Bosses made ‘inflammatory remarks’

A national association of postal workers is demanding the removal of two high-level officials in Sioux Falls and Denver for what it considers “inappropriate and inflammatory remarks.”

The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service confirmed Wednesday that it has launched a review.

At issue is the conduct of Postal Service executives during a conference call this month, Ted Keating, president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, wrote to Patrick Donahoe, deputy postmaster general and chief operating officer of the U.S. Postal Service.

“Those remarks were: ‘Some managers ought to be taken out and executed.’ The word ‘executed’ was used more than once,” Keating wrote in the Feb. 11 letter, which was obtained by the Argus Leader and later posted on the association’s Web site.

“As we fight for the very survival of the Postal Service, this type of conduct by senior officers cannot be tolerated,” Keating added.

The Office of Inspector General for the Postal Service is undertaking a review of the matter, said Agapi Doulaveris, director of communications for the office.

The Postal Service itself also is looking into the issue.

“It is under review, and until that review is completed, we really don’t have much else to add,” said Teresa Rudkin, manager of corporate communications for the Postal Service’s western region.

The inspector general’s office is doing a “workplace climate” assessment in the Postal Service’s Dakotas region, where “they have already interviewed many supervisors and managers,” said Neil Baker, a vice president of the National Association of Postal Supervisors who handles issues in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In his letter, Keating asked that two postal officials be removed immediately because of the remarks: Western Area Vice President Sylvester Black, who works in Denver; and Dakotas District Manager Clem Felchle, who is based in Sioux Falls.

Black is responsible for all postal operations for the Postal Service’s Western area, which includes the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wyoming and other Midwest and Western states. He manages a work force of 104,000 employees and an annual operation budget of $9 billion, according to information from the Postal Service.

Calls to Black and Felchle on Wednesday were referred to Rudkin, who said details of the review are not available.

Baker said the situation is unfortunate because Felchle is highly regarded. He disagrees with his group’s decision to make the letter public on its Web site.

“The Dakotas district manager is probably one of the best in the country,” Baker said of Felchle. “He’s being crucified by making one mistake on the words.”

The National Association of Postal Supervisors is a management association, not a union, according to information on its Web site. Its members include more than 35,000 active and retired supervisors, managers and postmasters who work for or retired from the Postal Service.

“We’re supposed to be working with the Postal Service for the betterment of everybody,” Baker said.


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