Friday, July 2, 2010

During the investigation into the activities of Robert F. Bernstock, former president of shipping and mailing for the U.S. Postal Service, attorney Mary Anne Gibbons told investigators she thought there were two sets of rules governing the so-called de minimus policies on the use of postal equipment for outside activities (“Postal boss was not sent packing,” Web, News, Thursday).

Ms. Gibbons said she believed there was one rule for hourly employees and another for executive employees such as Mr. Bernstock. The investigation noted, however, that there is only one set of rules and it applies to all USPS employees, big and small. None may use government time, equipment and/or personnel to operate outside businesses.

Mr. Bernstock also lied on his legally required Standard Form (SF) Public Financial Disclosure, and the U.S. attorney has still declined to prosecute him. An indiscretion of this sort usually makes prosecution a no-brainer. All of this clearly shows there really is a double standard when it comes to ethics - senior officials seldom get prosecuted for what would cause an hourly worker to get hammered.

Considering the quality of Ms. Gibbons’ legal advice to Mr. Bernstock as well as her failure to report the ethics violations immediately to the inspector general, the postal service should fire her for incompetence and malfeasance.

But the real problem lies with the postal service’s senior management. Perhaps we should consider having United Parcel Service or FedEx take over or replace our postal service. That could be a start to trimming our deficit.


Commander, Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps (retired)

Alexandria, Va.

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