welcome to the OHIO Chapter UPMA The official hosts of the 2021 National Convention
             welcome to the OHIO Chapter UPMAThe official hosts of the 2021 National Convention 

Report from our Eastern Area UPMA Coordinator Mari Beth Kirkland, Postmaster Middlefield OH

    04/12/2020                                        History Happens

It is so quiet out here……………I have had time to reflex on many valuable lessons, that this monster has taught me. I have come to appreciate many of these lessons, and I have become more appreciative of so much. It has taught me to slow down, and appreciate what I have in my life. It has taught me the importance of bonding. Although I have always been aware of germs, hygiene, and sanitation, it has taught me the necessity of proper hygiene, and cleaning. It has taught me the value of family, and friends. It has taught me that, time is so precious, and valuable. It has taught me to be more organized, and respectful. It has taught me the struggles people face, and the importance of compassion, understanding, empathy, and sympathy. It has taught me the importance of the difficult job that upper leadership has. It has taught me, or perhaps intensified, my appreciation, that I have of UPMA, my UPMA family, and the value it has provided to me, in my career, and life. It has taught me, what is important, in my life.
This Monster, has taught me what I can do without. It’s hard to believe, but I have survived not being able to go to the mall every week, dining out whenever I felt like it, walking into a bank lobby, traveling all over the country, Wal Mart visits almost daily, watching a ball game, and so much more. This is now, our “Norm”. I have always counted my blessings, but now, I am thankful for so much more. How life has changed, in a matter of a month. 

I asked my employees, what they miss. They miss, getting together with family, going to visit grandma, meeting a brand new grandbaby, visiting restaurants, taking three young daughters to the park, seeing a pregnant daughter, physical contact, customer contact, not being able to breath normal with their mask on, not seeing a friend and her children, events, and sports. The bottom line is, this monster has all made us change our lifestyle, and focus on what is important in life, to us. We will all learn valuable life lessons from this terrible monster, COVID-19. 

 Last week, while driving with two granddaughters, I overheard a conversation in the back seat. The 12 year old stated to the 14 year old, “Do you realize we are part of history in the making? 10 years from now, this will be in history books, if not before then. What do you think about that?” The response I heard, was alarming. “I know, I don’t want to do this anymore. It is scary, and sad, and I don’t like it, but yes were are making history. History that I hope, never ever happens again. I miss school, I miss my friends, and I hope they all stay safe.” This was a “wow” moment for Grandma. They nailed it, we are all in this together. This monster has impacted adults, and our work lives, but it has impacted children also. These girls are longing to go back to school, as many children are. The first week off was awesome, but it is now old, and they are ready to return. My heart breaks for the senior students, throughout this country.  


My fellow members, know what a difference you are making to so many lives in this country right now. We, postal employees, are essential, and we have to go to work. I am thankful that I am essential, and that I can assist the customers with their needs. This is a time for postal employees to shine, and to take to heart their purpose, because it is more than a job at times like these. I commend each and every one of you, and I am so proud to be a part of such an elite group. Think about what this monster has taught us, unfortunately. We are making history, but not the kind of history we want to make. Please try and keep your spirits up and the spirits up of those around you. Enjoy the beauties of spring. The wonders of spring is one thing this monster cannot take from us. 

Respectfully and Sincerely,

Mari Beth Kirkland
Eastern Area UPMA Postal Coordinator


Good Morning and Happy Spring,

I hope this finds everyone and your family,  healthy and safe. Try and enjoy this beautiful spring weather. This can take alot away from us, but it can't take away spring, fortunately. One of my favorite times of year. 

     I have been requested to provide a summary, or update from the Monday thru Friday Eastern Area morning teleconference with (A) AVP, Angela Curtis. As Postal Coordinator for UPMA, I am required to be on these, and also everytime a case is confirmed in our area, Jill Miniard, conducts a teleconference and reports to the management associations, and unions, the location, craft, and last day of work. We are notified of cleaning method plans, and stand up talks times. On both of these telconfernces, the floor is open for questions. I am not sure how Dan Heins is finding time, but he is always in attendance on of this teleconferencing. Peter Urbani is also on the role call,  and always in attendance.  

     Last week as I mentioned, I was requested to report out on the area telecom. I just arrived back to my office Tuesday afternoon from being quarantined. I finally got caught up yesterday afternoon, so I will begin to report out daily, and provide a summary of the Eastern AM Area meeting to all of you. Some days they are very short, and other days more lengthy. 

     After the cruise I flew straight to OKC to teach a two week TTT class. Day one, we were told in the afternoon they were closing the NCED. This past Thursday evening an NCED employee contacted me to let me know one case has tested positive while I was there. My quarantine time has past though, so I am fine. It is everywhere. 

     Who would have ever thought we would ever experience this horrible situation in our lives? It is hitting us all very close to home. Please know that you and your families are all in my thoughts and prayers during this time. If you need anything, or as Dan Heins said, "just to talk or someone to listen", I am here or you. We ARE all in this together, and we know our wonderful UPMA family are always here for each other. 

     Thank you Sean and Kristi for the mailbox idea. That is on my project list this weekend. 

Be thankful for all of our blessings, from our employment, to our loved ones. Please try and enjoy this beautiful spring, and the blessed holiday, Easter, coming up. 

     Our next telcom will be 4/14. I will get the invite and agenda, out the end of the week. 

Stay safe and healthy, HUGS,

Mari Beth


The Eastern Area AVP, Dr. Joshua Colin, has gone on a detail. Acting AVP is, Angela Curtis. I have worked with her on a few items.  
Some states have been mandating their Postmasters to work Saturday’s for the Safety Blitz. I was able to get the District Manager to withdraw this for all Postmasters, except offices that had accidents. It worked for two weeks, and then it was reported to me that 4 out of 5 Saturday’s were mandated. The second time, I did not get a response from the DM or (A) AVP, so I went to our National office. It took about 10 minutes for President Dan Heins to get a response. He sent it up to Bruce Nicholson. The state, and the (A) AVP, could not come up with a good enough reason to issue this kind of a mandate. It was stopped immediately. 
New York State is doing full reversal of DUO routes, that did not make the financial criteria of the SOP. They are looking at office levels with these changes. There will be many routes in Ohio that qualify for “DUO overs”, if it is put in place. It is interesting that one state is implementing this, and the rest not.  Perhaps other states will follow. 
Denial of leave during PEAK has been an issue in one of the states. Our contention is that if there is coverage for the office, there should be no reason to deny leave. President Dan Heins, received this email;.. "December is one of our busiest months and we shouldn’t expect to use personal leave every day and take annual leave throughout the month. We shouldn’t drop a leave slip already approved by ourselves (installation heads) on our POOM and say, “I’m off, you need to figure out staffing my office.”  We should have planned to use any leave that we are over the ceiling (560) prior to peak season.  However, the statement from the POOM is unacceptable.  There is nothing in our polices that prohibit annual leave in December. The POOM should consider sending a more effective message that conveys to employees that he realizes peak season can be tough and he appreciates their dedication.  He should state that peak season will be challenging as it always is and he is counting on the PM’s as leaders to service our customers and be as efficient as possible and that starts with the PM being in the office and available.  If he wants to discourage hundreds of leave slips, then he could ask Postmasters to submit a sound plan for the Operations of their office prior to taking leave to prevent any customer service failures. "
I think we all know that employees can’t have weeks off at a time during Christmas but there may be situations where it would have no impact and the POOM should determine that on a case by case basis. Please reach out to an Ohio officer if you get in this situation. Also please understand, you have to have your office covered. It is not the POOM’s responsibility. 
The area has a few Postmasters out on IMIP’s, and out of their offices due to investigations. In many cases, the Postmasters do not know what the allegations are. Please understand if you are placed out of your office, on Administrative Leave, to an involuntary reassignment temporarily, we cannot proceed with anything as long as you are in a Pay status. 
The Lean Communication Team is fading away. I have been successful in Northern Ohio to reduce emails, and compliance requirements. I would hope that you have noticed a reduction in some of reporting in this district. I have to commend our Northern Ohio District Manager, Sharon Young, whom I believe to be very instrumental in reducing redundant reporting. Her assistance has been outstanding.  Many other states, that I have spoken with have done nothing with this program. 
On the UPMA front, an amendment to the bylaws, has been submitted to change the Area Postal Coordinator term to one year, rather than a three year term. I will be submitting a job description, to the Executive Board of the duties and responsibilities of an Area Postal Coordinator. I can honestly say, it took me a full year to get acclimated to the position. We need at least a two or three year term. 
Respectfully submitted,
Mari Beth Kirkland
Eastern Area UPMA Postal Coordinator


to Angela Curtis, Eastern Area                                                      10/26/2019

Subject: Holiday Collections
Good Morning Ms. Curtis,
I hold an Eastern Area Telecom for all State Presidents, each month. Each state reports out on their state. Last night, I held the October telecom. 
Some of the states discussed the requirements for collection on the holiday. I will forward one email to you, as an example. 
Some states are reporting, that all offices have to do collections on the Holiday. The issue is, in many offices collection mail go nowhere, until the following morning, because there are no dispatches in many offices. One state reported out that she paid $225.00 for a person to do collections. 491 pieces were collected, and it went nowhere until Tuesday morning. 
If clerks reports to do collections, they have to get paid 2 hours (PTF, PSE), even if it actually takes minutes. 
In our District, we only collect dedicated routes. If we do not get a dispatch, we transport the mail to the closest hub. I don’t believe any 18’s work collection mail.
I understand the customer experience, and our obligation, however we see many things that impact the USPS financial situation. This appears to be extremely costly in many offices, and it impacts TOE. I just think of what this costs the USPS throughout the country. 
It would be helpful if we could please get consistent instructions, at least throughout our area. A suggestion would be an SOP for the area. I would appreciate it if you could look into this and message out your decision to all DM’s.
Thank you for your time,
Mari Beth Kirkland
Eastern Area UPMA Postal Coordinator



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