Tuesday, March 26, 2013

BJ's President/CEO Sends Apology

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dear United States Postal Worker,

BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. is a leading operator of membership clubs in the eastern United States.  Direct mail is one of our most successful ways to get the word out to potential Members.  We strongly believe in the effectiveness of the U.S. Postal Service, and we greatly appreciate the important work done by mail carriers.

Last week BJ's began its Spring Membership acquisition promotion, including an extensive direct mail program. Unfortunately, some folks misunderstood one of our direct mail messages on the front of the mailer. While the message was supposed to be humorous, we may have missed the mark.  We apologize to the U.S. Postal Service and mail carriers for any offense or misunderstanding caused by our mailer message.   

We look forward to many more years of our continued, successful business relationship.

Laura Sen
President & CEO
BJ’s Wholesale Club

Customer Praises Employees

I want to take this opportunity to commend the performance and professionalism of two of your employees --- Dennis Cordero of the West Boynton Beach Post Office and Regina Rantanen of your Business Enterprise Team.  These are U.S. Postal Service employees whose great attitude and helpful efforts have made my initial experience with Every Door Direct Mail VERY positive.

My husband, Dr. Stephen Robins, has a boutique ophthalmic office in Boynton Beach.  We recently decided to try EDDM.  After comparing it to the costs of newspaper or other print advertising, we felt that EDDM would be more cost effective and provide much more specific exposure to our target market.  By the time we do our "final" mailing tomorrow of our first EDDM project, we will have mailed almost 15,000 pieces.

Thank you so very much for having such great employees in the U.S. Postal Service.

Lenore D. Robins

Turtle Rescue at Lightning Speed

Every night, a Sunrise FL customer walked his dogs along a canal.  Turtles trapped in a storm drain got their attention.  First the customer contacted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which in turn, contacted the South Florida Water Management District.  But it was the Postal Service that reacted “lightning fast,” according to a CBS 4 broadcast.

“While the government has been known to move at a turtle’s pace, the response here was lightning fast.  As the USPS went through the process of getting a budget item approved for a long-term fix to the turtles in the pipe, their facilities management team figure out an inexpensive short-term fix:  an inexpensive screen from a home improvement store that cost about $10,” CBS 4 reported.

Working at lightning speed were Fort Lauderdale Postmaster Scott Bower; Sunrise Manager, Customer Service Marcos Glass; Customer Relations Coordinator Tashia Romano-Kravitz; Communications Ambassador Program Coordinator Lillian Castro; and Charisse Nadal, A/Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact.

“This is the kind of thing that people who work for cities, counties, states, or the federal government do on a day in, day out basis, and no one ever seems to hear about it,” praised a FDEP representative.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baby Boomers: Ready to Retire?

The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) is offering webinars that explore topics such as retirement planning and caregiving. They also highlight the advantages of enrolling in the FLTCIP.
On March 21 at 2 p.m. EDT, MetLife Mature Market Institute Executive Director will review the steps employees can take to secure a comfortable and fulfilling retirement in the webinar Baby Boomers Approaching Retirement: Are You Ready?
Employees also can view previously recorded webinars, such as Retirement Benefits Planning, Part 1: Getting the Big Picture, which examines the benefits employees should consider carrying into retirement.
To register for the webinars, visit the FLTCIP website.
The Office of Personnel Management has endorsed this series of webinars. Participation in the webinars is voluntary and should be conducted off the clock.

Here Comes the Wedding Cake Stamp

Story & Photos by LuAnn Warner
Love was in the air as newly-engaged couples strolled the Bridal Expo at the South Florida Fairgrounds.  The crowd was pleasantly surprised with the U.S.  Postal Service’s dedication of the 66-Cent Wedding Cake Stamp. 
Cindy Mercy, Manager, Customer Service, Palms Central Station, presented a stamp enlargement to Sol Cruz, owner of Cake and the City.  Cruz had created a delectable replica of the cake portrayed on the stamp. The stamp, when literally “unveiled," quickly became a popular request at the USPS booth where brides-to-be were given information on ordering their wedding cake and love stamps online.  Mothers of the brides were particularly interested in information on mailing regulations for bridal invitations. 
Also at the event, passport applications were distributed to ensure that newlyweds could travel internationally on their honeymoons.  
The Wedding Cake stamp added a touch of beauty and romance to the crowd of approximately 2000 and will be on display, along with the three-tiered cake replica, at the West Palm Beach Main Office at 3200 Summit Blvd.

L to R:  Sol Cruz, owner of Cake and the City, and Cindy Mercy, Manager, Customer Service, Palms Central Station display the Wedding Cake stamp enlargement and cake replica at the Bridal Expo in West Palm Beach.

Cake and the City Owner Sol Cruz (L) and customers at Bridal Expo booth.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Avoiding the App

There are a number of mobile applications, including a free iPhone app called “TSP Funds” being offered through the Apple App store, that reference the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).  These apps may prompt you for your TSP account credentials, but using them could jeopardize the security of your account.  The TSP does not sponsor these apps.
The Government Executive’s app for iPhone and Android, which features a TSP ticker with up-to-date information on all TSP funds, does not ask for account information.
For employees who have downloaded “TSP Funds,” the U.S. Postal Service recommends deleting the app and changing the passwords to their TSP accounts. 
For more information on keeping your account safe, see the Security Center on the TSP website or contact the ThriftLine at 1-TSP-YOU-FRST (1-877-968-3778). 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Talkin' 'Bout My (New) Generation Self-Service Kiosk Deployment

Greenacres Manager, Customer Service Floyd Pierce tests one of five Self-Service Kiosks available for customer convenience.  Photo:  Debra J. Fetterly
South Florida Post Offices have a new generation of self-service kiosks --- and enthusiastic lobby assistants --- to improve the customer experience.

The new self-service kiosk already has been deployed at Coral Gables Branch, Delray Post Office, Fort Lauderdale Main Office, Greenacres Branch, Hallandale Post Office, Jupiter Post Office, Miami General Mail Facility Retail Unit, North Miami Branch, Olympia Heights Branch, Quail Heights Branch, Snapper Creek Branch, South Florida Retail Unit (Pembroke Pines), Tamarac Branch, Tropical Reef Station, West Palm Beach Main Office, and Weston Branch.

The new kiosks feature a brighter and larger touch screen and also have a scanner for pricing greeting cards and ReadyPost products.  It accepts credit and debit cards and may be used to buy stamps; weigh, calculate and purchase postage for items weighing up to 70 lbs.; send items via Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, and Parcel Post; purchase insurance up to $500; look up ZIP Codes and obtain mailing information; obtain Express Mail, Certified Mail, and Return Receipts; purchase Delivery Confirmation service; and make Post Office Box payments.  And there’s no transaction fee!

PBS to Highlight 'Barefoot Mailman' Murals at West Palm Beach MO

By LuAnn Warner
Meredith Porte, Television Host/Producer from WLRN-Miami recently took film of the Barefoot Mailman murals that are located in the West Palm Beach Main Office.  The station is producing a documentary on statues in South Florida, and the producer became intrigued when she became aware of the Barefoot Mailman story. The story is told in a six-panel mural entitled “James Edward Hamilton, Mail Carrier,” the most well-known of the barefoot mailmen.

From 1885 to 1892, the Barefoot Mailmen delivered mail each week between Palm Beach, Florida, and Miami, Florida. Because no road existed linking the two communities, the carriers traveled by boat or by walking along the shoreline. The six-day trip followed a desolate path that was fraught with danger. Their fascinating story has been immortalized in paintings, a novel, and a film.

Three of the six panels have studies in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The panels were commissioned in 1939 by the Us Dept of Treasury fine arts as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Program. The contract was awarded to well-known Postal Artist Stevan Dohanos of Connecticut and was completed in 1940.

The documentary will air in the near future on the Public Broadcast Station.  

Mass Hiring in West Palm Beach

By LuAnn Warner
Recently, West Palm Beach hosted a mass hiring event for City Carrier Assistants at “The Box Expo Center.”  Applicants applied for the positions on eCareer and selected individuals were interviewed.  Human Resource Specialists from the South Florida District were on hand to process the over 110 applicants during the 8-hour event. Fingerprinting services were provided by Aladdin USA Corporation to expedite the hiring process.  The West Palm Beach location was the first mass hiring event to take place in the South Florida District.   

(L to R):  Leslie Miller, Customer Service Support, West Palm Beach; Jann Miller, Manager, Human Resources; Deb Falzarano, Human Resources Generalist, and Marlene Mourin, Human Resources Generalist.  Photo:  LuAnn Warner

Little River PO is Dedicated to Civil Rights Activist Jesse J. McCrary, Jr.

L to R:  US Representative Frederica S. Wilson, Jessica (McCrary) Campbell, and Mrs. Margaret McCrary pose between the portrait and plaque of  Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Photo:  Briggett Glinton 
Jo Ann Feindt, Area Vice President, Southern Area Operations, addresses crowd, including (seated L to R) Dr. Mack King Carter of Carter Ministries, US Representative Frederica S. Wilson, Mrs. Margaret McCrary, and Jessica (McCrary) Campbell.  Mrs. McCrary is the widow and Jessica Campbell is the daughter of Jesse J. McCrary, Jr.  Photo:  Debra J. Fetterly

Crowd stands at attention for City of Miami Honor Guard and singing of the national anthem.  Photo:  Debra J. Fetterly

Approximately 150 people gathered on the front lawn of the Little River Post Office to pay tribute to Civil Rights activist Jesse J. McCrary, Jr.  Photo:  Debra J. Fetterly
Music students from the Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Elementary School sang a song in honor of the school's namesake.  Photo:  Debra J. Fetterly

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and Area Vice President, Southeast Area Operations Jo Ann Feindt honored late civil rights activist, state politics trailblazer, and South Florida community leader Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. at the Little River Post Office in Miami.  The McCrary family and friends, community and postal officials, and the media gathered on the front lawn for a dedication ceremony. 

McCrary was an American lawyer in Florida. A civil rights activist, he entered state politics and served as Secretary of State of Florida, becoming the first African American member of the Florida Cabinet since the end of Reconstruction.  In 1967, McCrary became Florida's first assistant Attorney General. He returned to private practice in 1979 and was active in the community in the 1980s and 1990s. 

At the ceremony, then Miami Officer-In-Charge Steve Hardin shared emcee duties with Wilson who, along with Feindt, praised McCrary for his many contributions to the community.

“He would say that each of us was given a bag of rules and a set of tools,” said U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson.  “And it is up to each of us to decide whether to be a stepping stone or a stumbling block.”

Clearly Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. was a very special person not only to his family, but to the community,” said Feindt.  “His destiny was public service.  Although his qualifications would have opened the door to opportunities at many large firms, he preferred to address some of the everyday issues that impacted African Americans and the community.”

Program highlights included a performance by Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Elementary School music students.  Postal supervisor Tayloria McPhee-Johnson sang the national anthem and a musical selection. Manager, Customer Service Operations Ernesto Cintado and Manager, Customer Service Lori Moore assisted with the unveiling of the plaque inscribed “Jesse J. McCrary, Jr.”

An increasingly common form of legislation is the naming of Post Offices for former members of Congress or other figures of local or national renown.  For operational reasons, Post Offices retain their geographical designations in the USPS addressing system, and there is no change in the way renamed Post Offices are identified in the official listing of Post Offices. The tangible effect of naming a Post Office is the installation of a dedicatory plaque in the lobby.

Holy Muscle Car Stamp Dedication! Batmobile Cruises to Weston PO

Sergio Goldvarg cruises Weston in his Batmobile.
Once upon a time in the1960s, there was a television series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin — two crime-fighting heroes who defended Gotham City. The typical story began with a villain --- The Joker, The Riddler, Penguin, Cat Woman to name a few --- committing a crime, such as stealing a fabulous gem or taking over Gotham City.  Batman had two ways to get around town:  swinging from gothic clock towers with his Batline or cruising at high speeds in the Batmobile.  He also had a Batwing and a Batjet and a Batcopter --- even a Bat-Segway --- but mostly Batman (and Robin) relied on the Batmobile for transportation from point A to point B.

On Tuesday, March 12, Weston resident Sergio Goldvarg jumped into his Batmobile (his 1966 Mercury Montclair) and will exclaim “To the Post Office!” Fort Lauderdale Postmaster Scott Bower extended a special invitation to Goldvarg to join him at a Muscle Car stamp dedication at the Weston Post Office. 

Like the Batmobile, these muscle cars were high-performance vehicles that began roaring across America in the 1960s.  The limited edition stamps feature five iconic muscle cars: the ’66 Pontiac GTO, the ’67 Shelby GT-500, the ’69 Dodge Charger Daytona, the ’70 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda, and the ’70 Chevelle SS.  
Pictured Right:  Kevin Castro (seated) and Fort Lauderdale Postmaster Scott Bower admire the Batmobile.  Photo:  Lillian Castro

Friday, March 8, 2013

National Consumer Protection Week: Foreign Lotteries ... You Can't Win!

(L to R) Inspector Ivan Ramirez, General Analyst Damaris Santiago, Inspector Blanca Alvarez, and General Analyst Larry Alfonso of the Miami Division team up to educate the public on fraud prevention during National Consumer Protection Week.   

(L to R) Postal Inspector Ivan Ramirez and Ralph Garcia warn customer about the various types of fraud during a National Consumer Protection Week event in the lobby of the Fort Lauderdale Main Office.  Fort Lauderdale Postmaster Scott Bower and Customer Relations Coordinator Tashia Romano joined forces with the Postal Inspection Service.  USPIS General Analyst Elizabeth Collier displayed educational materials and brochures on foreign lottery schemes to help customers, especially older Americans, avoid being scammed. Postal Inspectors answered questions about bank fraud, identity theft, and credit and debit card fraud.  Photo:  Tashia Romano
* * * * * *
Money Talks News featured a segment:  “Foreign Lotteries:  The Contest You Can’t Win” for National Consumer Protection Week. 

It featured consumer protection tips from Inspector-In-Charge Jerry O’ Farrell from U.S. Postal Inspection Service Headquarters, and Inspectors Blanca Alvarez and Ivan Ramirez of the Miami Division. 

It highlighted an 82-year-old victim, who thought she had won a big sweepstakes prizes.  All she had to do was send cash to cover taxes and handling fees.  She complied.  As you may have guessed, the prizes never arrived.  But she did get more calls from con artists promising prizes.   This victim lost tens of thousands of dollars in the past two years.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Americans lost $42 million to foreign lottery scams from 2010 to 2012.  The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2 million consumer complaints in 2012, 52 percent involving fraud. 

Money Talks News is a consumer and personal finance news service that is syndicated in 80 network affiliates nationwide.  Hopefully, others will learn as this victim did that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Boynton Beach Post Office to Host 'Passport Day in USA' Sat, March 9

Nationwide more than 1,000 Post Offices --- including the Boynton Beach Main Office at 1530 W Boynton Beach Blvd --- are participating in the fifth annual “Passport Day in the USA” on Saturday, March 9.  South Florida residents may apply for a passport between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm -- without an appointment -- at this location.

“Passport Day in the USA” events at select Post Offices will go on as scheduled, even though  the U.S. Department of State’s regional passport agencies will not be open Saturday, due to budget considerations.

According to a statement issued by the State Department, citizens may apply for or renew their passport book or passport card at participating non-State Department passport application acceptance facilities.