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The Grass Is Greener on the Other Side
By Ivan D. Butts
NAPS National President
Hello, my NAPS brothers and sisters. I write this column on the heels of two, recent postal events. First was the National Postal Forum (NPF), held in the Queen City of Charlotte, NC, May 20-23. Second was the June 2, 2023, announcement of a RIF in the Logistics silo of the redesigned network being implemented under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s “Delivering for America” (DFA) plan.
Having now attended a few NPFs, I found this recent event to be exceptionally well-scripted. The performances by USPS leaders were done well and executed to near perfection. The production was complete with the tension and suspense of the PMG greeting members of the Postal Regulatory Commission and USPS Board of Governors, who then proceeded to blame them and postal leadership before his tenure (many of whom were in the room as current postal leaders) for 12 years of failure. Included in DeJoy’s remarks were his projections of the demise of the PRC in 2028 and the agency tearing up governance rules.
DeJoy said something to the effect of having a little fun at the NPF, but I didn’t hear much laughter. The other resident officers and I felt the tension rise in the room. However, this is not the NPF event of which I’m speaking.
On my arrival at the Charlotte Convention Center Monday morning, I heard someone call my name as I walked past the registration desk. I turned to see a young man walking toward me, asking if I was, in fact, Ivan Butts. He was wearing a polo shirt with the Department of Homeland Security logo.
Of course, I had no reason to be alarmed, but, regardless, I was alarmed that someone from Homeland Security was calling me by name. I felt some relief that no guns were drawn.
This person preceded to introduce himself as a former Postal Service supervisor who had spoken to me during his challenging times working at the agency. He was very appreciative of the support NAPS gave him as he attempted to deal with the unyielding, unrealistic and unsupportive pressures of USPS leadership. He told me he moved to the Department of Homeland Security after finding no accord in the USPS.
I asked him how it was going working at Homeland Security. I knew the answer, having heard it a few times before from EAS employees who have left the USPS to work at other federal agencies. He loved his new (one year removed) environment, the supportiveness of leadership and the pay increases. I thanked him for his time at the Postal Service, for remembering me and the work done in support of him and, most of all, for sharing his story.
Ironically, I recently was contacted by another federal agency for a reference for one of my former employees and by another former employee considering leaving the USPS for another agency. This prompts me to wonder what analytics the Postal Service keeps on EAS employees transferring to other government agencies and what type of exit surveys are being conducted.
I will later discuss my alarm regarding the Logistics RIF that has heightened my fears that current postal leadership may not be moving America’s Postal Service forward.