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New Image For 'Going Postal'

The Postal Service is creating an independent commission to probe post office violence.

Tuesday's announcement follows a spate of violent incidents involving postal workers and came on the same day that a letter carrier shot up the Riverside, Calif., city hall.

The commission's chairman will be Joseph Califano Jr., a former secretary of health, education and welfare. The five-member panel will look into work-related stress, substance abuse and the workplace environment.

Califano says the commission hopes to make the Postal Service "the national model for workplace safety and security."

The panel's creation follows a spate of violent acts by employees at postal facilities, giving rise to the popularity of the phrase "going postal" to describe workplace flarings of temper.

In April, a 15-year veteran clerk at a Dallas post office was shot and killed by a temporary employee and last December a postal worker in Milwaukee opened fire, killing a co-worker and wounding two others just before killing himself.

And as recently as Tuesday, an armed postal worker in Riverside, Calif., who once worked for the city, took the mayor and two council members hostage and waged a gun battle with police in which five people, including the postal worker, were wounded.

Other members of the panel are former United Auto Workers President Douglas Fraser; Beatrix Hamburg, an expert in violence issues; David Hamburg, former president of the Institute of Medicine, and John Robson, deputy treasury secretary in the Bush administration.

Naomi Goldstein, who was a senior project manager at The Urban Institute, will serve as the commission's staff director.

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