A public trust

Group of postal employees

If you’re a Postal Service employee, you’re expected to comply with the federal government’s principles and standards of ethical conduct.

If this is news to you, don’t worry. USPS wants to help you understand the rules and how to follow them.

Throughout 2019, the organization will educate employees about the rules, which include the 14 General Principles of Ethical Conduct, the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Postal Service Employees, and conflict of interest laws.

The campaign will include articles in Link and field newsletters, as well as messages on Postal Vision video monitors.

In January, these efforts will focus on the 14 general principles, including the first principle: “Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain.”

This means Postal Service employees must always act — and appear to act — with the nation’s interests before their own.

In addition to putting an honest effort in their work, employees must not seek personal advantage for themselves or others. They must honor their commitment to the public by using government resources — such as time, property and information — wisely and only to accomplish postal work.

“The first principle of ethical conduct is particularly important to the Postal Service because the American people are our customers,” said Acting Associate General Counsel and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Natalie Bonanno.

“If our customers don’t trust us, they will not continue to do business with us. Postal employees must protect our reputation by performing their duties ethically, and with dignity and integrity.”

You can read the 14 General Principles of Ethical Conduct on the USPS Ethics Office Blue page.

If you have questions, send an email to the Ethics Office at ethics.help@usps.gov.

Vice president appointed

Great Lakes Area Vice President Erica Brix

Erica Brix has been appointed Great Lakes Area’s vice president, a position she has held on an acting basis for the past year.

Brix oversees all operations, marketing and customer service in the area, which has more than 36 million customers in five states; more than 77,000 employees; and an operating budget that exceeds $7 billion.

In a memo announcing the appointment last week, Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan wrote that Brix has “demonstrated excellent leadership, a commitment to customers and employees, and delivered strong results” during the past year.

Brennan also noted that Brix led major safety initiatives that reduced accidents by 8.5 percent.

Brix, a postal manager for 30 years, previously served as Western Area’s operations support manager. Other assignments included Northland District’s senior plant manager and Portland District’s acting district manager.

Winter work

Postal worker dressed warmly

The Postal Service wants employees to take precautions to avoid frostbite, hypothermia and other winter health hazards.

Here’s what you should know:

• Frostbite is dangerous. Frostbite, damage to body tissue, creates a loss of feeling or pale appearance in the extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose. Symptoms can include aching, throbbing and even blisters.

Hypothermia is dangerous, too. Hypothermia, which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can be produced, can be deadly if you don’t catch it in time. Signs include memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness.

Get help if needed. If you experience symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 immediately and notify your supervisor.

• Layer up. The best way to dress for winter is in layers, which provide insulation and help retain body heat. Avoid pure cotton, linen or similar materials because they retain moisture and can cause you to become colder.

The Safety Blue page has additional on-the-job tips, including a Safety Depends on Me video on avoiding frostbite.

Delivery nation

Packages being sorted

Here’s Link’s latest “News Quiz,” a weekly feature that invites readers to test their knowledge of recent stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. About how many return delivery units does the Postal Service operate across the nation?

a) 167
b) 1,670
c) 16,700
d) 16.7 million

2. Who said, “Negative news damages the postal brand. That’s not what we represent. Our customers expect and deserve the best service each and every day.”

a) Gaffney, MO, Letter Carrier Darius Downer
b) Chicago Retail Associate Crystal Flynn
c) West Point, GA, Rural Carrier Zene Vanleeuwen
d) Harrisburg, PA, Maintenance Operations Supervisor Robert Williams

3. True or false: Every month this year has two pay dates for USPS employees, except for June and December, which have three each.

a) True
b) False

4. Where does Holli Apodaca work?

a) Mail Recovery Center, Atlanta
b) Remote Encoding Center, Salt Lake City
c) Stamp Fulfillment Center, Kansas City, MO
d) USPS headquarters, Washington, DC

5. Fill in the blank: USPS issued its first Love stamp in (blank).

a) 1970
b) 1971
c) 1972
d) 1973

Answers: 1) c. 2) a. 3) b. May and November have three pay dates each. 4) b. 5) d.

Look for a new quiz next week and share your feedback with Link at uspslink@usps.gov.