When Demar Love came aboard at the United State Post Office in Sidney as the supervisor, he was well aware that the relationship between USPS and the city was strained. He’s here to alleviate the contention and move the post office into a more community-oriented role.
“Right now we are just really short-handed,” Love said. “The carriers I do have are working six days a week.”
The stress of a short staff is well-known in the Bakken, and Love asked for patience and understanding while they work on bringing more people on board.
“Even one carrier would make a big difference at this point,” Love said.
In Sidney, there are four regular carrier positions that are supplemented by city carrier assistants, or CCAs. With no CCAs currently, Love said carriers don’t have anyone to cover routes on days off, sick days or other kinds of leave. In fact, Love will be hitting the streets to fill in for one carrier this week.
After working in Lewistown as a mail carrier for 22 years, Love is no stranger to taking on a route, but it does take away from his supervisor position in the meantime. Post Master Tammy Clemm has filled in as carrier as well, meaning leadership is spread as thin as employees.
“We have a great team. Every carrier is phenomenal,” Love said. “I have a really great staff who are over-worked and over-burdened.”
The Sidney post office is also down a window clerk, meaning every worker is spread as far as they can go. Another hurdle for attracting new employees is the long hiring process with USPS. Clemm said it can take up to two months and they’ve had people seek other employment because of the wait.
“Once you get hired on and get trained, it’s a great career,” Love said. “It can be overwhelming at first. People don’t always understand that mail doesn’t magically appear in the truck.”
Despite all the complications, Love said he wants people to know they are persevering and determined to improve community relationships.
“I want to try and mend and let people know we are trying our best,” he said.
The staff is also looking at improvement to the building and mail trucks, but it’s much more complicated than calling up a mechanic or a repair man. USPS must approve of improvements first and then work on bidding the job. It’s all a long process, but one Love and Clemm are slowly working on as well.
“I have some (mail trucks) dating back to 1985,” Love said. “They are supposed to be replaced but we are at least another two years out on that.”
Looking forward, Love will be working with the city this spring on issues like mail box placement, snow removal policies and blocked boxes. He hopes to develop a better plan for carriers and citizens that is mutually beneficial and safe for postal employees.
“I believe in customer service like no other,” Love said. “We’re here. We’re going to try and do better and build a great team.”
To apply with USPS, visit usps.com, scroll to the bottom and click “Careers.”