— A U.S. Postal Service audit completed this month found serious sorting confusion and delays at a major Raleigh mail processing center during the pandemic.

WRAL News has reported on postal delivery delays for years, but complaints soared over the past year.

The Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center in north Raleigh is responsible for sorting and directing mail across eastern North Carolina. An audit by agency inspectors found 1.44 billion pieces of delayed inventory there from January 2020 through last March. Inspectors determined it wasn’t all delayed to customers, noting tracking was sometimes wrong.

Priority mail met clearance times just 51 percent of the time, well short of the Postal Service’s goal of 95 percent.

Avent Ferry post office audit

The audit blames staffing issues as the coronavirus spread across the state and the country.

Managers at the Raleigh mail processing center agreed with the audit’s findings and promised tighter controls on sorting and scanning mail, as well as better monitoring of staffing levels.

According to the audit, postal managers set an Aug. 31 deadline to have the processing improvements in place.

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