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Honoring President Bush

President George H.W. Bush speaks at podium

The Postal Service will suspend regular mail deliveries, retail services and administrative office activity Wednesday, Dec.  5, which President Donald J. Trump has proclaimed as a national day of mourning to honor former President George H.W. Bush.

In a statement announcing the suspension, USPS praised Bush for his “vast contributions to our country during his lifetime.”

The Postal Service will provide limited package delivery service Dec. 5 to ensure that its network remains fluid and the organization does not experience any impacts to its package delivery operations that might negatively affect customers or business partners during the remainder of the busy holiday season.

All Postal Service facilities — including headquarters in Washington, DC, and area and district administrative offices — are included in the national day of mourning. Local managers will advise employees on staffing levels to maintain operations and prepare for the resumption of regular activities Thursday, Dec. 6.

Pay and leave administration for the national day of observance for affected bargaining unit employees is governed by section 519.4 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual and provisions of May 4, 2000, memorandums of agreement between the Postal Service and its unions.

Additionally, USPS facilities are required to fly the flag at half-staff through sunset Sunday, Dec. 30, to honor President Bush, who died Nov. 30 at age 94.

A home run

Business people shaking hands

Business development specialists have been promoting the Postal Service’s employee lead generation programs, and the results are speaking for themselves.

Nationally, revenue for the Clerks Care program soared 156 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared to the same period in 2017, while revenue for the Mail Handlers Lead Program increased 18 percent during the same period.

Both figures are at all-time highs for the history of their programs, according to Louis DeReinzo, senior sales specialist for small business at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.

DeReinzo said some of the increase is the result of the small-business team’s decision to add “Triple Play” to the BDS Challenge, a year-long competition in which business development specialists promote lead generation programs to USPS employees.

For Triple Play, the specialists target facilities such as processing and distribution centers, network distribution centers and other large locations other than Post Offices to talk to employees about the programs.

Triple Play has been a hit in Western Pennsylvania District, where business development specialists Robert Lessman and Lilith Colamarino enlisted the help of the three local plants: the Pittsburgh Network Distribution Center, the Pittsburgh Logistics and Distribution Center and the Pittsburgh Processing and Distribution Center.

Lessman and Colamarino held events at each plant and recruited liaisons to help publicize the lead generation programs.

Their efforts paid off: The district’s revenue from the Clerks Care program topped $975,000 in fiscal 2018 and beat the revenue target by more than 24 percent, while the Mail Handlers Lead Program generated more than $250,000, far exceeding the target for the fiscal year.

“By holding events, it brought more focus to the lead programs and built excitement that helped generate participation and revenue growth, as shown by the numbers,” DeReinzo said.

Western Pennsylvania District Manager David Webster praised the business development specialists for “leading the charge” on generating revenue.

“We identified an untapped opportunity in our plants, and with the help of our business development specialists, employees got engaged,” Webster said.

Holiday marketing

Holiday direct mail

The Postal Service is encouraging business customers to use direct mail during the holidays.

Customers can use the USPS Affiliates Program to access a network of external direct mail marketing experts who can offer advice on how to use Every Door Direct Mail and other mail products to create effective holiday-themed marketing campaigns.

Direct marketing experts can also design eye-catching postcards, reply cards, greeting cards, newsletters, customized stamps and more.

Postal Service employees should encourage business customers to visit the Mailing and Printing Services page to learn more about the USPS Affiliates Program, including the program’s online experts.

Additionally, employees should let first-time customers know they can receive a discount from the online experts when they use this promotional code: USPSPROMO.

For Maddox

Requesting cards

Maddox Hyde wants greeting cards to help celebrate what will likely be his final Christmas.

The 14-year-old Reynoldsville, PA, resident has cancer and doctors have given him weeks to live.

The teen’s middle school and community have held fundraisers to help Maddox and his family, including one that fulfilled the teen’s wish to visit Hawaii.

Maddox has one last request — to receive Christmas cards. Hundreds of well-wishers have already penned notes to the ailing teen.

“It is really cool to see how many people are sending them,” Maddox told WJAC-TV. “It makes me happy.”

Reading the cards, Maddox said, makes his battle “a little easier.”

Maddox’s mother, Kristi Potter, told Centre Times Daily that her son is no longer in treatment as his cancer spreads, and that he’s at home as he “lives his final weeks.”

News outlets have published the address for those who wish to send cards to Maddox: 333 Ohio Street, Reynoldsville, PA, 15851.

Keep it flexible

The importance of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) is explained in a newly updated video from the Postal Service.

FSAs, one of several options available to employees during the open season benefits enrollment period, can help employees reduce their taxable income and save on yearly health or dependent care costs.

The 4-minute video explains the two types of FSAs and offers tips on which one might fit an employee’s current needs.

Employees can learn more about FSAs on the Benefits LiteBlue site.

Open season, the annual period when employees can make changes to their benefits, ends Dec. 10.