Mars mail mixup delays contract survey
Eagle Staff Writer
October 25, 2012
ADAMS TWP — A mail mix-up has caused the disappearance of 3,500 surveys sent to residents of the Mars School District. The school board at their Oct. 2 meeting approved the mailing of 9,582 surveys regarding the current teacher contract negotiations to each household in the school district to get their views on the situation. The surveys were delivered to the Mars Post Office on Oct. 9, and included a response deadline of Oct. 29 for their return. But 3,500 residents in Valencia borough and Middlesex Township, both of whom use the Valencia post office, did not receive their surveys due to the survey’s automatic processing at the Bulk Mail Center in Warrendale. Mars’ director of communications, Josh Schwoebel, said on Thursday that the envelopes containing the surveys were addressed and packed into bundles of 50. Each bundle was tagged with the municipality it was bound for, but individual envelopes were all addressed to “Mars.” When the tags were removed at the Bulk Mail Center, the automated processing equipment sent all the surveys to the Mars post office. Then the 3,500 surveys disappeared, and still have not been found. “The post office lost them and we can’t get them back,” Schwoebel said. He said he has successfully completed other districtwide mailings using the bundle system without a problem. But Tad Kelly, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service’s western Pennsylvania region, said on Thursday that the envelopes should have been addressed to Valencia. “It could have created confusion to have all the pieces addressed to Mars, 16046,” Kelly said. While Kelly said on Thursday morning that several top postal service officials were searching for the lost surveys, Schwoebel said in the early afternoon via press release that the postal service deemed the missing surveys permanently lost. “Therefore, the district is in the process of resending its community survey to those households and businesses located within the 16059 Valencia zip code,” Schwoebel said in the release. He said the postal service has agreed to mail them at no cost to the district. Both sides said they will continue to work together to find the missing surveys. Schwoebel said the deadline for return of the surveys has been extended to Monday, Nov. 12. He said any district resident who did not receive a survey should call 724-625-4589.