Stage presence

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan at the Nasdaq stock exchange

Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan was joined by a host of Postal Service employees to help ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York City Dec. 27.

The group included employees who performed acts of heroism this year, including Chicopee, MA, Letter Carrier Todd Bettgenhauser, who detected a gas leak; and Clinton, CT, Letter Carrier Susan Casagrande, who helped extinguish a house fire.

Also in attendance were employees who have more than 50 years of service, including New York Letter Carrier Anthony Puccio, who recently marked 60 years on the job; and from Newark, NJ: Distribution Clerk Ella Whitley, Mail Handler Charles Williams and Letter Carrier Jerome Alexander.

The closing ceremony was also attended by New York area employees who were involved in Operation Santa, the annual program that allows customers to grant the holiday wishes of those in need.

Operation Santa began in New York City, which is traditionally the program’s busiest location each year.

Employees who demonstrated exceptional customer service, helped generate revenue and achieved safe driving milestones were also present.

During the ceremony, Brennan noted that the Postal Service powers America’s e-commerce economy.

“Today, we will deliver more than 450 million pieces of mail and packages to 159 million delivery points,” she said. “We serve every business and residence in the country.”

Save the dates

Letter carrier sits in delivery vehicle and picks up bag marked Stamp Out Hunger at mailbox

The new year will bring stamp releases, annual events and other Postal Service activities you should know about.

USPS has announced several planned stamp releases for 2019, beginning with Hearts Blossom on Jan. 10.

Other early releases include Lunar New Year: Year of the Boar (Jan. 17), Black Heritage: Gregory Hines (Jan. 28), Cactus Flowers (Feb. 15) and Alabama Statehood (Feb. 23).

The National Postal Forum, the mailing industry’s largest annual meeting, will be held from May 5-8 in Indianapolis.

National Postal Customer Council Week, an annual event that brings together USPS and industry leaders at meetings across the nation, will be held from Sept. 23-27.

Additionally, National Dog Bite Prevention Week is expected to be held in April, while the Stamp Out Hunger food drive will be held May 11.

Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 28 in 2019 — the latest date the holiday can occur, which means the peak delivery season will be a little shorter than usual.

The usps.com Holidays & Events page lists other holidays this year.

Scan for success

Postal employee with mail in a processing plant

The Postal Service wants employees to understand the importance of accurate scanning to Mail Condition Visualization (MCV), an Informed Visibility module that will provide near-real-time conditions of mail and packages in processing facilities.

The data delivered by MCV is closely linked to the manual scan “events” captured through Surface Visibility (SV). This means failure to comply with SV scan procedures will undermine MCV data.

If SV scans don’t occur at originating facilities, mail volume won’t be removed from inventory in a timely manner, and there will be an inaccurate increase in delayed dispatch data.

If these scans don’t occur at destination facilities, the facility’s on-hand inventory won’t be accurately reflected within MCV.

SV scans play an essential role in the accuracy of MCV data, so USPS is relying on employees to provide accurate and timely scans of incoming and outgoing mail inventory.

“As we prepare for the deployment of MCV, organizationally we must strive for the highest service standards by improving SV scores and the collection of scan event data,” said Enterprise Analytics Vice President Isaac Cronkhite.

“If scans aren’t performed correctly or at all, the removal of mail inventory from a facility will not generate accurate data and likewise create a false positive for mail delays and other mail conditions,” he said.

MCV is part of the Postal Service’s broader efforts to innovate, a core strategy, and move toward more streamlined, efficient processes. USPS will provide employees with more information on MCV before its launch in early 2019 as the organization’s official system of record.

Pass it on

Person with a laptop computer

Passwords are so 2018.

The CyberSafe at USPS team is recommending employees kick start 2019 by using online passphrases, which are more secure than passwords.

A passphrase is a memorable set of words that serve as your password, making it more difficult for cyberintruders to access your account. Passphrases are difficult for hackers to guess especially when special characters are incorporated into them.

For example, you can use special characters to turn the phrase “read Link every day” into: R3@dL!nk3v3ryD@y!

When substituting passphrases for passwords, following these guidelines:

  • Use the maximum number of characters allowed.
  • Avoid reusing passphrases across different accounts.
  • Never share passphrases or other login credentials with others.

The CyberSafe at USPS Blue and LiteBlue pages and USPSCyberSafe.com have additional tips and information.

Distinguished members

Sen. Hattie Caraway, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, Rep. Barbara Jordan and Rep. Shirley Chisholm

The 116th U.S. Congress, which convenes this week, is expected to have 131 women members — a record. Here’s a look at the four female members of Congress who have appeared on stamps.

1. Sen. Hattie Caraway. Caraway, a Democrat, was appointed to represent Arkansas in the Senate after the death of her husband, Sen. Thaddeus Caraway, in 1931. She was elected in her own right in 1932 to fill the remainder of her husband’s term. She was re-elected twice, serving until 1945. The 76-cent Caraway stamp, issued in 2001, was part of the Postal Service’s Distinguished Americans series.

2. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith. Smith was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, having served in the House from 1940-1949 and then as a senator from Maine from 1949-1973. When the Republican left the Senate, she held the record for longest-serving female senator, which held until 2011, when she was surpassed by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. The 58-cent Smith stamp, issued in 2007, also was part of the Distinguished Americans series.

3. Rep. Barbara Jordan. Jordan, a Democrat, represented Texas in the House from 1973-1979. She is perhaps most well-known for a speech she gave in 1974 in which she defended the U.S. Constitution during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearings on impeachment articles for President Richard Nixon. Issued in 2011, the Jordan Forever stamp was part of the Black Heritage series.

4. Rep. Shirley Chisholm. Chisholm was the first black woman to win election to the House, which took place in 1968. Chisholm represented New York until she retired in 1983. She also sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1972, the first black candidate to seek a major party nomination and the first woman to run for the Democratic nomination. Issued in 2014, the Chisholm Forever stamp was also part of the Black Heritage series.

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