Ankle express for post office?

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By David Giuliani

The Las Vegas post office has been short on trucks, so the postmaster has been reportedly asking carriers to walk to their routes and deliver.

Such requests apparently haven’t been sitting well with carriers.

On Monday, carrier Greg Deges was seen pushing a mail cart up the hill on Eighth Street near Douglas Avenue, going toward his route a few blocks away.

Asked why he was walking, he estimated that four of the post office’s trucks were broken down. He said two other carriers in recent days had been asked to take a pushcart to their routes — one did so for a day and then refused, while the other refused from the very beginning.

Deges, who has worked for the Postal Service for 19 years, said carriers have been known to walk their routes before, if they are nearby. But he said it’s another thing to ask carriers to push their carts for a distance away from the post office to deliver the mail.

Deges, the head of the local postal carriers union, said it’s the postmaster’s duty to provide carriers with vehicles. He said he and others could file a grievance. But he added, “Once you’re given an order, you have to do it.”

Asked if nationwide Postal Service budget problems were the reason for so many broken-down trucks, Deges said that situation wasn’t to blame. He said it’s because the local post office isn’t on top of the repairs.

He estimated that it would take two more hours than usual to complete his route because of the lack of a truck. He usually works eight hours a day.

As Deges headed up Eighth, he realized he had forgotten something, so he walked back to the post office. He then found out that the postmaster, Alberta Ellis, got a truck repaired in that time. So he was able to use a vehicle after all.

Asked at the post office about the broken-down trucks, Ellis declined to comment.

Barbara Wood, an Albuquerque-based spokeswoman for the Postal Service, said she wasn’t aware of the local situation, but said her organization had enough trucks for carriers.