Ringing in the new

The Year of the Rat got off to an early start Jan. 11, when the Postal Service launched its latest Lunar New Year stamp series in Monterey Park, CA.

Lunar New Year is an important holiday for many Asian communities, including people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Malaysian and Filipino heritage. More than 20 percent of the world’s population celebrates the holiday, according to some estimates.

The lunar calendar operates on a 12-year cycle, with each year assigned a different zodiac animal. The Year of the Rat begins Jan. 25 and ends Feb. 11, 2021.

“As you add this stamp to your collection or use it to mail your Lunar New Year greetings, it is our sincere hope that the Year of the Rat brings everyone prosperity, peace, good luck and much joy,” said Luke Grossmann, the Postal Service’s planning and strategy senior vice president and one of the speakers at the stamp dedication ceremony.

The event was part of an annual Lunar New Year festival in Monterey Park, a city of about 60,000 residents near Los Angeles.

Other speakers included U.S. Rep. Judy Chu and state Sen. Susan Rubio, who each represent the area; and Monterey Park Mayor Hans Liang, who served as master of ceremonies.

In addition to the speakers’ remarks, the ceremony highlights included a dragon dance, a hallmark of Lunar New Year parades, and an area where attendees could purchase stamps and related merchandise.

The Year of the Rat stamp, which evokes the rat masks used in Lunar New Year dragon dances, is available in panes of 20 at Post Offices and usps.com.

The Postal Service’s two previous Lunar New Year stamp series ran from 1992-2004 and 2008-2019.

Chu predicted the stamp will help more people learn about Lunar New Year and the contributions of Asian Americans.

“Having a stamp is important,” she said. “It’s a way for the entire nation to recognize the community.”

Purchasing power

The Postal Service will soon introduce eBuy Plus, an improved version of its online requisition system.

The new system, which will replace eBuy2, will be more intuitive and offer a better search engine. Other features will include reusable requisition templates, budget data that is visible on requisition screens, spend data reporting, and finance numbers that are automatically tied to general ledger accounts and commodity codes.

USPS will launch the system Feb. 29. All existing eBuy2 user roles and logon information will be automatically transitioned into the new system through eAccess, but historical data will not be transferred.

All existing catalog suppliers will be available in eBuy Plus. The system will also continue to be used to process small utility payments.

Supply Management and Information Technology worked together to develop the new system.

Training guides are posted on the eBuy Plus website, and the Postal Service plans to make training videos available through the site and the HERO learning portal.

The eBuy Plus Blue page has FAQs with additional information. Employees who have questions should email them to eBuyPlus@usps.gov.

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Did you know that three of the most common passwords among U.S. computer users last year were “qwerty,” “password” and “12345”?

If you use generic passwords, the CyberSafe at USPS team is encouraging you to leave them behind.

The start of 2020 is an ideal time to update the passwords for your USPS and personal devices with passphrases.

A passphrase is a unique set of letters, symbols and numbers that, along with your login ID, will grant you access to your devices and accounts. Using a distinctive, complex and familiar phrase will make it easier for you to remember your account credentials while making it more difficult for hackers.

For example, you could turn the phrase “be cybersafe at work” into “B3_Cyb3rs*f3@w0^k”.

Remember: Keep your passphrase in a secure location, never share it, and don’t use it for multiple accounts. USPS requires users to change their passphrase every 90 days or when they suspect it has been compromised.

More information on cybersecurity best practices is available on the CyberSafe at USPS Blue and LiteBlue pages.

News Briefs

Greeting card promotion

Greeting card promotion. USPS is offering a promotion on Hallmark greeting card purchases at select Post Offices.

From Jan. 4-Feb. 14, customers will save $1 when they purchase two Hallmark cards.

A coupon, available wherever Hallmark greeting cards are sold, is required.

Traveling right. USPS is reminding employees that they must use Omega World Travel to purchase air and train transportation; hotel accommodations; and rental cars when traveling on official Postal Service business.

Using other travel websites or contacting other travel providers directly is against the Postal Service’s travel policy.

For additional information, email the USPS travel team at travelbackoffice@usps.gov.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.