That ultimatum to move your mailbox? Just an empty threat

Another overzealous postal manager is at work, this time in Chicago, ordering residents to move their mailboxes to the curb if they want their mail, according to Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn:

At the end of last week, my Northwest Side neighbors and I were buzzing about the mailbox ultimatum our postal carrier had delivered.

On a signed, photocopied United States Postal Service Form 1507, the handwritten note said that “per the new USPS policy, all mail receptacles need to be brought down to ground or sidewalk level.” The fine print suggested we act “promptly,” and warned that the “failure to correct the noted irregularities may necessitate the withdrawal of delivery service.”

Well!

Zorn says he went ahead and ordered a mailbox online- it was delivered on Monday (by UPS!), the same day that he got in touch with a USPS spokesperson, who told him he didn’t really need it:

Monday was also when I learned from Mark Reynolds, the USPS spokesman in Chicago, that the mailbox ultimatum was an empty threat that had been OK’d by an “overzealous” person at the area branch office. That person, whom Reynolds has declined to identify, “misinterpreted the scope of the changes in our delivery patterns,” he said.

Evidently this overzealous employee — the signature on the notice is illegible and the man who answered the phone at the branch office refused to translate it for me — has been at it for a while: I found a complaint online about an identical notice that was disseminated in April in the Roscoe Village neighborhood, much of which is served by the same postal branch.

Reynolds declined to name the offender.

For an agency that obsesses so much about its “brand”, you’d think the USPS would do a better job training its managers not to threaten their customers!

Read more: Postal mailbox ultimatum delivers empty threat – Chicago Tribune.

Life in prison for Tennessee post office murderer

chastain-montgomery-sr2Memphis, TN – Chastain Montgomery, Sr., 50, of Lavergne, TN, was sentenced to consecutive life sentences in federal prison for the murders of United States Postal Service employees Paula Robinson and Judy Spray, announced Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee; Thomas Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division, United States Postal Inspection Service; and Mark Gwyn, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

On May 22, 2014, Montgomery pled guilty to the seven count superseding indictment and avoided facing the death penalty for his crimes.

“The senseless and heinous murders of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray have left an irreplaceable void throughout the entire community,” said U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton. “I want to commend the tireless efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement who assisted with the investigation and prosecution of this case. The life sentence without the possibility of parole imposed upon Chastain Montgomery, Sr. today will hopefully bring justice and a meaningful measure of closure to the Spray and the Robinson/Croom families.” Continue reading

Carper says USPS is in “downward financial spiral”, forgets he helped cause it

Senator Tom Carper released a statement today claiming that the US Postal Service is in a “downward financial spiral”, but once again failed to mention the role he played in creating the “crisis”. Carper was one of the key Senate supporters in the passage of the 2006 PAEA law, which has been responsible for virtually all of the postal services’s recent paper “losses”.

signingCarper has a history of misrepresenting the postal service’s financial situation to suit his political ends. You may recall that we caught him using some creative math a coupls of years ago to make the “losses” look even bigger. By then he had already managed to forget that the bill he was so proud of in 2006 was responsible for the postal services problems. Lest we forget, here’s a photo of the signing ceremony- Tom’s second from the left…

Here’s the full text of Carper’s statement:

WASHINGTON – Today, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following reaction to the announcement that the U.S. Postal Service lost $2 billion in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014:

“The U.S. Postal Service continues to suffer unsustainable losses that threaten its long-term viability. While the Postal Service showed a modest increase in revenue due to its growing package delivery service and an increase in mail prices, today’s announcement that it lost $2 billion in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014 makes it clear that this American institution remains locked in a downward financial spiral. It also underscores the urgent need for comprehensive postal reform – reform that can only come from Congress. Dr. Coburn and I introduced the Postal Reform Act of 2014, which passed out of Committee by a vote of 9 to 1 earlier this year. Our legislation is a bipartisan and balanced solution to the Postal Service’s financial crisis that would prevent collapse, preserve key postal operations and service standards, protect millions of mailing industry jobs, and enable this critical institution to serve the American public for years to come. I urge my colleagues in the full Senate to take up our bipartisan, comprehensive bill and join our efforts to fix the serious, but solvable challenges facing the Postal Service.”

Read more: Majority Media| Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee| Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee.

Video: Linns Stamp News Monday Morning Brief for August 11

Published on Aug 11, 2014

Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses a few significant events in the stamp world last week and what to look for in the coming week.

This week’s stories for Aug. 11, 2014, include:

  • David Gahr photographs used on two U.S. stamps
  • Batman 75th anniversary postmark
  • Ian Fleming on seven stamps
  • Scott catalogue update for duck stamps
  • Art Deco Bird coil stamp with new plate number

Read more: ▶ Monday Morning Brief | David Gahr photos, Batman postmark, Ian Fleming – YouTube.

NALC: USPS fiscal turnaround continues in Q3 2014

From the National Association of Letter Carriers:

The Postal Service released its third quarter financial results this morning and the numbers tell a clear story: the USPS financial turnaround continues.

So far this year, USPS has seen growth in overall revenue, operating profit, letter mail revenue and shipping and package revenue.

Postal finances have seen steady improvement since 2012.  Operating profit for the first three quarters of the year increased by $1.4 billion vs. 2013 and by $2.2 billion vs. 2012.

NALC_Blog_Graph_081114-01

Booming e-commerce activity has been a key driver of the Postal Service’s fiscal turnaround.  USPS shipping and package volume increased 7.7 percent year-over-year in the third quarter.

These figures show that the digital age can be a critical opportunity – not a threat – for the Postal Service.

Even the declines in letter mail volume due to Internet diversion are leveling, and large shipping and package revenue gains are entirely offsetting more gradual declines in letter mail volume.

As these positive trends continue, calls to slash and shrink our nation’s postal system look more and more misguided.  It’s time to strengthen the Postal Service so it can continue to grow, instead of cutting critical services that Americans rely on every day.

Lawmakers in Washington should work together and with all postal stakeholders on comprehensive postal reform that frees USPS from unprecedented financial strangleholds like the mandate to pre-fund health retiree benefits 75 years in advance and allows it to innovate for the future.

Spread the word that USPS is strong and growing.  Click here to share our graphic with your friends, family and co-workers.

Then, join the discussion on Facebook or by leaving a comment below.

– See more at: http://deliveringforamerica.com/latest-news/usps-fiscal-turnaround-continues-in-q3-2014/#sthash.Dh9QHYxf.dpuf

Postal worker makes special delivery to children

goodnewsSome kids follow him on bikes. Others run out of their homes with hands extended. They may not know his name, but they know how to get the postman’s attention: “Mr. Mailman. Mr. Mailman. Do you have anything for me?”

Vandrick R. Hamlin Sr. had pockets full of candy on Wednesday that he passed out to children at the Lancaster Court Apartments as he delivered mail to their parents.

In his 25 years working for the post office, 20 on this route, Hamlin has gotten to know just about everyone he delivers mail to. He’s also recognized the needs in these communities, particularly Lancaster Court Apartments and other nearby complexes.

That pushed Hamlin to organize a back-to-school drive in which he’s asking people to bring book bags and other class supplies for children in areas bordering Wilmington. The school supplies will be distributed to children at a barbecue he’s organized at the Lancaster Court Apartments on Sunday.

Read more: Postal worker makes special delivery to children.

Wisconsin letter carrier helps the homeless

Here’s another letter carrier making a difference in his community- Tom Hathaway, a city carrier in Janesville WI, organizes an annual benefit for the homeless:

Here is our flyer that includes wish list. – Helping the Homeless of Janesville Fundraiser..

USPS 3Q report shows year to date profit of $1 billion before PAEA charges

The US Postal Service has made a profit of over a billion dollars so far this fiscal year, according to a report issued today. Thanks to the PAEA law, however, the agency will report a $2 billion loss for the third quarter, all of it attributable to accounting entries mandated by Congress, not actual operations. Without the PAEA required “trust fund” payments (that will not actually be paid), and “non-cash” revaluation of future workers comp costs, the service showed a $10 million profit for the three month period ending June 30, and a $1.005 billion profit for the year to date. That compares very favorably with a $368 million loss for the same period last year (SPLY).

Including the PAEA “paper” adjustments makes the postal service’s financial situation look pretty awful, so it’s used by politicians and the news media, as well as postal management in arguing for drastic measures to cut services as well as wages and benefits for employees. Here, for example, is how the USPS reported today’s results to its own employees:

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The News Link article makes no mention of the $4.3 billion year to date “trust fund” charge, even though it accounts for the entire year to date loss. The very last paragraph of the story, however, says “[USPS CFO Joe] Corbett also said that the organization will be unable to make the required $5.7 billion retiree health benefit prefunding payment to the U.S. Treasury, due by Sept. 30”, implying that the payment is in addition to the reported “loss”, when it isn’t.

But while USPS management wants you to believe that the “loss” is real, they don’t want you to think it’s their fault:

Because the legislative mandates for the PSRHBF prefunding of retiree health benefits and the participation in the FECA are not subject to management’s control, we believe that analyzing operating results without the impact of these charges provides a more meaningful insight into current operations. [emphasis added] In the day-to-day operation of our business, we exclude these items from our internal financial analyses in order to direct focus upon relevant expenses that management can control and include only those workers’ compensation costs representing current year payments on behalf of postal claimants. The following table illustrates the net income or loss for the three and nine month periods ended June 30, 2014 and 2013 from ongoing business activities when these charges are not considered, and reconciles this amount to our GAAP net loss.

netincome

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Revenue from first class mail was up 3.2% for the quarter compared with SPLY, even though volume was down 1.4%. Standard mail generated 51.3% of total mail volume, but just 25.5% of revenue. Shipping and packages revenue is up almost 10% year to date, and now accounts for 20% of postal revenue, but just 2.6% of volume.

revenue

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Financials.

Video: Postal truck driver in critical condition after driving off highway overpass in Mississippi

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) –

A U.S. Postal truck driver is in critical condition after an accident on I-20 E., just past I-55 North.

MSNewsNow.com – Jackson, MS

“The driver went off the ‘Fly Over’ and landed back on I-20 in the median,” Poulos said.

Poulos said the driver was transported to University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he is listed in critical condition.

Read more: U.S. Postal truck driver in critical condition after driving off – MSNewsNow.com – Jackson, MS.