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Moi Jan04
jwg

A community service award received

Today I went to a luncheon at Upstairs on the Square courtesy of the US Postal Service. I am a member of the Cambridge Consumer Advisory Council and we received an award for being the best one in the US.

It was a fine lunch - I had an interesting fruit oriented salad (tomatoes included - they are fruit), salmon and a fruit tart with ice cream. There were various big and medium wigs there from Boston HQ, Connecticut HQ (higher up than Boston), and Washington DC as well as the Cambridge brass and the Mayor. I think the wigs were in town for other stuff. One of the things happening today was the unveiling of the Bette Davis stamp (I missed it).

We meet once a month with the Postmaster, several other USPS employees, and the 5 or so of us residents. We discuss topics such as graffiti on mailboxes, failures in held and forwarded mail, long lines in the PO, and other such topics to give them consumer oriented advice. They really listen and sometimes act. I am currently pushing a better procedure for held mail that isn't completely dependent upon the route carrier (it often fails when a non-usual substitute handles the route) and they are about to report on what they are doing. Another item is the fact that they don't "know" which street mailboxes have graffiti even though USPS employees visit each one several times a day. I learned today from one of the bigwigs at the lunch that the scanners that record when they visited each box have several programmable buttons that could be used to report a graffiti box.

Another program which we sponsored is the Carrier Alert program. This allows Seniors to register with the Senior Center and the PO places a marker in the mail box. Then if the Carrier notices that mail hasn't picked up he/she informs the Senior Center who contacts the contact people or sends out EMTs. I'm the database person of course (and nagger to make sure we do this each year), so I get the Street Address file with names and ages from the Election Commission (updated each year with the annual local census), select the seniors and prepare a labels file that can be used for an announcement mailing. Seniors in the Senior Center are used to stick on the mailing labels. There have been a couple of false alarms but also several cases where an injured person got help probably a few days before they would have without this program. Carrier Alert is a national program but there aren't very many instances of it.

Each of us got a coffee cup and an official proclamation from the Mayor commemorating our service. That is the second such proclamation I got this year - the other from membership on the GLBT Commission. I joked with the PO person who gave me the cup - I thought I was going to get lifetime free postage and all I got was a cup.

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Hey John, cool. You make me wanna be of service.

Go you! I cannot tell you the pain I have had with both held mail and misdirected mail.

Well, the cup does have (an image of) a stamp on it. Of course, it's a 37-cent stamp, but that's better than nothing.

Does USPS still grant free franking privileges to Presidents, (Supreme Court) Justices, Senators, and Representatives even in retirement? It's been long enough I don't remember any more.

"Lifetime free postage"? Do even Postmasters General get that?

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