In our fifteen years on Hampstead Hill in Forest Hills, we have had two people deliver our mail. First, we had the nonpareil Lynette Dion, who retired after 26 years with full honors from all the people and pets on our hill. Now we have Shawn Connolly, who is Lynette’s worthy successor: the mail arrives reliably every day, dry on wet days, and perfectly sorted. He’s terrific.
At the counter in the post office, our luck has been more variable: Marie, Richard, and Felicia, for example, are capable, cheerful, speedy, and knowledgeable. I join the chorus of those frustrated with the long lines and often empty work stations that plague the service, but the people at the counter are not the problem; the problem is management.
Two anecdotes are revealing. When Lynette was about to retire, I mentioned to someone at the counter that we would all miss her. To my stunned surprise, no one at the counter knew who she was. In theory, delivering the mail is a team effort. In a well-managed enterprise, the team players know each other. Given the staggering morale problems the post office nationally has wrestled with over the years (“going postal”), you’d think a good manager would enthusiastically promote teamwork. Not so in the JP Post Office.
The other anecdote took place during one of our frequent blizzards last winter. I asked the manager at the post office when the regular service might resume. She was clearly offended by the question. She said the post office had no way of knowing, that several carriers were working until 7:00 every evening, and that the service would resume when it resumed. I asked if she might put a sign on the door that said the post office regretted the delays, did not know when service would resume, was doing the best that it could, and would keep us abreast of the situation with more notes on the door.
The manager told me that the post office was not required to do that.
“Oh,” I replied.
The post office in Jamaica Plain will improve when it has positive leadership and new priorities, leadership that respects and encourages the employees and that wants to provide good service to the public.
Jamaica Plain resident