• Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 9 months ago

    USPS has tried to be innovative but gets squelched by congress and has become the cash cow of the federal government.

    USPS tried to launch secure e-mail (E-com) in the 80's and 90's, it failed. Competition whined and special interests prevailed again.

  • Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 9 months ago

    It seems to me that OIG almost doesn't have enough to do.... Thoughts such as these, as well as the "silly rules" post, are the mark of an organization/group of people who don't have a REAL job... These types of things are a NIT in the scheme of real lives....

    As for the commenters -- let's not Over-think this people; its just about stamps.... (Though I think the philatelic community would have a Great field day with fraction-ated stamps!)

  • Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 9 months ago

    A simplified rate structure will increase demand for USPS products.

    The postal service was onto something with flat rate boxes. It would be good to continue with the theme of simplifying rates.

    I propose marketing books of stamps that reflect a postal rate table that has been simplified.

    Some books of stamps have stamps that are prices to easily cover the postage of a First class mail.

    There are a few types of books that cover Priority mail and there are a few types of book that cover parcel post mail.

    Each book of stamps has a conveniently printed explaination for the rates associated with the particular class of mail.

    The rate table can be a simple formula of a base rate plus a per unit additional weight charge, similar to what there is in first class mail.

    For example, the first ounce may cost 44 cents and each additional ounce may cost 22 cents.

    One first class mail book may include a combination of 44 cent stamps and 22 cent stamps.

    You may also be able to purchase a first class mail book for higher weight first class mail.

    This mail book may include stamps that are $1.32 and $2.42 which would cover 5 ounce pieces and 10 ounce pieces.

    The computation could actually be simplified as (# ounces + 1)*($0.22).

    The mail rate may also depend on a simple zone computation where a person would count up how many zones that the piece must travel.

    The service expections would be clearly printed on the book of stamps and may depend on the number of zones through which the piece must travel.

    This rate structure could also be applied to priority mail and package services.

    For example the computation for priority mail could be something like (2 * # zones + # pounds + 3)*($1.03).

    Some FAQs for mail acceptance rules may be also printed on the books for reference.

    There can also be some simple instructions specifying some special services that may be purchased for the piece. See below**

    The question may arise, what about PAEA and the rule that you can not increase mail rates at a rate faster than the CPI? This can easily be handled because only the average rate can not exceed the CPI. See below for a more detailed discussion.*

    By simplifying the rate structures, people will be more likely to purchase stamps to have on hand for when they need to send something.

    This removes the transactional costs for customers having to go to the post office.

    When a customer wants to send something, they will just put a few stamps on it and leave it for their carrier to be picked up.

    * Economists and lawyers may come to an agreement about how best to meet the requirements of PAEA.

    I may propose a simple computation for computing rates for 2010.

    Step 1: Take the 2006 (first year of PAEA) rate table, and multiply by the 2009 volumes for each of those rates.

    Step 2: Multiply this number by the cumulation of CPIs from 2006 through 2009.

    Step 3: For each class of (competitive) mail, solve for the base rate and additional unit rates so that the multiplication of the resultant rates times the volumes associated with these rate categories from 2009 does not exceed the value computed in step 2.

    There is additional work required for setting reasonable rates when zones are involved as one wants to ensure at least that the additional long distance transportation costs are covered in delivering to these zones, but this should certainly be doable.

    ** The optical readers on the machines may read written information in addition to the destinating address.

    Some data that it could collect includes self reported information such as weight and zone. This would help in verifying proper postage paid both by machine and by carrier.

    Also it could collect data on special services. Perhaps a customer wants an email each time the piece passes through a processing facility.

    Then they could write "email verify" and include their customer id from the website. They then just add the proper number of stamps for this service according to the back of the stamp book.

  • Reply to: FERS Flu: A Looming Epidemic?   5 years 9 months ago

    What happened to the FERS Sick Leave Credit. I am going to retire Feb 10 and I have almost 600 hours of sick leave. The question is, do I get sick or are they finally going to come around and give FERS personnel credit or buy back my hours.

  • Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 9 months ago

    I voted for whole cents but I wish I had voted for a nickel. I don't care what anyone says sending something from the east coast to the west coast for 44 cents is a bargin any way you look at it.

  • Reply to: Preventing Workers’ Compensation Fraud   5 years 9 months ago

    I agree whole heartedly with besharpone. There are those that are truly injured. They ones not have spoiled it for the rest. Again don't get caught up in management trying to pit craft against each other.

  • Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 9 months ago

    Stamps are for the basic American consumer. The Postal Service would rightly be a laughing stock if it broke stamps below the 1 cent increment.

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    Most of the silly practices I've encountered involve an area that has been hit on several times in this blog. Management is more concerned with making their "goals" than with the cost involved.
    1. Pay someone to drive 60 miles to pick up a handful of missent letters.
    2. Paying numerous people to make "special runs" for Express Mail items that did not make dispatch on time.
    3. Scanning a 60 cent Delivery Confirmation label more times than a Certified or Insured item. Just to try and make sure we don't miss one delivery scan because thats the pet project of the time. We're doing scans now that a few years ago, when questioned about doing arrived at unit DelCon scans, we were told "can't do it".
    4. Every employee is checked out before hiring them. Why doesn't management trust us. The "no personal items on the workroom floor" rule is a slap in the face concerning trust.
    5. You hire a Postmaster to run an office, but they are not given the "authority" to run it as they see fit but they are held "responsible" when there's a problem with a rule generated by somebody in an office somewhere who has never even touched a piece of mail. Let the Postmasters and supervisors do their jobs and if they can't perform, get rid of them (don't just move them to a place where they do less harm/work).
    6. Don't try to mandate policy for every office just because some offices/managers fail. Find the problem and fix it. Don't apply a band-aid by making another item to scan, form to sign, or report to submit.
    7. Start treating a city carrier like rural carriers. Yea, I know, the Union won't agree to it. If you treated city carriers like rural carriers, you could eliminate so many programs, reports, headaches, and upper level EAS positions (reduce anyway). DOIS, MSP scans, street time/office time issues, deliveries per hour, office efficiency, street efficiency, requests for overtime, counting every little piece of mail for DOIS, pivot plans, and more I'm sure. And thats just in the local post office. How many OPs Support people are monitoring the "numbers" so they can tell us we're not doing good enough. Why are all these "numbers" only important for city routes and not rural.
    8. The Associate Supervisor Program can not make a supervisor. If people have no experience in supervising people, why are they being selected as supervisors? Answer.....because anybody with any experience can see how the supervisors are treated/paid and unless they "have to" will avoid it like the plague. Supervisors get dumped on from both side and don't get paid appropriately for the crap the put up with. (I'm referring to the rare, qualified supervisor). The bumps on a log supervisors get paid pretty well for what they do. Postmaster's are largely figureheads and most offices run fine without them because the supervisor handles the day to day functions.
    9. I really like the MPOO's who are determined that workhours and mail volume directly correlate. If mail volume drops 20 percent, clerk hours should drop by 20 percent. There are many fixed requirements that make this assumption absurd.
    10. Mystery shopper is a joke. At least in small towns. There is no way you can get an accurate indication of how well an office is performing by a five minute visit a few times a year. My office got scored less than perfect the day the twin towers were destroyed (9/11). The clerks minds were not focused (wonder why). We protested and lost.
    11. Ordering supplies....I got no problem with E-Buy. I got a problem with the six people who have to approve whether or not the office needs everyday office supplies, priority/express shipping supplies, etc. Shouldn't the Postmaster be held accountable for this?
    12. Oh Yea, now we have to add another person to the list when we order a printer toner cartridge and get this........if we don't include the serial number of the printer, the order will be declined.
    13. And if anyone changes something on the order, like a changing the type of pen you ordered because they know of a cheaper one, the entire order has to go back to the requisitioner and start the approval process again. This can happen several times in one order. If we have a certain list of the cheapest versions of items available, why have the other options? The Postmaster should know what he needs better than someone 200 + miles away.
    14. Micro-management is a bad thing. And it appears that the Post Office thinks its the best thing since sliced bread.
    15. VOE is a joke. You have to be counceled before you complete the survey.
    16. DOIS.....we have a program designed specifically to determine how long a carrier should be in the office and on the street based on mail volume. How come management isn't happy if the carrier performs to this standard? They want the carrier in quicker than what DOIS says...go figure. And on top of that, if the carrier has 700 pieces of boxholder mail, they get no additional time. Somebody's never carried mail before, have they?
    17. Many other report fall into this same group of "we need statistics" or "we don't trust you to do your job" reports. CPMS, SPMS, SOX, distribution scans, box up time scans, Del Con scans, and more.
    18. The email communications system is out of control. You receive the same email from 3-5 different people because nobody knows who gets what from who. Upper management, different offices, etc should be contacting lower levels of management, who can determine who actually needs the information, instead of everyone sending everything to everybody. How much time is wasted reading emails that don't apply to you, just because it was easier for the sender to select everyone down to the custodian about management issues.
    I'm tired writing and if you read all this, your tired reading. There is still much more that hasn't been touched.
    It would really be great if the OIG would send out a compilation of what was addressed in this blog. Even if nothing changes.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service Eliminate Sunday Mail Processing Operations?   5 years 10 months ago

    Yes. Please spare all mail from the Flats Shuffler Shredder (FSS) at least one day a week. I'll deliver the beautifully walk sequenced output of 'self-serving printers' on Sunday off the clock. Stay tuned for video highlights.


  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    You can still buy from local merchants, you just have to pay with the IMPAC card. If you can't find what you want thru EBuy, you can local purchase. You can order only one broom through one of the suppliers, I've done it. But if you can't find something, or if you find it significantly less expensive, or if you just need it right away, use the local purchase option.

  • Reply to: The OIG Wants to Know How You Feel about Sick Leave   5 years 10 months ago

    Sick leave is earned. If an employee is sick, that employee should be able to use sick leave without the added stress of having to deal with an abusive supervisor upon the employee's return to work. At my plant, we are understaffed and our "leaders" now use the phrase: "Do more with less". (Fewer people, more work) Then these same clowns want to lecture employees who dare to use 8 hours of sick leave. I have more accrued s/l than my supervisor yet he had the nerve to counsel me for going home sick and using 4 hours. He told me that (the ubiquitous)"they" would want documentation. The more he talked, the less I listened. I've used a grand total of 12 hours of s/l this year and this dummy has the nerve to try and threaten me. I know that it's coming from the people above him, but still...

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    I stood in a very long line while we stared at the one clerk working, and 2 empty posts. Someone mentioned how they read about roomfuls of postal workers, on the clock, not allowed to do productive work.
    I estimated the line would have taken 30 to 40 minutes. But so many people walked out, I almost made it their 5 minute goal.

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    The stupidist rule is we have a "goal" of 5 minutes or less wait time in line. We are considered "successful" if we meet that goal 85% of the time.
    5 minutes is an eternity waiting in a line which is why the number one complaint about the PO is waiting. If we want to change our reputation we should have a goal much lower 2-3 minutes or so.
    I understand management is trying to prevent unprductive employee time by always having a line but the same could be accomplished by ensuring other tasks that need to be done are available for window clerks to move to at dead times without ruining our customer service reputation.

  • Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 10 months ago

    The pundats on TV and radio would make the Postal Service a laughing stock if they priced the First Class stamp in half cent (or less) increments.

  • Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 10 months ago

    The issue is never far from the revenue rate.
    What exactly is the twixter business model of the USPS?

    Does the Treasury issue the stamps. Or does the
    GPO? We're rapidly approaching a Cost per byte
    world. Simply consider the casino industry.
    What is a coin machine (money tree)?
    A player enters the casino, purchases a "players
    card", and viola!, value is created!!!!
    Value is then risked in a transaction of choice,
    provided "buy" the House.


    Wouldn't the price of a First Class electronic transmission equal the price of a required postage
    necessary to execute the same transaction?

    How about a secure, encrypted transaction?

    How about a return receipt transaction?

    Well Mr. Big at the OIG???????????

    Don't you guys down there at 475 L'Enfant Plaza have a slew of lawyers and actuaries, that have been tasked
    with this already????

    What do the Congressional Sub Committees at
    Commerce think about it anyway?????

    "Shirley" they've got a report somewhere?

    Does the I-Phone have an APP for that???

    Why is it the responsibility for the USPS to scan the contents of a package??? Is this integrated into the
    cost of the transaction? I thought this was DHS's
    ballywick? Don't they know where the packages are
    in the Commerce System? Is there some privacy issue
    like, To & From at Risk?

    Some Civil Liberty must be getting violated when
    I send a package of golf balls to Uncle Charlie
    as a gift, and somewhere, somebody knows what the gift
    is already, and who Uncle Charlie & I are?

    Perhaps not....

    Who charges the mailer for this service??

    Looks like the Price of Meat is going up again!!!
    In fractional increments, that is.

    It's Action Jackson time Mr. FED-X & UPS.

  • Reply to: A Penny for Your Thoughts?   5 years 10 months ago

    Rounding up for purchasing small quantities of stamps would help (a little) to pay for the high cost of selling stamps in small quantities.

    Aunt Minnie faces things that are 3 for a dollar at the grocery regularly. She can deal with stamps.

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    "No Lunch Punch" code 093 in DOIS. Can be done any time during the day.

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    All your supervisor has to do is enter a no lunch code into DOIS. I believe its 093.

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    why not just go to your printer properties and change the setting to NOT print on both sides?

    by changing the properties you will not have to change it every time you print. and do not believe that changing it when you print will work it will not, you must click the start button and then go to "printers and faxes" look for the printer you sue and change it there.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service Eliminate Sunday Mail Processing Operations?   5 years 10 months ago

    Tell me why USPS workers need a union?
    Unions clearly cost us all money by forcing the USPS to overpay what unskilled labor workers are truly worth. I say let the market determine how much a USPS employee will accept as fair compensation for a good days work along with the rest of the employers of the world. Disband the union and I bet we could keep at least the same level of service at a much cheaper price and better quality!

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service Eliminate Sunday Mail Processing Operations?   5 years 10 months ago

    Maybe if the employees were higher quality stock the organization could rely on more initiative and fewer managers/baby sitters.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service Eliminate Sunday Mail Processing Operations?   5 years 10 months ago

    What customers is it unacceptable to. I'm a customer and I say it's perfectly fine. I'm not willing to pay more so reduce my service. I only need mail delivery 3 days a week.

  • Reply to: Should the Postal Service Eliminate Sunday Mail Processing Operations?   5 years 10 months ago

    Volumes are NOT going to pick up.

    End Sunday processing YES

    Furthermore I would recommend that we downscale to 5 day delivery for all mail AND 3 day per week delivery for residential mail leaving commercial mail to 5 days per week.

    There is absolutely NOTHING most residence's need 6 day per week mail delivery. I personally could live with mail delivery 3 days per week. I pay all my bills online and really only get mail order purchases and junk mail. I could wait 1 extra day for those to arrive.

    The cost savings of reducing residential mail delivery to 3 days per week and commercial delivery to 4 or 5 days per week should allow the USPS to reduce staff expenses and overall operational expenses significantly.

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    Bulk mailings are a service we supply to publically held companies and the moeny they claim to spend on such things as bulk mailings is covered by the SOX Act and therefore we are in need of providing proper documentation to cover ourselves. Stop crying about it and answer the few quick questions on the form and file it. It takes all of what, 5 minutes max during a time when there is little to do anyway? It is the law, as Nike says, Just Do It!

  • Reply to: Silly Rules   5 years 10 months ago

    SOX compliance is not an option. It is regulated GAAP rules of accountability and FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board). These rules were put into place to counter the ever increasing issues with WorldCom, Enron, UnitedHealth, Arthur Anderson, etc. When businesses try to cheat, the FASB and SEC must step in. Accountability was never held against those who worked for an organization, because the organization was considered an entity, solely responsible for itself. The people running it were not held accountable for the decisions made for the sake of the company. That had to change. Ask Bernie Madoff why and he'll tell you why - he knew what he was doing.

    SOX compliance is not optional and can lead to prison time for those who fail to complay with it. I suggest if you like your job and don't like living in a small cell, that you worry about complying and not complaining.