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On the campaign trail: Tips for handling political mailings

It's election time. That means in the coming weeks, political campaign mailings will be entering the mailstream in advance of the November 2 general elections. It's always a hectic time for the candidates and their committees - and USPS® employees who handle and process the mailings.

Don't confuse political campaign mailings with official mailings from members of Congress under congressional franking privileges. Campaign mailing requirements can be found in Postal Operations Manual Part 492. Check them out at; click on References, then PolicyNet, then Manuals.

USPS is responsible for letting campaign mailers know how to properly prepare and deposit their mailings. Employees are responsible for properly accepting, processing, delivering and recording them. Keep in mind - some of the mailings may be made by campaign volunteers who have little or no experience in preparing them.

That's why it's up to USPS employees to provide equal assistance to everyone in this regard, including mailings that don't represent major parties. Employees should be ready to assist in identifying mail preparation and sack or tray labeling problems before they're deposited. And make sure employees emphasize the need to deposit the mailings at the earliest possible date before the election.

If a mailer attempts to deposit a political campaign mailer too late for delivery before the election, he or she needs to be informed of it. Detailed records can help placate any complaints alleging improper handlings of political campaign mailings.

Do the math: Consider the financial possibilities of Thrift Savings

With the next Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) open season coming up soon - Oct. 15 through Dec. 31 - it's a good time to think about your financial future.

USPS employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), including CSRS Offset, can contribute 10 percent of their basic pay. Employees under the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) can do 15 percent. The IRS limits how much you can defer on your taxes during any year. For 2005, the amount is $14,000.

It's always important to do the math before you determine how much you want to contribute to TSP. This is especially important for certain higher-salaried employees.

If you're a FERS employee who will earn more than $93,333 during 2005, you could lose some matching contributions if you elect the maximum percentage instead of putting down the exact amount in dollars. Do the math: Take the IRS deferral limit - $14,000 - and divide it by 26 pay periods. That equals $539 per pay period.

Why spread it over the year? If you're a high-salaried FERS employee and you reach the annual maximum too quickly, your contributions will stop - and so will the matching contributions based on the first 5 percent of your basic pay that you contribute each pay period.

And remember: if you're age 50 or older you can make additional "catch-up" contributions. Look for TSP information in the mail from Human Resources. You also can go to

Social un-EASE: No more SSNs for PostalEASE

It may not be classified "top secret" but your Social Security number is definitely sensitive information. The Postal ServiceTM is committed to helping you protect it.

Now when you access PostalEASE by telephone or on the Web, instead of your Social Security number, you can use your eight-digit employee ID number - found at the top of your earnings statement - and your USPS PIN.

The change helps safeguard your Social Security number by reducing its exposure on printed documents and other media, and that helps protect your privacy.

Give My Regards to Broadway: Letter Carrier Alicia Tutt lights up Times Square

They say if you stand in Times Square long enough, you'll see someone you know. USPS employees wouldn't have to wait long. All they'll have to do is look up to see Alicia Tutt's image gracing the skyline of the Big Apple.

The Falls Church, VA, Letter Carrier's image on a billboard is the latest installment in the USPS "Working for You" advertising campaign featuring letter carriers from across the country.

Tutt's image went "up in lights" Friday, Oct. 1, at the famed crossroads. But that's not the only place her warm smile will be featured. Ads featuring Tutt are already placed in the October issues of Sports Illustrated Adventure and ESPN magazine. And she will be in the November issues of Money, Men's Health, PC World and Black Enterprise magazines.

Tutt recently was interviewed by her town newspaper, The Fairfax Times, about her sudden fame. When asked what she did to win one of the final slots, Tutt replied, "I didn't know what they were looking for, so I decided to just be myself."

Which turned out to be just what USPS was looking for.

Look for more images of Tutt and other familiar faces in Times Square. Plans call for all nine postal ambassadors to be featured in coming months.

The envelope, please! Diversity Achievement award winners announced

The results are in! The winners of the 2004 National Awards Program for Diversity Achievement have been selected. The executive technical review committee conducted an extensive evaluation and chose the following winners.

In the individual award category, Suncoast District's Gloria Kincaid, San Diego District's Anna Vega, Mid-America District's Sharon Clark, Pittsburgh District's Kathleen Burns and Van Nuys District's Judy Cardenas shared honors.

The altruism award goes to employees who give willingly of themselves to their coworkers and their communities to further the cause of diversity. This year's winners include Ruth Wilson, Chicago District; Cynthia Recker, Hawkeye District; Jesus Torres, Mid-America District; Barbara Brabble, Greensboro District; Rudolph Coombs, New York District; Valerie Foxx, Boston District; Virgie Simmons- Jones, Northern Virginia District; Wanda D. Randolph, Central Florida District; Aulby Gillett, Fort Worth District; and Murline Collins, Dallas District.

This year USPS honored two groups with the team award - the Video Relay Service/Video Remote Interpreting Service pilot deployment team featuring Sue Corbeil, Young Chung-Hall and Joe Negley from Headquarters and Kelvin Williams, Reba Poole and Ann Olliff from the Richmond District. Also honored were the supplier diversity team composed of Janice Williams Hopkins, Rupert Warner and Barbara Dandridge from Headquarters.

And last, but not least, the leadership award went to William Mitchell in Lakeland District.

Certified excellence: New York Metro first area to achieve letter automation certification

If you're mailing a letter in the New York Metro area, you can count on consistently excellent service.

All 18 processing plants in New York Metro have achieved certification on their letter automation operations, meeting Area Vice President David Solomon's goal of 100 percent certification by the end of fiscal year 2004. New York Metro was the first area in the nation to develop and implement the letter automation standardization and certification program.

The program covers all outgoing and incoming operations on multi-line optical character readers (MLOCR), mail processing barcode sorter (MPBCS) and delivery barcode sorter (DBCS) machines on all tours. To be certified, plants must comply with standardized work methods and achieve a minimum 90 percent performance score against established productivity goals.

With a little help from our friends: USPS and Coast Guard team to deliver the mail

Hurricane Jeanne washed out the only access road Sailfish Point, FL, had to the rest of the world. But thanks to the efforts of USPS supervisor Mike Schuster - who also is a Coast Guard reservist - mail for its 1,500 residents is being delivered, according to an article in this week's Palm Beach Post.

The Fort Pierce Coast Guard station has made available a 47-foot rescue boat to transfer the mail and a letter carrier from Sandsprit Park in Port Salerno to the island. Letter Carrier Wilbur Glass then uses a golf cart to make deliveries to the more than 500 s on the peninsula, the article said.

Schuster and his crew also are using a drift boat to ferry mail, but he said the load was so big and heavy it left little room for passengers. He said the Coast Guard has helped ferry the mail on several occasions when the boat has been available. "We know the Coast Guard is there if we need them again."

And thanks to Schuster's efforts, the residents of Sailfish Point know the Postal Service is there if they need them too.

Customer Relations

Mail Alert

The mailings below will be deposited in the near future. Offices should honor the requested delivery dates. Mailers wishing to participate in these alerts, for mailings of 1 million pieces or more, should contact Business Service Network Integration at 202-268-2225 at least 1 month preceding the requested delivery dates. The Postal ServiceTM also offers electronic Mail Alerts via ADVANCE. For more information, see the ADVANCE Notification & Tracking System Technical Guide on the Internet at or contact the National Customer Support Center at 800-458-3181.

Title of Mailing Class and Type of Mail Requested Delivery
Number of Pieces (Millions) Distribution Presort Level Comments
Catherine's October Anniversary Sale Standard/Flat 10/17/04-10/23/04 1.4 Nationwide 3/5-Digit, Car-Rt Cenveo, Memphis, TN
Hallmark Holiday Catalog Standard/Flat 10/19/04-10/29/04 5.5 Nationwide 3/5-Digit, Car-Rt Quebecor, Jonesboro, AR
- Business Service Network Integration, Service and Market Development, 10-14-04


Notice 122, Domestic Indemnity Claims - Customer Quick Reference Guide

Notice 122, Domestic Indemnity Claims - Customer Quick Reference Guide, is now available. Retail associates can use this new double-sided postcard to inform customers who purchase insured services about our domestic indemnity claims process - including filing indemnity claims.

Each Post OfficeTM facility will receive an automatic distribution of Notice 122. You can order additional copies of Notice 122 from the Material Distribution Center (MDC) by using touch tone order entry (TTOE): Call 800-332-0317, option 2.

Note: You must be registered to use TTOE. To register, call 800-332-0317, option 1, extension 2925, and follow the prompts to leave a message. (Wait 48 hours after registering before placing your first order.)

Use the following information to order Notice 122:

PSN: 7610-07-000-0937
Unit of Measure: Each
Minimum Order Quantity: 1
Quick Pick Number: N/A
Bulk Pack Quantity: 250
Price: No cost

Notice 122 is also available on the Postal ServiceTM PolicyNet Web site:

• Go to

• Under "Essential Links" in the left-hand column, click on References.

• Under "References" in the right-hand column, click on PolicyNet.

• Click on Notices.

(The direct URL for the Postal Service PolicyNet Web site is

It is also available on the Postal Service Internet:

• Go to

• Click on About USPS & News, then Forms & Publications, then Postal Periodicals and Publications, and then Notices.

- Privacy and Consumer Policy,
Consumer Advocate, 10-14-04

Postal service policynet. It's your source for up-to-date information.