Warning to all employees of the United States Postal Service: you better not start any GoFundMes for yourself or colleagues.
On April 11, Long Island postal worker Mike Martinez was struck by an out-of-control car while loading mail at the back of his truck on his route; he sustained extensive injuries, including a severed leg.
A USPS colleague quickly set up a GoFundMe campaign to benefit Martinez, which went on to raise several thousand. But that’s where the goodwill ends.
About a week ago the Good Samaritan was called into a meeting with some people who identified themselves as USPS ethics lawyers. They told the Good Samaritan that he had violated ethics rules by starting up a collection for Mailman Mike. They told the Good Samaritan that he would have to refund all the money collected or he would be subject to disciplinary action. The branch president, the Good Samaritan reports, called Fred Rolando and described what was going on. Rolando, it is reported, said the money should be refunded or OIG would become involved and the Good Samaritan might be disciplined.
In a statement provided to Postal News, the USPS explains its decision:
The Postal Service has advised the employee that he should not have been involved in it; the injured employee is prohibited by law from accepting cash gifts that exceed $20. This is a federal law that applies to all government employees; it is not a Postal Service policy.
Fearing discipline from the benevolent overlords at USPS, the campaign organizer shuttered his effort. A second campaign has been started by Martinez’s brother, who is not a USPS employee, which explicitly seeks to benefit Martinez’s wife and two daughters, not the postman. “This money will be used to help with daily living expenses and bills for his family,” it says.
USPS orders shutdown of GoFundMe page for New York letter carrier who lost leg [PostalReporter]