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Former Postmaster Says He Was Fired For Resisting Pressure

June 25, 1986 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Paul N. Carlin believes he was fired as postmaster general because he would not bow to pressure from two of his bosses to take steps to help a Dallas-area firm get a big contract to build mail sorters, he said in an affidavit made public Wednesday.

His attorney Robert Saltzstein said Carlin is considering his legal options. ″In our opinion his ouster did him a grievous injustice for which there should be legal redress,″ he said in an interview.

A part of Carlin’s sworn statement was read to a hearing of the House Post Office Committee which is investigating his ouster.

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Members of the Postal Board of Governors which replaced Carlin in January testified under oath that Carlin was fired for indecisiveness and because of a general dissatisfaction with his performance.

″I’m not surprised at his interpretation″ of events, said John R. McKean, chairman of the postal board.

″It is not correct that that was the reason for his firing,″ McKean told a reporter, referring to Carlin’s contention that his refusal to bow to pressure led to his removal.

There is ″ample evidence of dissatisfaction both in the board and in the postal service″ with Carlin’s performance, McKean said.

Former postal governor William J. Sullivan said in a telephone interview Carlin has discussed with him the possiblity of suing over the loss of his job.

Sullivan defended Carlin’s performance in office.

’When some people disagreed with his decisions they refused to accept them and called him indecisive,″ Sullivan wrote in an affidavit.

Carlin said that he began to feel pressure from governors Peter E. Voss and Ruth O. Peters ″amlost immediately after I took office″ in January 1985. He said they wanted him to make decisions that would clear the way for a contract to go to Recognition Equipment, Inc.

Voss has pleaded guilty to taking money from a public relations firm hired by REI to help the company get the contract. He is cooperating with prosecutors prior to sentencing.

Miss Peters said she once suggested Voss might make a suitable replacement for Carlin as postmaster general, but the idea was shot down by Voss almost as soon as she suggested it.

REI denies any knowledge of the kickback scheme.

Committee Chairman William Ford, D-Mich., said, ″Another alleged conspirator now has agreed to tell all in exchange for immunity.″ Although he did not name the person, a congressional source said it was William A. Spartin, one of Voss’ contacts at the public relations firm.

At the time, Spartin was president of Gnau Associates. He conducted the executive search that recruited Carlin’s replacement, Albert V. Casey.

U.S. Attorney Joseph E. DiGenova would not take a reporters call. His spokesman would not deny the report that Spartin was cooperating.

″What Mr. Carlin has stated in his affidavit is only part of the story,″ Miss Peters told the committee.

She was chairman of the governors’ technology committee and asked Deputy Postmaster General Jackie Strange to delay signing contracts rebuilding older sorting machines while the committee and the full board considered more modern equipment.

REI’s equipment and that of another vendor are now in the hands of the postal service for testing.

During the day-long hearing, Ford charged that the board is going back on a pledge to cooperate with a postal inspection service investigation of Voss and the procurement process.

″You haven’t cooperated with anybody involved in this matter,″ Ford told the seven board members.

The board had insisted postal investigators get a court order to be able to take notes while listening to tape recordings of closed meetings of the board where the sorting equipment was discussed. McKean had pledged complete cooperation with the investigation.

Chief Postal Inspector C. R. Clauson complained in April the board was trying to put ″ridiculous″ restrictions on his investigators. ″It interferes with normal investigating procedures,″ he wrote, to listen to tapes and not be able to take notes.

McKean said the restrictions were routine and designed to assure the closed meetings remained confidential.

The inspection service eventually got access to the recordings.

The House panel also questioned the legal bills the board has run up since the first of the year, $371,000 in payments to the Washington law firm of Dewey, Ballantine, Bushby, Palmer & Wood.

Part of the money was spent to advise the current Postmaster General, Albert V. Casey, on the establishment of a blind trust when he took the job in January.