Monday, February 28, 2011

March eCareer Workshops for EAS Employees

America’s shift to digital communications, coupled with the dramatic drop in mail volume, make it imperative that the Postal Service continue its evolution as a forward-thinking, fast-acting company capable of providing quality products and services for customers.

Currently, the Postal Service is creating a new structure being referred to as “Organizational Redesign,” to meet the future needs of our employees, our customers, and the mailing industry. What does this mean to your future?

Organizational Redesign has the potential to effect large numbers of EAS employees in our district and across the nation. How can you best prepare? Attend an eCareer workshop to learn how to prepare your eCareer Profile. These workshops will be invaluable, should you find yourself needing to compete for a vacant EAS position.

Here’s a list of upcoming off-the-clock eCareer workshops:

TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 5 pm and 8 pm
Miami P&DC Human Resources Conference Room
2200 NW 72 Ave, Miami

TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 5 pm and 8 pm
West Palm Beach P&DC, Room 139
3200 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach

South Florida P&DC, Room 699
16000 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines

Fort Lauderdale P&DC, Room 110
1900 W Oakland Park Blvd, Fort Lauderdale

Jog Road Employees Celebrate Black History

MPOO Phyllis Reed and Maintenance employee Eileen Green-Hatcher led employees in singing "Lift Every Voice."

L to R: West Palm Beach O-I-C Robert Weiser, MPOO Phyllis Reed, Clerk Jackie Higgins, Quanta'e Green-Hatcher (son of employee Eileen Green-Hatcher), Maintenance employee Eileen Green-Hatcher, and Clerk Fanny Green.

Story & Photos by JoAnn Goodrich

Employees at Jog Road Station in Boynton Beach celebrated Black History Month on Friday, February 25. Maintenance employee Eileen Green-Hatcher was the Mistress of Ceremonies.

· Jackie Higgins spoke about the History of the Civil Rights Movement.
· Eileen’s son, Quanta’e Green-Hatcher presented excerpts of Martin Luther King’s 1963 speech “I have a Dream.”
· Eileen Green-Hatcher provided very interesting facts of Black Invention History.
· Phyllis Reed gave the blessing prior to the attendees enjoying African-American cuisine provided by a diversity of employees.
· Employees sang “Lift Every Voice.”

Special thanks to Edith Thompson, Tom Noone, Clarence Smith, Jackie Higgins, Eileen Green-Hatcher and all the employees at the Jog Road Station who participated in making Boynton Beach’s Black History Month Event a success.

Miami Beach PO Employees Deliver

Note the bald eagle over the entrance of the Miami Beach Post Office ...
... and the fountain and Seminole Wars mural in the rotunda.
The Miami Beach Post Office, located at 1300 Washington Avenue, is on the National Historic Register and is a "must see" for South Beach tourists.
This 1937 art deco building was constructed thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA), which supported unemployed artists during the Great Depression. It is a Depression modern building in the "stripped classic" style. In the 1970s, it was the first South Beach renovation project.
There's a cement bald eagle above the front door entrance. Inside the lobby rotunda is a restored painted paper ceiling of a sun dial and a large wall mural of the Seminole Wars.
Today the Miami Beach Post Office is home to the Postmaster, 10 clerks, two supervisors, and four transitional employees. There are 42 letter carriers (16 of which ride bicycles!) who deliver city routes, plus three relay/Parcel Post routes. There are 32,855 possible deliveries every day.
"The most unique delivery is a single route serving Fisher Island, which has its own ZIP Code," said Postmaster Hal Paldrmann. "Our carrier takes the ferry to and from the island to provide service to the 713 deliveries in a mail room. All mail, including Express Mail, signature mail, and parcels, receive service from this location."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hooray for Hollywood! Teamwork Key to CFC

CFC recognition awards stand tall in Hollywood. Photo: Scott Bower

By Scott Bower

From the Ocean to the Everglades, Hollywood Post Office employees believe in giving!

CFC key workers worked diligently during the 2010 CFC in a combined effort to go beyond the set goals.

Information was communicated at each office in Hollywood by the loaned executives and key workers to inform all employees of the 2010 Combined Federal Campaign program.

The key workers aggressively tackled the challenge of answering employees' questions regarding the CFC pamphlet information and the various charities that would benefit by employee contributions.

Key workers: Hollywood Main - Tiffany Bennett, Lloyd Shakes; Central Carrier Annex/West Hollywood Finance - Cathy Griglen, Michelle Gipson; Chapel Lakes - Sandra Munoz; Miramar - Mary Lopez; Pembroke Pines - Tom Piro, Dexter Mattear; Hollywood Hills - Monica Gough; Flamingo - Felecia Thomas.

As the weekly updates were provided by the South Florida District loaned executives listing the growing amount of contributions down the to unit level, this information was shared with all employees during daily service talks and posted on employee bulletin boards for all to review.

I believe that the employees of the individual stations and branches took it as a challenge when they saw that another office was farther ahead on the contributions and made the extra push to exceed the goals.

Palm Beach Gardens Hero by 'George'

By JoAnn Goodrich

Palm Beach Gardens Letter Carrier Linda George is a hero in the eyes of her Manager, Dianna Dobson and her peers.

One of Linda’s customers is an elderly lady that lives alone, since her husband recently died. Linda would check on her daily when delivering to this customer's address. She would see her in the window of her kitchen and exchange a wave to her and often engage in conversation when packages or accountable items had to be delivered.

Manager Dobson said, “Since my employee knew that she now lived alone and has no other living relatives she felt compelled to offer assistance to her. She invited this lady to her home on the holidays to celebrate with her and her family i.e.: mother and her husband and another lady that lives alone on her route.”

Upon the Ms. George’s return to work from her day off, she noticed that she hadn't seen the customer which struck her to be odd. She noticed that there were a couple of newspapers outside the ladies door that had not been taken inside and then became concerned. Linda went to the landlord’s house in the development and took her to the lady's house. The back door was open, and when she walked inside, the lady was on the floor and had been there for a couple of days. Linda’s customer wasn't able to get up or call or any medical assistance. Linda called 911 ran out into the middle of US HWY 1 to guide the paramedics into the development.

The carrier thought after seeing the state of the customer that she probably wouldn't live until morning. Due to the care and concern for this lady by my carrier she saved her life. Linda’s heroic efforts that day saved this lovely lady who has fully recuperated from her sickness.

“It goes far beyond this act of kindness” states Dobson. “This carrier also helped a fellow carrier in her zone get much needed mental therapy due to the loss of his wife.”

Linda has taken off from work, changed her schedule and accompanied her fellow peers to doctor's appointments, therapy appointments and various other things.” Although Linda does not live locally, she and her spouse, who also is a letter carrier at Palm Beach Gardens, would drive to this employee’s house, pick him up and make sure he arrived to work on time.

Dobson emphasizes, “Linda George’s determination to make a difference in someone’s life words cannot describe. She saved an elderly lady's life that has no one left in the world to care about her. She is a remarkable carrier that never says no to anything asked of her. I am honored to have such a person as part of my team.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

EAP: It's Not Just for Crisis Situations

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers assessment referral and counseling for postal employees and their family members. EAP also can help with the challenges employees and their families face in their lives: Job and life stress, depression, anxiety, marital discord, domestic violence, parenting issues, addictive behavior (including substance abuse), financial concerns, excessive gambling, and change and change management.

EAP is not just for crisis situations. EAP also can be a management tool for living, designed to help employees and their family members sort through life’s ups and downs. Employees can gain the most benefit from EAP through a proactive approach that addresses issues and concerns before they become problems that can interfere with personal and work life.

Employees also can contact EAP when they need a new or different perspective or when they need help identifying options for making informed choices. Contact EAP at 800-327-4968 (TTY 877-492-7341) or online at

NCPW: 'Your Information Destination'

During National Consumer Protection Week (March 6-12), the USPS Consumer Affairs Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will be educating consumers about identity theft and fraudulent schemes, providing the information needed to combat these illegal activities.

Other federal, state, and local consumer protection agencies — together with consumer organizations and industry associations — also will be participating in consumer protection and education efforts around the country.

The theme of this year’s National Consumer Protection Week is “Your Information Destination” and will highlight the importance of using good consumer sense at every stage of life.

With so much personal information that is readily avail­able, both online and in the mail, age doesn’t matter when it comes to crimes like identity theft. Children are ideal victims for identity theft as they have viable Social Security numbers with available credit, and often it is years later before the identity theft scam is uncovered.

Representatives from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will join USPS Consumer Affairs and Customer Relations personnel to address “Your Information Destination” at National Consumer Protection Week events scheduled as follows:

MONDAY, MARCH 7, 10 am - 2 pm, South Florida Retail Unit, 16000 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines
TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 10 am - 1 pm, Olympia Heights Post Office, 3801 SW 117 Ave, Miami
TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 11 am - 2 pm, Jupiter Post Office, 1095 Military Trail, Jupiter
TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 1 pm - 4 pm, Pompano Beach Main Office, 2351 W Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 10 am - 1 pm, Promenade Post Office, 3690 W 18 Ave, Hialeah
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 11 am - 2 pm, Fort Pierce Post Office, 5000 W Midway Rd, Fort Pierce
THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 12 Noon - 3 pm, West Palm Beach Main Office, 3200 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach
FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 10 am - 1 pm, Fort Lauderdale Main Office, 1900 W Oakland Park Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 12 Noon - 3 pm, Hollywood Post Office, 1801 Polk Street, Hollywood
FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 11 am - 2 pm, Jog Road Post Office, 6400 Boynton Beach Blvd, Boynton Beach
(Employees are reminded that their event attendance will be off-the-clock.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Billionaire Buys Palm Beach PO for $3.7 Million

Palm Beach Main Office
Palm Beach Main Office lobby

Photos: JoAnn Goodrich

Billionaire Jeff Greene has purchased the Palm Beach Post Office at 95 North County Road for $3.7 million. He plans to use the Mediterranean-style building to house the offices of his Palm Beach-based company, Florida Sunshine Investments I, Inc.

The Postal Service must vacate the building in 140 days. A new facility named Palm Beach Post Office will open in Royal Poinciana Plaza. The Postal Service signed a 10-year lease at this location and should be open for business on or around July 4, 2011.

Unlike the North County Road branch, the Post Office will not be a transfer hub for letter carriers and mail trucks, but will serve customers with all of the services they can currently get at the main branch.

Employees from the North County Road location will be assigned to support the carriers in their new residence (to be determined) or will be assigned to the Royal Poinciana Plaza location.

The PO lobby on North County Road will remain intact, in accordance to preservation covenants attached to the special warranty deed. Those covenants are related to the 1936 building's status in the National Register of Historic Places. The historic preservation covenants state that "No construction, alteration, remodeling or any other work shall be undertaken on the former Main Post Office, which would affect or diminish the integrity or the appearance" of the building unless approved by the Florida State Historic Preservation Officer.

The covenants also list "architecturally and/or historical significant exterior and interior features" that include the set of three murals depicting a Seminole village painted in the late 1930s by artist Charles Rosen and installed on the lobby's east wall. Also mentioned is the two-story "space and volume of the public lobby," the Post Offices Boxes on the lobby's north and east walls, bronze and wood grilles covering the lobby's second-story windows, and the lobby's two marble pedestal desks and tile floor.

Prepare for the Future with eRetire

When change in the workplace is coming, it’s a good time to start preparing for the future. If you’re considering retirement and wondering whether you have the numbers to make it work, check out “eRetire” — the self-service application on LiteBlue that lets employees start the retirement process online.

With eRetire, employees within 5 years of retirement eligibility can immediately view and print an annuity estimate. Employees within 180 days of retirement eligibility also can enter a future effective date, download and print or order a retirement application package and schedule a retirement counseling session.

Employees can access eRetire in one of the following three ways:

-- On LiteBlue, go to the employee apps carousel at the center of the home page.
-- Click on the “My HR” tab at the top navigation bar of LiteBlue and then on the “Find Employee Apps” section.
-- Click on the employee apps button at the bottom of every “My HR” Page.

You’ll need your Employee ID and USPS PIN to log onto LiteBlue.

Breast Cancer Research Gains $165,830

Concerned customers, including our employees, continue to support the fight against breast cancer with purchases of Breast Cancer Research semi-postal stamps. In January 2011, national sales totaled more than $829,000, raising $165,830 for research.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation February 17 that would extend the sale of the Breast Cancer Research stamp for four more years. Currently, the law is scheduled to expire December 31.

Since 1998, when the stamp was issued, sales have generated more than $72.3 million for breast cancer research.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

National Consumer Protection Week to Present "Your Information Destination"

It's that time of year --- "National Consumer Protection Week" --- March 6 -12, 2011.
USPS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will join the Federal Trade Commission and other local, state and federal consumer protection agencies to help educate consumers about identity theft and fraudulent schemes, and provide them with the information and resources to help combat these frauds.

This year’s NCPW theme—“Your Information Destination”—highlights the education materials available on the website launched in December 2010 by the FTC. Other Consumer Protection Week partners are promoting free resources to help people protect their privacy, manage money and debt,avoid identity theft, understand credit and mortgages, and steer clear of frauds and scams.
Watch for Newsbreaks with detailed information on NCPW district events.

Hallmark: Sending "Very Best" with IMb

USPS and Hallmark have introduced “Postage Paid Greetings” — a line of everyday and seasonal cards that include postage. All customers have to do is buy the card, address it and drop it in a mailbox. No stamp required.

The Hallmark Postage-Paid Greetings line includes a unique Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) on each envelope, indicating Hallmark is responsible for the postage. The scan information captured during normal mail processing is used to identify, sort and count the cards. Hallmark pays half the postage to USPS when Postage-Paid Greetings cards are sold and the other half when the customer mails the card.

To make sure the Postal Service receives the full value of each card’s postage, employees must not obliterate the IMb or any other pre-printed markings on the envelope.

With Postage-Paid Greetings, Hallmark customers won’t need to be concerned about changing stamp prices. The postage is covered anytime they choose to mail it — even if it’s a few months or years down the road.

More than 200 different designs of Postage-Paid Greetings everyday cards will be sold in Hallmark Gold Crown stores, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS and other Hallmark distribution locations. Seasonal cards will be available starting this Easter season. Postage-Paid everyday cards can be purchased for $3.99. Seasonal cards will range in price from $2.69 to $3.99.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dukes Delivers: Used S/L Once in 43 Yrs!

Samuel Dukes (center) knows the value of sick leave conservation. The Quail Heights letter carrier has saved 4,000 hours ... and counting! NALC Branch 1071 President Mike Gill (L) and Manager, Customer Service Operations Joseph Croce (R) praised Samuel for his stellar record in front of his peers at Miami's Quail Heights Post Office. Photo Credit: Rose M. Castro

Quail Heights Letter Carrier Samuel Dukes has delivered outstanding service to customers on the same Goulds FL route for 43 years.

He also has a near-perfect attendance record with 4,000-plus sick leave hours.

However, Dukes is a humble individual who doesn’t boast about his stellar attendance record. He even feels badly about the one time that he did call in for sick leave.

“I dislocated my knee, but I was able to pop it back into place and come to work the next day,” Dukes said. “I came to the Post Office looking for a job and now I do what I need to do and that is to come to work every day.”

Dukes enjoys being a letter carrier and his customers appreciate his dedication over the years.

“I’ve delivered from generation to generation,” Dukes said.

Dukes says employees should come to work because “it’s the right thing to do,” and reminds all of us that our sick leave benefit is like an insurance policy.

“You might need that policy some day, and if you do, you won’t have to worry about getting a paycheck,” he said.

FSS Takes Stroll Down "Promenade"

By Ernesto P. Cintado, Hialeah OIC
Promenade Postal Store started receiving FSS processed mail earlier this year. These machines will sort flat mail into delivery point sequence (DPS), just like letter mail. This new processing method has resulted in considerable changes in delivery operations and how our carriers perform their duties.

The Postal Service is facing increased competition and declining mail volume. We have to become more efficient and reduce our operational costs if we are to keep the mail affordable and of value to business mailers and the American public. Developing more efficient systems like the FSS is one way to do that. It also means we have to change how we’ve worked in the past.

At Promenade we have reconfigured the workfloor, including some equipment removal. The carrier case cells were reduced since less work in the office is now required. The greatest advantage to FSS is that there will no longer be flats to breakdown and sort. This provides a great deal of savings for the function four operation which at Promenade would typically handle eight to nine wire cages daily. Our clerks can now concentrate on exceeding customer expectation in retail and in quicker box mail up time.

Because there is less mail to case manually, carriers use less office time, which means there is more street time. As a result, we will need to conduct route evaluations and likely will adjust routes to include more deliveries. We don’t know what the impact will be until we conduct the evaluations, but it is possible that the number of routes could be reduced. Attrition may cover any reduction in positions. Any changes will be in full compliance with National Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Change can be difficult. New technology and new equipment have changed all of our jobs over the past several years. But change is necessary for the Postal Service to remain viable and ensure that we all have a job in the future.

Norland's Ricardo John Celebrates 40 Years

Miami Postmaster Robert Carr (R) presents commendatory letter recognizing 40 years of outstanding service to Norland Letter Carrier Ricardo John (L). Ricardo's co-workers gave him a round of applause. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Miami Postmaster Praises County Line Employees for Attendance Milestones

Miami Postmaster Robert Carr and Leonard Berger who has saved more than 2,500 hours of sick leave. Leonard is a Supervisor, Customer Services at the County Line Annex in Miami. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Miami Postmaster Robert Carr and County Line Letter Carrier Robin Anderson who has accumulated more than 2,000 hours of sick leave. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Miami Postmaster Robert Carr presents a certificate to Letter Carrier Gregory Cheever in front of his County Line peers. Gregory knows the value of sick leave conservation and has saved more than 2,000 hours. Photo: Rose M. Castro

How to Avoid Night Driving Dangers

Traffic death rates are three times higher at night than during the day, according to the National Safety Council.

Driving reactions rely heavily on vision, and darkness severely limits depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision. The keys to reducing your risk of an accident are maximizing your vision and your vehicle's visibility.

Improve Night Vision
Install high-quality headlights and wiper blades to improve visibility, and replace the headlight bulbs on a regular basis.

"You'll notice a huge difference," says automotive expert Lauren Fix, known as "The Car Coach" on TV and the Web. "Remember, 90 percent of your driving decisions are based on visibility."

A can of glass cleaner and paper towels will help keep your turn signals, windshield, mirrors and brake lights clear—making it easier for you to see, and easier for other drivers to see you.

Older drivers and those with vision problems may find it especially challenging to drive at night. They should see a medical professional who can determine whether they are able to drive safely and suggest eyewear that may help.

Align Headlights and Mirrors
Headlights out of alignment can be a danger to you as well as to other drivers. Your visibility might be compromised, and the errant beam of your misaligned headlight could be hitting other drivers directly in their eyes.

"If you think your headlights are aimed incorrectly, find an automotive technician to adjust them properly," Fix says. If a vehicle behind you has misaligned headlights upsetting your vision, adjust your rear-view mirror. "Flip that switch on your rearview mirror—called a dimming mirror—and try not to look at those lights because they can be very distracting," Fix says.

Adjust Speed and Following Distance
Because darkness reduces your ability to judge what other drivers are doing, you'll want to reduce your speed and increase the distance at which you follow other cars.

"Just don't go so slow that you become a hazard," Fix says.

A good rule of thumb for determining your speed while driving at night is to rely on the illumination distance or reach of your headlights.

"Don't overdrive your headlights," Fix says. "You should be able to stop within the illuminated area."

For more safe driving tips visit

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some Encouraging Words on USPS Future

The Postal Service is encouraged by the President’s recognition of the Postal Service’s financial situation. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress in the coming year on CSRS and FERS over-funding, the retiree health benefit pre-funding requirement, delivery flexibility, and retail access.

The Postal Service strongly supports the Administration’s commitment to the principles outlined in the budget:
-- Realign Postal infrastructure, facilities, processing and delivery systems to continuously improve efficiency;
-- Promote an adaptive 21st Century Postal workforce; and
-- Accelerate value creation and enhance service to the public while respecting fair competition in the marketplace.

The Administration’s commitment, together with ongoing Postal initiatives within existing structures, will help put the Postal Service on a path toward financial stability.

A "Taxing" Situation for Postal Workers

Thousands of postal employees will have their Social Security employee tax rate decrease 2 percent in 2011.

The tax reduction is a result of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” signed into law December 17, 2010. The Act temporarily decreases the Social Security employee tax rate from 6.2 percent (of the first $106,800 in earned income) to 4.2 percent for one year — but some employees will not see any changes in their tax rate.

Here are the new law’s effects:

Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees — They do not pay into Social Security. The new law does not change their tax rate. There will be no change in their retirement deductions.

CSRS-Offset and Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) employees — Social Security tax will be reduced by 2 percent, and there will be no change in their retirement deductions.

The Social Security tax rate change will be reflected in January 7, 2011 paychecks. The reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on the employee’s future Social Security benefits.

For more information, contact the Accounting Help Desk at 866-974-2733, Monday through Friday, between 8 am and 8 pm.

Inspectors Say: "One Call Does It All"

It has been several years since the Postal Inspection Service rolled out its “One Call Does it All” campaign utilizing the 1-877-876-2455 phone number. Customers and USPS employees nationwide can dial one toll-free number for quick, efficient service. This number is answered 24 hours a day.

As a reminder, please direct customers to dial 1-877-876-2455 (1-877-USMAIL5) and select from options listed below:

1. Mail Service Issues - Mail Delivery, Postage Prices, Hours & Locations of Service
2. Emergency Situations – Report an Emergency, Dangerous Mailing, Threat, Physical Assault
3. Theft of Mail or Identify Theft
4. Mail Fraud Issues – Mail Fraud, Work at Home Schemes, Sweepstakes/Lottery Scam, Chain Letters

Please provide this information to your employees so that emergency and customer calls can be promptly and appropriately routed.

Other Important Numbers:

USPS CALL CENTER COMPLAINTS – 1-800-275-8777 or 1-800-ASK-USPS for delivery
problems, lost mail, change of address, ZIP Code information, track or confirm mail, hours of Post Offices, Stamps, etc.

OFFICE of INSPECTOR GENERAL (OIG) – 1-888-877-7644

Quit Smoking with FEHB Programs

According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 24.8 million men (23.1 percent) and 21.1 million women (18.3 percent) in the United States are smokers. These individuals are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

This year Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program enrollees have full access to treatments that are proven to help them kick the habit and quit smoking.

Go to for information on this benefit.

Think about EAP for You AND Your Family

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers assessment referral and counseling for postal employees and their family members. EAP also can help with the challenges employees and their families face in their lives, including:

-- Job and life stress
-- Depression
-- Anxiety
-- Marital discord
-- Domestic violence
-- Parenting issues
-- Addictive behavior, including substance abuse
-- Financial concerns
-- Excessive gambling
-- Change and change management

EAP is not just for crisis situations. EAP also can be a management tool for living, designed to help employees and their family members sort through life’s ups and downs. Employees can gain the most benefit from EAP through a proactive approach that addresses issues and concerns before they become problems that can interfere with personal and work life.

Employees also can contact EAP when they need a new or different perspective or when they need help identifying options for making informed choices. Contact EAP at 800-327-4968 (TTY 877-492-7341) or online at

Thursday, February 10, 2011

WPEC to Air Mail Theft Prevention Tips Tonight

Every day, the U.S. Postal Service safely and efficiently delivers millions of checks, money orders, credit cards, and other valuable items. Unfortunately, such items of value also are attractive to thieves.

While identity theft happens year-round, we are in “prime time” because so many year-end financial forms are in the mail as companies send their tax documents. If you’re in the West Palm Beach market, you’ll want to tune in to tonight’s WPEC Channel 12 news broadcast. Inspector Blanca Alvarez provides tips to protect your mail from identity thieves:

-- Never send cash or coins in the mail. Use checks or money orders.
-- Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery, especially if you're expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items. If you won't be home when the items are expected, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
-- Have your local Post Office hold your mail while you're on vacation or absent from your home for a long period of time.
-- If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
-- If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
-- Always deposit your mail in a mail slot at your local Post Office, a blue collection box or hand it to your letter carrier.
-- Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes).

If you observe a mail thief at work, call the local police immediately, and then call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455.

USPS Honors Reagan for 100th Birthday

The Postal Service today will honor Ronald Reagan with the issuance of a commemorative Forever stamp in celebration of the centennial year of his birth. The stamp will be dedicated at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. It’s the third stamp that has honored Reagan. The first was issued in 2005.

The stamp is based on a photograph from 1985, during Reagan’s second term in office, taken at his home, Rancho del Cielo (Ranch in the Sky), near Santa Barbara, CA.

Reagan was an accomplished Hollywood actor who appeared in more than 50 films before becoming a prominent political leader. He often is credited with bolstering the conservative movement in America, moving it from the margins to the mainstream of politics and government.

'Special Delivery' Coming to Your Mailbox!

Every employee in the district will receive a "special delivery" next week.

The first edition of our district newsletter, the South Florida Insider, will be delivered to your mailbox!

The newsletter is designed to educate, entertain, and enlighten our South Florida Postal Family. It will provide relevant information, celebrate our successes, and help us improve our customer service and efficiency.

Our newsletter will provide information to the district and cover plants, Post Office, finance units, stations and branches, and support functions. You’ll receive information about changes (including facility and operational changes) that may affect you. You’ll be informed of our work unit goals and performance, as well as national issues that affect our district and our organization. Most importantly, your contributions to our success in becoming a top-performing district will be acknowledged!

In addition, the newsletter will keep you informed of career opportunities, and will provide you with information about the Postal Service that you can use in discussions with friends, family, customers --- even our critics!

The South Florida Insider is a communications vehicle for our postal family to share our news and activities throughout the district. Every employee is encouraged to submit articles and photos for future publication.

Now watch your mailbox for that "special delivery."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Will Congress Approve 'Pay-As-You-Go' for Retiree Health Benefits Payments?

The Postal Service asked Congress to examine our retiree health benefits prefunding obligations and to consider legislation to address overpayments to the Postal Service's Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension fund.

Restructuring retiree health benefits payments to the "pay-as-you-go" method used by the rest of government and the private sector would result in an average of $5.65 billion in additional cash flow each year through 2016. Likewise, the transfer of the excess CSRS contributions to the health benefits fund could significantly reduce, or offset entirely, future prefunding requirements.

The Postal Service sought a deferral of this $5.5 billion payment to minimize the risk of defaulting on financial obligations in FY11.

Simplified Addressing: A New Option for Mailers

Earlier this year, the Postal Service expanded simplified addressing for use on saturation flat-size mailpieces and irregular parcels to city routes.

Simplified addressing allows business mailers to use mail delivery route information instead of names and exact addresses to reach target customer groups in specific areas. It has long been an accepted addressing option on rural routes and for government mailings.

The simplified addressing option permits mailers to address mailpieces to “Postal Customer” when they want complete coverage on any designated delivery route. The expansion of simplified addressing does not change existing prices or classification standards for Standard Mail flats. However, it can lower costs by reducing mail preparation time and eliminating the need to purchase address lists and on-press printing.

“Simplified addressing will help businesses drive more traffic and attract new customers,” said Paul Vogel, President and Chief Marketing/Sales Officer. “It will allow them to take advantage of the most effective marketing channel there is — direct mail.”

Reward Now $100,000 in Murder Investigation

Nina Parton and Inspector-In-Charge Enrique Gutierrez address media during a press conference on the murder investigation of Miami Norland Letter Carrier Bruce Parton.

The reward for information leading to the person(s) who killed Miami Norland Letter Carrier Bruce Parton has doubled.

Miami Division Inspector-In-Charge Enrique Gutierrez announced the increase to $100,000 at a press conference in Miramar on Tuesday.

In December 2010, Parton was fatally shot on his route in northwestern Miami-Dade County. His mail truck was stolen, but police found it abandoned a few blocks from the crime scene.

“We continue our investigation, but we’re calling on the community to still come forward with any information that can lead to the arrest of the person or persons who killed this poor man,” said Gutierrez at the press conference.

Parton’s daughter, Nina, along with her brother, Michael, attended the press conference and made a plea to the community to provide any information that will lead to an arrest.

“I think it’s important that people come forward and tell us what they know so this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” she said. “My dad knew so many people by name along his route because that’s the type of guy he was, always making friends. He had a smile for everyone; what happened to him doesn’t make any sense.”

Those with information are asked to call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.

Fall in Love with USPS Valentine Cards

If you're searching for the perfect Valentine’s Day greeting card, you'll fall in love with the variety offered at select Post Offices. Why go through the hassle of visiting store after store when you can buy, stamp and mail a greeting card while conducting postal transactions?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Follow Your Heart to P.S. I Love You Collection

With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, there’s still time to order postal-themed watches and jewelry for a loved one. And employees can take advantage of Arjang & Company’s exclusive offer — a 40 percent price reduction.

Arjang & Company — licensed by USPS to design and manufacture postage stamp-inspired art products — created its “P.S. I Love You” collection using Love Stamp art for its creations. USPS receives a royalty on sales of licensed products: money which goes straight to the bottom line and extends the Postal Service's images into new areas.

Click here to view the “P.S. I Love You” collection. To receive the postal employee discount, enter coupon code “postal” at checkout, or call 877-774-9682.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Now What Did Herodotus Say?

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” --- Herodotus

A major winter storm blanketed Oklahoma and many other states with heavy snow this week. But despite the bad weather, our letter carriers take extraordinary measures and continue to do their very best to deliver to our customers. Please take a look at the attached photo of postal vehicles at a delivery unit in Oklahoma City, OK.

News on Mail Coming to and from Egypt

On February 3, the U.S. Postal Service temporarily suspended acceptance of Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) service to Egypt due to the lack of GXG transportation service to Egypt.

Post Offices are continuing to accept international letter mail and other package services destined to Egypt. Currently, this international mail is being temporarily held by the Postal Service until international mail transportation service to Egypt resumes.

Any GXG items currently in the U.S. mailstream destined for Egypt are being returned to the sender, and postage fees will be refunded upon request. GXG items enroute to Egypt are being held at international airports.

Updated information regarding acceptance and movement of international mail to Egypt will be posted online at

Global Express Guaranteed is the premium international shipping option from the U.S. Postal Service with international transportation and delivery by FedEx Express. GXG offers date-certain delivery in 1-3 business days to more than 190 countries worldwide. GXG is available online on and at thousands of participating retail locations throughout the United States.

'Organizational Redesign' Coming March 25

On January 7, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe announced the beginning of an organizational redesign that will help streamline the Postal Service. The announcement included a 16-percent reduction in the officer ranks of the Postal Service and the impending closure of the Southeast Area.

The redesign process continues.

Donahoe, the Executive Leadership Team, and area and headquarters vice presidents are currently examining the existing organizational structure, recommending where USPS can be realigned to better match resources to workload. Decisions based on this review are scheduled to be announced by the end of March. This announcement will be a major benchmark in the long-term redesign of the Postal Service — and could include district closures, as well as changes in organizational structures at headquarters and in the field.

The March announcement also could lead to a reduction in force (RIF) or voluntary early retirement (VER) for specific groups of employees. If implemented, the VER option will be announced along with the new organizational structure.

Resources will be available on the Human Resources Organizational Changes website throughout the redesign process. RIF and VER timelines — once announced — also will be posted on this website, as well as guidance to help affected employees make informed decisions.

'Federal Employee of the Year' Nominations Now Being Accepted Through February 25

There are many South Florida employees who deserve recognition.

Do you know an employee who consistently performs above and beyond the requirements of his or her position?

A member of the South Florida Postal Family who deserves recognition for his or her heroic efforts demonstrated in a life-threatening situation?

An employee who generously volunteers his or her time to benefit others in the community?

If so, these individuals are candidates for nomination to the “Federal Employee of the Year” Awards Program. Each year the South Florida Federal Executive Board seeks nominations of outstanding employees in all federal agencies for recognition. The attached package provides detailed information on the 10 award categories:

Administrative, Clerical/Administrative Support, Law Enforcement, Management (except Agency Head), Professional, Scientific, Service to the Community, Technical/Information Technology, Trades and Crafts, and Valor.

Candidates will be honored at a luncheon on Friday, May 6 (location to be announced).

Click Here for Nomination Package.pdf
Click Here for Nomination Package.word

Completed nominations packages are due Friday, February 25, to Damaris Agrait, Manager, Learning Development and Diversity, Miami Plant, 2200 NW 72 Avenue, Room 102E, Miami FL 33152-9991. If you have any questions on the awards program, Damaris may be reached at 305-470-0881.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cuba Halts Mail to United States; Despite Ban, No USPS Changes

Correos de Cuba, the mail service of Cuba, has stopped accepting mail destined for the United States. U.S. Postal Service officials believe the suspension is related to difficulties third-party air carriers have experienced with the transport of mail to the United States.

Last November, the Transportation Security Administration imposed new security regulations on all U.S.-bound international mail and cargo. Some countries have faced difficulties with limited flight availability for their U.S.-bound mail. Also, some air carriers have faced obstacles routing mail to the United States.

The U.S. Postal Service has not imposed new restrictions on mail from Cuba and continues to accept mail destined for Cuba.

Black History Month: Time to Think about History, Reflect upon Contributions

National Black History Month (National African-American History Month) each February serves as a reminder for all of us to think about the history and reflect upon the contributions of African Americans.

Rumors of the Black Heritage Stamp Series being discontinued are circulating again this year. But the Postal Service dispels these rumors as this long-standing popular series is a main component of the stamp program.

For more than 125 years, the Postal Service’s stamp program has celebrated the people, events, and cultural milestones that are unique to the history of our great nation. African Americans have always played a vital role in shaping that history. Our Black Heritage Stamp Series has paid tribute to African-American leaders, inventors, educators, scientists, entrepreneurs, entertainers, and athletes who appear in Publication 354, “African Americans on Stamps” at

Tonight's Jeopardy: 'Stamps for $500, Alex'

Tune in tonight to Jeopardy and test your wits against Alex Trebek and his crew of quizmasters. One of the categories will include stamps. Here are some clues: “What are the kelp forests?” and “What is the Pansies in a Basket stamp?” Check local listings for the time and station of tonight’s show.