Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Arrests Made in Carrier Attacks, Robberies

Before a standing-room-only crowd at today’s press conference, Miami Division Inspector-In-Charge Enrique Gutierrez (center) announced arrests made in recent letter carrier attacks and robberies.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, North Miami Police Department, and Miami Gardens Police Department joined forces to investigate recent attacks and robberies of letter carriers.
At a press conference today, Miami Division Inspector-In-Charge Enrique Gutierrez addressed a standing-room-only crowd filled with reporters and announced the arrests of an adult and two juveniles.
In the October 5th robbery, a Miami Gardens letter carrier was beaten, and in the October 17th incident, a North Miami letter carrier was robbed at gunpoint.
Investigators are looking to solve a third robbery, also in North Miami, that occurred October 14th. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a $5,000 award for information that leads to an arrest. Call 1-877-876-2455.

Owney Look-a-Like Found in CA

In a battle of canine cuteness, one pooch broke from the pack as a spitting image of Owney the Postal Dog.
Bentley, a terrier mix from Fremont, CA, ― in Bay-Valley District ― recently won the Owney Look-Alike Contest sponsored by the National Postal Museum and Washington Humane Society. More than 70 dogs nationwide were photographed on mailbags, by mailboxes and in letter carrier uniforms. The public voted for the three dogs that best represented the spirit of Owney.
Owners of Bentley and the second- and third-place winners will receive prizes. Photos of the winners will be displayed next to the real Owney in the Postal Museum for two weeks.

Election Season and the Hatch Act

There are no national elections this year. But plenty of jurisdictions around the U.S. are holding municipal or state-wide elections this fall. If there’s an election in your area, remember to review provisions of the Hatch Act.

Among other provisions, this federal law prohibits employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, in any government office, while wearing an official uniform or while using a government vehicle.
That means no shirts and no hats, buttons or other items displaying the name or likeness of a candidate or political party. The law also prohibits partisan political messages in the workplace.
Using a postal computer or telephone to make a political contribution is prohibited by the Hatch Act, as is making political contributions while on the clock. Employees who use USPS email to send partisan political messages violate federal law and risk losing their jobs. Employees who receive email containing such messages from outside the postal network should immediately delete them.
Employees can place political bumper stickers on their personal vehicles. However, there are limitations. If the car is parked on postal or other government property, the Hatch Act limits to one the number of visible bumper stickers that can be placed on the vehicle. If the vehicle is used for postal business, the employee must cover all political bumper stickers during the time the car is used for official work.

Employees aren’t completely prohibited from participating in the political process. They can register to vote and can support their favorite candidates by voting on Election Day. Employees can participate in registration drives and contribute money to political organizations. They also can be candidates for public office, but only in nonpartisan elections.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holiday Stamps are Here 'Forever'

All of this year's holiday stamps have a common thread --- they are all "Forever" stamps. To help get everyone in the spirit, the Postal Service is kicking off the 2011 holiday season with stamp issues.

Inspired by 1950s-era ornaments, the festive Holiday Baubles Forever stamps feature four colorful ornaments sure to add to the joys of the season. These baubles also may inspire fond memories of beloved ornaments from childhood — objects that still have the power to enchant us today.

For many years, the Postal Service has issued traditional Christmas stamps featuring the Madonna and Child. The Christmas stamp for 2011 presents a detail from a painting by the Italian master Raphael, entitled Madonna of the Candelabra. This circular painting dates around 1513, and, is now in the Walters Art Museum collection in Baltimore, MD.

The eight days and nights of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begin on Dec. 20. During Hanukkah, family members gather each night during the festival to light candles on a special candleholder called a menorah. Other Hanukkah traditions include singing, the exchange of gifts, and the spinning of the dreidel, a four-sided top. Children typically use chocolate gelt (coins) to make bets on the outcome of each spin of the dreidel.

Kwanzaa, a non-religious holiday, takes place over seven days beginning each year on Dec. 26 and ending Jan. 1. Kwanzaa draws on African traditions and takes its name from the phrase for “first fruits" in Swahili, a widely spoken African language. Its origins are in harvest celebrations that occurred in various places across the African continent in ancient and modern times. The holiday is intended to be a celebration of seven principles — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith — based on values prevalent in African culture.

USPS Delivers Holidays to Service Members

In anticipation of a busy holiday shipping season, the U.S. Postal Service has announced recommended holiday mailing dates and a discounted, flat rate price of $12.95 on packages sent to military service personnel worldwide. The price includes a $2.00 per box discount on Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes for military mail being sent to APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office, Fleet Post Office) destinations worldwide. In addition to a lower cost per package, customers can be assured that shipping with the Postal Service will provide reliable, trusted, and secure delivery to military personnel stationed worldwide.

For a list of recommended holiday mailing dates, please visit:

The recommended last day to mail the most economical postage to overseas military destinations is November 12.
For online ordering of the large Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo and information about mailing letters and packages to military destinations, visit Priority Mail APO/FPO Boxes under “Order Free Boxes.”

The Postal Service also offers free military care kits, designed specifically for military families sending packages overseas. Each kit includes two “America Supports You” large Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, four medium-sized Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, six Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes. The mailing kits can be ordered by requesting them at 800-610-8734.

Additional savings are available for customers printing Priority Mail postage labels online at Click-N-Ship where additional discounts can be obtained for preparing your military mailing online.

Mail addressed to military Post Offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling. APO/FPO addresses generally require customs forms. To see an online table of updated APO and FPO addresses and mailing restrictions by individual APO/FPO ZIP codes, click on APO/FPO Addresses, select “Pull-Out Information” and click on “Other Information.” Now in English, Spanish, Chinese

The Postal Service has made multilingual translation easy for customers by giving them the option of browsing the website’s product pages and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in English, Spanish or simplified Chinese. Multilingual translation is one of several new enhancements that have been added to the Postal Service’s revamped website. The new feature — located on the upper left hand corner of — gives customers the choice of viewing the translated content by clicking on the down arrow and selecting the language (English, Spanish or Chinese). Not all applications will be translated right away. Any informational product or service page that has been converted to the website’s new look and feel will be available for translation, along with Track and Confirm, Lookup a ZIP Code and FAQs.

PO Community Meetings Begin This Week

The U.S. Postal Service is proposing to consolidate the Northwood Branch at 516 Northwood Road in West Palm Beach with the Downtown West Palm Beach Post Office at 640 Clematis Street. The distance between the two Post Offices is one mile.

The public is invited to meet and discuss this proposal with postal officials on Wednesday, October 26, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, at the Mary V. McDonald-Wilson Center Gaines Park, 1505 N. Australian Avenue, West Palm Beach. Earlier in October, customers were provided questionnaires as part of this postal study. Employees who wish to attend this meeting are reminded that it is an off-the-clock activity.

As a self-supporting government enterprise, the Postal Service receives no tax dollars, but relies solely on the sale of postage, products, and services to pay for operating expenses. Due to the drastic decline in mail volume, the Postal Service is in a financial crisis and must take action to reduce the size of its retail and delivery network.

Nationwide, there are 26,000 Post Offices that do not generate enough revenue to cover costs. However, by law (Title 39), the Postal Service cannot close a Post Office for solely economical reasons. The proximity to other Post Offices and expanded access availability are considerations.

There was a time when virtually every postal transaction required a visit to the local Post Office retail counter. Now many customers are looking for postal services other than at brick and mortar Post Offices. Today nearly 35 percent of transactions are conducted using alternate retail channels. Customers may purchase stamps or discounted shipping labels, request free package pickup, or research Post Office Box availability at Stamps also may be purchased at 1-800-STAMP24 or by order form from a letter carrier. Many drug stores, grocery stores, and office supply companies carry stamps for the convenience of their customers. Retail locations are listed at

The following community meetings in the West Palm Beach area also are scheduled:

Southboro PO Community Meeting
Thursday, November 3
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Gaines Park Community Center, 1505 N Australian Ave, West Palm Beach

Singer Island PO Community Meeting
Monday, November 7
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Gaines Park Community Center, 1505 N Australian Ave, West Palm Beach

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ISC Team Races for the Cure

ISC Plant Manager Ben Vidal (background) with ISC Employees (L to R ) Lucille Roberson, Sandra Walker, Pamela Brantley, and Jean Hagood-Gallon.

USPS Implements Social Media Policy

Effective October 20, 2011, the Postal Service is revising the Administrative Support Manual (ASM), by adding new Part 363 which delineates the Postal Service policy concerning social media. For the purpose of this policy, “social media” is defined as any form of online publishing or discussion, including but not limited to: Blogs, Wikis, YouTube, Podcasts, Social Networking — Social sites (such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn), Twitter/Microblogs, and Web 2.0.

For the purpose of this policy, “social media” is defined as any form of online publishing or discussion, including but not limited to: Blogs, Wikis, YouTube, Podcasts, Social Networking – Social sites (such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn), Twitter/Microblogs, and Web 2.0.

Whether Postal Service employees choose to participate in social media on their own time is their decision. However, when using social media in a personal capacity, employees may not speak for or act on behalf of the Postal Service. All uses of social media related to the conduct of official postal business require management consent. Contractors and consultants are prohibited from representing the Postal Service in the use of any social media tool. While contractors may create content on behalf of the Postal Service, only Postal Service employees may identify themselves as Postal Service spokespersons and post information relating to the conduct of official postal business.

Today's Postal Bulletin features the addition of our Social Media Policy and may be reviewed at:

PMG on USPS-Sponsored Health Benefits

In his latest “State of the Business” video to employees, PMG Pat Donahoe says the proposal to move away from the current Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) to a USPS-sponsored benefit is a vital element of a more sustainable business model.

Donahoe says his all ties into the larger picture of what has been talked about over the last several months regarding legislative change, making changes in the Postal Service’s retail, delivery and processing networks, and growing the business to get it on the path to profitability. The whole idea and aim, he says, is to secure a strong financial future for the organization, the industry and employees.

Donahoe acknowledged that employees are used to the FEHBP and having comfort in knowing they’re part of a large plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best plan or the plan that offers the best flexibility for you or the Postal Service as a business he says. “By pulling this piece of costs away from the FEHBP, we’d be able to save about $500-700 million a year.”

The PMG said this proposal is the same business model followed by other large companies like General Electric and IBM with big employee bases. Those companies leverage their size to get the lowest cost and best value for their employees. Donahoe says this is the model USPS wants to follow.

He says although everyone has been taking great steps to reduce the organization’s costs, the health care cost is one USPS is unable to address in its current model. The business model needs to be changed to maximize the benefit to employees and to the Postal Service he says.

The Postal Service’s proposal will require congressional approval. It will allow USPS to establish its own health benefits program.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Trenton P&DC Holds Remembrance Ceremony

The Trenton, NJ, P&DC held a remembrance ceremony yesterday observing the 10th anniversary of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Within weeks of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, letters containing anthrax-causing bacteria were mailed through the Trenton P&DC to members of Congress and the news media. The facility was shut down for decontamination, and nearly 1,000 postal workers were treated. The P&DC reopened in 2005.

“These unspeakably tragic events served as a defining moment for the Postal Service,” said Joshua Colin, acting manager, Operations Support, Eastern Area. “The use of the mailstream for these despicable acts threatened all Americans — and it placed at risk our national service network like nothing before or since.

“Your dedication and work to reopen this facility is a testament to an indomitable spirit,” Colin continued. “You responded with a resounding sense of duty and, as we gather today, we are proud to be one of the most trusted organizations in the world.”

Those attending the ceremony — who also dedicated a memorial plaque — included Judith Herrick, senior plant manager; Russell Herrick, plant manager; New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith; and Philip Bartlett, Postal Inspector In Charge.

Source: NewsLink

It's Disability Employment & Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment and Awareness Month. With more than 30,000 employees with disabilities, the Postal Service recognizes how the abilities and talents of these individuals contribute to the workforce and community.
This year’s theme is “Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities” — emphasizing the benefit of increasing employment opportunities for disabled workers.
The Postal Service welcomes diversity and inclusion in all facets of the workplace, and recognizes that employees with disabilities bring needed skills and new perspectives to help achieve organizational success.

USPS Schedules PO Community Meetings

South Floridians may weigh in on proposed Post Office consolidations and/or closures at the following community meetings:

Fort Lauderdale P&DC Outgoing to Miami P&DC Public Input Meeting
Wednesday, October 19, 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm
Broward Main Public Library, 100 S Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale

Colee Post Office Community Meeting
Tuesday, November 1, 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
Broward Main Public Library, 100 S Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale

Northwood Post Office Community Meeting
Wednesday, October 26, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Gaines Park Community Center, 1501 N. Australian Ave, West Palm Beach

Southboro Post Office Community Meeting
Thursday, November 3, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Gaines Park Community Center, 1501 N. Australian Ave, West Palm Beach

Singer Island Post Office Community Meeting
Monday, November 7, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Gaines Park Community Center, 1501 N. Australian Ave., West Palm Beach

USPS Adjusts 2012 Mailing Services Prices

Beginning early next year, it will cost just a penny more to mail letters to any location in the United States, the first price change for First-Class Mail stamps (Forever stamps) in more than two and a half years. The new 45-cent price for Forever stamps is among price changes filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission today.

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective January 22, 2012, include:
· Letters (1 oz.) – 1-cent increase to 45 cents
· Letters additional ounces – unchanged at 20 cents
· Postcards – 3-cent increase to 32 cents
· Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.) – 5-cent increase to 85 cents
· Letters to other international destinations – 7-cent increase to $1.05

Prices also will change for other mailing services, including Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and Extra Services. Today’s announcement does not affect Express Mail and Priority Mail prices.

More information on the new pricing is available at:

“The overall average price increase is small and is needed to help address our current financial crisis,” said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. “We continue to take actions within our control to increase revenue in other ways and to aggressively cut costs. To return to sound financial footing, we urgently need enactment of comprehensive, long-term legislation to provide the Postal Service with a more flexible business model.”

While actual percentage price increases for various products and services vary, the overall average price increase across all mailing services is capped by law at 2.1 percent, the rate of inflation calculated based on the Consumer Price Index.

For business mailers, today’s announcement offers good news for First-Class Mail Presort mailers. When the new prices go into effect on January 22, the second ounce for presorted letters will be free.

And new for all customers is a 3-month pricing option to rent PO Boxes, perfect for people on the move and others who need a PO Box for a short time period.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two AMP Meeting Dates Postponed

The October issue of the South Florida Insider, our district newsletter, mentions two Area Mail Processing (AMP) public input meetings on the feasibility of consolidating Fort Lauderdale P&DC and South Florida P&DC mail processing operations into the Miami P&DC.

These meeting dates (November 1 and 2) are being postponed to a later date (to be determined) to allow additional time to gather data for each study.

The public input meeting on the AMP feasibility study on Fort Lauderdale P&DC Outgoing mail processing operations moving to the Miami P&DC is still scheduled on Wednesday, October 19. Employees are welcome to attend this off-the-clock activity open to the public from 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm in the auditorium of the Fort Lauderdale Public Library, 100 S Andrews Avenue, downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Employee town hall meetings at impacted plant locations are scheduled next week as well.

Supporting Breast Cancer Research in October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Postal Service is showing their support with a stamp.

By law, 70 percent of the net amount raised from the sale of the stamp goes to the National Institutes of Health and 30 percent goes to the medical research program at the Department of Defense.For each booklet of the stamp sold, $2.20 is donated to help find a cure for breast cancer. More than 1 billion breast cancer semi-postal stamps have been sold to date since is issuance, with $7.41 million raised for research.

Stamps that highlight sensitive social issues are often extremely difficult to design, especially stamps that focus on diseases. In late 1997, U.S. Postal Service art director Ethel Kessler, herself a breast cancer survivor, began experimenting with concepts involving photographs and the pink ribbon that symbolizes breast cancer awareness. But when the preliminary designs proved to be far too somber, she decided to explore fresh approaches by enlisting illustrator Whitney Sherman of Baltimore, Maryland.

Sherman developed numerous pencil sketches and color studies showing women in various poses, all of them intriguing; however, one design really stood out. It pictured a woman reaching above and behind her, as if preparing to conduct a breast self-examination. Mindful of mythology, Sherman remembered Diana, goddess of the hunt—a strong, independent, survival-minded figure—and the artwork developed into a depiction of the goddess reaching for an arrow. Kessler and Sherman finalized this heroic and hopeful image by removing a target from the figure’s right breast and encircling the area with a concise phrase. The text complemented the visuals and clearly encapsulated the message of the stamp: “Fund the fight. Find a cure.”

USPS Commemorates MLK Nat'l Memorial

USPS has created a commemorative envelope to mark the dedication of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Sunday, October 16 — the 16th anniversary of the Million Man March. King’s memorial is located on the Mall in Washington, DC.
The envelope features a picture of the memorial complemented with the “Barbara Jordan” stamp. Jordan is the 34th honoree in the “Black Heritage Stamp” series.
Each commemorative envelope costs $5 (item number 9451). To order by mail, send a check or money order, payable to Postmaster, to: MLK Fulfillment, PO Box 92282, Washington, DC, 20090-2282.

Source: NewsLink

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Miami's New Postmaster is Jerry Long

As the newly-appointed Miami Postmaster, Jerry Long is responsible for the overall operations for the city of Miami’s 29 delivery units, 17 finance units and postal stores, and the 2,215 employees who serve the community. He works with a budget of over $195 million and oversees operations to ensure accurate and consistent service is provided to the 74,855 business and 655,381 residential deliveries in the Miami area.

“As we focus on becoming more competitive in the mailing industry, we are working hard on improving customer service, decreasing wait time in line and creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services.” said Long. “I want to make sure that positive trend continues here in Miami.”

Long began his postal career as a letter carrier in 1983 in Dallas, Texas. He has held numerous positions within the Postal Service including Manager, Customer Service, Irving, Texas; Manager Customer Service Operations, Dallas, Texas; Officer In Charge Irving, Greenville, Arlington, Texas; Postmaster Paris, Plano, and Abilene, Texas; Manager Operations Program Support for the Fort Worth District and Manager, Post Office Operations for the Dallas District.

No stranger to South Florida, Long joined the South Florida district last year as the Postmaster in Fort Lauderdale.

As the Postmaster, Long also looks forward to his new role in the community as Postal Co-chair for the Miami-Dade County Postal Customer Council (PCC).

“The PCC is a valuable resource for local business mailers, large and small,” explained Long. “I urge businesses to join and learn how to improve mail effectiveness, raise profitability, and help grow their business.”

The Miami-Dade County PCC recently earned gold level status and national recognition, serving as an open channel for USPS-to-business communication, providing information and best practices for cost-effective and efficient mailing, education and training. Further information on the PCC may be found at

Husband Honors Wife with Purchase of $1000 Breast Cancer Research Semi-Postal Stamps

Eugene Platt at the James Island, SC, Post Office.

For the ninth consecutive year, Eugene Platt today will purchase more than $1000 worth of Breast Cancer Research semipostal stamps at the James Island, SC, Post Office.

Each year, Platt buys the stamps in memory of his wife, Mary, who succumbed to the disease in 2003.

This year, a bright pink fire engine christened “Mary” — in honor of Mary Platt — will transport Platt to the Post Office for his annual transaction. The James Island Fire Department donated the truck to the South Georgia Chapter of Guardians of the Ribbon, a group of police and firefighters who travel throughout the country to raise awareness of breast cancer victims.

Since 1998, USPS has sold 918,296 million stamps, raising $73.5 million for breast cancer research.

Source: NewsLink

RHB Payment Delayed for 6 Weeks

Legislation approved by Congress and the President to keep the government operating under its current budget authority through November 18 also includes a provision delaying for six weeks the Postal Service’s $5.5 billion payment to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund.

The original deadline for the payment was September 30, the end of Fiscal Year 2011.

The extension prevented the Postal Service from defaulting on the payment in FY 2011. However, USPS leadership continues to support passage of comprehensive, long-term legislation to provide a more flexible business model for the Postal Service with the ability to respond to a changing marketplace and customers’ evolving mailing and shipping needs.

October is National Energy Awareness Month

DPMG Ron Stroman kicks off National Energy Awareness Month.

We’re fighting for the soul of the Postal Service,” said DPMG Ron Stroman. “We’re changing our business model and looking to save money and resources. This includes a commitment to sustainability and conserving energy.”
Stroman’s remarks highlighted a ceremony held this week at USPS headquarters kicking off National Energy Awareness Month.
During October, USPS officials will mark efforts to help save energy, cut costs and raise public awareness. These include the “Go Green” Forever stamps encouraging Americans to participate in low- and no-cost ways to go green.

Sustainability performance goals include:
-- Reducing facility energy use 30 percent by 2015.
-- Cutting vehicle petroleum use 20 percent by 2015.
-- Increasing vehicle alternative fuel use 10 percent annually by 2015.
-- Lowering greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

AMEX Gift Cards Available at Local Post Office

To give customers greater convenience and generate new retail revenue and cash during the holiday shipping season, the Postal Service will expand the American Express Gift Cards sales program to an additional 3,000 Post Offices starting this week.

With the expansion, customers now will be able to purchase and mail gift cards at nearly 5,000 Post Offices, including those in South Florida. Surveys indicate that 60 percent of all gift cards usually are sold in November and December. Also, 77 percent of consumers are planning to buy at least one gift card during the 2011 holiday season.

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month — Sept. 15-Oct. 15 — celebrates the culture, traditions and contributions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Nearly 50,000 employees of Hispanic origin work for the Postal Service. “HispanicBusiness” magazine has ranked the Postal Service among its “Best Companies for Diversity,” based on efforts in recruitment and retention, governance, supplier development and philanthropy.

To honor the nation’s Hispanic heritage, USPS recently unveiled “Latin Music Legends” stamps featuring images of Carmen Miranda, Selena, Carlos Gardel, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz — five legendary entertainers representing samba, Tejano, tango, Latin jazz and salsa.

Public Meeting on Fort Laud AMP Study Oct 19

On April 4, 2011, the South Florida District Leadership Team notified employees that we were beginning an Area Mail Processing (AMP) feasibility study at the Fort Lauderdale Processing and Distribution Center to see if it would make sense to consolidate some operations into the Miami Processing and Distribution Center. The South Florida District Office has completed its review and has submitted it to the Southwest Area Office for consideration.

The District has scheduled a public input meeting to explain the proposed changes on Wednesday, October 19, from 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm, in the auditorium of the Fort Lauderdale Public Library, 100 S Andrews Avenue, downtown Fort Lauderdale. This will be an off-the-clock activity for employees.

At the public input meeting, District Manager Jeffrey Becker and the leadership team will explain AMP study results and the operational changes being considered. Comments from employees and the public will become part of the study process and will be considered before any decision is made. Any proposed changes must be approved by the Area Vice President.

The public, including our employees, also may submit comments on the AMP study up to 15 days after the public input meeting --- by Close of Business November 3, 2011. Please mail comments to:

Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact
South Florida District
2200 NW 72 Avenue, Room 225
Miami FL 33152-9631

Our employees will be kept informed of any future developments on this AMP proposal. Look for additional Newsbreaks and the district newsletter in coming weeks.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Renaissance Man Honored on Stamps

The artwork of Romare Bearden, one of America’s most prolific artists, is featured on a set of four Forever stamps dedicated last week by the U.S. Postal Service during a First-Day-Of-Issue ceremony at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Bearden is celebrated for his groundbreaking approach to collage along with his work in watercolors, oils, and other media. The four collages by Bearden, depicted above, and as they appear on the stamp sheet from left to right are: Conjunction (1971), Odysseus: Poseidon, The Sea God—Enemy of Odysseus (1977), Prevalence of Ritual: Conjur Woman (1964) and Falling Star (1979). Art director Derry Noyes chose a different work by Bearden for each of the four stamp designs.

Among Bearden’s early paintings were figural works recalling his childhood roots in the South, done in gouache on brown paper. His paintings of the 1940s also were inspired by literary sources such as the Bible, Federico Garcia Lorca’s poetry, and Homer’s Iliad. Bearden turned to writing lyrics for songs, including the hit “Seabreeze.” Music, in particular jazz and the blues, was a strong influence on Bearden’s art. Bearden’s monumental cityscape, The Block, was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art.

His art has also been praised for depicting African-American experience in its full dimensions and is in the permanent collections of major museums across the nation. Considered one of America’s greatest collagists, Bearden was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1987 by then President Reagan.

What Does H.R. 1351 Mean to USPS?

H.R. 1351, the United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011 was introduced on April 5, 2011. The measure would address two crucial areas:

-- It orders the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), within six months from the date of enactment, to recalculate the USPS’ past, present and future Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension obligation for those employees that served as both federal workers prior to 1971 and as postal employees post-1971, using an updated methodology. Any resulting surplus from the recalculation is then transferred to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits fund (PSRHBF).

-- The bill calls for the immediate repayment of the USPS’s Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) surplus of $6.9 billion, by applying $5.5 billion towards USPS FY 2011 Retiree Health Benefits Payment, $1.2 billion towards USPS upcoming Workers’ Compensation Payment and the remaining $200 million or so to be applied to the Postal Service’s existing debt.

The USPS appreciates the introduction of H.R. 1351 and its recognition of this long-standing inequity related to the calculation of USPS CSRS obligations.

However, the bill does not modify the statutory requirement for the USPS to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees; that issue still must be addressed by Congress.

Additional details on H.R. 1351:

CSRS Methodology:

The measure directs the OPM to change the methodology used to calculate the USPS’s past, present and future pension obligations for specific employees. These calculations would be made for employees who served as both federal employees under the Post Office Department (POD), prior to 1971 and as postal employees for the U.S. Postal Service, post-1971.

OPM must complete the new pension obligation calculations within six months from date of enactment of H.R. 1351. If a surplus is found to exist, the amount of the surplus would be transferred to the PSRHBF.

H.R. 1351 implements recommendations made by an independent actuary, hired by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to review the division of the CSRS liability between the former Post Office Department and the USPS. The PRC report estimates that using the recommended methodology would yield a surplus of $40 to 50 billion. In January 2010, the USPS OIG issued a report on CSRS overfunding, estimating a $75 billion overpayment amount and recommending the methodology be changed.

FERS Overpayment:

The bill also addresses the overpayment by the USPS into the FERS; an amount estimated to be $6.9 billion. H.R. 1351 calls for the immediate repayment of this surplus, applying $5.5 billion of the amount to the FY 2011 RHB payment, due on September 30, 2011. An additional amount of $1.2 billion would be put towards the USPS Workers’ Compensation payment, due in October 2011, with the remaining $200 million to be applied to pay down the USPS’s existing debt.

Retiree Health Benefits (RHB) Changes Still Needed:

H.R. 1351, while it goes a long way toward assisting the USPS and solving pension system issues, does not address the statutorily mandated annual $5.5 billion prepayment to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees.

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) requires the pre-funding of future USPS retiree health benefits on an extremely aggressive ten-year schedule. This pre-funding obligation is one borne by no other entity, public or private and is a payment we make annually, in addition to paying annual health benefit premiums of $2.2 billion for current retirees.

The cumulative effect of almost five years of making these payments has stretched USPS finances to the limit. By statute, the USPS is limited to an annual net increase in debt of $3 billion, for a total outstanding debt of $15 billion. At the close of the current fiscal year, the USPS will be faced with two substantial cash payments; $5.5 billion for RHB, due on September 30, and another approximately $1.2 billion for the annual payment on workers’ compensation liability, due in October 2011.

An examination of our current cash balance and the remaining borrowing capacity we have, coupled with projected revenue for FY 2011, shows that the Postal Service will have insufficient cash available to fund these financial obligations, falling short by $2 to $3 billion. The consequences of a failure to make these payments are not known.

Legislative action is still needed to address the onerous burden for pre-funding RHB.

We appreciate the interest of Congress and look forward to finding solutions to address these issues, even as the USPS continues to create and execute strategies to increase efficiencies, manage costs, generate revenue, and ensure the viability and future of our nation’s mail system.

No USPS Default on RHB Prepayment

H.R. 2017 is a Continuing Resolution that funds the government through October 4. It contains a deferment, until October 4 (next Tuesday), of the Postal Service's Retiree Health Benefit (RHB) prepayment of $5.5 billion, which was originally due the end of today (the end of our fiscal year). Early next week the House is expected to approve H.R. 2608, a longer Continuing Resolution, which contains a deferment of the RHB prepayment through November 18 of this year. The Senate has already passed both of these bills.

This means we are not, for now, defaulting on the RHB prepayment. As you know, a default on this payment would have had no effect on our operations. But to be clear, there continues to be an urgent need to enact comprehensive, long-term legislation to provide the Postal Service with a more flexible business model to respond to a changing marketplace and meet our customers' evolving mailing and shipping needs.

Employee Recognition: Hooray for Hollywood!

(L to R): Hollywood Postmaster Scott Bower, A/Supervisor Jim Walker, and District Manager Jeffrey Becker.

Jim Walker has been a key member of the Hollywood management team and the South Florida District for the past two years. As an A/Supervisor at the Hollywood Main Office, Jim is very efficient when slotted in the AM, Middle, and PM supervisory duties. He has positively impacted the Hollywood Main employees' morale with his attitude and controlled approach to supervision.Recently, Jim has led the charge to save work hours to SPLY in FF2 by -8.1% in August 2011. Also for the Hollywood Main Office, the last two RCE shops have been 100% while CSSOM efficiency for the year leads the City of Hollywood at 101% YTD, and for August F4 overtime was 1.9%. Jim is always willing to assist and go the extra mile for his employees and co-workers, and this is evident in his superior performance. He is truly deserving of this recognition.

(L to R): Hollywood Postmaster Scott Bower, A/Supervisor Patricia Creel, and District Manager Jeffrey Becker.

For the past six months, Patricia Creel has been a member of the Hollywood management team and the South Florida District. As a new A/Supervisor at the Flamingo Branch, Patricia has been an asset from the start. She is energetic and eager to learn all assigned tasks. Currently, she is covering the PM supervisory duties at the Flamingo Branch and assists at the University Postal Store. She has positively impacted the Flamingo Branch employees' morale with her attitude and energy toward supervision. Recently, Patricia has assisted the University Postal Store in achieving its last four RCE WTIL evaluations. University Postal Store has extended hours from Monday through Friday until 8 pm, and Patricia is always monitoring and assisting the F4 operation. Patricia, even though new to the Hollywood Team, is always willing to assist and go the extra mile for her employees and co-workers. This is demonstrated in her superior performance which makes her truly deserving of this recognition.

(L to R): Hollywood Postmaster Scott Bower, Supervisor Nelson Cortes, and District Manager Jeffrey Becker.

Nelson Cortes has been a key member of the Hollywood management team and the South Florida District for the past four years. As an A/Manager at the Central Carrier Annex, Nelson has positively impacted the Central Carrier Annex employees' morale with his positive attitude and controlled approach to management.

Nelson is always the first one to help the Hollywood Team with resources in F2. Recently he guided the West Hollywood Finance Unit to zero RCE WTIL failures for Quarter 3, and so far, none in Quarter 4. YTD CSSOM efficiency for Central Carrier Annex has been 93% which leads all offices with detached finance units. In August, F4 overtime was at 2.70%.

Nelson is always willing to go the extra mile to help others on the team. He is well deserving of this recognition.(L to R): Hollywood Postmaster Scott Bower, Supervisor Sheila Davis, and District Manager Jeffrey Becker.

Sheila Davis has been a key member of the Hollywood management team and the South Florida District for the past five years. As the opening Supervisor at the Miramar Branch, Sheila is very efficient at her supervisory duties. She has positively impacted the Miramar Branch employees' morale with her attitude and controlled approach to supervision. Miramar is one of the most challenging offices in the South Florida District, and Sheila is up the the challenge every day. Recently, Sheila has led the charge to save work hours to SPLY in F2 by -9.7%. Also, in F4 overtime to SPLY, Miramar leads the way in savings for the City of Hollywood at -71.5% MTD. Currently, F4 overtime is at 3.86%. Sheila is always willing to assist and go the extra mile for her employees and co-workers. This is evident in her superior performance. It is a pleasure to recognize Sheila for her outstanding contributions to our organization.(L to R): Hollywood Postmaster Scott Bower, Manager, Customer Service Shequeta Blake, and District Manager Jeffrey Becker.

Shequeta Blake has been a key member of the Hollywood management team and the South Florida District for he past three years. As the A/Manager at the Chapel Lakes Branch, Shequeta is very efficient at her managerial duties. She has positively impacted the Chapel Lakes Branch employees' morale with her attitude and controlled approach to management. The Chapel Lakes Branch leads the Ciy of Hollywood with no RCE WTIL failures to far YTD. Shequeta has been the constant all year at Chapel Lakes and has led the charge to save work hours to SPLY in F2 by -6.1% YTD and -17.6% to SPLY in F4. Shequeta is always willing to assist and go the extra mile for her employees and co-workers, and this is evident in her superior performance. She is truly deserving of recognition.

All narratives provided by Hollywood Postmaster Scott Bower.

English, Spanish, Chinese Now on

The Postal Service has made multilingual translation easy for customers by giving them the option of browsing the website’s product pages and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in English, Spanish or simplified Chinese.

Multilingual translation is one of several new enhancements that have been added to the Postal Service’s revamped website.

“This enhancement is something that our customers have asked for and will help to expand our user base and grow revenue,” says Joe Adams, general manager, Digital Access. Spanish and Chinese represent the two most-spoken languages in the U.S., after English.

The new feature — located on the upper left hand corner of — gives customers the choice of viewing the translated content by clicking on the down arrow and selecting the language (English, Spanish or Chinese).

Not all applications will be translated right away. Any informational product or service page that has been converted to the website’s new look and feel will be available for translation, along with Track and Confirm, Lookup a ZIP Code and FAQs.

Miami Customer Service Employee Recognition

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Donna Simm, Supervisor, Snapper Creek Branch (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and China Velez, Manager, Flagler Station (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Brenda Kendrick, Manager, North Miami Beach Branch (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Armando Marsal, Manager, Father Felix Varela Postal Store (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Ariel Hernandez, Supervisor, Flagler Station (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Abel Ortiz, Manager, Gratigny Branch (R).

Xiomara Sotolongo, Supervisor, Customer Service Support (L) and District Manager Jeffrey Becker (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Raul Mayor, Manager, Quail Heights Branch (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Maritza Sanchez, Supervisor, Hibiscus Annex (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Mac Rohan, Manager, South Miami Branch (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Lena Madison, Manager, Buena Vista Station (R).

District Manager Jeffrey Becker (L) and Jeannie Burgos, Manager, Doral (R).

Recently District Manager Jeffrey Becker recognized several Miami managers and supervisors for their outstanding work and positive contributions to the district and the Postal Service in Quarter 3. Photos: Rose M. Castro

CFC: 'Hope is the Greatest Gift of All'

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) — the only authorized charitable fundraising campaign in the federal and postal workplace — is underway. The CFC promotes and supports philanthropy through a program that is cost efficient and effective in providing federal employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.
This year’s theme is “Hope is the Greatest Gift of All.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of CFC. The commitment and generosity of federal employees has made CFC one of the most successful altruistic programs in history. Since its inception in 1961, the campaign has raised more than $7 billion.

CFC has more than 4,000 approved charities eligible to receive donations — including organizations that provide human services, health care, medical research, disaster relief, housing and much more. One of these organizations is the Postal Employees Relief Fund, which provides non-repayable grants to USPS employees and retirees who are victims of specified natural disasters or fires.