By Ava-joye Burnett

ROSEDALE, Md. (WJZ) — The U.S. Postal Service continues to be a source of frustration for Marylanders, resulting in complaints about mail arriving late or sometimes not at all.

The problems are all too familiar for Debbie Duarte, a Baltimore County resident who didn’t pull any punches while explaining just how fed up she is with the service she’s received.

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“It’s horrible,” Duarte said. “The mail system down here is horrible. My sister is lucky if she gets mail in her house. I live in Dundalk. I’m lucky if I get mail at my house once a week, if that.”

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) met Tuesday with Lora McLucas, the new district manager in Maryland, who was brought in to help fix the problems residents complain about.

Ruppersberger visited two Postal Service branches, checking out one in Parkville and another in Rosedale. Based on his visits, the congressman says he’s seen improvements.

“The first good news, we’ve had lines at most of our post offices, especially on the east side, and when I showed up today there were no lines,” Ruppersberger said.

The congressman acknowledged his office continues to get a high volume of complaints.

A Ruppersberger spokesperson said McLucas, the new USPS district manager for Maryland, was brought in from Denver.

Only a few days into her new role, McLucas met with Ruppersberger at one of the Baltimore County branches he visited. The congressman spoke glowingly of McLucas.

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“She’s considered to be one of their best managers, so they are bringing in an A team,” Ruppersberger said.

Branches have complained about getting inundated with a lot of mail and not having enough staff to help deliver it all. That’s a problem McLucas agrees needs to be a priority.

But problems within the USPS existed before the pandemic began. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy rolled out cuts intended to help balance the budget that have slowed down delivery.

CBS News reports that as of Oct. 1, the Postal Service will increase standard delivery time for first-class mail within the U.S. from three to five days. The changes are billed as part of the effort to rein in costs.

Yet the changes don’t seem to have accounted for the mail being a vital lie line for residents to get essentials, such as prescription medications or Social Security checks.

“I get all my prescription and everything through the mail,” a Baltimore County resident told WJZ. “I know [veterans] whose lives have been in danger by not being able to get their medicine.”

The USPS inspector general is auditing six post offices — Dundalk, Essex, Loch Raven, Middle River, Parkville, Rosedale — in the Baltimore region.

Results of those audits are expected to be released by the end of October or sometime in November.

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Ruppersberger said the audit’s findings will help shed light on necessary improvements to the service.

Ava-joye Burnett