Author: tommyroma

Vince Palladino – A Lifetime of Love

Vince Palladino – A Lifetime of Love

palladinoI first met Vince when we were both Letter Carriers. Vince from his beloved Staten Island and me the Lifetime Brooklyn Dodger, Yankee Hating Brooklynite. At this time, I was President of the Christopher Columbus Association of The Brooklyn Post Office. This was the 1970?s when it was a much kinder and gentler Post Office and the words respect and dignity were actually something we believed in and actually DID!

The Columbian Association was a fraternal/ethnic organization dedicated to furthering the Italian-Americans in The Postal Service. Staten Island was part of our MSC and I could not make any inroads with forming a Staten Island Branch of The Columbians. Staten Island had many Italian-Americans who both lived in Staten Island and worked in Brooklyn. A mutual friend told me about a real go-getter on “The Island”,Vince started the Staten Island part of The Columbians & this would prove to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. One that still lives inside of me as I search for the wisdom to continue to help our NAPS Membership.

Time moves quickly and we both become delivery supervisors. Vince becomes “The Legend of Rosebank”, for he had a gift of leadership. His men and women would follow him, working and playing and getting the job done! His first female carrier who I met years ago, asked me if I really knew Mr. Palladino and she was ecstatic when I told her yes, we were good friends. She was very anxious to meet him again and the next time he was on “The Island”, I arranged a surprise visit. Thanks to Vince and his caring ways, this lady was able to work her way through Dental School as a Letter Carrier and became a Dentist.

vince palladinoOur paths continued to cross over the years with both of us making Manager and Vince starting his road to the NAPS National Executive Board. As my children grew older, there was more time for NAPS and I became Brooklyn NAPS Branch 68 President. This is when the real fun began with Palladino. To this day, I can not recall a single conversation that did not begin and end with NAPS and the Post Office. He was always incredulous over the poor treatment of Postal Supervisors and was continuously trying to improve working conditions. His famous story of the “Lady and The Tiger” is a personal favorite. Vince told me that it is USPS Headquarters that determined which Palladino they would deal with, The Lady by communicating in a gentlemanly fashion, reasoning together for the good of all! The “Tiger” unsheathed his claws when the threats and the screaming started. Most of the time, “The Lady” prevailed.

It was 1992/1993, that he faced the real test, “Runyons’ RIF”. Panic, anxiety & pain rushed through the entire EAS workforce. Vince joked about thanking Rubin for passing the baton of leadership to him BUT it was no joke. People’s jobs were in jeopardy and something had to be done. The results are well known with upgrades, promotions, transfers and saved grade. Palladino achieved what few thought were possible, a VICTORY that enhanced the working lives of all EAS.

Vince for years wanted me to move up in the organization and finally I agreed to become New York Area Vice-President . Roma, he said you must hit the ground running. There is no OJT, too much to do, we must come up with better ways for the membership to be compensated. WE must convince the Postal Service that we need to be partners in order for USPS to succeed for ALL of us! “We must get on the train or risk being run over by it”. This early mentoring led me to the halls of Postal Service Headquarters and my ability to be on the team. Not the enemy but someone who recognized that the common goal of USPS and NAPS is mutual respect and dignity. With Vince as our leader, this was the reputation we enjoyed with The Postal Service.

This year, 2009 marks the fifth anniversary of Vince in Heaven. I miss my friend and mentor but I know that he is listening to me with my prayers.

God Bless you Vince and Thanks for all you have done for us and The Postal Service.

Tommy Roma

Remembering Vinny

I had been serving the insurance needs of NALC and APWU members for ten years when I met Vinny Palladino in 1979 at the Rosebank Post Office in Staten Island, New York when he was NAPS Area Vice President. I learned then that behind his easy going manner and casual laugh was a bright gentleman with a mathematical mind. He explained the pension and life insurance benefits of FERS and gave me some material which he thought would be helpful in counseling Postal employees. I also found that he and I shared a passion for detail to service.

Shortly thereafter, he suggested that I contact Frank Torres, who was the President of the NAPS branch in Puetro Rico, because Vinny believed that those members were probably underserved by the insurance industry. Little did I know that I would spend the next nine months living in Puetro Rico and eventually opening an office in Hato Rey! Needless to day, I was grateful to a man who not only took interest in the welfare of his members; but also in helping me, a complete stranger. Later on that year, Vinny introduced me to the Northest Director of Labor Relations, Charlie Scialla; and the three of us remained acquaintances and friends until Vinny’s death five years ago.

While Ruby Handleman was NAPS President, I introduced Guaranteed Acceptance Disability and Life Insurance. Ultimately, those programs, along with the annual Vincent Palladino Memorial Scholarship (dedicated in 2005) were approved by the Executive board in 1993. The disability and Life Insurance programs and scholarships still serve NAPS members today.

In closing, I feel privileged to have known Vinny for almost thirty years. I witnessed his intelligence, negotiating skills, and most importantly, his humanity, first hand. He was a great president who could lead with strength and humor at the same time. He loved his family, and he loved his job. He was fiercely dedicated to both. Like every one who knew, respected, and admired Vinny, I miss him.

John Pescitelli, President
M3 Technology

Where do I begin?

Vince Palladino? Where do I begin? He was the most intelligent, serious, hard-working NAPS officer I ever had the pleasure to work with, who showed much understanding and compassion to those who needed help at work. Vince knew that there were a lot of problems that couldn’t be solved at the local level or through the NAPS chain of command, and never hesitated to help a member in need.

Although I don’t remember the exact year, I believe I first met Vince in 1987 or 1988, when San Antonio Branch 103 was preparing to host the 1988 National Convention. One of our local Branch 103 officers asked me to pick up the national NAPS Secretary at the San Antonio airport. I was branch president at the time, and because I was not familiar with NAPS protocol, I was informed that as local president, it was my duty to pick up NAPS officers whenever they came to our fair city. Ruby Handelman, who was national president at the time, and his lovely wife Evelyn, also came in to visit. All of our branch members who met them were pleased to be working with them.

Upon first meeting Vince, I was taken aback by his friendliness, boldness and frankness. And sense of humor? His pranks, teasing, jokes and hearty laughter were legendary. If I had to sum it up, I would say that initially I was just a little afraid of that New Yorker. Whenever he would go off on his tirades against the Postal Service, I would tease him about being such a ray of sunshine, and Bob McLean once quipped that “Vinnie had finally met his match.”

The 1988 convention Branch 103 hosted was a resounding success, prompting Rubin to tell us, (as he was prone to tell everyone else who hosted a national convention), YOUR convention was the best ever!!

Postal duty called me to USPS headquarters in Washington, DC, in 1990, when I was sent there to work on a “three week detail.” Postal officials kept me there for over two years. After having taken the Early Out offered in 1992, I was promptly hired back as a contractor. I was still working for the USPS in 1997 when Elaine Traylor, Vince’s highly esteemed and very capable secretary, suddenly passed away.

Vince was understandably distraught at Elaine’s passing, and was trying to figure out how to replace her. As I recall, it was two of his closest friends, Ruby Handelman and our head of the NAPS Disciplinary Defense Fund, Charlie Scialla, who came up with the idea that perhaps I could go work for NAPS Headquarters. Both Ruby and Charlie knew me as San Antonio branch president and as a USPS Headquarters employee. They knew I had worked not only as a small-town postmaster, but had worked at the local, regional and USPS headquarters levels. They figured that my background would serve Vince and NAPS well. When I heard of their proposal, I told Vince it might be worth a try, and that if it didn’t work out, I could always go back to the USPS as a contractor.

I was constantly amazed at how fast Vince worked–not only did he read all relevant information that came into the office; he knew everything that was going on in the Postal Service, and never allowed anything to sit on his desk for long. I was in awe at how he could answer any question put to him, whether it had to do with mail processing, customer service, sales, whatever. The only time he had to say “I’ll get back to you,” was when he had to call some USPS manager or postmaster to plead a case for a member. And boy, did he have a wide network of USPS friends and acquaintances. But whether he had ever met them or not, he never hesitated to call the “deciding official,” or whoever it took, to get what he wanted–to help the membership. He was afraid of no one, and never hesitated to call throughout the country when necessary.

One time he received a letter from a member in the Northeast area who desperately needed a transfer to Las Vegas to be with her ailing mother and father. She had already tried the NAPS chain-of-command, and even the local Las Vegas branch had tried helping her, to no avail. We couldn’t understand why, since we knew that Las Vegas was growing at an unprecedented pace at that time. Vince promptly got on the phone and contacted the appropriate district manager, who asked us to send her application for transfer. She was promptly hired and happily working in Las Vegas not long after that. Actually, while working in his office, I found many letters and cards thanking Vince for what he had done for them. He understood that sometimes even knowledgeable and capable local officers are unable to solve all issues. Sometimes all it took was a phone call from NAPS headquarters to get the job done, sometimes it took more. But whatever it took, Vince did it.

Whenever I accompanied him to any NAPS function anywhere, he tried to be a gentleman, making his way to the bar to get me a drink. While his intentions were great, he never came back–I would look around, and there he’d be, surrounded by a bunch of NAPS members wanting to talk to him. I knew how important this was to them, and how he reveled in answering questions. If he had my drink in his hand, I quietly went up to him and grabbed it out of his hand, leaving some people wondering who I was and why I was grabbing a drink away from him. It didn’t take me long to figure out that if I needed a drink, I had to get in line and get it myself, also getting him his favorite–diet Coke, and taking it to him–I figured by then, his throat must be dry and he needed a drink!

He was equally at ease and happy speaking to the Postmaster General, or any NAPS member, especially the newest or youngest, giving each his undivided attention, The last NAPS function that Vince and I attended was a Branch 1 Christmas party held in conjunction with a business trip for the planning of the 2008 convention. I distinctly remember a nice new NAPS member coming up and introducing himself to Vince. They both proceeded to carry on a very animated conversation concerning the young man’s experience, and his new job and responsibilities in mail processing. I again thought at the time, how wonderful it was that Vince was so willing to encourage, inform and give advice to the youngest of our members. He was equally at ease doing this, as he was in talking to Postmaster Generals and Senators, one-on-one.

I consider Vince’s sudden passing an enormous loss not only to those of us who loved him, but to the Postal Service as well. He knew and understood, and never forgot the fact that without the USPS, there would be no NAPS.

My trial period as Vince’s assistant lasted from March, 1997, until December 20, 2004, when Vince’s generous, compassionate, loving heart stopped. One thing I am very thankful for is that through him, I met the most wonderful people from New York and New Jersey, especially Vince’s long-time branch 110 president Brian and Kris Michaelson, Tommy and Cathy Roma, Andy Sozzi, Charlie and Marie Scialla, John and Susan Yuen, John and Antoinette Pescitelli, plus too many others to single out.

I am back home in San Antonio and active again in my local NAPS Branch 103, but will never forget the wonderful people and times I spent with so many members I met while traveling throughout the U.S. Again, I say: “HE WHO LIVES ON IN THE HEART OF ANOTHER, NEVER REALLY DIES”

Rosa Flores


Remembering a Legend

Jay Killackey
Secretary/Treasurer
National Association of Postal Supervisors

In 1994, I was the branch president in Boston for Branch 43. Vince Palladino called me one day and asked me if I would represent NAPS on a workgroup that was being established to come up with a new method of making supervisors. I told Vince that I would gladly do this for NAPS.

On a cold, snowy day I landed in Chicago where it was 14 below and, for the next year, I travelled every week to OakBrook, Illinois to work with a group of supervisor and managers to develop the Associate Supervisor Program. During this same period of time, we had a Postmaster General named Marvin Runyon. As most of you will remember, NAPS did not initially have a good relationship with “Carvin Marvin” and he and Vince were always sparring over their differences.

In early 1997 the ASP program was being rolled out in the field and the first graduating ceremony was going to be in Dallas, Texas. Once of the individuals who I worked with from Postal headquarters called me and asked me if I was going to attend the graduation. I responded that I hadn’t received an invitation.

I contacted Vince’s secretary, Elaine Traylor, about the graduation ceremony and asked if NAPS headquarters knew anything about the ceremony. Elaine said that she would contact Marvin Runyon’s secretary.

It turned out that NAPS had not yet been considered to attend and; but much to my surprise, the Postal Service invited Vince Palladino to attend the graduation. This invitation actually turned into a dramatic change in the relationship between NAPS and Marvin Runyon.

As fate would have it, upon arriving at the airport gate for the flight that day, Vince and Runyon met up and greeted each other. As they boarded the plane, Vince walked past Runyon who was seated in first class and Vince took his seat in coach. Runyon insisted that the airline brought Vince up to first class to sit next to Runyon. Vince later related how surprised he was at the sudden, unexpected seating change.

For those of us who knew Vince and also Marvin Runyon, you would just have to appreciate the significance of Vince and Marvin side-by-side on two planes for over seven hours! Vince re-told the story many times about this trip and how he took full advantage of the opportunity and how he wondered if Runyon ever regretted inviting Vince up to the front of the plane.

Nevertheless, during the flight down and back from Dallas and the time that they spent together in Dallas, both Vince and Marvin found many things to talk about and established a lot of common ground that their prior battles never could have accomplished. Vince would later say that he was convinced that the trip resulted in Runyon agreeing to upgrade station managers who had long been rated lower than postmasters in performing comparable work.

Following that trip, the relationship between two monumental leaders took a turn for the better and both NAPS and the Postal Service were better off for it. How could anyone not agree with Vince if you gave him seven hours to do the convincing?

Vince was the kind of person who always left an indelible mark on everything he did. Marvin found something out about our president on that trip, that Vince was honest, Vince knew the Postal Service, Vince cared about NAPS and its’ members, and Vince could negotiate win-win situations where everyone benefitted. From that time forward Vince became a trusted ally of the Postmaster General and some of the best things that ever happened in the Postal Service and NAPS occurred during this period of time.

I was very happy to know that by having made that call to Vince’s secretary, in some small way I was able to help Vince in his relationship with Marvin Runyon. It goes to show you that somehow anyone can change the course of history.

Every day when I come into the office, I look at Vince’s picture and say “good morning”. I am proud to say that I am a “Palladino guy” and that Vince mentored me for many years.

As a New Englander, there are many reasons why we are competitors with New Yorkers; from the Red Sox, to the Bruins, the Patriots, and the Celtics. I have come to love New York and New Yorkers because it is their passion that was embodied in everything that Vince stood for; tough yet compassionate, smart yet humble and always there for the little guy.

Vince, your leadership of NAPS and the love that you had for everyone will never be forgotten! Thanks for all that you did to guide me to where I am today.

Vince

I was working in GPO Staten Island, the morning the phone call was received by one of the new supervisors. She reported to the Managers’ office and told us, “I don’t know what to do with Anthony Palladino?”
Of course, we both thought it was a work floor issue, until she answered the question what happened? In stunned silence we were in disbelief, but me being the Postal cynic/skeptic figured it was a cruel prank and called NAPS Headquarters. The news did not reach NAPS yet, so for a brief moment we had hope. Hope which left in minutes as my cell phone rang and it was Mary Lou Palladino, (Vince’s oldest daughter)who simply said, “isn’t it terrible”.

Five years have now passed and I am afraid that the adage of Time Healing All Wounds has NOT worked for me. If you were not fortunate to know Vince as I did, you missed a man who always cared about the other people. He consistently put the needs of the members above anything else, including his health. There has been much written about the 1992/1993 RIF, the bottom line He not only saved many of us from the unemployment line BUT enhanced our relationship with PMG Runyon and USPS Headquarters.

I thank the family for sharing their ‘Prince’ with us, the NAPS family.
He is in a better place, watching all and I know we will never see the like of him again!

Brian Michaelson, President
Handelman-Palladino Branch

Officers

Officers

0241-copy-199x300Andy Sozzi
Northeast Regional V.P. NAPS,
Emeritus

jimmy warden 03-11James Warden
Secretary/Treasurer
NAPS Resident Officer

Tommy Roma HeadshotTommy Roma
Northeast Regional V.P. NAPS

Dioenis D. PerezDioenis D. Perez
New York Area V.P. NAPS

0111Jay Killackey
NAPS Consultant

0272-copy-199x300Charles Scialla
D.D.F. Emeritus Provider NAPS

Tough Love

Tough Love

I call this problem the “Postal/NAPS Paradox.” The vast majority of NAPS members and officers have dealt with it since the beginning of our association more than a century ago. I’m talking about dealing with the poor-performing supervisor in the workplace without compromising your integrity.

You are a station manager and the local branch president. You know the reality of the situation: Your supervisor constantly fails to perform his duties and, even worse, lies to you. Work that you have assumed was completed, e.g., street supervision, route inspection and driver observations, simply wasn’t done. Even worse, you have advised your area manager, “Don’t worry, I took care of it!”

This starts a chain of events that is so predictable it is pathetic. The station manager is called on the carpet by either or both the area manager and postmaster and given the famous “Shape up or ship out” talk (remember, I was in the U.S. Navy). It’s easy to blame your subordinate and throw him or her under the bus. But here is the paradox: The station manager/NAPS president now must write up the supervisor to get off the hook.

What is one to do? Write up the person you are going to represent?

The key is to prevent this situation from ever happening. And, yes, that’s easier said than done! Just as with any employee, communication remains the key. Is there a reason for the poor performance? Personal problems impacting the job? Get EAP involved. Lack of knowledge? Get PEDC involved.

Most people want to excel in their positions; no one starts off the day with the thought of doing a bad job. We need to learn the reason why something is happening. An oil change is always cheaper than a complete engine replacement.

The old days, which were only two or three years ago, allowed you to move the weak employee around and, eventually, to an easy station where he or she could hide. Well, there are no easy stations/tours for anyone to get lost in anymore. The underachiever will drain you, the operation and the branch, eventually taking down other people in the unit.

Do everything you can, both as a manager and a NAPS officer, to help the supervisor before a situation reaches the point of discipline. You cannot serve two masters!

Tommy Roma – TROMA927@cs.com

About Tommy Roma

TOMMY ROMA – NAPS NORTHEAST REGION VICE PRESIDENT

Tommy Roma HeadshotTommy Roma entered the Postal Service March 1, 1968 as a substitute letter carrier in Brooklyn, NY. He was promoted to Supervisor of mails in 1978. He became a member of the National Association of Postal Supervisors from day one of his supervisory career and rose through the ranks of NAPS from Executive Board member to President of NAPS Branch 68 Brooklyn N.Y. He was elected New York Area Vice President of NAPS at the National Convention in Alaska September 2000, and has set out to make a difference.

After serving in various higher levels, he was promoted to Manager Ryder station EAS22, a position he retired from in 2014. Tommy had been employed with the Postal Service for 46 years. He is very active in the community and gave financial help to needy people who needed major surgery and could not afford it. He was also cited for his work with the Community boards, Mary Queen of Heaven baseball League, and the Bergen Beach Youth Council for his help with the youth of those organizations. He also has been recognized by local Politicians in the Ryder area for his help to the community over the years.

Tommy is married to his lovely wife, Cathy, who he says deserves lots of credit for standing by him and putting up with him for the last 47 years. They have a married daughter, Victoria, who resides in St. Petersburg Florida and is the proud parent of their first Grandson, Marco Thomas, who is now 10 years old; and, a son, John, who graduated Xaverian High School and entered the Postal Service as a letter carrier. He currently is the Manager of Maintenance, USPS, Triboro, following in his father’s footsteps. John married his lovely wife, Christina, 6 years ago and on July 9, 2020 blessed the family with the birth of their son, Thomas John Roma, who weighed in at 7 lbs and 20 inches tall. God bless them.

Communications!

Communications! That is what this web page is all about, Me sharing information with you the members that I proudly serve.  No NAPS funds are used to support this site so it is really the Tommy Roma page.  This provides me the freedom to really tell it like it is and provide valuable assistance to all.

I encourage you to visit this site frequently and check out the various links that are provided for your information.  Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome. The ever changing landscape of the Postal Service requires timely news, so please LOG IN!

Tommy Roma

arrow back to top