Thoughts on SoCal Wind, Weather, and Whatever
By Mel Carriere
The winds have now shifted here in San Diego and the breeze is now blowing in from its normal direction, bringing the blessed bounty of cool air from the ocean. Although we wish them all well up in the North County as the fire continues to burn in San Marcos, in this particular round of fires we here in the South Bay have been spared the horror and uncertainty of not knowing whether or not there will be any place to go home to once the fire is out.
In 2003 and 2007 the fires struck a little bit closer to home and my family and I actually evacuated for one evening in 2007, but outside of a very small fire by the freeway in National City during this particular fire outbreak there hasn’t been any real scare for me. Yesterday we could barely even see the smoke clouds up north because the Santa Ana winds were blowing them out to the ocean. This morning it was considerably sootier outside, but nothing like in 2003 when the letter carriers in my post office were sent home because of the horrible air quality.
I’ve been through two big fires so I know what they are like, and because I have a few postal friends in San Marcos I have been anxiously watching as events unfold up there, hoping that the fire gets under control before more damage occurs. With the break in the heat that is expected tomorrow I am hoping the fire fighters will get a hand from Mother Nature and things will be set to right very soon.
But I won’t try and trick you into thinking that this particular postal blogging fool is under siege from some encircling ring of fire down here in my little part of Southern California. What I will tell you is that we have been feeling the heat, and an unfortunate incident that occurred in our office yesterday makes me wonder once more about the quality of the people who lead our organization and whether or not we can consider ourselves to be safe in their hands.
“I’ll be frank in saying that I think the intense micro-management from upstairs has left the postal service in a place where good people don’t want to supervise anymore, and we postal employees are left in a situation in which people who don’t really care about our welfare are left manning the wheel of the postal vessel. Because these so called leaders are more concerned about dodging or deflecting blame then they are about doing their jobs properly they often abandon ship in critical moments, leaving us rudderless. Here is a case in point from yesterday.
First of all I’ll start by saying that our station is notorious for being a place in which the supervisors run and hide. In the afternoon there is often no supervisor on post for hours on end and they leave the closing clerk to answer the phone. Of course this is a serious hassle for the closing clerk as she tries to get the dispatch ready and also juggle hotline calls from letter carriers at the same time. I have often wondered what would happen if there was an emergency on the street that no supervisor was on hand to deal with, and yesterday it happened.
Our newest CCA wilted in the 100 degree heat yesterday, experiencing severe dehydration and vomiting. She attempted to call the hotline several times, and no one was there to pick up. She also tried to call the supervisor’s personal cell phone, but received no response on that end either. Finally she called one of our female letter carriers, a lady who has been at our station for about twenty years and is sort of the “Mother Hen” of our facility (no insult intended) because she takes all of the “newbies” under her wing and looks after them. This carrier answered the phone on the first ring and left her route to go and take care of the CCA, who was found sitting on the sidewalk crying and occasionally throwing up.
This motherly letter carrier got some water and ice for the CCA and finally reached a supervisor after about an hour of trying. Having four supervisors at our station it is shocking, but definitely not surprising, that not one of them was on hand to take phone calls. I can only wonder what air-conditioned closet they were hiding in while carriers were dropping on the street, but finally the CCA was picked up by a supervisor and taken for medical treatment.
Today one of our local postal brain trust thought to stock the refrigerator with water, but having a refrigerator full of water at the station doesn’t do letter carriers sweating away their vital fluids on the street a lot of good. I was thinking it might be nice for one of our fearless leaders to crawl out of whatever rabbit hole they hunker down in, hiding from the bigwigs upstairs, and take some of these water bottles out to the street, where they are needed. Maybe one of these delivered at the right time yesterday could have saved that CCA.
What else can I say? It is a pathetic situation indeed when members of our local management don’t communicate with each other because they don’t trust each other, and when it is more of a priority to hide out from the vigilance of the people upstairs then it is to take care of the workers with whose safety they have been entrusted. Our little neck of California might not be burning at the moment, but the heat is definitely on and I am sorry this young CCA’s first memory of the post office has to be how she was left alone to overheat on the sidewalk.