Postal Service brings in outside help, looks for potential employees in hiring process

Snow surrounds a line of mailboxes on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, near the Blacktail neighborhood where residents have not had consistent, regular mail service since early December. An official said the Postal Service is waiting for a bid on an emergency contract to fill this route as well as one west of Steamboat Springs. The Steamboat Springs post office is also struggling to keep up with the flow of mail, and has brought in outside help from other post offices hoping to get caught up with deliveries to local P.O. boxes.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

U.S. Postal Service communication specialist James Boxrud said the staffing problems in Steamboat Springs have resulted in delivery problems south and west of downtown, and has even slowed delivery to customers who have P.O. boxes.

“I mean it was the perfect storm, right?, Boxrud said Thursday, Jan. 12, after spending most of his morning in meetings, some of which discussed the current issues in Steamboat Springs. “Then everything started breaking free that week after Christmas, and we had a couple of people go out because they were sick, and so that cut our already skeleton crew down to bare bones.”

That situation combined with the loss of a couple of contract drivers — who are hired by a company outside of the Postal Service — has resulted is missed deliveries in Blacktail, the lower Elk River Valley and at cluster boxes in west side neighborhoods.

“Those are the areas that have been affected,” Boxrud said. “The other contract carriers, when they come back at the end of the day, they’re trying to help us out, and trying to get the mail delivered. It’s backed up quite a bit, quite a few days, so it’s going to take us a little bit to get through it.”

He said the Postal Service has an emergency contract out for bid right now. That contract would include both routes in Steamboat Springs that currently do not have drivers.

However, the staffing problems are not limited to the mail delivered by contract drivers. Boxrud said staffing problems inside the Steamboat Springs Post Office have also led to delays in getting the mail to customers P.O. boxes.

“We are also behind with the P.O. boxes,” Boxrud said. “We sent two people that got up there yesterday, and they’re going to be able to help out to get the P.O. boxes caught up, right away. Then we’ll continue taking packages out, trying to catch up with the mail as fast as we can in the delivery area.”

He said the Postal Service is in the process of trying to hire more people in Steamboat Springs. Since Christmas the already small staff has been hindered by illness, and contract drivers have been slowed at times by snow and winter weather.

“The P.O. boxes we’re hoping to have caught up by the end of this week, or probably by the weekend,” Boxrud said. “Not so sure on how it is going to work with delivery.”

He said people interested in working for the U.S. Postal Service can go to to begin the hiring process. He said right now the only application in Steamboat is for a custodian, but that should be updated with clerk positions by Saturday, Jan. 14.

“We make postings for five days then when we have viable applicants we go ahead and pull those down,” Boxrud said. “Then we start going through those applicants.”

He said getting hired by the Postal Service is a lengthy process and includes background checks that are normally done by the FBI. In order to work for the federal government, candidates need to pass a background check, drug screening and go through fingerprinting.

He said the postal service normally limits the time the postings are up, so that people can be moved through the process. He said there may be 10 people that enter the process, but that doesn’t mean that they will all qualify.

He said he met with the Postal Service’s human resources people Thursday morning, and believes that the Steamboat Springs posting slated for Saturday may stay up. Until then, he said the staff and contract drivers in Steamboat Springs will be doing their best to catch up and serve its customers.

“The mail just keeps coming in, and when we’re not able to keep up with it then it just kind of snowballs,” Boxrud said. “It’s definitely a big hiccup, but we’ll get through it.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.