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Hawaii Adds Special Touch to Western Region Training Seminar
By Marilyn Walton
NAPS Western Region Vice President
Honolulu Branch 214 President Laurie Lum called the Western Region Training Seminar to order on Aug. 10. The program started with an oli (Hawaiian storyteller) offering a special blessing, aloha (welcome) and inviting everyone into the ohana (family) of love.
The Hickam Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors. The national anthem was sung by Roxanne Bradley, Sacramento Branch 77, and the Hawaiian National Anthem was sung by Kanani Alos, Branch 214. Northwest Area Vice President John Valuet led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Eileen Veach, Honolulu District manager, welcomed everyone and offered remarks on behalf of Ed Ruiz, Retail and Delivery Operations vice president, and her district employees. Milton Kokubun, Honolulu senior plant manager, also extended a warm welcome.
NAPS President Ivan D. Butts gave opening remarks. Executive Vice President Chuck Mulidore was the assigned NAPS resident officer for this event and extended a welcome to guests. We were pleased to welcome 23 Auxiliary delegates. National Auxiliary President Laurie D. Butts and Western Region Vice President Patricia Jackson-Kelley welcomed attendees. They were joined by National Auxiliary Secretary/Treasurer Bonita Atkins and Eastern Region Vice President Hazel Green. The Auxiliary hosted separate training and conducted the 50-50 SPAC raffles.
We were pleased to welcome Bruce Nicholson, USPS director of Labor Relations Policies & Programs, who provided an important overview on the “Delivering for America” 10-year plan.
Todd Hawkins, vice president, Western Region Processing Operations, presented an energetic and interesting overview of the proposed consolidation of processing plants nationwide. He provided information on how the new Sorting & Delivery Centers (S&DCs) will work to improve the postal network and mail processing. There will be no loss of postal positions with the consolidation of facilities.
Don Flak, executive director, Performance & Field Operations Support, gave an informative overview on the current National Performance Assessment (NPA) scorecard. His explanation made it easier for EAS employees to understand the 10-point system in order to establish pay raises. According to Flak’s stats, WestPac EAS employees will receive a pay raise this year.
A local Honolulu Police/Postal Task Force member dropped by to share the many activities the USPS Postal Inspection Service and Hono-lulu police are doing to ensure contraband and drugs are kept out of the U.S. Mail.
We also welcomed Karla Kirby, executive manager, Postal Service Health Benefits Program. As part of the Postal Service Reform Act, there will be the Postal Service Health Benefits (BSHB) Program tailored to Postal Service employees and retirees. The plan will be rolled out on Jan. 1, 2015; everyone will have an opportunity to make elections for their new plans during the 2024 open season.
Everyone needs to read information about the PSHB that will be sent to our homes to ensure we comply with the new plan options. Kirby’s information was very informative.
Training was provided by NAPS presenters. Past President Brian Wagner discussed ELM 650 and NAPS officers’ duties and responsibilities. Former Secretary/Treasurer John Aceves and Valuet presented SWCs training.
Rocky Mountain Area Vice President Myrna Pashinski and Aceves provided training on workplace bullying. Mulidore offered information on the NAPS Disciplinary Defense Fund (DDF) and the Supervisors’ Political Action Committee (SPAC).
The Western Region Team comprising Pacific Area Vice President Chuck Lum, Rocky Mountain Area Vice President Myrna Pashinski, Northwest Area Vice President John Valuet and I were pleased to welcome 12 NAPS Executive Board members to our biannual event. We want to thank them for participating in our Q&A session and sharing their knowledge and information with attendees.
I also want to thank California State President Marilyn Jones, California State Area Vice President Debbie Baker and the California players for interjecting a NAPS “Family Feud” game and musical skits into the program. They ensured we all stayed alert between presentations.
The Western Region SPAC Team, along with California State Legislative Rep Felicia Pennington and Youvet Profit, Los Angeles Branch 39, set a goal of $20,023. The final tally was $17,319, but we have until Dec. 15 to meet the goal. So, Western Region members, keep those SPAC donations coming in to NAPS! A special thanks to all the individuals and branches that donated SPAC items and gift cards. We had SPAC challenges, 50-50 raffles and specially donated items for bid.
The highlight of the seminar was Tihati’s Polynesian Spectacular Luau Dinner and Show organized and hosted by Honolulu Branch 214. The decorations, table settings, Hawaiian buffet dinner and Polynesian dance show were a true escape to paradise!
We also want to thank our sponsors: Steve Dillard, Dillard Financial Services; Johnny Gottstein, GPIS; Louis Atkins, Signature Federal Credit Union; Blue Cross Blue Shield; and Chanel Dodson, CK2 Kraft Designs. Their sponsorships made the dinner and show possible.
Finally, special thanks to the Branch 214 members and committees and all the Western Region branches and guests traveling from all over the country who helped make the 2023 Western Region Training Seminar successful. And a shout-out to Charles Patterson, Margarete A. Grant Branch 127 president, for all the great seminar photos.
On a tragic note, as we arrived on the Island of Oahu for our seminar, we received word of the terrible wildfires that devastated Lahaina on Maui. And as we returned home to the mainland, we were hit with hurricane warnings, heavy rains and flooding in Southern California and wildfires in Washington. We encourage everyone to donate to the Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF) as so many members of our postal family have been impacted by these terrible events.