Man who oversaw postal plant where 2 workers died of anthrax may run D.C. region

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 24, 2010

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 agency operations for the District, Maryland and Virginia, sources familiar with the selection process said.

But such a move would upset workers who said he assured them of their safety just days before the two workers died of anthrax exposure, union leaders said.

Timothy C. Haney oversees postal operations in most of New York, New Jersey and New England. 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 sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to reporters.

Postal Service officials would not comment. Calls to Haney's office in New York were not returned.

Haney would replace Jerry D. Lane, who left the Postal Service this month after an altercation with a female plant manager at the agency's Sterling distribution center. Lane is due in court Aug. 26 to face misdemeanor assault charges. If convicted, he faces up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Haney joined the Postal Service in 1977 as a clerk in Pasadena and has managed seven distribution centers, including the Curseen-Morris center in the District.

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 the American Postal Workers Union Nation's Capital Area Local 140 said that Haney's possible 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 agency officials.

"They left us in the building, and we believe that they had information that showed it might have been dangerous," he said.

The APWU sued Haney, Potter and other officials after Curseen and Morris died, saying that the Postal Service kept Brentwood open despite the anthrax exposure. A federal court dismissed the case, ruling that workers can seek recourse only through the Federal Employees' Compensation Act. Potter later promoted and transferred Haney to the Northeast region.

Local 140 President Dena Briscoe said union members have several workplace concerns for whoever is hired for the position that covers the Washington area.

"We're hoping Mr. Haney comes with a good heart to address employee concerns, because there are a lot," Briscoe said.

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