Kelly Gates remains postmaster

San Diego native and Lake Elsinore resident Craig Simmons is the officer in charge at the Idyllwild Post Office. He has held that position since February of this year.

Kelly Gates remains postmaster for Idyllwild but is on temporary detail in charge of implementing best business practices at U.S. Post Offices in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Simmons explained Gates is attempting to bring all regional post offices into compliance with the “five-minute rule,” that no post-office customer should have to wait longer than five minutes at the counter. “She was selected to improve retail operations,” said Simmons.

Craig Simmons, officer in charge at the Idyllwild Post Office, has held the post since February. Kelly Gates remains postmaster although on off-Hill assignment.
Photo by
Marshall Smith

Simmons’ temporary assignment as officer in charge in Gates’ absence is, in fact, an open-ended one. He’ll be the one running things until Gates returns or another postmaster is appointed.

Previously Simmons, was the Post Office supervisor in San Jacinto with a staff of more than 30. “At other locations, I’ve overseen staffs as large as 60,” said Simmons. “At Idyllwild, I have a staff of four and they’re all terrific.”

Simmons is retired U.S. Army, having logged 22 years. “I was all over the world with my tours of duty,” said Simmons; “Germany, Korea, Hawaii, among others.” He has also posted 22 years to date with the U.S. Postal Service.

As a high school student at Kearny High School in San Diego, Simmons was a star athlete in both football and baseball. “In my senior year, we were undefeated,” he recalled. “And I had the chance to play with friends I grew up with.” He played outfield and third base on Kearny’s winning baseball team and safety on its champion football team.

Simmons continued to play football at San Diego City College before going into the Army after one year at SDCC.

Simmons is a soft-spoken and friendly presence at the post office. Asked about Idyllwild, he said, “Our customers are so friendly. Everyone I’ve met is truly amazing. Idyllwild is a very special place.”