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There's no place like USPS for the holidays — Holiday guide helps customers decide

Holiday Shipping and Mailing Guide cover.Busy shoppers have fewer shipping worries this holiday season - thanks to USPS. The Postal Service's Holiday Shipping and Mailing Guide was delivered to more than 110 million customers in November. It's filled with customer-friendly information on the Postal Service's most popular products, services and time-saving features. The six-panel guide is designed to resemble the popular hobby of scrap-booking, with borders of holiday ornaments and tree lights, ribbons and bows, and snowmen and snowflake cutouts.

"Everyone can use a little extra help around the holidays. We know that customers want more choices and convenience to help manage their time, especially this time of year," said Chief Marketing Officer Anita Bizzotto. "The holiday guide is one more way for us to help families enjoy the best the season has to offer."

The Postal Service issued its first holiday mailing guide in 2004. All of the information contained in the Holiday Shipping and Mailing Guide also can be found at

FSA — don't forget to pay yourself back

Employees considering 2007 flexible spending accounts (FSAs) during this year's open season, which runs through Dec. 31, might want to review their 2006 health receipts as well.

For several years, FSA participants have been able to claim reimbursement for many of the products and services they purchase routinely. Costs for items like allergy medicines, baby care products, first aid kits, motion sickness remedies and over-the-counter pain relievers are eligible for FSA reimbursement.

Out-of-pocket fees for prescriptions, orthodontia and dentist visits, vision exams, medical deductibles, doctor visit co-pays - even summer camps and day care for dependent children and parents - also are reimbursable. So, there are lots of reasons for postal employees with dollars in their FSA accounts to check the list one more time.

For more information, you can go to, call 800-842-2026 or use an Employee Self-Service Kiosk.

Potter's world — magazine charts PMG's career

PMG Jack PotterPMG Jack Potter is the cover story in the current issue of Government Leader magazine.

"Balance, respect, and compromise."

These are the words Government Leader ma- gazine uses in its current issue to describe Postmaster General Jack Potter's leadership style.

The article traces Potter's career at the Postal Service, focusing on his accomplishments as PMG and the improved performance of USPS in recent years. It reports in depth on Potter's management style, forged as he rose through the ranks and crystallized in a conversation with basketball hall of famer Bill Russell.

To read the article, go to

Fresno, CA, postmaster hosts special dedication for holiday stamps

Fresno California postmaster dedication pictureKamal Abu-Shamsieh, left, Director of the Fresno, CA, Islamic Cultural Center; Fresno Postmaster Ramona Frankfort and Customer Relations Coordinator Ben Romero attended the special dedication event.

Fresno Postmaster Ramona Frankfort recently celebrated this year's Holiday Celebrations stamps by inviting attendees representing the diverse elements of her community. Featured at the event were the EID, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Snowflakes stamps.

Frankfort's goal was straightforward. "The concept was to gather members of all cultures, faiths and backgrounds in one common ceremony," she said.

Frankfort held the event at the Islamic Cultural Center in Fresno. A captain from the city's fire department opened the ceremony, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Representatives from Fresno's Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Afro- American communities spoke to an audience of 250.

Anderson wins Dot Sharpe Lifetime Achievement Award

Dot Sharpe Lifetime Achievement Award pictureVenedocia, OH, Postmaster and Nominator Janette Degen, left; District Manager Lori Wigley and Eastern Area Vice President Alexander Lazaroff admire the Dot Sharpe award won by Billy Anderson, right.

Billy Anderson, the Senior Post Office Operations Manager for the Cincinnati District, has won the USPS Dot Sharpe Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anderson has been a role model throughout his career, mentoring and opening doors for others. He is a founder of the African-American Postal League United for Success (A-PLUS), a USPS-based organization and an important partner in working toward an inclusive workforce.

The long list of other organizations and projects Anderson supports includes the USPS Bone Marrow Drive, mentoring of students at Dayton, OH, area schools and the Prime Example Association, a community organization providing support to underprivileged children.

The Dot Sharpe Lifetime Achievement Award is part of the National Diversity Awards program and honors Postal Service employees who have made extraordinary contributions during their careers to promote the basic principles of diversity.

Supply Management manages nearly $1 million in cost avoidance

When flat-rate Priority Mail was introduced, customers loved the service. So much so that it wasn't long before envelopes filled to capacity were causing processing problems when the adhesive sealing the envelope failed to hold.

Enter the Supply Management Expedited Package Services Package and Container team.

Under an incentive clause negotiated with packaging supplier Bell, Inc., the company added a "primer" to the envelope that allows the adhesive strip to bond more quickly and aggressively when it's sealed. The primer also has been added to regular Priority Mail, Express Mail and Global Mail envelopes.

The result - no spills, no messes and more than $869,000 in cost avoidance.

Santa letters — guidelines for good deeds

Operation Santa, Letters to Santa and similar programs raise concern among some employees about our ability to give away "Dear Santa" letters. What about the sanctity of the mail and the promise we make to protect the contents of letters entrusted to our care?

As a general rule, employees aren't allowed to access the cover or contents of mail. However, to support the Santa programs, Administrative Support Manual 274.5k reads:

"the Postal Service or authorized third party may open, read, and respond to mail, or contact the sender, regarding correspondence that is addressed to "Santa Claus," "the North Pole," or similar seasonal characters or destinations and which would otherwise be undeliverable as addressed."

Guidelines for how to handle these letters have been distributed to the field. If your office is distributing Santa letters, make sure you follow the guidelines.

And if you create a name and address list - whether it's employees, benefactors or recipients - you need to follow the requirements of the Privacy Act.

For more information or a copy of the guidelines, contact Public Affairs and Communications at

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