mile round trip to the Georgetown post office to retrieve my mail.

 Thank you,

 Chuck Klein,

6500 Hillman Ridge Road

Georgetown, OH 45121-9325

http://chuckklein.com

cklein@chuckkleinauthor.com

 *************************************************************

 5) PERSONAL OPINION:

a) I believe postmaster Compton is possibly antagonistic because his fellow postmaster, John Smith, was ordered to allow the box to be moved and thus he is seeking retribution (possibly also against Lisa Chapman-Walters who authorized the moving of the box, against the wishes of the then Postmaster, John Smith).

b) The original request to move the mailbox was made to John Smith in 2014. He talked to Frank Helbling, Trustee, who told him the subject ¼ mile road section was township property. Mr. Smith reported back to me that Mr. Helbling told him the road was NOT township property and he couldn’t allow the box to be moved on to a private road. When he was confronted with this untruth, he then wrote a letter on plain paper stating the box could not be moved because the road was not safe. This information was sent to his supervisor, Lisa Chapman-Walters who saw the ruse and ordered him to allow the moving of the box.

c) No active attempts to work out any road improvement with the township have been commenced by any member of the USPS as of this date.

Chuck Klein

6500 Hillman Ridge Road

Pleasant Township, Brown County’

Georgetown, OH 45121-9325

http://chuckklein.com

 

 

************************************************************************

USPS UPDATES

UPDATE 29 Jan 2018: A complaint and request for intervention has been filed with CONGRESSMAN BRAD WENSTRUP. Though he can, and hopefully will, intervene, he does not have power to over-rule, but he does have the ability to seek a congressional investigation into the dictatorial, arbitrary, capricious and unbridled powers of all postmasters and establishing an accountable appeals division of the USPS. 

In a meeting with Postmaster Compton in his office, today, he refused to alter his decison to mark my mail "Return to Sender" if my mailbox is not moved by 8 Feb 2018. In addition, he again refused my compromise suggestion that I rent a POB and all mail addressed to me would be deposited there until my appeals had run. He also told me he has not stopped sending mail to other locations that have roads that are not wide enough for two cars to pass. When pressed as to what conditions had changed to cause my road to become "unsafe" he replied that the carrier complained that the traffic had become too heavy on my section of the road. I then asked him if he has any traffic flow studies or documentations - any written reports of his or the carrier's - to back up this statement? His reply, "No". To the contrary, there has been no increase in traffic to the subject road, it still is only for two families with typical traffic of an occasional delivery truck. Compton also added  that adding pull-overs will not suffice - only a road wide enough for two vehicles to pass. 

A cursury check of various roads in Brown County clearly show many without sufficent width for two vehicles to pass - to be as "unsafe" or worse than Hillman Ridge Road. Yet the dwellers on these roads continue to receive their mail. An example of these roads with no pull-overs, and blind corners include:

* Rolling Acres Drive (a 3/4 mile GRAVEL road);

* Myers Hollow Road (a 1/2 mile paved road) 

Finally, Mr. Compton told me the actions he has taken against me are NOT personal. To which I reply: When you exercise your power – or refuse to exercise your power - I consider it personal to:

1) Tell me I can pick up my mail at the PO until my appeals have run, then issue a written order that you will be returning my mail to sender unless I move my box by a certain date;

2) Refuse my reasonable offer to rent a POB until the appeals have run;

3) When you tell me you will contact me after talking to your boss and fail to email or phone with with the results of your conversation;

4) When you told me repeatedly that you would email the safety department report that you had received and still have failed to do so.

5) I will consider it personal if you do not explain your unreasonable and personal acts.

UPDATE 23 Jan 2018: Back in November when I learned Postmaster Compton was terminating mail delivery to my legally located mailbox, I filed an appeal with the USPS Comsumer Affairs Department. They acknowledged receipt of the complaint and promised to "work with you until the case is resolved". When I hadn't heard from them by 19 Jan 2018, I called and spoke with "Kim" who said she was finished with her investigation and would send me an email of the findings. After a few days, I sent a follow-up reminder to please send the promised report. I'm still waiting. 

In the meantime, I have filed a complaint with the Postal Inspector's General's office.The IG has forwarded my complaint of Postmaster Compton's order to return all my mail to sender (See USPS Letter Threatening to Return Mail) – against Compton's promise not to, to the Consumer Affairs Department. This, of course, is the same Consumer Affairs Department that has failed to tender a findings of their investigation (see update 23 Jan 2018). 

 Another Lie? On 18 Jan 2018, I visited the Georgetown P.O. and spoke with Postmaster Compton to offer a compromise to his threat to begin marking my mail "Return to Sender" if I didn't move my mailbox within 30 days (See USPS Letter Threatening to Return Mail). I offered to rent a POB and thus he could just have my mail addressed to the Hillman Ridge location deposited in this rented box where I could retreive it until the appeals have run (the USPS will be making money on the rental of the box). He promised to discuss this with his boss, Dennis Williams, and respond back to me. As of today (23 Jan 2018)- with time getting short - he has not had the courtesy to contact me. I've lost count of the times he made promises that he didn't keep. 

UPDATE 23 Jan 2018: Postmaster Compton, in a most dastardly and ungentlemanly decree, personally ordered me to move my mail box in 30 days or he will have all mail addressed to me marked "Return to Sender". This is in contravention to his explicit agreement to allow me pick up my mail at the post office until the appeals have run. He is acting as a judge, jury and executioner - even a common criminal has the right to freedom until sentence is carried out. (See USPS Letter Threatening to Return Mail)

UPDATE 15 Dec 2017: The Brown County Press newspaper has published an accounting with a request for persons with similar mail delivery problems or the fear thereof.  (See Newspaper 1)

UPDATE 30 Nov 2017: The letter included below is indicative of what I am having to deal with. (See USPS Letter 1)

 

*************************************************************

USPS Letter 1

 

COMMENTS ON THE LETTER:
 
* It is unsigned;
 
* A letter to me – not the “report”  I requested and they said they would send (if it exists at all);
 
* It purports to be post dated inasmuch as they have been claiming the visit was weeks ago;
 
* No return address or contact information;
 
* “... two other safety specialists....” not named;
 
* If they were writing to me, why is the line “We recommend the customer move....” instead of reading We recommend YOU move....
 
* The letterhead reads, “Human Resources,” which traditionally deals with personnel – not safety issues?

* Interesting to note that the "Safety Specialist" only recommends moving the mailbox while Compton is okay with adding pull-overs to the road and Williams demands widening the road. Humm, something just doesn't smell right.

*  According to PO 603, Rule 522, the postmaster has the power to “identify hazardous conditions and take appropriate action to correct them.” However, the term “hazardous conditions” is not mentioned in Jeffrey Ware’s letter. Further, the USPS has not taken any action (appropraite or not) as to correct conditions they believe are "unsafe" or Hazardous". It is also not true that two cars can’t pass. If I took them to court, what would/could they say?

  

NEWSPAPER 1

BROWN COUNTY PRESS Sunday, 10 Dec 2017

Postmaster Scott Compton has told me that persons with mailboxes on narrow roads will have their mail delivery terminated until the road is brought up to undefined USPS standards. This is happening to me. Without warning or notification, Mr. Compton, on his own, ordered his carrier not to deliver mail to my box located at the end of Hillman Ridge Road because it was “unsafe”. He – and his supervisor, Dennis Williams (Cincinnati) – have refused to define “unsafe” and have not answered my questions of when did the road become “unsafe” or what changes have occurred to make the road “unsafe”. To the contrary: within the past two years the subject road has been made “safer” by a full repaving with fresh blacktop and all of the vegetation/brush has been cleared from the west side of the road and over-hanging limbs from the east side – in other words, the road has been improved, i.e., made “safer”. 

 COMMENTS: If no one responds, it might be indicative of the Postmaster not being truthful. In other words, he is only after me for personal reason and thus is a true abuse of power.

 U

USPS LETTER THREATENING TO RETURN MAIL TO SENDER