Post Office may be fully staffed in March

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Idyllwild is poised to welcome a new clerk to the Post Office beginning in March, pending the successful recruitment by then of a clerk to work in key areas “behind the retail counter, and in the Post Office Box Section/Back Room Area.”

  A clerk position has been vacant due to a retirement at the beginning of the year, but, “The office will be fully staffed once all phases of the bidding process are complete,” according to Eva Jackson, USPS San Diego District Corporate Communication staff.

That three-phase process began in January.

“Aside from custodial services, which are contracted out, the Post Office has been operating with a full-time postmaster and three part-time customer service clerks at the windows,” Jackson said.

“All the employees at the Idyllwild Post Office can work in those key areas and positions and to deal with the vacancy.

“Idyllwild’s postmaster carries out his daily duties, which can include assisting at the counter and in the back room, as necessary. When there are sick calls or vacations, the postmaster also can submit requests to borrow clerks from another office,” Jackson added. 

Kelly Gates, Idyllwild’s current postmaster, is on another assignment. While Gates is away, Jimmy Parker is serving as the officer-in-charge.

Jackson also said Idyllwild is “allotted four clerks and one postmaster,” but did not elaborate on the allotted staff level and the staffing level after hiring is complete to fill the January clerk vacancy.

The bidding process to hire employees includes following a contract with the American Postal Workers Union.

The contract allows for the position vacated in January to be posted for bid based on seniority.   

“We have an internal bidding process and are not hiring from outside of the Postal Service,” Jackson said.

Idyllwild’s clerk position was originally advertised between Jan. 5 and 15 —Phase 1 — and was open to full-time employees only, but no full-time employees bid on the position.

During Phase 2 — between Feb. 1 and 21 — advertising for the position targets “impacted employees” or those full-time employees whose jobs have been eliminated for various reasons, including a decline in mail volume and staffing changes.

If an impacted employee does not bid on the job, then the recruitment enters Phase 3 in which part-time employees are converted to full-time employees. The conversion process is completed jointly by the APWU and the Postal Service Human Resources Department.

In response to a question regarding how the Post Office is faring during the staffing shortage, Jackson provided ratings completed online by customers who visited the Post Office and received a receipt for their transaction.

During the last half of 2017, Idyllwild customers were “very satisfied” with their postal service.

The station received ‘1s,’ the highest rating, on a scale from ‘1 to 5.’

Customers said the station is: “The best Post Office ever.”

“They do a great job and the staff is excellent.”

“Keep paying these people very well — we want them around.”     

“You should have other Post Office employees be like these.”

“Nothing needs to change, best service as is ... they are knowledgeable, friendly, and efficient.”

Customer satisfaction ratings for January 2018 were not available.

Jackson said, “If customers have an issue with service, we ask that they speak with the postmaster or contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-ASK-USPS.”

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