Chicago letter carrier accused of selling pot on the job

CHICAGO — A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier is in jail after authorities discovered he was allegedly delivering a lot more than letters and magazines on his Chicago route.

Christopher Baxter was formally charged Saturday with one felony count of manufacturing or delivering cannabis. A Cook County judge ordered Baxter held on $100,000 bail and on Sunday he remained in custody. Continue reading

Top stories of the week June 18-24

  1. Angry Delivery: Mail Carrier Caught on Camera Swearing, Throwing Package 
    New England Cable News
  2. Trump’s attacks on fed workers unite employee organizations 
    Federal News Radio
  3. APWU and Mail Handlers Union Send a United Message to PMG Brennan Denouncing “Wholesale and Massive Job Cuts.” 
    APWU News
  4. OIG: USPS loses millions on shortpaid PC postage parcels
  5. APWU Geared Up to Fight Back Against USPS Reductions in Service and Jobs 
    APWU News
  6. LLV goes up in flames in Ohio
  7. The list: 6 discontinued delivery methods 
    USPS News Link
  8. Video: Scam artists using U.S Postal Service to steal identities 
    WIVB TV Buffalo
  9. Arbitrator says postal workers are entitled to admin leave to vote in caucuses 
    NPMHU News
  10. Disney Villains to be Celebrated on Forever Stamps 

Video: Arizona mailman delivers despite triple digit temperatures

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – With temperatures in the triple digits, there’s not much relief for people who have to work in the heat.

Rain, sleet and yes, the summer heat – Mailmen in Southern Arizona still deliver.   While they use their vehicles to get around, they don’t have any air conditioning. The vehicles are equipped with just a fan and windows that roll down. Continue reading

OIG: USPS loses millions on shortpaid PC postage parcels

In 2013, the USPS Office of Inspector General found that faulty controls over “electronic parcel payment systems, including PC Postage” had cost the agency as much as $262 million. The OIG says it recommended corrective steps. The USPS disagreed with those recommendations, saying it would instead “review its automated verification capabilities”.

Four years later, the USPS has still not implemented its Automated Package Verification (APV) system- it’s scheduled to go online in August. Here’s how the OIG summarized the situation- without providing any calculations of the actual financial losses:

In September 2013, we reported that the Postal Service’s internal controls for PC Postage parcels were inadequate and the Postal Service estimated $[redacted] million in shortpaid postage (postage that was either underpaid or not paid). We recommended corrective interim controls and automated systems. The Postal Service disagreed and instead decided to review its automated verification capabilities.

The Postal Service is currently developing an automated verification solution known as the Automated Package Verification (APV) system. APV would use data collected from mail processing equipment to automate identification and recovery of shortpaid PC Postage parcels. APV has a projected cost of almost $[redacted] million, and is expected to evaluate almost [redacted] percent of all PC Postage parcels for accurate postage. It was to be implemented in January 2017, but has been delayed to August 2017.

The OIG doesn’t explain the redactions- presumably it’s the usual “proprietary information” excuse the USPS uses to hide bad news. (Who do they think the postal service’s “proprietors” are?) In addition to redacting the loss figures, and much else in the report, the OIG also removed the entire original 2013 report from their online archives. The total lost revenue identified in the 2013 report, however, is given as $262 million in the “prior audit coverage” section of the new report.

The OIG says the revenue loss has “grown” since the original report, so presumably the loss for the current fiscal year is more than $262 million. Add them together and you get over half a billion in revenue lost in two years.

The USPS says it isn’t really all that bad- the reason they’ve lost more money is that total package revenue is up- in other words, they’ve lost more money because there’s more money to lose!

What does the future hold? The OIG says the USPS faces significant hurdles to implementing its APV program. The OIG provided this helpful table outlining the software challenges:

Yes, you guessed it- it’s “redacted”…

Source: Shortpaid PC Postage Parcels | USPS Office of Inspector General

Video: Tennessee USPS contractor pleads guilty to stealing packages containing narcotics from VA patients

(WJHL) – A United States Postal Service contractor pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to stealing mail, specifically 33 packages containing narcotics that were meant for Veterans Affairs patients.

Bronson Cobble signed a plea agreement last week admitting to a scheme where he stole VA packages and took the medication inside them.

On Wednesday, a judge accepted that plea in federal court. The court released Cobble on a $20,000 bond.

Source: USPS contractor pleads guilty to stealing packages containing narcotics from VA patients | WJHL

Arbitrator says postal workers are entitled to admin leave to vote in caucuses

From the National Postal Mail Handlers Union:

We are pleased to enclose a copy of a decision by National Arbitrator Shyam Das, concluding that postal employees including mail handlers are entitled to administrative leave (voting) under ELM 519.32 when they participate in presidential caucuses. The case was filed by the NALC, and the NPMHU and the APWU intervened. Notably, fifteen states and several territories held party caucuses rather than primary elections in 2016. Continue reading

Kansas City postal worker pleads guilty to stealing gift cards, DVDs from the mail

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a U.S. Postal employee pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing mail.

Terry G. Williams, 55, of Kansas City, Mo., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to a federal information that charges him with theft of mail by a Postal Service employee. Continue reading