2011 August 03 - postalnews blog

Archive for August 3rd, 2011

Kansas City postal worker found guilty of stealing from mail

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former part-time postal employee has been convicted by a federal trial jury of delaying the delivery of mail after he was caught on surveillance video putting mail in his pockets, including the money from a young girl’s birthday card.

Leonard V. Jenkins, 44, of Kansas City, Mo., was found guilty of the charge contained in a Feb. 9, 2011, federal indictment.

Jenkins worked part-time at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Kansas City, Mo. On Nov. 4, 2008, he was recorded on surveillance video placing mail in his pockets while working on a mail sorting line. Several greeting card envelopes had been ripped open and were found in Jenkins’ work area. Evidence during the trial indicated that a woman had sent a birthday card to her great-granddaughter and enclosed a $10 bill in the card. When investigators found the opened envelope in Jenkins’ work area, there was no money inside.

The investigation into Jenkins’ activities was launched after numerous post offices across the Kansas City metropolitan area received mail that had been opened and rifled through, all of which had been sorted on a machine operated by Jenkins.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated for about four hours before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple, ending a trial that began Monday, Aug. 1, 2011.

Under federal statutes, Jenkins is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

DMA: Issa/Ross "Reform" Legislation Would Hurt Nonprofits

August 2, 2011 — In response to an editorial published July 28 by the Washington Post entitled, “A Better Route for USPS," the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) comments: The editorial, “A Better Route for USPS,” supporting the postal legislation introduced by Representatives Issa and Ross, correctly highlights the financial situation facing the US Postal Service (USPS) is much worse than most Americans and legislators realize.

The editorial correctly states that USPS must downsize its network, employee complement, and cost structure to meet the reality of lower mail volume. Mailers cannot afford to fund excess capacity through their postage. Every potential solution must be on the table, including the provisions of the Issa-Ross bill and the $50+ billion pension overpayment mailers have paid as found by the Postal Regulatory Commission and USPS Inspector General.

The editorial did not mention the provision concerning mail sent by nonprofit organizations. The bill would decrease significantly the nonprofit preferred rate differential, which is not taxpayer supported. The result would be a dramatic and unsustainable postage increase for many nonprofits at a time when charities are being called upon to increase their efforts to provide a safety net throughout America and the world. Most of the donations that these charities receive come via the USPS. We hope that this provision is one of the bill’s imperfections and not one the Post endorses.

Bloomberg rehashes attack on USPS, pushes Issa "reform" bill

Bloomberg Businessweek repeated its attacks on the US Postal Service and its employees with an editorial today, repeating claims one of its “reporters” (a jazz critic, actually!) made in a largely inaccurate story published in May, and an even more amateurish effort last December.

The editorial repeats the false claim that the USPS is already being “bailed out”:

The USPS lost $8 billion last year, and has been kept on life support with $15 billion from the Treasury.

Conveniently ignoring the fact that the USPS would have been profitable for years, and would have billions in cash on hand, if not for the PAEA trust fund mandate created in 2006.

The purpose of the editorial is to push the Issa/Ross postal “reform” bill, which claims to “streamline” the USPS, but would in reality, add two more levels of bureaucracy and $10 billion in additional debt. In reality, Issa’s bill would force the USPS into receivership, and invalidate its collective bargaining agreements.

All of which may sound familiar- it’s the same game plan the extremists who control the Republican Party have used for the federal government as a whole: slash revenue by giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, even as the US spends trillions for unnecessary wars overseas. Then, when the debt climbs, blame it on federal employees and so-called “entitlements”.

In the case of the USPS, the PAEA law, by creating a $5.5 billion annual “entitlement” for the Treasury, has forced the USPS into debt- not to support its operations, but to loan the money right back to the Treasury! This has allowed the GOP to promote the fiction that the USPS is bankrupt due to a “failed business model”.

Of course, the fact is that had the USPS been “run like a business”, it would not have racked up billions in debt to loan to the Treasury. It would have weathered the recession pretty well- continuing to make a profit through last year, supporting a trillion dollar mailing industry. But that narrative doesn’t fit the ideological goals of the right- so we have PAEA, and trust funds, and talk of receivership. and the news media appears to be swallowing it, hook, line and sinker.

via U.S. Postal Service Needs Fewer Workers to Keep Delivering: View – Businessweek.