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Postmasters’ role gets renewed focus

Nick Paron, center, addresses the audience after being sworn in as the Glendale, AZ, postmaster. Behind him are Arizona-New Mexico District Manager John Morgan and JoLea Quintana, the district’s acting operations integration manager.

New postmasters are being sworn in across the nation at what seems — and very well may be — a record clip.

The spate of swearings-in can be partly explained by last year’s USPS reorganization and partly by a new initiative that aims to highlight the important role of postmasters and to more fully integrate them into the fabric of their communities.

Nick Paron, the new postmaster of Glendale, AZ, comes by his job naturally: Both parents were postmasters for small towns in Wisconsin.

He said he had it “drummed into my head” growing up that the title of postmaster brings with it a responsibility to the community at large.

A former customer services manager in Colorado Springs, CO, Paron ensured community involvement from the get-go by using the Glendale High School ROTC to present the colors for his Jan. 14 installation ceremony, as well as local vendors for refreshments.

He believes that the Post Office should represent the best of a community, to be the organization it turns to not just for the mail but for civic and volunteer efforts.

He wants the community’s image of the Post Office to be “nothing but positive.”

Like Paron, Joseph Kostolanci II, the newly minted postmaster of Easton, PA, previously worked as a customer services supervisor — in his case, in the very town where he now leads the office.

He also served as postmaster and officer in charge at several locations before returning to Easton.

“I believe coming full circle speaks volumes to my community and my team here at Easton,” he said. “Most strive to have a job they love. I am blessed to have that [here].”

Kostolanci started his USPS career fresh out of high school, working the loading dock and carrying mail, a craft that he plied for more than two decades in the town.

“It’s definitely very hard, strenuous work on your body,” Kostolanci told Lehigh Valley Live, a local news outlet that published a lengthy feature on his March 18 installation.

“These carriers, I have a lot of respect for what they do on a daily basis,” he said.

That understanding born of experience seemed to earn the respect of co-workers attending the ceremony, many of whom, according to the article, didn’t let face masks prevent a soft chant of “Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe.”

The Postal Service is providing new postmasters with a prewritten letter they can send to local news outlets introducing themselves to the community and stressing the organization’s goals.

In addition, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has presided over many of the installations, drawing attention to the ceremonies and offering a chance to communicate USPS goals.

Beyond renewing a focus on postmasters, the new initiative aims to reiterate the priorities of Delivering for America; to highlight USPS career opportunities; and to reaffirm the organization’s commitment to the communities it serves.

“The Easton Post Office is thriving, and that’s because of all of you, you coming to work every day,” local Post Office Operations Manager Christina Balliro told the workers gathered for Kostolanci’s installation.

“I have to believe it’s also because you’re working with a leader who you believe is part of your team.”