RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — At a ceremony inside the State Capitol Wednesday, Joseph Thekkekara was sworn in as Richmond’s new postmaster.
Thekkekara was previously the Postmaster in Midland, Texas and started his career with United State Postal Service as a carrier in New York.
Thekkekara says delivering first-class customer service is his top priority.
“To give the highest level of service to the community, that’s my goal,” he said.
Yet, the new Postmaster has a tough route ahead. Lost mail, stolen mail, delayed mail, packages tossed like footballs and mail dumped in the trash or woods are just some of the complaints we have heard from viewers.
Richmond resident Anne Pierson earlier this year told 8News, “some of our outgoing mail, we would find in the yard and it was rained on and snowed on.”
In May, an 8News investigation uncovered 400 mail thefts in the Richmond region. In 159 of those cases, postal workers were the thieves. 8News asked the new Postmaster how he plans to handle the mounting mail complaints.
“One of the things I bring to Richmond is my dedication, honesty and integrity,” Thekkekara said. “I expect that from every employee of mine. I always tell them every two weeks we get their paycheck, on the back of the paycheck it says from the customers. It doesn’t say from the post office, but our customers.”
Thekkekara says he has been working hand-in-hand with the Inspector General to weed out the bad apples. As for improving delivery service …
“We have hired almost 160 employees to help us with that goal to alleviate customer service,” he explained.
To help with the holiday rush, don’t be surprised if your carrier pulls up in something other than a postal truck.
“We have rented vehicles in order to give the best service to our customers,” Thekkekara said.
While Thekkekara was just sworn in, he’s been in Richmond working on changes for about two months now.