Veteran postmasters say goodbye
YATES COUNTY—At the end of this month, four area postmasters will retire from their positions. The retiring postal workers include Penn Yan’s Leigh MacKerchar, Dundee’s Tim Deragon, Himrod’s Sharon Trenchard and Rock Stream’s Randolph Sliker. Dresden Postmaster Mary Nelson will also retire in September.
Each postmaster has served the area for decades. Deragon leads with 39 years in the postal service. Trenchard and Sliker each have 37 years. MacKerchar has 33, while Nelson will have completed 27 years.
Why are so many postal employees retiring on July 31? Sliker explained the U.S. Postal Service offered an incentive retirement package to postmasters across the country.
Before coming to the area for the post office job, Deragon and Sliker knew each other from high school. The two attended Geneseo and York respectively. Deragon started working for the post office as the officer in charge of Warsaw. He said he joined the Dundee staff in 1991. Seven years later he also served as the officer in charge of Corning. Deragon said he has had many different assignments for the U.S.P.S., including trainer for western New York offices and team investigator in office place concerns (violence, sexual harassment, quid pro quo).
“You get to know so many people, know people and their families,” said Deragon.
MacKerchar said he spent 30 of 33.5 years as a postal employee in Penn Yan. He said, “I started here, I’m going to retire here. The post office has been good to me.”
MacKerchar also mentioned concerns about cuts to post office hours and services. Earlier this year the U.S.P.S. announced many rural offices would have reduced hours. Offices in the villages of Penn Yan and Dundee were not part of that list.
“The post office will be here for many, many years,” said MacKerchar. Deragon said Dundee would likely become more of a hub for residents as rural offices have hours reduced.
Sliker commented that when he started an average of four people handled a piece of mail to every one administrative person. Now, he said it’s much more one-to-one. Sliker explained there has been a “great change” towards more automation. When he started, Sliker added there was much more mail being delivered, like the several inch thick catalogs. He also said that come Jan. 2 each year there were stacks of tax forms ready to go out that stood several feet high.
“You could address a letter to ‘Grandma Smith, Main Street’ and it was good enough,” said Sliker.
“I like my customers,” said Trenchard about what she would miss after retiring. “I have a great customer arrangement.”
Trenchard also said she will miss working with her rural postal carrier, Steve Smith, whom she worked with at the Canandaigua Post Office. Trenchard explained she started with the U.S.P.S. in Rochester and transferred to Canandaigua after six years.
Nelson will have spent all of her years at the Dresden Post Office when she retires in September. She explained she started as a clerk in 1985 because the postmaster at the time encouraged her to do so. She later became the postmaster in 1993.
“I like math. I like everything in its place. I like that type of thing. It was a good fit,” she said.
Deragon and Sliker are planning a mutual farewell party on Aug. 18. Deragon said everyone is invited to the Dundee American Legion starting at 2 p.m.