Saturday, February 29, 2020

'What Safety Means to Me!'

It's Leap Year: Hop to It!

Even though the standard calendar year is 365 days, the Earth actually takes 365 days, five hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to travel around the sun. This is called a solar year. To keep the calendar cycle synchronized with the seasons, one extra day --- February 29 --- is added every four years.

The Julian Calendar, established by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE (Before Common Era), introduced the Egyptian solar calendar to the Roman world, standardized the 365-day year, and created the predecessor to our current leap year. February 29 was not reflected on the Julian Calendar, rather February 23 was repeated every four years.

You may be asking “The solar year is not a full 365 days and 6 hours, so what about those extra 11 minutes and 14 seconds?”  An additional calendar reformation in the 1500s added a special rule to adjust for this discrepancy. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII created a slightly modified calendar to better account for leap years.

Called the Gregorian Calendar, this new system said that no century year (like 1900) would be a leap year except for centuries divisible by 400 (like 2000). In order to correct the calendar, the Pope eliminated October 5 – 14, 1582. The calendar moved directly from the fourth to the fifteenth to align the dates with the seasons again. It feels almost like science fiction to think that 10 full days were removed from the calendar in the year 1582.

But where does the phrase leap year originate?

In 365-day years, known as common years, fixed dates advance one day in the week per year. For example, Christmas fell on a Tuesday in 2018 and on a Wednesday in 2019. With the insertion of a leap day, dates (following February) advance two days instead of one. In 2020, Christmas will leap over Thursday to fall on a Friday.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Social Media Dos and Don'ts

The Postal Service is an active user of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to name a few. Social media platforms are used to promote the postal brand, share information on our products and services, understand conversations about the Postal Service, and to interact with and assist customers.  

Postal employees have specific rights under the law, including a First Amendment right to free speech and the right to engage in concerted protected activity, as provided for in the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C., Section 151, which includes the right to discuss wages, hours, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. Postal employees also have rights under collective bargaining agreements.  

However, the Postal Service does have guidelines that cover the proper use of social media by postal employees. The Q and A below will help every employee understand postal policies about using social media, which is so much a part of our lives. 

Who is authorized to use social media at the Postal Service?
Just as with traditional media, the Postal Service has identified specific individuals who are authorized to speak for the organization on social media platforms.  Access to social media sites on postal-owned devices and computers must be requested and is only allowed for employees whose job duties involve representing and speaking on behalf of the Postal Service. 

Can I use my personal social media accounts to talk about the Postal Service?
  • Many postal employees have personal social media accounts and use these platforms to connect with their family, friends and co-workers. When using your personal accounts, be mindful of the following three important points:Never speak for, or act on behalf of the Postal Service, or suggest that you have the authority to do so.
  • Conduct – such as harassment, bullying, discrimination, or retaliation – that would not be permissible in the workplace is not permissible online, even if it is done after hours, from home, or on a personal computer, smartphone, laptop or tablet device. 
  • Although it is not the policy of the Postal Service to interfere with the private lives of employees, the USPS does require that Postal Service employees be of good character and reputation in their day-to-day lives, including while on social media. 
Can I post information about my job at the Postal Service on my social media account? 

You can post your official Postal Service title or position within the profile section of your personal social media account. Keep in in mind though, employees are expected to conduct themselves during and outside of working hours in a manner that reflects favorably upon the Postal Service, including while using social media. 

Recently, the Postal Service brand was ranked “most trusted” in the nation, placing higher than brands such as Google, Amazon, and eBay. Remember that everything we do, from how we deliver a package to how we greet customers at our counter, to what we post on social media, reflects on our brand. Help us protect it and strengthen it on social media and everywhere. 

For specific Postal Service social media requirements, you are strongly encouraged to read the Administrative Support Manual Social Media Policy and the Employee and Labor Relations Manual Ethical Conduct.

'I Was Caught Working Safely ...'

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

More Wild Orchids Dedication Photos

Dr. Lawrence Zettler, Director of the Orchid Recovery Program, Illinois College shared ecological information with a standing-room-only crowd. Photo: Daniel Afzal

Georgia Tasker, Author, Horticulture Writer and Pulitzer Prize Finalist addressed the audience. Photo: Daniel Afzal

Susan Wedegaertner, President, American Orchid Society, was thrilled that the national First-Day-Of-Issue (FDOI) dedication took place at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Photo: Daniel Afzal

Jim Fowler, Photographer and Author was pleased to participate in the dedication ceremony. Photo: Daniel Afzal

Orchid enthusiasts and philatelists purchased the new Forever stamps following the dedication. Photo: Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Mirtha Uriarte

Customers appreciated the opportunity to purchase the new Wild Orchids Forever stamps onsite. From left, Acting Retail Manager Crystal Robertson, Retail Specialist Deborah Dhue, and Miami Sales and Services Associate Irma Knighton. Photo: Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Mirtha Uriarte

'I Was Caught Working Safely ...'

Love in the Mail at Haverhill Branch

Love was in the mail when 60 students from All About Kids School visited the Haverhill Branch to mail Valentine’s letters and cards to their parents. 

Sales and Services Associate Patricia Madison (right) and Lead Sales and Services Associate Ann Milton (left) sold stamps to the students. 

Haverhill Branch Manager, Customer Services John Pinto (center) explained the processing of their Valentine's letters and cards. 

Photos: West Palm Beach Customer Relations Coordinator Gayle Jones 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Wild Orchids Debut in Coral Gables

From left, Photographer/Author Jim Fowler, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Jacqueline Krage Strako, Gulliver Schools Students Noah Celics and Kimberly Lampidis, Dr. Lawrence Zettler, U.S. Representative Donna Shalala, and American Orchid Society President Susan Wedegaertner posed for this photo opportunity. Photo: Debra Fetterly

From left, Miami Postmaster Steve Kirkland, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Jacqueline Krage Strako,and Acting South Florida District Manager Sal Vacca enjoyed the event. Photo: Fort Lauderdale Customer Relations Coordinator Edwin Vivas 

Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Jacqueline Krage Strako was the dedicating official. Photo: Daniel Afzal

Miami Postmaster Steve Kirkland (right) posed with Gulliver Schools Students Noah Celics (left) and Kimberly Lampidis (center), who were singing sensations at the Wild Orchids event. Photo: Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Mirtha Uriarte

Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Mirtha Uriarte (left) and Fort Lauderdale Supervisor, Customer Service Support Kelly Worthman (right) ensured customers received First-Day-Of-Issue postmarks to commemorate the event. Photo: Fort Lauderdale Customer Relations Coordinator Edwin Vivas 

From left, Miami Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) Supervisor, Maintenance Operations Miguel Palacio and Area Maintenance Technicians Bryan Hooper, Enoch Bethel, Carlos Hermida, and Mark Bland (not pictured) set up equipment for the event. Photo: Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Mirtha Uriarte

'What Safety Means to Me!'

A 45-Year Career Milestone

Palm Beach Gardens Branch Letter Carrier Randy Baird (center) was recognized among his co-workers for his 45 years of service. West Palm Beach City Manager, Customer Service Operations (MCSO) Andy Moir (right) and Palm Beach Gardens Branch Manager, Customer Services Robert Harris (left) thanked him for his years of dedicated service and presented him with a Letter of Appreciation and silver money clip and key chain. Photo: West Palm Beach Customer Relations Coordinator Gayle Jones

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Saturday, February 22, 2020

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Celebrating Wild Orchids 'Forever'

On Friday, February 21, the South Florida District hosted the national dedication of the Wild Orchids Forever stamps at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL. 

From left, Photographer/Author Jim Fowler, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer (CCMO)/Executive Vice President and Dedicating Official Jacqueline Krage Strako, Gulliver Schools Students Noah Celics and Kimberly Lampidis, Dr. Lawrence Zettler, U.S. Representative Donna Shalala, and American Orchid Society President Susan Wedegaertner pose for this photo opportunity.

Photo: Debra Jean Fetterly

More photos will be posted next week.

Friday, February 21, 2020

FEOY Nominations Due Today

It’s that time of year when we’re asked to nominate postal employees for recognition in the South Florida Federal Executive Board’s “Federal Employee of the Year” awards program and luncheon. This is the only inter-agency awards program in South Florida. The program pays tribute to all dedicated federal employees and organizations that are a part of the public workforce.  

In the South Florida District, there are employees who consistently perform above and beyond their job requirements. The Postal Service counts on them to come to work and to contribute to the success of the district and the organization. There also are employees, including city and rural letter carriers, who perform heroic acts, and in some cases, save the lives of customers and/or co-workers.

This is your opportunity to honor outstanding postal employees in the following categories: 
  •         Administrative
  •         Clerical/Administrative Support
  •         Innovation
  •         Law Enforcement
  •         Management (except Agency Head)
  •         Organizational Partnership
  •         Professional
  •         Scientific
  •         Service to the Community
  •         Technical/Information Technology
  •         Trades & Crafts
  •         Valor
Ask your supervisor for a nomination package ... or visit the Corporate Communications page of the district website. Once completed, submit your nomination package(s) to by Close of Business on Friday, February 21

The awards program/luncheon will take place on Friday, June 5, at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Coral Springs Hotel, 11775 Heron Bay Blvd, Coral Springs. Ticket prices will be announced at a later date.

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Thursday, February 20, 2020

A New Face at Royal Palm P&DC

There is a new face at the Royal Palm Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). Jamie Congleton (above) has been detailed to Senior Manager, Distribution Operations (SMDO). His regular position is Senior Delivery Manager for the Capital Metro Area.

Congleton began his career as a Multi-Position Letter Sorting Machine (MPLSM) Operator at the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Processing and Distribution Center in 1986.

Congleton brings to South Florida an extensive background in delivery and mail processing.

In the Northern Virginia District, he was Acting Senior Plant Manager of NOVA Processing and Distribution Center; Manager In-Plant Support (MIPS); Senior Operations Support Specialist (OOS); Manager, Operations Programs Support (MOPS); Manager, Customer Services, Herndon, VA, and Reston, VA; Manager, Customer Service Operations (MCSO), Arlington, VA; Postmaster, Arlington, VA; Postmaster, Fairfax, VA; and Officer In Charge (OIC), Alexandria, VA.

In the Capital District, he was Manager, Operations Programs Support (MOPS); Manager, In-Plant Support (MIPS); and Manager, Customer Service, Washington DC.

In the Capital Metro Area, he served as the 24-Hour Clock Coordinator and Acting Senior Operations Support Specialist.

In the Atlanta District he was the Acting Plant Manager, Atlanta Network and Distribution Center (NDC).

Congleton is a graduate of the Advanced Leadership Program (ALP) and is Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Green Belt Certified.

Celebrating Wild Orchids

Employees may attend as an off-the-clock activity. RSVP at

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Facilitating Engagement

Several South Florida employees attended a two-day facilitator workshop at the district office to learn how to engage employees in various Human Resources activities, including career conversions, orientation, and schemes. Participants also received instruction on facilitating material in the Sales and Services Associate Academy.

Seated: Miami Flagler Station Retail Associate Kristen Barrett (left) and Boca Rio Branch Manager, Customer Services Lori Cangemi (right). First row, standing, from left, Training Technician  Ronneka Montgomery; Acting Training Technician James Timmerman; Learning, Development and Diversity Specialist Mary Lamarche; Sales and Services  Associate Georgena Walker; National Center for Employee Development (NCED) Training Instructor Lori Hoppe; Palmetto Carrier Annex Manager, Customer Services Jeremiah Ritchie; NCED Contractor Melissa Bryant; Marketing Manager Juan Nadal; and Miami Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) Supervisor, Maintenance Operations Kenneth Franz. Back row, Suncoast District Human Resources Manager Neftali Pluguez.

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Monday, February 17, 2020

Presidents Day Without Apostrophe

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" implies that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents — that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day" — plural with no apostrophe — would indicate that we’re honoring all Presidents of the United States, past and present, but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the more than 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day, isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday technically still is called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Valentine's Day in Miami

Miami Quail Heights Branch Postal Support Employee (PSE) Maricruz Matute (above) loves her job, and on February 14, came to work in Valentine’s Day attire. Photo: Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Mirtha Uriarte

Let's Celebrate!

On Friday, February 14, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Let’s Celebrate! Forever stamp, giving customers a way to add extra fun and happiness to celebratory greeting cards, invitations, and gift-bearing envelopes and packages.

The First-Day-Of-Issue event took place during the Aripex 2020 Stamp Show in Mesa, AZ. Let’s Celebrate! features an array of colorful circles in varying sizes arranged in a random pattern. The letters in the word “celebrate,” cast in a dark green hue, appear inside several brightly colored circles on a white background.

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Valentine's Day in Palm Beach

Palm Beach Postmaster Valarie Rother (above) gave each employee a Valentine's Day balloon, and Supervisor, Customer Services Jamar James (below) provided pizza.  

'What Safety Means to Me!'

Friday, February 14, 2020

Kris Novy is Acting MPOO, Area 1

Stuart, FL Postmaster Kristopher Novy (right) has been detailed as Manager, Post Office Operations (MPOO), Area 1.

In this role, Novy oversees the day-to-day operation of 28 Post Offices to drive efficiencies, customer service and ensure compliance with national, area, and district objectives for service, budget, and productivity. He is administratively responsible for more than 1,000 employees and oversees an operational budget of $91 million and annual revenue of $91 million.

Novy began his postal career as a Rural Carrier Associate/Casual City Carrier/Casual Clerk in Montrose, PA in 1996 and transferred in the same capacity to Stuart, FL in 1999.

In 2002, Novy became a clerk in Jupiter, FL, and two years later, served as Acting Supervisor, Customer Services Jupiter, FL. He has been Manager, Customer Services, Stuart, FL Carrier Annex; Manager, Delivery/Customer Service Programs, South Florida District; Stuart, FL Postmaster; and Officer In Charge (OIC) in Jensen Beach, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie.
During his career, Novy has excelled in special assignments. Most recently, under his leadership, district personnel and Postal Inspectors executed a multitude of security measures for activities associated with Super Bowl LIV. Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, he was instrumental in Florida Keys recovery efforts, including the re-establishment of delivery in Big Pine Key and Summerland Key two days after the storm.

Novy is Green Belt Certified.   

Tania Brooks is New Administrative Assistant in District Manager's Office

Tania Brooks (above) has been promoted to Administrative Assistant to Acting South Florida District Manager Sal Vacca. Brooks previously served as the secretary to the Manager, Post Office Operations (MPOO), Area 1 for three years.

Her outstanding communications and administrative support skills are essential to help ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the District Manager’s Office. Vacca oversees postal operations in nine South Florida counties and is administratively responsible for 11,200 employees in four plants and 170 Post Offices, stations, branches, finance units, and carrier annexes. 

Brooks is the primary point of contact for Vacca’s 13 direct reports, including Senior Plant Manager Juan Gonzalez, Human Resources Manager Tammy Deutsch, District Finance Manager Joel Ouellette, Operations Programs Support Manager Alex Alejandro, Marketing Manager Juan Nadal, Information Systems Manager Jose Puig, Managers, Post Office Operations Michelle Jarrell (Area 1) and Ronald Jarrell (Area 7), and Postmasters Steve Kirkland (Area 2 – Miami), David Guiney (Area 3 – Fort Lauderdale), Michael Vecchitto (Area 4 – Pompano), Dan Carleen (Area 5 – Hollywood), and Ernest Onody (Area 6 – West Palm Beach).

Brooks began her career as a Casual employee who performed mail handling and processing duties from November 2013 to January 2014 and as Mail Processing Clerk from November 2014 to January 2016. She was hired as a City Carrier Assistant, Hollywood Main Post Office, in January 2016, and three months later, as a Postal Support Employee (PSE) Sales and Services Distribution Associate, Davie Branch.

'What Safety Means to Me!'