Postmasters Say USPS Management Styles Are Like Some Banana Republic Dictators

Excerpts from National League Postmasters President Charley Mapa:

I  just returned from the LEAGUE’S Western Area II meeting held in Kansas City Missouri. In the thick of times when the constant message of the Postal Service is doom and woe, here was a group of LEAGUE Postmasters gathered to do the things that the LEAGUE does so well; train, brainstorm, problem solve, network, train some more and take time to have fun!….Where the Postal Service seems to spend an inordinate amount of time in some districts tearing Postmasters down and humiliating them, LEAGUE Postmasters gathered to support one another and build one another up. There was no Area VP, no district manager, and no POOM. The entire atmosphere of the conference was refreshingly positive.

I don’t want to make the 3 day meeting sound like some it was a modern day Postmasters’ Woodstock love fest, for it was not. Serious issues were discussed, issues like the future of an NPA/PFP program that might have lost its effectiveness, districts hounding Postmasters for having the courage to stand up for other Postmasters, districts whose management styles reflect something more in tune with some Banana Republic Dictators than with what should be expected of Public Servants treating their managers with respect, dealing with the threat of a Postal Service turning its back on the American people by wholesale closings of post offices and the constant shifting of workload from hardworking clerks, carriers and supervisors to the backs of Postmasters.

Recently your National Board agreed to urge Postmasters not to participate in the VOE survey. The process itself is really not the issue. We’ve been involved in it for a long, long, time. The LEAGUE helped to develop it. I could have urged Postmasters to go ahead and take the survey and give the lowest scores possible for every item that applied to district managers and MPOOs, but that would not have been right; there are good district managers and MPOOs out there. The fact is, the work environment for so many Postmasters across our nation continues to deteriorate. Postmasters are not whiners; they suck it up, they suck it up some more and they continue to suck it up, day after long day, month after long month, year after year. They are Postmasters absolutely dedicated to serving the people of America and doing the best they can for the Postal Service, but the Postal Service has turned its back on them.

Workhours continue to be shifted from clerks, carriers and supervisors to the backs of Postmasters. District
Managers, chasing phantom EXFC numbers, take another day from Postmasters by scheduling them in on their day off, Saturday (many Postmasters are already working that 6th day for free because they don’t have the staffing, clerks, carriers, PMRs, supervisors to cover the day).

It is easy to see why the Postal Service nonchalantly shifts this workload to Postmasters; they are working for free and anyone else has to be paid! It would be easy to say that the Postal Service has been forced to do this because of the tough economic times. The only problem with that defense is that the Postal Service has been doing this for years longer than the year and a half that the economy has been in the dumper.

The Postal Service has done nothing to relieve Postmasters of the seemingly bottomless pile of proliferating redundant reports and logs that waste so much of a workday. Those same logs and reports send the
Postal Service’s loud message that it doesn’t trust Postmasters to use their intellects to do their jobs.
The degree of micromanagement that Postmasters are subjected to is insane, and the demeaning disrespectful manner in which Postmasters are treated in too many districts is bad management at least and criminal in some places. Disciplining Postmasters and threatening them with firing for missed scans by a clerk or a letter left in a case by a carrier is inconceivable, except in the Postal Service. It is time for all of this lunacy to STOP! We, the Postal Service can do better; we are supposed to be a world class organization. We should be treating all of our employees, clerks, carriers, mail handlers, PMRs, supervisors, and POSTMASTERS with fairness and respect. Give Postmasters the tools, effective training, and resources to get our jobs done and back off!

Read full President’s Message from Charley Mapa, President National League of Postmasters

11 thoughts on “Postmasters Say USPS Management Styles Are Like Some Banana Republic Dictators

  1. Not only is the article “right on!!”, it also applies to supervisors. I was told just yesterday (Monday 5/10/2010) that before I can approve overtime on a 3996, I must contact my Postmaster, who has to contact my POOM for approval. Why have Managers, Postmasters, POOMs, or District Managers. the Area Vice President can email me directly and give me my instructions, and then monitor how I am following those instructions because everything is online. WHAT A SAVINGS!!

    I have said for a long time, Nepotism can kill you. If you are stupid when you are at the bottom, and your brother, mother, cousin promotes you, you surely don’t get any smarter when you get to the top. That is what I believe the Postal Service has become. A melting pot of nepotism, with each relative dummer than the last.

  2. Ray….I agree with you 100%. The PO is getting worse and worse each year. I still have 6 years to go and wish I could financially retire TODAY!!

  3. I agree with Ben Franklin recent post. The word criminal to describe some of the organizational practices ostensibly employed by management personnel at the district levels, and either turned a blind-eyed by the OIG and top postal management, or worse condoning thereof, is accurate. The systematic changing of employees’ time to avoid overtime and out-of-schedule in many parts of the country is only one blatant example of a highly toxic postal culture that, reflected in its core values, embraces the notion of making the numbers at all costs.

    Several years ago management personnel would have been fired for the criminal activity of time-keeping fraud. Now it is ostensibly condoned or worst supported by others in top management and tiptoed around by the OIG.

    In addition to the criminal behavior associated with the craft time keeping practices, there have ostensibly been highly unethical and criminal practices employed by top management over the course of the past several years regarding the Sales department nation-wide. The OIG completed an audit over a year ago about these unethical and ostensibly criminal activities, but no meaningful accountability or systemic changes have taken place to address them or those who implemented and perpetuated them.

    Yes, a banana republic is a good metaphor and descriptor of what fruit the USPS is bearing as a result of a highly toxic culture. And that fruit is highly poisonous to its employees’ psychological and physical health.

    The question at this point is: Where are the other two management associations, NAPS and NAPUS? Why is Charley Mapa of the League generally out on the limb by himself? It’s time for all the management associations to act as one moral and ethical voice to combat this banana republic mentality, not acting or not acting with meaningful intent is a dereliction of their duty to those employees to whom they have an affirmative duty to represent. Postal employees, regardless of rank or position, deserve a postal culture in which the core values of respect, fairness, and validation of dignity, are not empty slogans, but instead are the reality of organizational life.

  4. Micromanagement is killing the P.O. District managers are micomanaging the P&DC’s, NDC’s, MPOO’s and demanding unrealistic numbers with less employees. It’s all a joke. The sad thing is the District managers will tell you its coming from Headquartes. They are mandated to do the things their doing.
    The USPS has become one of the worst places to work in America. We have always been proud to say I work for the USPS, NOT ANY MORE.
    Just can’t wait to get the age to leave. Its a Sad day when you wish you were older than you are just so you can leave a place you have worked for over 25 years.

  5. The PMG would rather have these PMs doing craft work and reports and chasing numbers rather than trying to grow revenue. The PMs should be managing supervisors and dealing with public.

    VOE is another waste of money, but the PMs can’t stop DC either.

  6. I agree with this article to a point. I am not in management, but I do see my Postmaster (EAS 22 I believe)working on the floor either doing clerk work or supervising the carriers along with PM duties (if any time is left) … OMG unbelievable nothing but LOST TIME in developing strategies, follow-ups to customer connects, talking to local business groups AND managing THEIR Supervisors. Wake up PMG Potter.

    I am a carrier, I take my job seriously and work hard at keeping the O.T. low as I can on those heavy days (not to be a hero just understanding we are in hard times) The BS has to stop treat the employee with respect.

  7. My position for some time now is the position of postmaster should be abolished. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that it could be done much cheaper. What is the point in paying some of these PM’s well over $100,000, plus bennies? The PM of Madison, WI is over $112,000 for a base salary. And how many of these across the country? It’s a big waste. Cut a lot of higher up management too. Way too much fat at the top!

  8. I am a Rural Letter carrier and this article is right on target. My office has one of the finest postmasters that I have seen over the last 31 years I have worked at the PO. Yet, the orders come down from the ivory towers to mistreat us and waste our time. He is caught in the middle. I don’t like to see anyone lose their jobs but if there are any cuts to be done, It is the upper level that is causing the problems and should be fired. The more the ivory towers stay out of our hair, the better we work. We need decent supervisors with authority at our offices, not on the moon.

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