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Personal mail no longer personal upon arrival at ITD

Personal mail that is sent to ITD Headquarters isn’t completely private and usually is opened before it reaches the intended recipient.

There are legitimate reasons for opening mail marked “personal,” “private” or “confidential,” explains Candy Smith, General Services support supervisor.

Orphaned certified cards need to be claimed

The mailroom has a number of returned “green cards” that it would rather return to their rightful home.

Occasionally, ITD employees who use certified mail do not indicate on the green return card where the card should be sent.

As a result, the card remains in the mail room until someone calls askingabout it.

It’s important for those employees who use certified mail to remember to include their name and office in the return address box, as well as ITD's Headquarters address.

One card was recently returned from: Hidden Peak Electric in Murray, Utah. It was simply addressed to ITD’s post office box address. Anyone wanting to claim the postcard should contact the mailroom at ext. 7816, 8022 or 8023.

The mailroom at Headquarters has a long-standing policy that all mail becomes the property of ITD when it is received externally from the U.S. Post Office. That means mail is opened prior to routing to ITD offices. District offices have adopted their own procedures for processing personal mail that fits their specific operations.

Department policy does prohibit ITD employees from receiving personal mail at work, but individuals should be aware that it usually will be opened as a precaution.

The practice was implemented to protect all employees, to ensure their health and safety and to ward off threats of violence or injury. There are several exceptions to the practice, however. ITD mailroom staff will not open personal envelopes related to: Administrative License Suspensions, Title Exceptions, the Equal Employment Opportunity office, medical tests or official yellow “ITD CONFIDENTIAL” envelopes (such as those recently used to inform employees of their merit increases). In addition, internal ITD mail is not opened.

“Basically, all outside mail with our street address or P.O. Box 7129 is opened in the mailroom,” Smith explains.

The practice significantly predates threats to mail resulting from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. However, the security move was applauded when mail safety became a paramount concern. The basic premise is that safety overrides an individual’s right to mail privacy.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the ITD mailroom has received only two questionable packages that were sent out to be tested and opened. Neither was determined to be a threat to health or safety, but demonstrates that the precautions are well justified.

When personal mail has been opened, does that mean its contents have been thoroughly read?

Smith explains that the mailroom’s three staff members don’t have the time or desire to read the contents. But the contents are quickly scanned to ensure there is no threat.

Illustrations: ITD's "confidential" envelope (top) is one of the external pieces of mail that is not subject to opening in the Headquarters mailroom. Several certified mail cards, similar to the one above, have been returned to the mailroom, but offer no hint about which Headquarters office should receive them.