Remembering a Legend

Jay Killackey
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.

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