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.

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