Melinda Hammond
Director of City Delivery
Outlook July / August 2018
Clear Yourself
My apologies if what I’m about to say seems repetitive; but it’s something that I feel needs repeating. I don’t like having to deal with coworkers losing their jobs or being put in an uncomfortable situation which could have been prevented with a few words of caution. Why risk your job for a few minutes of paid time? This is what carriers do when they leave arrow keys, scanners or any other Accountable items on a shelf, ledge or in another person’s hands without being cleared for them.

Section 261.22 of Your M41 (ACCOUNTABLE ITEMS) states that carriers are called to the Finance Cage (Reg. Cage) or delivered to the carrier at their case. During this time, you are signing this item out for use. The statement continues: “The keys are on a chain which must be securely fastened to a belt or clothing and keys must be returned at the end of the tour of duty.” Based on this statement, why wear sweatpants or leggings which prevent you from securing the item?

Section 431 of the M41 states: “Turn in your keys in exchange for assigned key check or signature clearance.” Remember, you are responsible until this task is completed. I know you can be dealing with hot and humid conditions, both inside and out. And you just want to go home; well, we all do! Think about it, do you really want to be greeted the next morning by your supervisor and the Postal Inspection Service? Both of them questioning you about your missing keys or that you walk in, only to find a Notice of Removal two days later because your keys are missing? The only worry you will have then will be: how will you support the family you had to run home to, won’t it?

We are allotted time to follow the proper procedure. It is written in a manual created by the post office (M41). You do have the right to wait for clearance! You do have the right to protect your job! Don’t leave your Accountable Items anywhere while on duty and make sure you are cleared before you end your tour of duty. If no one is at the Reg. Cage, WAIT! You’re on the clock for as long as it takes. If you give it to someone, make sure they clear you on the same paper that you signed to receive those items. Don’t take their word for it, amnesia becomes convenient whenever necessary. Protect your job as well as the new CCA because they are still learning and will be here after you’ve retired. Cover yourself, and Clear Yourself! It’s really that simple.

Outlook May / June 2018
No Shortcuts
We are approaching our summer season and that means hot and humid days in the forecast. These hot and humid days will cause some letter carriers to take shortcuts. For those of you that case your DPS mail (although we are not supposed to do that) make sure that you take the time to verify your mail before you deliver. Verify the street, block, and number with street sign and number on first house (M41 sec 321.2). Take the time to ring the doorbell, remember to give the customer time to answer (they could be elderly). Write up your 3849 neatly and completely. Follow your local instructions in regards to where to leave it, but make sure you leave it in the mail box or at the door. Whatever you do on the day you’re being walked by management, should be done every day! Both foot carriers and drivers alike, no one is exempt from the process. Foot carriers should walk the same, remember no running! Just keep a moderate pace and do your job the correct way and at a comfortable pace.

Drivers, remember to adhere to the rules and regulations! Inspect your truck every day for defects (M41 sec 621.2). Don’t make that U-turn, go around the block. If you can’t find parking on that narrow block, you just may have to walk it back. Everyone has the right of way when you are operating a postal vehicle. You determine what will happen to your route! Your M41 is your guide, take the time to get to know it because what we do today can and will affect us tomorrow.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you for your help with this year’s food drive. We procured a total of 119,714 lbs. of food this year - 2,391 more pounds than last year. A special thanks to my partner, Tayry Vega, for all of her time and effort to make this a very successful food drive, as well as James Graham of Fordham Station and Kathy Kirton for their time and photography.

Outlook March / April 2018
Happy Spring Everyone! When the springtime arrives, it’s time for our nationwide Annual Food Drive. Every 2nd Saturday in May, we have our food drive to help our local food pantries who typically find their holiday donations are on the verge of depletion around that time.

It all began in 1990 in Phoenix, Arizona when a local food drive was held on November 3rd of that year. After viewing some footage during the 1991 Arizona State Convention, President Sombrotto thought it was a good idea and wanted to join in and do more. So, in October 1991, a pilot food drive was held in 10 cities and a whopping 580,000 pounds of food was collected. Due to the success of the Pilot Program along with some reorganization, the first nationwide food drive was held on Saturday, May 15, 1993.

Here we are now in our 26th year. There are all types of people, from many different walks of life, who are dependent on these food pantries to put food on their tables.

On our 25th Anniversary, Branch 36 procured 117,323 pounds of food. Nationwide, 71 million pounds of food were donated, and to date, 1.6 billion pounds of food have been collected altogether. We are one of the strongest branches around, so let’s do a little bit more! Let’s make it happen!

I would like to draw your attention now onto the topic of Route Adjustments. We all know why the post office sends in their team to do a Route Adjustment. They will add a route if necessary, but rest assured, their primary objective is to see what they can eliminate. They examine your data, your office time, and street time. We are allotted office time to retrieve and return our Accountable items, handle 3982s (change of address labels), process the legal requests from the courts and handle our markups/kill mail/beats.

Let’s talk about office duties, specifically “Kill Mail”. Section 242 of the M41 states what your duties are in the office, before you leave for the street and when you return. Along with casing your deliverable mail, you should also take the time to case your beats according to separation on your case, which is located on the bottom shelf, left-hand side labeled non-machinable/machinable, UTF, IA, NSN and ANK. Your ANK, UTF and Waste/UBBM Mail should be bundled with the top letter annotated for the reason for non-delivery. Mail such as deceased, vacant, moved- left no address, NSN, no mail receptacle and CFS should be annotated individually. It should have your initials, the date and the route number (except CFS), as well as after you’re done tying out, you would then place your kill mail in the throwback case. Take an extra minute to verify the mail before you do this, just to make sure all the mail that you are killing is being placed in the right area. You don’t want a first-class piece to be placed in the waste.

When you return from the street and before you kill mail in the throwback case, the same rules apply. Make sure all mail is annotated properly and put in its proper place. Verify your waste before wasting it, and all the mail that should have that individual endorsement, make sure it is annotated. This is all part of your office duties and responsibilities. You are allotted time to do it, so use it.

Take the time to get cleared on your Accountable items. If that means waiting, then wait; don’t risk your job by leaving the scanner and keys on the ledge. The time you shave off cutting corners can be the reason your route is eliminated. Keep this in mind when you are rushing to get out or rushing to come back. Happy Easter!

Outlook January / February 2018
Unauthorized Time
Happy New Year! The Christmas rush is over; by now things are settling down and back to normal. In the meantime, management is stepping up their game and carriers need to be on point. Their focus now is unauthorized overtime and idling. All time over what has been approved on the 3996 will be considered unauthorized. It is your responsibility to be sure that the time is authorized. First, make sure you submit a 3996. If during the course of the day, you find yourself getting short on time, make the call. Call at least an hour before to give your current status! This will give you time to return should they tell you to do so and you will remain in compliance with the M41 131.41. Another form of communication is your scanner. Use your scanner to send a Rims alert. This message will have the date, time, message and will alert your station of your status. Should they tell you to complete your assignment, follow the instructions! Should they tell you to complete your assignment and be back on time, inform them of the reason why you called and that these instructions are illogical. If you don’t get a response, stay “loyal to the post office” and follow the last instructions given to you. In turn, this will likely lead to the following situation. Management will check your scanner to see if you are working for the amount of hours that you are requesting. If you are sitting idle for over thirty minutes, you will be drawing unwanted attention to yourself.

So when you are out there delivering your mail and packages, keep in mind that your scanner is recording your movements or lack thereof. Big brother is always watching so take your scheduled breaks and manage your time. Don’t give management ammunition to use against you.

Outlook November / December 2017
As you may have noticed, Daylight Savings time has passed. Although we may feel like we have more time to sleep, there is actually less time to deliver mail during the daylight hours. Contrary to what some believe, letter carriers do deliver after dark. That is especially true now that our busy season is in full swing.

Remember, it is the carrier’s responsibility to have a safe delivery during the evening hours. Use crosswalks and be sure the path to the mailbox is free of slipping/tripping hazards and that porch lights are on before attempting delivery. Section 133.1 of the M41 states to always exercise care to avoid personal injury, and to report all hazardous conditions to the Unit Manager. So that when you bring back that mail because the motion sensor was out of order or the trash cans blocked your path to the mailbox, be sure to use that 1571 and verbally make your supervisor aware if it is an ongoing situation.

It is also wise to be in proper uniform. Section 112.5 of the M41 states to maintain a neat, clean and generally creditable appearance. Our uniform informs the customers who we are and ensures that we have a better chance of delivering that item during the night. It also increases your visibility to the approaching car when crossing the street. Flashlights and coalminers’ lights (the ones worn on top of your hat) are not a part of our uniform and we are not allowed to purchase them with our allowance. Please don’t think that this is the answer. Do not allow management to tell you that it is okay to use them; because should an accident occur, do you think they will back you up? No, they will not! We are responsible for our own safety, but when we are out there delivering, we take the safety of the public, especially the elderly, in our hands. Protect yourself and your job because we do not stop for the dark, even though it might delay us a little. Happy Holidays.

Outlook September / October 2017
General Information
First, I would like to begin by saying thank you to Branch 36 President Charlie Heege for this amazing opportunity to serve as the Director of City Delivery.

Next, I would like to draw your attention to the M41 Handbook, General Information Section 112.26, which states: “Do not report at cases or racks before tour of duty is scheduled to begin or linger about cases or racks after tour has ended.”

It is only natural that carriers arrive early to beat traffic, find parking or just to relax before beginning the workday. We also have some carriers who like to get a head start on their workday by casing mail, fingering the DPS, separating packages or just loading their ledge before they officially begin their tour. We must protect our jobs whether it is a foot route, a parcel post assignment, a combo wagon or a collection assignment. We are allotted time to perform our carrier duties (M41 section 121.11) and when we perform those duties off the clock we take away from that time. We take away from our office time, as well as, out street time. It’s a domino effect! We cut our office time, which leads to shortened street time, which leads to pivoting inside and out when you just want to come in and do your assignment before heading home. In doing so, we are also giving management a reason to perform a Count and Inspection of the routes (C& I, JRAP or Route Adjustment). We all know what their main purpose is when this is all said and done: eliminating routes and expanding others.

When you choose to work off the clock, whether in the morning or the afternoon, keep in mind that you are putting your route at risk and, more importantly, your job. We have to protect those who just made regular, those who are going to make regular and those regulars who are nearing retirement. Use your allotted time to case that route, tie out that route, deliver your certified piece, perform that vehicle check or load your vehicle. There is no rush; after all, you are on the clock!

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