Two post office employees fired

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With new renovations to help the Sam Houston State University’s post office work faster, employees’ jobs are at stake.After serving five and a half years as post office manager, Smith was fired on Jan. 25.”I had never been written-up before, but I was asked to resign because they were not happy with my performance,” Smith said. “The State of Texas should be required to tell why a person is fired.”I think it was very unfair, because I was never reprimanded for anything,” she said.As a graduate student in the criminal justice department, the job as post office manager allowed Smith to attend classes for her degree.Not only have these changes affected Smith, but assistant post office manager, Walter Bates, as well. Walter Bates, 62, was asked to resign on Feb. 13, 2002, without a detailed explanation. He started at the post office on June 1, 1996, and has worked for the post office for about six years.According to Bates, Jim Stevens, head of the post office, and Cynthia Bennett, a human resources member, called him into an office and explained they had decided to terminate him. When he questioned why the termination occurred, their response was that they were not prepared to discuss it.”I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do,” Bates said. “I have been there six years and have been under a different head and though I knew there were some problems, I was not aware of anything specifically that I needed to change.”Bates said no one told him how to change the typical operational problems, and they did not specify if those problems had any connection to his work.”Some students were complaining about not receiving their packages in a timely fashion, but there was nothing we could do about how the rest of the postal service over the United States is run,” Bates said. “I do not have a problem working for anybody as long as they tell me how to do it.”There was a meeting after Smith was fired, and Bates inquired if this was going to be a “head hunting” expedition, where all the employees would be replaced. Though it was not addressed specifically, Bates and other employees got the impression that other jobs would not be affected.”I knew something was going on, but I was not quite sure what,” Bates said.”I was raised the old-fashioned way and taught that if you had dependability, dedication, and loyalty that your job would be all right,” Bates said. “In my job history I was taught that the employees trusted their employer, but I guess I put my trust in the wrong place.”Not expecting to retire early, Bates feels there is nothing else he can do at his age.”I hate to go out like this,” he said. “I wanted to work for my last three years.”In addition, he said the situation has caused crucial financial issues regarding the care of his family.”I never thought that at 62 years old with my work history that someone would drop a hammer like that,” Bates said.”Right now I am job hunting and living off my savings and trying not to have to drop out of school,” Smith said.Jim Stevens, assistant for information services and head of the post office said he is making these alterations in order to bring communications faster to the community.”I can’t say why Luci Smith was fired because it was a personnel matter, but I don’t make changes unless something needs changing,” Stevens said.Both Bennett and Stevens did not comment on what new changes are being made at the post office.