New Jamestown postmaster a “hands-on” manager
On any given day after 1 p.m. you’ll find Jared Brongo in his car or in a postal vehicle, delivering a handful of Express Mail envelopes before the 3 p.m. guaranteed delivery deadline. Come into the Jamestown Post Office during its busiest hours from mid to late morning and you might find him behind the counter.
Meet Jamestown’s new postmaster, 42, married, father of two teenagers, and a self-described “hands-on” kind of guy.
“I am the first one in the building at 6:15 in the morning,” Brongo said. “I work the mail along with the clerks.”
After completing the morning’s administrative work, Brongo says he’s generally at the counter, covering for clerks on break time or during lunch.
Brongo is the former postmaster in Ashaway, a position he held for the past seven years. He arrived in Jamestown in late February, filling in as the “officer in charge” for the former postmaster, Charlie Burns, who retired officially in March.
Brongo applied for the Jamestown postmaster position when it was competitively advertised in early June, beating out, no doubt, scores of other candidates screened by postal officials in North Carolina. He was offered the job on June 30. Brongo, an employee of the U.S Postal Service since he was 26 years old, was thrilled.
“I know it’s a great town. It’s a great office with excellent workers. The teamwork is 100 percent here and that’s what really attracts a manager to want to come here. That’s what attracted me.”
Brongo accepted the permanent Jamestown position less than two months after the U.S. Postal Service backed off a plan to close 13,000 post offices across the country, 13 of them in Rhode Island. Jamestown was never on that list, for good reason, Brongo says.
“Jamestown performs well thanks to the customers who support the postal service. I knew the day I walked in the door and saw the mail volume and saw the window traffic, I knew it was a successful office and I was very, very excited. It was a great find.”
John McCauley, executive director of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, says he hasn’t had the opportunity yet to congratulate Jamestown’s new postmaster. He was pleased Jamestown has escaped all talk of potential closure. McCauley says the latest census indicates more than 200 Jamestowners are running businesses from home and rely on their local post office.
“There are people I know, either who have chosen not to work in an office environment, or lost their jobs, plenty of people, trying to get by on home-based businesses. They need the local post office,” McCauley said.
Today, as postmaster, Brongo oversees a staff of 11, including eight mail carriers: two city and six rural.
Brongo says Jamestown is somewhat unique for a small community in that it has both city and rural delivery carriers. Two separate contracts are in place, which means more challenges for this postal-service manager who started his postal career in mail processing in Providence, running six different machines.
He quickly learned that customer service was the better route for him, and for his career, and was on a management track by the late ’90s.
“I love people,” he said. “I love solving problems. I feel I’m good at what I do and I think primarily it’s because I enjoy it. It’s not just a job for me.”
Working a counter despite being the top dog is a throwback to his early years with the USPS.
“Before I got into management, my goal was to learn every angle of the business so that when I became a manager someday, I could be successful and I believe you can’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk,” he said.
Brongo currently resides with his family in Richmond, but the goal is to move to Jamestown or at least to a community in the surrounding zip code in the future.
For now, Brongo says he’s enjoying meeting more of the town’s residents, something he never tired of in Ashaway.
“Even when I was in my old offi ce, I had certain customers who would come in to buy one little stamp or come in just to say ‘hi.’ It was part of the routine, whether they were retired or going for a walk or on a lunch. I’m actually looking forward to that here because I’m starting to get that now, and people are starting to ask, “Is the postmaster here?”
He is, and probably behind the counter, too.