Paul Carlin; fired U.S. postmaster general rebounded in business
Paul Carlin, a Postal Service veteran who unsuccessfully challenged his firing as postmaster general for what he said was retribution by a corrupt board member but rebounded by starting two lucrative businesses that focused on rapid sorting of mass mail, died April 25 at a hospital in Arlington, Virginia. He was 86.
The cause was bronchitis and pneumonia, said his wife, Azucena Carlin.
Carlin, an expert in business administration, became President Richard M. Nixon’s liaison with Congress on postal matters in 1969 and was a key player in the old Post Office Department’s shift in 1971 from a federal agency to the semiautonomous U.S. Postal Service.
He later became administrator in charge of the service’s largest region, based in Chicago, before being named postmaster general in January 1985. A year later, he was fired. A “changing environment that required a different marketplace perspective” was the official reason given for Carlin’s dismissal.
He contended that he had been forced out because he stood in the way of a kickback conspiracy involving the vice chairman of the Postal Service’s board of governors, Peter Voss. After an investigation, Voss pleaded guilty to criminal charges and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Carlin sued in federal court to get his job back. The case went to the Supreme Court, which in 1988 declined to review a lower-court ruling that the courts lacked power to intervene.