Potential new Postal Service boss tied to anthrax scare worries workers
The former manager of a U.S. Postal Service plant that employed two workers who died during the 2001 anthrax attacks is under consideration to serve as vice president of operations for the District, Maryland and Virginia, according to sources familiar with the selection process. But such a move would upset workers who remember he assured them of their safety just days before two workers died of anthrax exposure, union leaders said.
Timothy C. Haney currently oversees postal operations across most of New York, New Jersey and New England and sources said Postmaster General John E. Potter may soon move him to manage the District, Maryland, Northern and Eastern Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Postal Service delivers more than 9.9 billion pieces of mail annually to more than 10.7 million addresses in the region.
The Postal Service would not comment. Calls to Haney's office in New York were not returned. He would replace Jerry D. Lane, who left earlier this month after an altercation with a female plant manager at the agency's Sterling distribution center. Lane is due in court on Aug. 26 to face misdemeanor assault charges and if convicted faces up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Haney joined the Postal Service in 1977 as a clerk in Pasadena, Md. and has managed seven distribution centers, including the District's Curseen and Morris Processing and Distribution Center.
The facility, formerly known as the Brentwood Processing and Distribution Center, was renamed for Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris, who died of anthrax exposure in 2001.
Ray Robinson, executive vice president of American Postal Workers Union Nation’s Capital Area Local 140 said Haney's promotion concerns some colleagues.
“We didn’t feel that they were straight with us,” during the anthrax scare, Robinson said of Haney, Potter and other top Postal officials.
"They left us in the building and we believe that they had information that showed it might have been dangerous," he said.
APWU filed suit against Haney, Potter and other officials after Curseen and Morris died, arguing the Postal Service kept Brentwood open despite the anthrax exposure. A federal court dismissed the case, ruling that workers could only seek recourse through the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Potter later promoted and transferred Haney to the Northeast region.
Local 140 President Dena Briscoe said her members have several workplace concerns that need addressing by whoever takes the regional position.
“We’re hoping Mr. Haney comes with a good heart to address employee concerns, because there are a lot,” Briscoe said.
Postal Service officials would not comment on the workers' concerns.
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