December 2020LEARN MORE
Welcome to the November edition of From the President’s Desk.
When I spoke with you last month, we were making the final preparations for our 2020 National Convention. While the convention was not what we are used to as far as number of people attending, nor the format with the hybrid convention with some people in person and some attending virtually via ZOOM, I am pleased to report that we were able to get the business of the organization accomplished and we can now move forward. Thank you to those that attended in person and those that attended via ZOOM.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a planning meeting with the OHIO Chapter Convention chairs and the representatives from Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio and I can assure you we are well on our way to a very meaningful convention in 2021. The members of the committee are very enthusiastic to make everything top notch for you when you come to Ohio next August. As you are aware, unless you requested a refund from your 2020 Convention registration in St. Louis, your registration has rolled over to the 2021 convention. Now for those of you that are already registered, all that is left is for you to make your hotel reservations. If you have not registered previously, you are now able to do that as well. The registration form will be included in the next issue of the UPMA Leader and is also available on our website, unitedpma.org.
Earlier this month the chapter presidents from throughout the country got together via ZOOM and elected our new Postal Area Coordinators. After the restructuring was announced by the Postal Service going from seven areas down to four, your National Executive Board also made the decision that our organization would mirror those changes, and we too would go down to four Postal Area Coordinators. The new structure calls for greater involvement by the National Executive Board members that are assigned as advisors to a particular area to work very closely with the Postal Area Coordinator in addressing issues that may come up at that level. The four individuals that were elected to these positions are: Kathy Santo-Cristo from Connecticut in the Atlantic Area; Linda Gurka from Michigan in the Central Area; Aaron Campbell from Alabama in the Southern Area; and Michelle Feldhacker from South Dakota in the Western/Pacific Area. I look forward to working with these four dedicated individuals as we try to get issues and concerns addressed at the lowest possible level. Another change that the board made is that the term of office for the Postal Area Coordinators is now one year, so we will be having elections on an annual basis at our National Convention.
As I address you two days before the Thanksgiving holiday, I know that the upcoming (or, in some cases ongoing) PEAK season is on everyone’s mind. With the influx of packages, the increases in COVID-19 cases, and just the pressures of the holiday season it can seem overwhelming at times. I just want to encourage all of you to remain as calm as possible. Make sure that if you are feeling like you don’t know where to turn, reach out for assistance. If you find yourself in a situation in your office that you just do not see any way that you are going to be able to get the mail processed, or delivered, be sure to reach out to your manager. You MUST keep them informed about what is going on in your office. They are responsible for giving you guidance and approval in the event that you do need to delay mail for whatever reason that may be. Communication throughout these times is more important than ever. Even though we have survived the political mailing season for the most part (I know that the folks in Georgia may not feel that way with the runoff elections for their two Senator’s races coming up January 5th) you must continue to do your political mail logs and reports for now, I am working to see if we cannot get some relief from those requirements in most of the country here in the very near future.
Over the course of the past few weeks I have been receiving a number of inquires on the VERA and what is going on with that process. There have been many many rumors floating around as to what was happening, who would be offered a VERA and what, if any, the additional payouts might be. At one time the thought was that the letters would be going out to those individuals that would be eligible in December. According to the most recent information I have received that is not the case. The Postal Service is still studying the issue and has not made any decisions at this time. There still is nothing definite that there will even be a VERA offered and if it is, who it would be offered to and when it might be effective have not been determined. It could well be into the first quarter of calendar year 2021 before we hear anything further on this issue.
Let me close by wishing each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! While we should be thankful every day, this is the one opportunity we have each year where we can all focus on the blessings we have and give thanks for those things that are most important to us and to our families. I know for many this may be the first time you have not had the chance to get together with friends and families because of the pandemic. With the technology we have available to us today it makes the pains of those separations at least somewhat more bearable when we can speak via ZOOM, or Facetime, or whatever method you use. However, that does not make up for the time that you normally get to spend together and it makes it difficult for many of us. I am praying that they will indeed get a vaccine produced that will benefit the majority of us, so that next year this will all hopefully be distant memory.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to addressing you again next month.Daniel Heins, UPMA National President