Retiree's checks delivered : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Tuesday, January 11, 2000 More than 700 checks destined for Roanoke found in Cumberland, Md. Retirees' checks delivered

"Here, the computers worked fine," said a Railroad Retirement Board spokesman.


More than 700 railroad retirement checks that were destined for Roanoke were found on a truck at the Cumberland, Md., post office at 3 a.m. Monday.

Roanoke Postmaster Billy Martin received a phone call Monday at 6 a.m. and learned that the checks had arrived in Roanoke. Roanoke mail employees immediately processed the checks and began delivering them to railroad retirees in Roanoke, Roanoke County and the New River Valley. Mail carriers knocked on doors and rang doorbells to let retirees know their checks had arrived.

To avoid Y2K glitches, the U.S. Treasury Payment Center in Philadelphia, which distributes railroad retirement checks nationally, mailed the checks to post offices across the country Dec. 29, so they would be in post offices by Dec. 30 or 31 for delivery Jan. 3, at the earliest. But the checks got lost in the mail. No other areas of the nation had this problem.

The checks were stacked in trays, put on a truck in Philadelphia and sent to Baltimore. But somehow, the tray of checks was mislabeled and misrouted to Cumberland, about 148 miles west of Baltimore, postal officials said. The truck belonged to an independent contractor and was not a post office truck.

"We're still trying to find out what happened so we can try to fix it," said Martin. "We hate when this happens. Our mission is to give the best possible service.

"We offer our sincerest apologies. Our customers have been very nice and understanding."

Philadelphia post office spokesman Paul Smith said the post office is investigating to see whether Treasury or postal employees mislabeled the tray.

Regardless, "We'd like to apologize to our customers in Roanoke. It is a rare occurrence. We'll do everything in our power to ensure this does not happen again," Smith said.

The fact that the checks were found did not come as too much of a surprise to Railroad Retirement Board officials. Last year, for example, some checks were lost in Texas. After five business days, the board issued new ones and the missing checks showed up.

Board spokesman Bill Poulos said "I'm glad we didn't jump the gun and issue the replacements " in Roanoke.

What's ironic, he said, is that some people, leery of electronic deposits, may have opted to get their checks in the mail instead of having them directly deposited into their bank accounts.

"Here, the computers worked fine," Poulos said. "The old technology, mailing paper checks, didn't work."

Poulos encouraged retirees to have their checks automatically deposited into their bank accounts. "We don't have these problems with direct deposit."

-- Homer Beanfang (, January 11, 2000


More importantly, were his chicks delivered?

-- (, January 11, 2000.

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