Even under the best conditions, delivering mail can be physically challenging. Try walking ten miles a day lugging a forty pound bag. So who could blame any mail carrier for at least thinking about the most egregious of postal carrier sins: Dumping the mail.
But tonight, following a Carl Monday investigation, one mailman is suspected of doing just that. The Post Office Inspector General has confirmed it's investigating thousands of pieces of mail that Monday and his team found behind an abandoned house on E. 123rd in Cleveland. Ten postal bins full of mail, from grocery store ads and coupons, to time sensitive campaign materials. Political ads for Mayor Frank Jackson and several council and judicial candidates. And even registered mail from the Juvenile Court.
Monday questioned the carrier assigned to that route. He denied any knowledge of the mail dumping. Brandon Hawkins has been removed from his duties for now while others are covering his route.
Hawkins dad is probably not pleased to hear all this. Ken Hawkins is the Manager of the Lakewood Post Office Branch. He had no comment.
The Post Office Inspector General, located ironically at the Lakewood Post Office, will only say that it doesn't condone or tolerate such activity and the person responsible will be dealt with appropriately.
Found in the pile of abandoned mail were glossy neighborhood newsletters in Ward 8, where Jeff Johnson is Councilman. When Monday showed Johnson a picture of the newsletters, which are paid for with tax dollars, Johnson could only say "Wow!"
The mail dumping is especially disturbing to Johnson, who's mom and dad both worked for the Post Office.
"My dad was a carrier who took pride putting on his uniform and walking," said Johnson. "He'd just find that unacceptable and probably would have wanted to get the guy fired. Because he's not meeting the standards of the postal service."
Judicial candidate Anthony Jordon said the tossing of his campaign material is "profoundly disturbing." His Attorney, Subodh Chandra noted that some voters already voted early in person, or by absentee ballot, without the benefit of seeing Jordon's brochure, which outlined his accomplishments. "This is really a violation of the first amendment to take these mailers and to communicated the candidate's message to the public and dump them," says Chandra. "It's just not appropriate."
By week's end, Postal investigators say they' conclude their findings and turn them over to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible prosecution. Mail carriers who dumped mail in other cities have been suspended, fired, and even sent to prison.