Engaging leaders

Portraits of smiling executives

Jason Johnson and Lloyd Keast were named the Postal Service’s National Engagement Leader of the Year Award recipients this week.

Johnson is sales manager for Suncoast District, while Keast is Northern New England District’s senior Post Office operations manager.

“Jason and Lloyd each consistently demonstrate that they are committed to fostering a more engaging postal work culture. Like all engaging leaders, they are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to creating better workplaces and contributing to operational success,” said Kelvin Williams, the Postal Service’s employee engagement executive director.

The National Engagement Leader of the Year Award, introduced in 2016, is part of the Postal Service’s broader efforts to boost employee engagement. Research shows that engaged workers deliver better customer service and have better attendance rates and fewer on-the-job accidents.

Johnson, who directly manages nine employees and comes from a family of postal workers, was recognized for his efforts to serve as a role model for his team, to demonstrate that he cares about them and to communicate with them about important matters.

Keast, who oversees about 1,000 employees, was honored for his efforts to praise his team members, to encourage them to become leaders in their own right, and to ensure each one understands how he or she contributes to the Postal Service’s success.

USPS announced Johnson’s and Keast’s selection during a virtual ceremony that featured remarks from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, Chief Human Resources Officer Isaac Cronkhite and Williams.

The ceremony also included recognition for the finalists:

  • Caroline Brownlie, legal strategy managing counsel at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC
  • Eastern Area Human Resources Manager Denise Cameron
  • Linda DeCarlo, occupational safety and health senior director at USPS headquarters
  • Northern Virginia District Manager Tammy Edwards
  • Don Flak, performance and field operations support manager
  • Pacific Area Controller Lisa Jackson
  • Houston District Safety Manager Xandria James-Ward
  • Salt Lake City District Manager Michael Mirides
  • Gateway District Manager Charles Sciurba
  • Judson West, homeland security coordinator for the Postal Inspection Service’s Atlanta Division

The finalists include individuals who represent the Postal Service’s previous seven geographic areas (which were recently consolidated to four areas) and people who represent departments overseen by members of the organization’s executive leadership team.

The finalists were selected from among more than 80 employees who were honored at the district and headquarters levels earlier this year.

The Employee Engagement LiteBlue page has more information about the awards.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Politically correct

The Postal Service is offering employees another reminder about the rules for participating in political activities under the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act is a law that prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, while wearing a federal uniform or identification badge, while on federal property or while inside a federal vehicle.

The law also forbids employees from engaging in certain political activities whether or not they are on duty, such as raising money for a candidate or running for a partisan office.

However, under the Hatch Act, employees are permitted to do the following when not at work, wearing a postal uniform or occupying a postal vehicle:

  • Register to vote and vote in an election
  • Volunteer to participate in voter registration efforts
  • Manage a partisan political campaign
  • Attend a political fundraiser
  • Donate money to a partisan candidate, party or group
  • Become a member of a political party
  • Hold office within a political party

The Ethics Blue page has more Hatch Act resources, including a Let’s Talk Politics! fact sheet. Employees who have questions can contact their local field law office or send an email to ethics.help@usps.gov.

Holiday hazards

The Postal Service is asking customers to help employees stay safe during the upcoming holiday season by eliminating some common hazards found around homes during the winter months.

“Safety is important no matter the time of year. But even the most safety-conscious person could forget simple, quick safety checks during the hustle and bustle that is the holiday season,” said Linda DeCarlo, the organization’s occupational safety and health senior director.

For instance, in addition to clearing snow and ice from walkways, customers should remove yard equipment and other items than can become tripping hazards for letter carriers who may have their hands full of packages.

Customers should place their dogs in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door for a carrier who is delivering mail or packages.

More than 5,800 postal employees were attacked by dogs last year.

The Postal Service is also asking customers to avoid sending restricted items in the mail and overpacking boxes, which are difficult for employees to carry and could burst open.

“Try to set aside a few minutes each day to look for — and correct — potential hazards in and around your home. Those few minutes could be the difference between a happy holiday or an unhappy one,” said DeCarlo.

The Postal Service’s tips were included in a news release that was issued this week.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.