What happens if you lose your license due to a drunk driving arrest, and you have to drive a truck for your job?
If you are a U.S. Postal Service employee, your boss just pays somebody else to drive you around for a while.
That’s what has happened in Lititz, where James E. Avers, 34, of Mount Joy, has been getting a paid chauffeur to drive him until he gets his suspended license back, after pleading guilty to four counts of drunken driving in 2013.
His 2011 DUI arrest in East Hempfield Township was Avers’ second for drunk driving, according to court records.
Lititz Postmaster Greg Irwin said, “He’s getting his license back. It’s not a permanent situation.”
Avers’ 18-month suspension will end in July, according to court records.
When asked why the postal service is paying an employee to drive Avers around until that happens, Irwin said, “I’m not really wanting to comment on that.”
The Postal Service recently ended its second quarter of its 2014 fiscal year with a net loss of $1.9 billion. That marked the 20th out of the last 22 quarters it had sustained a loss.
A source familiar with the situation, who asked not to be named, said that sometimes a driver and Avers go out together, drive to a designated spot and both deliver the mail from there on foot.
Sometimes, a driver simply transports Avers to a spot and Avers does the route, the source said. Another source also confirmed that.
All carriers in Lititz have to drive trucks, the source said.
Postal service spokesman David Walton acknowledged that Avers is pairing up with another employee, who drives to a designated spot, and then both deliver mail.
Walton denied that a worker sometimes is simply acting as Avers’ driver, as the two sources familiar with the situation described.
“If he wasn’t productive, we wouldn’t be allowing this,” he said.
One of the sources added that even when another carrier helps Avers to do a route, it’s wasteful.
“They are paying two people to do one route,” the source said.
Walton said if a carrier has his or her license suspended, the postal workers’ union contract states that every reasonable effort will be made to reassign them to non-driving duties in their job area, Walton said.
According to court documents, Avers is being supervised by Veterans Court, a rigorous program that oversees veterans who have been arrested and offers an alternative to traditional prison or probation sentences.