Category: Articles

THE END OF AN ERA

After 46 years of service to the USPS, I am officially hanging up my postal shoes! This has come with mixed emotions because I felt I could still make a difference. Dealing with the public and the employees is what I did best. We always managed to get the job done through the employees and public because I had one belief, “Treat everyone the way you wanted to be treated and the rest would come naturally”. I instilled in everyone I ever interacted with that, “The impossible would just take a little longer to achieve,” and that, “You could accomplish anything you put your mind too.”

The term ”JUST DO IT” was first used by me before it became famous with Nike sneakers.

Naps will be the beneficiary of my retirement as I now can devote 100% of my time to them. I will maintain 2 offices in Brooklyn and have acquired a third one on Staten Island, N.Y. I have done all this to keep the lines of communication with the membership I love to serve at an all-time high.

My last Christmas in the Postal Service after 46 years proved to be a profitable one. With the Amazon account leading the way, we proved that we are truly the Best of the Best. With the expected increase of first class mail (Christmas cards) our employees once again rose to the challenge. Every parcel and first class letter was delivered on time. Our lobby windows were staffed, lobby directors breaking the lines whenever necessary. We again met the challenge. Our trucks kept rolling helping Santa to fulfill the wishes of many children and adults. I can truly say that I am retiring with a sense of pride, knowing that our employees, when the chips are down, can’t be matched.

God bless you all and Merry Christmas,
Tommy

Federal Agencies Abandon the U.S. Postal Service

This is an interesting article written about a subject that I have complained about many times in the past. The author is Truman Lewis a former reporter and bureau chief for broadcast outlets and magazines.

Everyone knows the U.S. Postal Service is in trouble, but is anyone doing anything about it?

Well federal agencies are. They’re taking their business elsewhere. A new report finds that out of $337 million spent on shipping last year, federal agencies spent only $4.8 million with the Postal Service, less than two percent. The lion’s share of the money went to FedEx and the United Parcel Service.

Please put your thinking caps on, as NAPS members; how many times have we visited our Congressmen and Senators offices only to see FedEx and UPS mailings on their staffs desks? I always see FedEx and UPS trucks idling outside their office buildings making pickups. Where are the USPS trucks? Very few if any.

Why you ask?

One big reason is that, unlike private companies, the Postal Service can’t sell any products below cost, even if doing so would enable it to snag contracts that would be profitable overall. Who would impose such an onerous and un-business like restriction on what is supposed to be a semi-independent government corporation? CONGRESS, of course.

Case in point, as a former Customer Service Rep for the USPS, I was charged with selling our products to the general public and businesses. When speaking with the decision makers of the firms it was not the service in question, it was the discounts and giveaways that FedEx and UPS offered. We offered nothing and guess who got the business?

Mr. Truman went on to say the Postal Service has much in common with Amtrak and the District of Columbia. All are hamstrung by Congressional micromanagement that leaves them often unable to pursue simple initiatives that would improve their fortunes and provide better service to their subjects.

But while the Postal Service is forbidden from, say, granting a big discount on one service that would let it sell additional, profitable services, we are also hampered by the 5.1.billion dollar a year pre funding of our future retiree’s health benefits. This was imposed upon us by Congress in 2006. No other federal agency was ever asked to do this.

The Postal Service’s Inspector General says that while the situation looks grim, all is not lost. Although its competitors have consistently captured more than 98 percent of shipping revenue from federal agencies through GSA contracts, the Postal Service has opportunities to increase its share of this market, the IG said in its report.

On the other hand, the situation is not going to be resolved quickly. Because the Postal Service missed out on contract opportunities, many federal agencies have several years to go on their existing contracts with FedEx and UPS.

Stay Strong!
Tommy Roma

What is Happening Here?

It seems that the USPS and Congress cannot agree on anything. The Postal Service advises the Board of Governors that effective August 2013 they will implement 5 day delivery. Congress says hold on you can’t do that without Congress approving it. The tug of war begins again. We the workers are once again left in limbo. Will our jobs be abolished or must we travel great distances to try to save our careers. We have the Republican House looking to privatize the Postal Service, and the Democratic Senate looking to preserve our National Treasure. We once again are caught in the middle and all we want to do is work and serve the public like we have done for many years.

Being a National officer with NAPS, I can honestly say the USPS from Headquarters down to the Districts during this latest RIF worked closely with me to make sure we found a landing spot for every EAS employee who was affected. They might have lost their comfort zone but in the end they landed on their feet. We placed everyone in a job (Thank God). If this were the private sector there would have been layoffs galore.

We just completed our most successful Northeast training seminar in Puerto Rico February 8th-9th 2013. This was by far the most informative 2 days of training that I have ever been a part of. From the USPS side we had Mr. Anthony Vegliante, and Mr. John Mularski, and from NAPS we had Mr. Louis Atkins, Mr. Jay Killackey, Mr. Brian Wagner, Mr. Ivan Butts, Mr. Neftali Rivera, Mr. Jim Warden, Mr. Cy Dumas, Mr. Hans Aglidian, and myself. This was a happening and I personally want to thank everyone who attended. A special thank you also to Sheri Davies of Conference Direct who made this all happen.

On a sad note, I along with the President and National officers of NAPS attended the Funeral of former Mideast Area V.P. Robert (Bob) Towns who passed away March 14, 2013 after a long illness. The funeral mass was March 22, 2013. I have many fond memories of Bob who I had the pleasure of sitting next to at all board meetings. He was a fighter for the people he represented in New Jersey and it certainly showed by the turnout at the Funeral Mass. My condolences go out to Cathy and Family…. Rest in Peace my friend.

In closing, let me use the term of my Friend Andy Sozzi to, “Stay Strong” with all the turmoil that surrounds the Postal Service these days and to let you know that NAPS is behind all of its members. I will fight to save any EAS job’s that may be affected in the future. Please visit my website tommyroma.org for all my articles and updates.

 Tommy Roma

A Holiday Story

Jay Killackey
Executive Vice President

Postal employees, supervisors, managers and postmasters go out of their way for their customers every day of the year, but especially during the holiday season. I want to share a story from my past that really shows how much postal employees care about their customers.

Before I came to serve NAPS at headquarters, I was a station manager in a large facility outside of Boston. Just before Christmas a letter carrier picked up a handwritten note out of a collection box. It was just an old tattered piece of paper, without an envelope. It was a dear Santa letter from a little boy named Carlos.

In the letter, Carlos wrote that he was seven years old and lived with his mother and had a brother and a sister. He said that his mother’s boyfriend used to hit his mother and make her cry. Carlos said that his mother told him that she didn’t have much money so Christmas wouldn’t be good for Carlos and his brother and sister.

Carlos’ letter to Santa had a simple request; Carlos asked if Santa would make his mother’s boyfriend stop hitting her. Then Carlos closed with one more request. Carlos said he didn’t want anything for himself but he did ask if Santa could give just one present for his brother and sister so they would have something for Christmas.

When the letter was turned in the carriers in the unit started asking around the neighborhood to find a seven year old boy named Carlos. It didn’t take long to identify where Carlos lived and the Santa letter was turned over to the police. The police took care of the boyfriend. But, now someone had to take care of the other request that Carlos made.

All the employees in the office were so moved by the letter and the selflessness of little Carlos that a collection garnered enough money to stuff the back of an LLV with Christmas presents. A letter carrier who regularly donned a Santa suit before Christmas drove the truck to the house. With the help of several elves wearing carrier uniforms, Santa made a special delivery of presents to children who otherwise may have had nothing for Christmas.

There is no group of employees in any business that cares more about their customers than postal employees. Perhaps you may be wiping tears from your eyes about now because you too know of stories like this in your own community and how postal employees stepped up and reached out to help customers.

Perhaps you may want to reach out and help someone less fortunate this holiday season. Happy holidays!

HURRICANE SANDY

While most of the general population of New Yorkers escaped the grasp of Hurricane Sandy, the shorefront homes and businesses of the 5 Boroughs did not.  Brooklyn, Staten Island, Far Rockaway and parts of Long Island received a blow to the stomach. Destruction of homes, boats, cars, businesses, was the norm as people started to dig out. New Yorkers are survivors and will rebuild but this hurricane will be etched in our memories forever. People who lived close to the water refused to leave their homes and unfortunately paid the ultimate price. The last count of fatalities from Sandy was 28. PLEASE SEE PHOTO’S OF HURRICANE SANDY LISTED UNDER EVENTS on my website, only then will you see the destruction this Hurricane caused. As usual with New Yorkers when the going gets tough New Yorkers get going. Neighbors helping neighbors, businesses helping the general public any way they can.

On the day after the hurricane I was trying to get to work in Brooklyn and was rebuffed at the Verrazano Bridge. I made a right hand turn and somehow approached Father Capadonno Blvd. This boulevard runs along the shore in Staten Island. What I witnessed there will remain with me forever. Houses completely destroyed, Boats ripped from its moorings came ashore and were imbedded in the homes. People walking all over the place in a daze; believe me it was like a war zone. I was told that the water surge came all the way to Hylan Boulevard which is about 1 mile in from Capadonno Boulevard. This surge took no prisoners and destroyed everything in its path. Now I know what the people of Louisiana went through with Hurricane Katrina. Sandy was a category 1 hurricane while Katrina was a category 4. WOW.

F.E.M.A. was on hand right away and began helping. Businesses and volunteers set up kitchens outside and began feeding people who were actually homeless at the time. Donations of clothes, food, and other necessities came rolling in from all over the country, people helping people. During this crisis I even witnessed our Democratic and Republican politicians helping out any way they could. The highlight was when our President came and told the people that the Government would stay until everything was finished. I heard over and over again, we came through 911 we will get through this. Power has been restored and New York is already rebuilding. And guess what, the Postal Service never stopped getting the mail to the people affected, this tells you something about the people of New York and our Postal Service.

In closing let me say THANK YOU to all our friends for their concern and offers of help, we are on our way back and hopefully everyone can enjoy their Holidays.

“A Christmas Carol”

The famous story by Charles Dickens can be re-told as Postal Past, Present, and Future.

The past which many of us complained about is actually NOW the good old times. Words such as RIF, soft landing, consolidation never entered our vocabulary. Instead we worried about the next promotion, pay raise, specific assignments, but NOT the trauma that we ARE FEELING TODAY. I THINK OF OUR LEADERSHIP THAT WE HAVE LOST IN THE PAST, Rubin Handelman, Vince Palladino and my dear friend Andy Sozzi. I wish they were all here to help us with the Postal Present.

The Postal Present is filled with so much uncertainty, that this Postal/Military Veteran cannot see the Postal future. So many of us made the Postal Service a career choice because it provided the security and steady paycheck that we all need as family men and women. All of this security has now eluded us as we receive General RIF Notices via certified mail. The pain is tremendous but we must continue in the hope that the politicians and Postal Leadership will finally rectify this situation.

The Postal Future remains murky. The help we require is just around the corner with this “Lame-Duck” session of Congress. Will the partisan difference be put aside for the good of USPS and ultimately the American Public that we serve?

Please if all of this stress is affecting your physical/mental health, seek professional help. Be it an MD, or therapist, do not allow this mess to make you sick. Stay Strong as Andy would tell you.

I wish everyone the happiest of holiday seasons and even a Merry Christmas to Scrooge!

You Never Walk Alone

To My Friends,

It has been a difficult period for my family the past several months with illnesses. We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this time of uncertainty.

First, my 87 year old father-in-law, who was a 100% disabled veteran and an amputee, was diagnosed with multiple cancers eight months ago. He determined that he did not want to go through chemotherapy and decided to let the disease take its’ course. He wanted to once again join his wife of 55 years Mary who preceded him over two years earlier. Since her passing he lived alone and Mary was always on his mind.

Recently he began to fail and his children took turns providing him 24 hour care so he could remain at home. Only four days before his passing he moved to the Veterans Administration Hospital because of the difficulties he had in moving as an amputee. He passed with dignity and had a wake and funeral that was attended by his entire family and hundreds of friends.

Also, for the past several months, my wife Suann has been suffering from extreme fatigue that could not be identified or resolved. The condition became so severe she could not perform everyday functions. Tests found that her liver enzymes were extremely high and her liver was enlarged. Suann had extreme abdominal pain and no energy.

We began many anxious days fearing the unknown. But, all of the tests taken did not produce a cause. She underwent ultrasounds, CT Scans, X-rays and a liver biopsy in rapid succession. It was not until four days before her father’s passing that a diagnosis of Epstein-Barr syndrome, a transient fatigue condition was diagnosed and other more serious conditions were rejected as causes.

During this entire time, the support we received from you was invaluable. You were a source of strength in difficult times. Every email I received was shared with Suann and Jessalyn, our ten year old daughter. Jessalyn was concerned about her best friend’s (her mother) health and she was also in the process of losing her only remaining grandparent with whom she had a close personal bond.

It was comforting to my family to have the support, thoughts and prayers of so many people who have come into our lives as a result of our affiliation with NAPS. NAPS is indeed a family, a family who stands ready to provide support and comfort in difficult times.

We wanted you to know how much your concern and support meant to us. May your holidays be blessed as we are blessed to have you as friends.

Suann, Jessalyn and Jay Killackey

We Still Believe

We Still Believe

Jay Killackey
Executive Vice President

Last year NAPS lost one of its best, Andrew Sozzi, our former Northeast Region Vice President. Andy was beloved by many in our organization. As much as the leadership of NAPS was familiar with Andy, what most of you don’t know about Andy, I want to share with you during this holiday season for Andy was a special person in the eyes of some of the neediest kinds in New York.

During his life, Andy was the cornerstone of the New York Post Office’s “Operation Santa” program where he donned a big red suit and greeted needy children whose only hope for a happy holiday was the generosity and caring of postal employees and citizens of New York who donated their time and gifts to make the Christmas holiday a little brighter for those less fortunate. Andy’s large girth made him a logical candidate for the job, but even more it was the size of his heart that made him perfect for the job.

Andy was always a giving and caring person. As an only child, he committed his time to caring for his widowed mother. Not having a family of his own, he adopted hundreds of children every year as he greeted children who longed to meet Santa and ask for something special for Christmas. The Operation Santa program has had the daunting task of accepting and reviewing upwards of 30,000 requests for assistance in an average holiday season. This put a great strain on organizing and collection donations of cash and gifts, but it was a labor of love for the employees of the New York Post Office.

After a long day at work, Andy would so enjoy donning “the suit” to greet wide-eyed children and attempt to make their wishes come true. Anyone who knew Andy was aware that he liked the temperature cool and he regularly built up a thick sweat when he was forced to wear a suite and tie for work. It didn’t matter how hot that Santa suit got as Andy worked the long line of children anxious to see Santa and hear his bellowing laugh and the warmth of his hugs.

Looking at the material from those happy days with Santa provided from his friends in the New York Post Office caused me to reminisce about the man that we thought we already knew and brought a new dimension to his memory.

Throughout the country, post offices are sponsoring Operation Santa programs every year. Perhaps you might consider checking in with the group in your hometown to see if there is something that you can do in Andy’s memory to make Christmas a little brighter for a child less fortunate.

Winter Board Meeting

Having just returned from our winter board meeting at NAPS Headquarters, I was quite frankly surprised at some of the motions the board entertained. Most notably, a resolution from Utah to buy the three resident officers condos while they are in office, which was soundly defeated by the body at the convention, was re-introduced by a Board member at our meeting. In attempting to explain why he was re-introducing the motion, he alleged that the membership was not fully informed about the resolution at the convention.

Needless to say, the motion failed again. Two of the three resident officers voted No because they realize that it’s not right to go against the vote of the convention body. While some on the Board are persisting on wanting to purchase the condos, the motion was again defeated. One resident officer voted YES and the other two abstained, or refrained from voting, which was quite different from the first vote.

Members persisting who spoke in favor of the motion stated that, at a cost of 2.1 million dollars, it would be a good investment for NAPS. They cited NAPS’ purchase of our Headquarters building as an example. However, that is not a valid comparison. Our building was purchased for somewhat over 3 million dollars, which much less than its actual value at the time. The ideal circumstance had presented itself because the builder had defaulted, as had the bank which had financed it. When NAPS purchased it in the early 90s under the leadership of Vince Palladino, it was purchased from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which was quite anxious to get it off its hands. Additionally, Vince often recounted how, when NAPS showed up at the auction, we were the only ones who seemed to have the money needed to buy. Consequently, NAPS ended up with all four floors, whereas the original intention had been to purchase only one.

Those in favor of purchasing the condos contend that while the resident officers are serving NAPS, they would be required to pay $1,600.00 a month rent. Do the math: at that rate, it would take 46 years to pay for the condos. While I don’t think that investments that benefit NAPS are a bad thing, I know that I will never go against the membership wishes. I definitely will continue to vote NO on this issue. The board member who wants to vote Yes should not attempt to use the executive board to obtain, through the “back door” method, approval of a resolution that was defeated by the membership at the convention.

Jimmy Warden and I have been investigating the contracts of Martin Communications our publisher of the Postal Supervisor and soon to be ex-event planner for NAPS conventions. His last convention will be in 2014 at San Diego California. After examining all paperwork and bills submitted by Martin Communications we found a lot of irregularities. Our findings were turned over to the 3 resident officers at NAPS. They agreed to gather questions from the board to ask Ray Martin to try to find answers. This did not happen as they turned the questions over to him and he had to answer to the board. Jimmy and I led the charge with questions that Ray Martin did not answer correctly or could not answer at all, using such terms as “there were a few OVERSIGHTS,” “I DON’T REMEMBER,” “ABSOLUTELY NOT,” and other similar, evasive non- answers.

Our comparison check with another large printing firm using the NAPS bills submitted by Martin communications resulted in a finding that he has been overcharging us by 10-40%. When asked about this, Mr. Martin told me a contract is a contract and if I disagreed, I should get my lawyer and he will get his. To my surprise a board member who I had considered a friend, accused me of being unprofessional and having gone “over the top” in order to get answers. In my opinion I did not go over the top, what I was trying to do was get answers from someone who was not being truthful. The investigation will continue until we can get the truth.

–Tommy Roma

Heading to Reno

Tommy Roma
Northeast Region Vice President

We are now getting ready to head to Reno to conduct the business of NAPS at our 2012 national convention. This will be the first year that a long-time convention attendee will not be sitting in the delegate area. The person that will be missing this year is my personal friend, Andy Sozzi.

Andy loved NAPS and served with distinction as an officer and president of the largest NAPS branch in the country, Branch 100. Andy was elevated to serve on our national executive board as the Northeast Region Vice President, the job that I proudly serve in today.

Andy and I developed a strong bond over the years even though we came from different backgrounds. Andy graduated from the prestigious Fordham University while I got my degree on the streets of Brooklyn. Together we became the “one-two punch” for members in the New York Area and the lessons that I learned in diplomacy from Andy, coupled with my street-sense have helped me in following in his footsteps in the NAPS Northeast Region.

I am proud to have worked so closely with Andy and to have gained so much from his skills. When times were tough, Andy brought his objectivity and rallying skills to bring successful outcomes to difficult situations. Many times when I wanted to fly off the handle, Andy would calm me down, dissect the problem and, by the time we were done, the problem was solved.

Now, working with my team of Area Vice President in the Northeast; Jimmy Warden, Cy Dumas and Hans Aglidian I am remembering what Andy taught me. Our team of leaders in the NAPS Northeast Region is continuing to serve the interests of our members and it’s not a coincidence that we lead the country in NAPS membership percentage.

We recently held a successful one-day meeting in New York City, where branches from throughout the Northeast Region met with postal executives from postal headquarters, the Northeast and Eastern Regions. Our meeting included an opportunity for face-to-face dialogue between local branch leaders and their respective District Managers, where local issues were discussed and resolved.

Both the Postal Service and NAPS are going through some trying times, but as long as we keep the focus that my friend Andy fostered in his work for NAPS, we will weather the storms we now face and will face in the future. I know that Andy will be watching us in Reno this year and rooting for our continued success.