Gyrocopter pilot tells news media that USPS told him not to talk to news media

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the US Postal Service has tried to prevent rural carrier Doug Hughes from talking to the press about his protest:

TAMPA — The Ruskin mail carrier who last week flew a gyrocopter into restricted airspace over Washington D.C., to make a political statement says he has been put on paid leave with the U.S. Postal Service with orders not to discuss his story with the media.

“I was informed by the acting postmaster — and he sounded like he was reading from a script — that I was on administrative leave pending an investigation,” Hughes wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. “I am NOT allowed on postal property without advance permission and I can only enter the building through the front if I do visit with permission. (This injunction always precedes a termination.) I asked about the nature of the administrative leave — it’s with pay BUT I’m not allowed to talk to the media AT ALL.”

It is another restriction that Hughes said he intends to violate. He said the move amounted to a “gag order” that he did not respect.

Read more: Ruskin gyrocopter pilot says postal officials are telling him not to talk to media | Tampa Bay Times.

postalnews poll: Should Doug Hughes be applauded or condemned for his protest?

McCaskill to Senate Colleagues: Postpone Postal Closings

clairemccaskillWASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has requested the postponement of all Postal Service mail processing facility closings and consolidations through the end of the 2016 fiscal year. In a letter to the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate’s Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee—which has jurisdiction over certain aspects of Postal Service financing—McCaskill and several colleagues outlined a one-year moratorium on postal closings that would enable Congress to enact comprehensive postal reform, allowing the Postal Service to save jobs and continue to run efficiently in rural areas.

“As you are aware, USPS faces many serious challenges,” the Senators wrote in their letter. “A number of reform proposals have been introduced in both the Senate and House to address these challenges in previous years, but the Congress has yet to enact legislation. In the interim, a one-year moratorium will provide Congress the time it needs to enact comprehensive postal reforms that will allow the Postal Service to run more efficiently.”

McCaskill, along with fellow Missouri Senator Roy Blunt and a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues, recently demanded a delay in the planned consolidation of up to 82 U.S. Postal Service mail processing facilities after the Inspector General found the Postal Service failed to fulfil its obligations to adequately study the impact of the consolidations, and failed to inform the public of those impacts. Those consolidations would affect 15,000 Postal Service jobs in 37 different states, including Missouri, as well as the millions of Americans who count on the reliability of the Postal Service.

The letter continues: “Slowing down mail delivery hurts America’s senior citizens on fixed incomes, affects the bottom line for small businesses, and dramatically affects the quality of life of rural Americans. This is simply unacceptable. Without Congressional compromise, the Postal Service will continue to confront drastic changes to its operations, thereby slowing service to millions of Americans who rely on it.”

McCaskill, who was born in Rolla, Mo. and has led the charge to save rural post offices and preserve postal delivery standards, recently discussed the urgent need for comprehensive Postal Service reform, which would help protect delivery service for Missourians in rural communities, saying it is “essential to rural America.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Jon Tester of Montana, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

Video: Congressman Steve King delivers mail

MASON CITY, Iowa – It’s a sight you don’t see every day. U.S. Representative Steve King, is getting an inside look at the Mason City Post Office, and he’s joining in on the route as well. He was invited by Herb Copley, who is a letter carrier and the Vice President of the Iowa State Association of Letter Carriers. Copley wants to show the Congressman around, and give him a look at what actually happens behind the scenes at the Post Office. And hopefully, make him aware of the challenges the USPS faces. “It looks pretty easy to go out to deliver mail,” Copley says, “But I think the Congressman got a better idea of what we do and once he understood what we do than it’s easier to talk about the issues that we face.”

Read more: Congressman Steve King delivers mail | KIMT 3.

Republican budget would take $32 billion from your TSP retirement savings

The Republicans slipped a little surprise for postal and federal workers into their recent budget proposal- essentially making the TSPs’ G Fund worthless, according to the Washington Post’s Joe Davidson:

Among the policy retreads, there was a surprise in the House package.

Republicans want to make the most popular employee investment fund in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) worthless. To save $32 billion over 10 years, House Republicans propose changing the fund’s interest-rate calculation, because, the resolution says, “those who participate in the G Fund are rewarded with a long-term rate on what is essentially a short-term security.”

Going after the TSP “is a new one,” said Kim Weaver, a TSP spokeswoman who has seen “nothing like this before.”

The savings for Uncle Sam would come at a great cost to his staff.

The fund’s current annualized interest rate is 1.88 percent. Adopting the House plan would result in a precipitous interest-rate drop to an annualized 0.01 percent, according to the TSP.

Read more: GOP budget plan has a surprise among list of cuts for federal employees – The Washington Post.