During Monday’s Liberty Township meeting, trustees authorized the payment of purchase orders and blanket certificates, except for one for $10,000 to Mail Pro 1 LLC for printing and mailing of the township newsletter.
The newsletters, which are currently missing, were printed and delivered in mid-July to a post office in Columbus by Mail Pro 1, Delaware.
According to Nancy Denutte, township fiscal officer, a purchase order for the newsletters will be generated but not paid.
“The money has to be encumbered,” she said.
Cathy Buehrer, human resources manager and administrative assistant, said there would be a separate resolution presented to trustees when the bill is paid.
Denutte said she isn’t sure where the matter stands at this time because “it seems the Powell postmaster doesn’t know nothing.”
“All we know is (the newsletters) were scanned in at the Powell Post Office, and they did not get delivered,” she said. “Only about 2,000 people received the mailing. Someone stole them from the Powell Post Office. At least 4,000 0f them. That is a federal offense.
“They’re probably stuck in someone’s garage or basement,” Denutte added.
Trustee Michael Gemperline asked if the post office was going to reproduce the mailings for the township. He was told “no” by Trustee Melanie Leneghan.
“They won’t pay for it,” Leneghan said.
Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said she thought there would be video cameras in the post office that had recorded someone or something being done with the newsletters.
“So, they feel that someone broke in to commit a federal offense to steal township newsletters?” she asked. “Well, people can just go on the (township’s) website to read it for free.”
Michael Schuiling, township administrator, said the matter has been reported by Mail Pro 1 to the U.S. Post Office.
“It is being investigated at very high levels to the postmaster,” he said. “I was hoping to hear something before today, but we haven’t heard anything.”
Larry Garrett, owner of Mail Pro 1, previously told The Gazette the pallets of Liberty Township mailers were delivered to City Gate Post Office to be sorted and delivered to the local post offices.
According to Garrett, on the side of each skid there is a barcode for tracking purposes. He said the tracking shows that the skid of 6,000 pieces was sent to the Powell Branch Post Office and checked in there, but that’s where the tracking ends.
“The tracking shows that the skid was delivered by us to Columbus, who sent it to Powell,” he said. “At that point, it disappears, and there are no mailers there.”
Garrett said the tracking shows that the 2,000 pieces delivered to Delaware’s Post Office were delivered to residents.
“We have more issues getting mail through the Powell Post Office than any other post office,” he said. “We go through a lot of extra efforts to track the mail we send out.”
“They didn’t follow the rules,” Garrett added.
After starting at the local level to resolve the situation, Garrett said he is now working with the vice president of the Eastern Region of the United States Postal Service and the matter has been handed over to the postal inspectors.
“This has been going on for three weeks,” he said. “Everything is done electronically, and if a bad piece of mail hits anywhere in the system, I’m charged a penalty.”
Garrett didn’t receive notice of any mail not meeting postal standards.
Powell’s postmaster, who declined to give her name, said the mailers were delivered to the residents “when we first received them.”
Garrett said he was told that the post office would send staff out “door-to-door” to see if residents had received their copy of the township newsletter.