COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus has a new executive postmaster, and he’s addressing questions about slow mail service in central Ohio.

For months, NBC4 Investigates has been working to get answers after dozens of viewers said they were going days or weeks without mail delivery.

Eric Gilbert was appointed executive postmaster for the city of Columbus effective April 23. He had been serving in the role on an interim basis since he arrived in Columbus from Baltimore, Maryland about four weeks ago. He said he was aware of widespread issues with postal service before he arrived.

“I did a little bit of research,” Gilbert said. “Any stop that we have as a professional, you want to know what you’re getting into.”

Two 2022 audits uncovered issues with postal facilities in the Columbus area. One found problems with missed load scans and clutter at the Processing and Distribution Center. The other found nearly 35,000 instances of delayed mail on one January day at a post office in south Columbus.

“We have a daily cadence, or what we call a Zoom call,” Gilbert said. “We go over data. We look at our performance, specifically to scanning, what are the opportunities – unit specific, what are the roadblocks, and what is needed to enhance upon and get better in that performance.”

Gilbert said some of the changes to improve postal operations in the Columbus area started before he arrived, including a change in management at the Oakland Park post office on Innis Road, which had gained a reputation in recent months for spotty delivery and poor service.

“We got a stronger team within the facility, with the focus of cleaning up the facility and driving the mail to the customers as expected,” Gilbert said. “That was the first step.”

Another step is hiring. According to the U.S. Postal Service, 20 letter carriers were hired in Columbus over the past six weeks. Gilbert said staffing was prioritized at the facilities with the lowest levels, including Oakland Park.

“As I visit our employees in the city of Columbus, we’re motivating them by ensuring them that we’re hiring,” Gilbert said. “We’re letting the folks know that there will be an end to this long-day, no-day-off situation.”

Gilbert said he’s noticed the number of customer complaints decline over the past month, but that does not mean his job is done.

“Not many organizations can say they have 246 years of existence and providing service to the customers within their communities,” Gilbert said. “Can we get better after the 246 years? Absolutely. So we’ve ensured that we’ve made processes are in place to make sure all of the mail that’s expected to be delivered is clearly delivered daily.”

On Friday, USPS reported more than 93% of First-Class mail delivered on time in April, compared to about 88% around the end of 2021.