USPS mechanical snafu delays Chronicle delivery to thousands

USPS mechanical snafu delays Chronicle delivery to thousands

Thousands of Jewish Chronicle subscribers were days late in receiving last week’s edition because a new processing machine at a U.S. Postal Service station on the East End, which is supposed to increase efficiency, broke down — twice — and did the exact opposite.
Approximately 1,300 papers were not delivered until this week. Most of the affected readers were in the 15217 ZIP code, which includes Squirrel Hill.
To lessen the impact, Chronicle staff members fanned out across the neighborhood Monday delivering stacks of the latest edition to Beacon Place, Imperial House, Weinberg Terrace, Weinberg Village, Riverview Towers, Maxon Towers, the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
The staff of the Chronicle finished production of its July 14 edition on deadline — Wednesday, July 13 — and transmitted its pages electronically to The Indiana Gazette, its contracted printer, that same day.
No problems, everything normal.
The Gazette printed the paper, then, according to its agreement with the Chronicle, delivered the copies to the USPS for distribution.
No problems, everything normal.
But when the copies for the 15217 subscribers arrived at the East Liberty postal station, there was a problem — a big one.
The USPS recently installed what is called a Flats Sequencing System processing machine at its Warrendale facility. That’s a machine that processes standard and periodical mail — work that used to be done manually or by bar code.
But last week that machine broke down, and did so again on Sunday, according to Dino Gaetano, manager of the East Liberty station.
The Chronicle staff was kept busy Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday fielding calls from readers inquiring about the status of their papers and when they might get them. Many readers also contacted the post office, which assumed responsibility for the distribution breakdown.
Gaetano told Chronicle executives in a conference call Monday that this week’s edition should be delivered within a more normal time frame. Meanwhile, the staff is reviewing its production schedule for ways to further reduce its distribution time.
“We regret any inconvenience to our subscribers,” Chronicle CEO David Caoin said of the incident. “The situation was out of our hands.”

(Lee Chottiner can be reached at

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