Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Going Postal On The Mentally Challenged

     My full time gig is in a building which has a mail room housing the different boxes for each suite. Generally the mail room is about as exciting as an Obama speech, but Monday of this week the sparks were flying. Our mail carrier, who on a good day might get 80 percent of the mail in the correct boxes and is routinely rude while doing it, escalated her inappropriate behavior to a level that I didn't expect, even from a government worker. She yelled and swore at a mentally challenged man in his fifties because he wouldn't leave the mail room and wait until she was done misplacing the mail in the wrong boxes. Her rant continued on for several minutes after the gentleman had vacated the room in tears.
     This mail carrier had the unmitigated nerve to say she was going to report the mentally challenged man to her supervisor for impeding the mail delivery, of course I doubt that she will mention he is mentally challenged or that she screamed uncontrollably at him. It was like pulling teeth out of the mouth of a fully awake lion, but I was finally able to convince my boss to lodge a complaint against her with the post office. I don't expect any disciplinary action to be taken against the carrier. Her union membership wraps around her and her fellow carriers like a cloaking device and protects their right to mistreat the handicapped and a myriad of other offenses that 40 years ago would have lead to immediate job termination.
    The salient issue of my post is not entirely this one carrier's actions on this particular day, but the general disgust and irritation that public employees exhibit towards the taxpayers who pay their salaries and benefits. We have all experienced a downward spiral in both the competence and attitude of public service workers, from the slow as molasses license bureau worker up to the arrogant and dismissive politicians who are suppose to protect our best interests. It is as if they are entitled to their salaries and benefits and the taxpayers who fund them are an inconvenience.
     I wish the behavior of my building's mail carrier was an anomaly, but sadly it has become all too illustrative of the almost adversarial relationship that has formed between public servants and the public they serve. The cause, I believe, is the exaggeration of salaries and benefits far beyond what public sector workers' counterparts in the private sector receive. That coupled with the iron clad job security that union membership provides, creates an environment for public sector workers where the only expectation of them is that they continue to cash their paychecks every week. Maybe I am just old fashioned, but I expect my mail carrier, as well as other public employees, to be presentable in both their dress and attitude. Anything less use to be unacceptable by the public who paid the freight on the costs of government.

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