Police standoff, post office

It’s become a tangled tale with no amicable way out.
A Findlay Police Department sergeant goes from stellar performance reviews to unmanageable and terminable during just six months in 2012.
Through his own admission, he did some stupid things. Some of the behavior was stupid enough, police and city administrators say, to justify firing him, even though the city’s own disciplinary guidelines may not contain grounds for it. Through appeals, both the officer and the city agree to binding arbitration.
But isn’t the crux of binding arbitration the idea that it’s binding, that both sides have to do what the arbitrator says?
Someone apparently forgot to give that memo to Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer, Chief Greg Horne, Capt. Sean Young, and other administrators because the city filed a lawsuit to overturn the arbitrator’s ruling and uphold the sergeant’s firing.
Is that really the best use of our tax dollars?
Then, to make matters worse, the sergeant and the other officer at the heart of the mess are suing each other in a “he-said-she-said” worthy of a daytime soap opera.
While there may be cleansing to come from airing the accusations in open court, the integrity of the police department suffers every day the three cases linger. It’s already been more than a year since the incidents in dispute occurred. Divisions have formed in the ranks as officers take sides. That can’t be good for department morale.
At what point does the administration realize that the problems in the department are far too large and run far too deep to be handled internally?
And at what point do the investigations need to be turned over to an outside law enforcement agency, perhaps the State Highway Patrol, to complete a thorough report and make recommendations so the mess can be laid to rest?
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The U.S. Postal Service is doing the right thing by exploring new ways to compete in the mailing marketplace that often seems a step ahead of it.
The Postal Service, which has been struggling to survive for years, must be aggressive. Failing to reinvent itself and control costs will only hasten its demise.
Last year, it recorded losses of $5 billion, which only added to the pressure to make changes. Several years ago, postal authorities tried to reduce costs by eliminating Saturday mail delivery, an idea eventually shot down by Congress.
The latest Postal Service plan is to team up with some Staples office-supply stores through the country. Stores in test markets will sell postage and assist customers in mailing packages, services which until recently had been done primarily at post offices, although some postal products can be purchased online, at grocery stores and banks.
If the plan pans out, other Staples stores could one day offer a range of postal services, too.
The Postal Services deserves credit for looking for innovative ways to survive in a world against DHL, FedEx and UPS. Even email has cut deeply into post office revenue.
The Staples experiment hasn’t been without controversy. Postal unions are fighting the shared services agreement, saying it will take jobs away from Postal Service employees.
That could happen, of course, if the relationship with Staples fails to produce business. But just the opposite could result if consumers embrace it. In that case, increased demand for postal services would keep employees working.
One thing seems clear: Continue operating losses and rising postal services fees can’t continue indefinitely.
The Postal Service’s bread and butter may still be door-to-door delivery of mail and packages, but those days are likely to be numbered unless it keeps reaching out to its customers and making its services more convenient and accessible.

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