Employee Wins Golden Award for ‘Policing’ Correspondence
OEA awarded Ledbetter the Golden Envelope Award, a quarterly honor that recognizes one member of the correspondence office that demonstrates excellence by meeting the Secretary’s goal of responding to inquiries within 15 days of receipt.
“I’ve always been motivated and competitive,” said Ledbetter, a correspondence analyst with the FSA Office of External Affairs. When OES developed the award, she set her sights on it.
“I said ‘I gotta win that award. Let’s do this.’”
The OES correspondence office is tasked with responding the letters and other inquiries sent to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Each letter must be researched, sent to the appropriate program specialist and responded to within 10 to 15 days of receipt.
In some cases, there may be letters that sit on people’s desks or get caught-up in the process and stretch past the 15 day limit. Those are labeled as delayed or overdue and are placed on a list that is distributed every Monday. “I do not want to be on that list,” said Ledbetter, who handles all FSA-related correspondence.
Dubbed as the “Correspondence Police,” she was able to reduce her delayed and overdue numbers to zero for the entire second quarter of this year, which won her the Golden Envelope Award. “I can be a little aggressive because I know what needs to be done,” she said. “It’s not easy being the ‘Correspondence Police Officer’ for FSA, but it sure is fun.”
For 30 years Ledbetter has worked at USDA in the field of correspondence. She began in 1981 with a temporary assignment with the former Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, now known as the Risk Management Agency, and then moved to the Farm Service Agency, which was known back then as the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service.
Throughout her life, she has been no stranger to success. Raised in Washington, D.C., she later moved to Maryland as a teenager where she played high school volleyball and was voted Most Valuable Player. She later attended Bowie State University where she majored in early childhood education with a minor in special education.
Ledbetter has been married to her high school sweetheart for 26 years and has a son that “takes after his mother,” she said. “He was a high school basketball star, which led to scholarships to Allegany College of Maryland and then to the University of Maryland,” said Ledbetter. “But the love of my life is my one and only granddaughter.”
In her spare time, Ledbetter enjoys reading, swimming, bowling, eating crabs and traveling. Although her job can be stressful, she said she wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“I enjoy what I do and I am honored and excited to have won this award,” she said. “It’s exciting to know that my labor has not been in vain.”