Tuesday, November 30, 2010

USPS Elimination of Saturday Service

In my Annual Address to the Delegates of the 144th Annual National Grange Session I said the following

"The U.S. Postal Service has proposed to Congress that they be allowed to reduce service to their customers, the American public. While their request notes that they wish to eliminate Saturday service, the proposed changes will allow possible future reductions in service without congressional or administrative action.

"The National Grange has taken a strong stand in opposition to this proposed reduction in services in accordance with our policies that have been adopted over the course of many years. We have testified to postal regulatory officials how rural America will suffer disproportionately from the elimination of Saturday service. A 17% reduction in services for a 6% savings does not make sense at this time.

"Due to the gap between rural and urban America in access to broadband service, rural citizens and businesses still depend heavily upon service from their local post office. Essential products such as medicine and parts, civic participation through mailed ballots, and agriculture products such as chicks depend upon delivery by our Postal Service.

"We understand the challenges faced by the Postal Service and their financial condition. We encourage the Postal Service to explore all cost saving opportunities, but reduction of services is not an option we can support. We also call upon Congress to deal with the retirement early pay-out issue which has devastated the US Postal Service financially and forced it to entertain issues such as a reduction in services to customers."

The Postal Regulatory Commissions has said by year’s end they expect to issue their Advisory Opinion in Docket N2010-1 evaluating the Postal Service’s proposal to eliminate Saturday mail service to homes and businesses nationwide.

Once Congress gets the Commissions recommendation, we will keep our members informed on this important issue.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Meaning of Leadership

National Grange Session is over and my local Grange had officer elections this week. I've had a little time to reflect on what being elected Master/President really means to most people.

Being elected to the highest ranking position in your Grange should be considered an honor as it means your fellow members believe you can do the job of leading. Leading doesn't mean doing it all, it means building a team to accomplish the Grange goals.

I have found that running the meeting is one of the easier parts of the job. If you commit to learning the basics of parliamentary procedure and our opening and closing ceremonies, you will have no problem with this part of leading.

A harder part is building teams and then educating those teams in how to function together successfully. When you understand that the success of your Grange depends upon teamwork, you have achieved a great beginning.

The hardest part of being elected "the leader" is that you must lead. Most leaders are not chosen for their good looks, their superior intellect, or their charismatic personality. Ask yourself why you were chosen to lead your Grange.

Leading is a balance of listening and guiding. It is not remaking or substantially changing the organization, it is building within the framework that exists. It is about showing your members the path that they want to go down. Leading is showing the members that it is fine to try something new or different.

Politicians tend to be poor examples of leadership as they often get caught up in believing their own press. Listen and learn from those you lead and you will achieve great things during your term as leader.

When your time is up, then be a leader and step back and support those who take the reins of leadership in your Grange. The satisfaction of a job well done and the appreciation of your peers is a wonderful reward for your gift of time and effort as a leader.