A U.S. postal service truck. (AP)
A government lawyer’s attempt to get dismissed nearly $700 in traffic tickets given to the U.S. Postal Service is being met with a hearty and humorous, Heck no.
In a Jan. 22 letter sent to both the city of East Cleveland, Ohio, and the company that operates the city's photo-enforcement program, Postal Service attorney Jennifer S. Breslin says two school-zone speeding citations and five red-light infractions by postal trucks in December should be ignored.
“In providing mail service across the country, the Postal Service attempts to work within local and state laws and regulations, when feasible,” wrote Breslin, after reminding “To Whom It May Concern” that postal workers promptly deliver over 200 billion pieces of mail annually.
“However, as you are probably aware, the Postal Service enjoys federal immunity from state and local regulation,” she continued.
That last bit did not go over well with American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the Arizona-based company that enforces East Cleveland’s camera citations.
“By attempting to hide behind an immunity claim, you are aiding and abetting your drivers in their blatant disregard for the traffic laws in East Cleveland, which have endangered other drivers, pedestrians and school children,” ATS attorney George Hittner wrote in his three-page response to Breslin, who received it on Thursday. (He also cc'd the postmaster general, two U.S. representatives and two senators.)
Hittner cited the Postal Service’s own safety manual and case law to point out that postal truck drivers should and have been held accountable. He also gave a few examples where the driving habits of carriers resulted in well-publicized legal consequences.
“My last and favorite example is of the USPS truck driver delivering mail while naked,” Hittner wrote. “He was arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior.”
He added, more sternly: “We suggest that you transfer the liability for the infractions to the USPS drivers who incurred them, and instruct them that pursuant to Ohio law, as well as the USPS guidelines, the infractions are their responsibility. If you choose to ignore the infractions, penalties and fines will continue to accumulate.”
He then offered a revision of the post office creed:
“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor traffic lights stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Breslin was out of the office on Friday. A colleague said Hittner’s letter was received, but declined to comment.