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The Job of Postmasters and Mail Superintendents

The United States Postal Service is the federal agency whose job is to ensure that all letters and parcels are delivered to their intended recipients every day. The head of this independent organization is the Postmaster General who rose from the ranks to lead such a great institution that is older than the Constitution itself. Currently, Patrick Donahoe, a lifelong postal employee who has been with the USPS for 37 years is the Postmaster General.

But the Postmaster General cannot do his job alone. It would be obviously impossible for him to direct the operations of an organization as extensive as the Postal Service without the help of postmasters and mail superintendents who ensure that their own post offices are functioning efficiently. They are responsible for organizing mail and seeing to it that letter carriers, clerks, and mail handlers perform their jobs well so that mail gets collected, processed, and delivered.

The postmaster also directs and coordinates the operations of associate post offices and sectional centers in a given district that falls under his jurisdiction. He makes sure that rent for post office boxes are collected and money orders are issued and cashed. He also obtains bids for office supplies that his post office will need. Following USPS regulations, his job entails requisitioning supplies and disbursing funds for these.

An important job of the postmaster or mail superintendent is information dissemination. He sees to it that the public is informed of newly-introduced postal laws and regulations. If there are new products and services, he makes sure that postal clients in his district know of these.

What makes the job of a postmaster quite challenging is the managing of customers and postal service employees under him. He has to make sure that customer complaints are resolved and employees talked to or admonished when necessary. It is also his job to select, train, and evaluate the performance of employees. He prepares work schedules and makes sure that someone can take over in case a postal worker—especially a letter carrier—gets sick or has to go on an emergency leave. He also negotiates labor disputes, putting him in conflict situations at certain times.

Postmasters also do a lot of report-making. He needs to prepare and submit detailed reports and summaries of the activities of his post office to the head office. If particular postal workers need to be reminded or reprimanded, postmasters write memos or letters to them.

Postmasters and mail superintendents need to have a high level of organizational and interpersonal skills. They should also have an intimate knowledge of postal policies so that in case of conflicts and disputes, they know how to settle it in accordance with law.