Avoiding conflicts

Close-up of Ben Franklin's face on one hundred dollar bill

The Postal Service’s Ethics Office wants to remind employees of the importance of complying with the rules regarding financial conflicts of interest.

Federal law prohibits government employees from taking part in matters in which they might have a personal financial interest.

This includes decisions that might affect the financial interest of a spouse or a minor child, as well as decisions that might affect an employee’s outside businesses or business partners.

Employees who violate the federal conflicts of interest law may face criminal prosecution as well as disciplinary action by the Postal Service.

“Employees who make a decision at work that affects their own financial interests could face jail time and a fine for violating a criminal law,” said Natalie Bonanno, the Postal Service’s acting chief ethics officer. “In addition, the public’s trust in the Postal Service as operating in an honest and impartial manner would be diminished. Seek advice in advance from the Ethics Office. It’s not worth it.”

Other laws prohibit government employees from:

  • Receiving anything of value given to influence an official act
  • Representing anyone, with a few exceptions, before the federal government, whether for free or for compensation
  • Making representations back to the government as a former employee in certain circumstances
  • Accepting compensation from an outside entity for performing governmental duties

The Ethics Office can help employees determine whether they should disqualify or recuse themselves, divest a conflicting financial interest, or whether there is another way to remedy the situation.

Throughout 2019, the Postal Service is educating employees about the federal government’s principles and standards of ethical conduct.

For more information, send an email to ethics.help@usps.gov.

Mountain of mail

Postcards from around the world

Duane Sherman received mail from around the world for his recent birthday.

The Fullerton, CA, resident, who served in World War II and received a Purple Heart, is legally blind.

As Sherman’s 96th birthday approached last month, his daughter, Sue Morse, made a Facebook post to request cards for her dad, who only received bills in the mail.

“I wanted him to feel special,” Morse told the Orange County Register.

The gesture worked: More than 50,000 birthday cards and notes arrived from all 50 states and 10 countries. Sherman’s mail includes handwritten letters from schoolchildren and notes from top military officials.

He also received gifts like a signed CD from the music group Foreigner and a card signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Among Sherman’s letters was one penned by Stephen Michael Aichele, director of the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

“All of you have sacrificed greatly to rid the world of evil and for that, again, I thank you,” Aichele wrote.

Said Sherman: “All the good comments people made … it just brightened my day.”

News Briefs

Need to know

USPS delivery vehicle on snowy street

Service update. Delivery service is resuming in areas affected by this week’s severely cold weather.

The Postal Service temporarily suspended deliveries in some locations from Jan. 30-31 to ensure the safety and well-being of employees.

The USPS Service Alerts page and the local news section of the USPS Newsroom site have more information.

Postal Bulletin. The Postal Bulletin’s Jan. 31 edition features winter safety tips, along with the latest updates to USPS policies, forms and procedures.

Informed Delivery reminder. Employees can sign up for Informed Delivery, a free feature that provides users with digital previews of their incoming mail, at informeddelivery.usps.com.

Increasing the number of subscribers will encourage more businesses to add interactive content to Informed Delivery emails, thereby boosting USPS revenue and the value of mail.

Sign-up is voluntary.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.

Happy feet

Gregory Hines stamp dedication

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. In her latest “Business Focus” video, Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan reported USPS delivered how many packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day?

a) 940 million
b) 945 million
c) 950 million
d) 955 million

2. True or false: USPS business system owners are required to complete two CyberSafe at USPS courses by Friday, Feb. 22.

a) True
b) False

3. What advice does Jonesville, MI, Retail Associate Kiersten Bauldry-Williams offer to co-workers who want to promote stamps?

a) Be enthusiastic
b) Offer a variety
c) Think visually
d) All of the above

4. Who said, “Something I like about working for USPS is there’s always a new challenge, with new tasks and problems to solve.”

a) Kenosha, WI, Letter Carrier Michelle Badham
b) Westminster, CA, Retail Associate Kieu Le
c) Oklahoma City Business Mail Technician Jon Rudolph
d) Dakotas District Consumer and Industry Contact Manager Diane Stadem

5. Fill in the blank: Gregory Hines, the subject of this year’s Black Heritage stamp, won a Tony Award in 1992 for his starring role in (blank).

a) “Comin’ Uptown”
b) “Eubie!”
c) “Jelly’s Last Jam”
d) “Sophisticated Ladies”

Answers: 1) d. 2) b. The courses must be completed by Monday, Feb. 25. 3) d. 4) c. 5) c.

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