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June 2021 transcript of From The President's Desk

Posted by Frank Augustosky on 07/02/21

Welcome to the June edition of From the President’s Desk!

As I have traveled around the country to the various chapter conventions there have been a number of recurring issues and questions that have been brought up.   I want to assure you that here at the National Office we are addressing these issues and more with Postal Service Headquarters and we will continue to do so.

One of the issues is the National Performance Assessment (NPA) and Pay for Performance (PFP) systems for Fiscal Year 2021.   While you have seen some “goals” that have been shared with us, I can assure you that at this point nothing has been finalized and it looks like the program will not actually be finalized for some time yet.    I have been working with Headquarters asking that they share some information with you in the field, so you know where we are at and what the expectations are for this Fiscal Year and beyond; however, we are just not quite there yet.   Please do not let the NPA/PFP situation interfere with what you are doing on a daily basis and continue to do what is best for your office and your employees and customers every day.  We will continue to address this until something definitive is put out for everyone to see.   One of the changes that I know will be in place for FY 2021 and into FY 2022 is that we will be going to a ten-cell matrix, rather than the fifteen-cell matrix that was in place up through FY 2020.   As we have ran the numbers here at the National Office using information from FY 2020 and the new goals that have been shared so far for FY 2021, it looks like if this process had been in place for FY 2020, your final ratings would have been very similar to where you ended FY 2020, so this change to ten-cell should not have a negative impact on most of you.    As far as PFP is concerned, we still have some work to do there, as well, however, in preliminary information I have received it appears that the payouts will start in block three and the maximum payout for a block ten will continue to be 9%   As I receive more information, I will do my best to keep you informed.

Another of the issues has to do with hiring of new employees and the time it takes to get someone on board after they have accepted the position.    As I have had discussions with the Labor Relations and Human Resources representatives at Postal Service Headquarters on this issue there seems to be some disparity in what I am hearing from them and what I am hearing from you in the field.   As we approach PEAK season and the necessary hiring that will need to be done between now and then, we need to address this to see if we can indeed have an understanding on both sides regarding where the potential bottlenecks are and where the system seems to be working well.    So, if you have specific examples of hiring that you have tried to do, whether it was an RCA, CCA, PSE, or any other position that you have waited months to get filled, please share that information with me.   I do request that you be specific as possible regarding your office and what the issue, or issues are, or were with the hiring process.   The information I will need you to  include is: posting numbers, length of time it took to hire (or not hire), if you were informed during the process and if you were, how did you receive that information and from whom.   This would aid myself and the representatives at Headquarters as we make every attempt to get this resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.    While I am sure that with the need for background checks and the issue of getting driving records that this can slow the process down, but we need to work toward a solution so that you in the field are not facing the massive staffing shortages that you are currently experiencing.   Also, from everything I hear from you we need to do everything we can to improve the communication on every level throughout this process.

Along with the issue of hiring the employees is employee retention.  I know that you should have already received information on some initiatives that are being put in place from the Headquarters level on down regarding how we make the onboarding procedures for our new employees as smooth as possible and how we can retain those individuals that we believe will be a good fit for the Postal Service for the long haul.    We can say what we want about one generation, or another, and what their work ethic may, or may not be, in our estimation; the point is we need to work within the confines that have been laid out and do the best we can.    The more new employees that we can retain the more time you will have to do your job as a Postmaster, Manager, or Supervisor rather than having to serve as city, or rural letter carrier; or the person running your two-, four-, or six-hour RMPO.    I would encourage you to take a look at the materials that are being presented and pay special attention to requirement to do the 30, 60, and 80 day evaluations.    Doing those evaluations and being as brutally honest as you have to be with those new employees will benefit both of you in the long run.   When you have done everything you can to help them understand the needs of the position they were hired for and the expectations of the Postal Service and they still do not get it, we may have to separate them; however, as I stated previously the more time we put into preparing them for the position they are hired for, the better off we will all be in the long run.

With the restructuring continuing in the Postal Service a number of items are still up in the air as far as when everything will be finalized and when the available positions will be posted for all employees to bid on.   It looks like the first general posting could happen as early as September, or it may not be done until October it all depends on when all the impacted employees get placed.   With that in mind, I would encourage you to go into eCareer and make sure that your profile is up to date and paints the best picture of who you are and what you have done that it possibly can.    It is clearly up to you to sell yourself because no one can do a better job of that than you can.

In closing, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Fourth of July holiday and I hope and pray you have a great weekend coming up.

Thank you for listening and I look forward to addressing you again next month.   Take care and stay safe.

Thank you!

Dan Heins, UPMA National President