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An Oath of Office
By Brian J. Wagner
As a national officer of NAPS, the largest and best postal management association in the United States, I have had the opportunity—more importantly, the honor—to install local and state NAPS branch officers. It truly is an honor to give our organization’s oath of office to individuals who volunteer their valuable time to serve their respective branch members and support NAPS Headquarters. Taking an oath of office is more than just repeating the installing officer’s words. Here’s the scoop.
When I was the Customer Relations coordinator at the Peoria, IL, Post Office, I had the honor and privilege to give the oath of office to newly hired career postal employees. After giving them the oath, I let them know that, as a postal employee, their job entailed more than delivering America’s mail— it was delivering the livelihoods of the American public.
Whether you are the duly elected or appointed president of the United States, a member of Congress or the armed forces, a public servant of a local, state or federal agency, including the U.S. Postal Service, or an officer of an association, such as NAPS, what does it mean when you or someone you know takes an oath of office?
Does it mean having a selfless attitude to serve others? Does it require you to take action, resolve problems, generate ideas, build partnerships and relationships and, most of all, put the interests and livelihoods of others above your own?
Generally, an oath of office is taken in front of witnesses, friends, family and colleagues. As such, a person is professing publicly they will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the office to which they have been elected or appointed and serve to the best of their ability. Taking an oath also is about accepting a commitment to perform the duties and responsibilities of a position to which a person swore to uphold. It is not just about accepting a title and taking a back seat to leadership. Taking an oath is all about leadership.
Some leaders are not elected or appointed, but are volunteers of their own volition. They volunteer for association committees, lead church Bible studies, chair nonprofit fundraisers, deliver “meals on wheels,” help with disaster relief, read to seniors or tutor children, to name just a few. Volunteers may not require an official oath of office, but when you see them in action, you know they have taken a personal oath to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a leader—voluntarily.
Oath or no oath, when you hold yourself accountable to fulfill duties and responsibilities to the best of your ability of any position to which you have been elected, appointed or voluntarily accepted, you personally test your character and integrity to follow through on what is expected of you.
In 2021, there will be elections of NAPS branch officers. At our 67th National Convention this August, a new Executive Board will be elected. If you are given the opportunity, but, more importantly, the honor, to take an oath of office as an elected or appointed NAPS officer, I encourage you to embrace the opportunity and experience of NAPS leadership.
I have taken a personal oath to provide you with my June ice-cream-flavor-of-the-month recommendation: caramel apple pie!