‘Trouble-Shooter’ Postmaster Leaves Palisades

Just three months after being named postmaster in Pacific Palisades, Jason Miles has been reassigned to the Beverly Hills post office. His replacement, Valerie Raynes, will take over mailroom and delivery operations next week. Miles, who joined the U.S. Postal Service in 1996 and worked briefly in Beverly Hills in 2001, said he was transferred ‘because they’re in need of guidance’not to say they’re in trouble.’ He started working as the Officer in Charge in the Palisades in early 2006, when mail service throughout Los Angeles was late, erratic and widely criticized. Many local residents complained that they had been receiving their mail after 6 p.m.–and sometimes not at all. Miles, 33, has earned a reputation as a trouble-shooter within Postal Service management. And in an organization often hamstrung by inefficiency, that has also made his services in high demand, said a Palisades mail carrier who spoke on the condition of anonymity. In February, Miles became the youngest postal worker promoted to postmaster in Los Angeles’a year after he began working in the Palisades. Miles said that he as soon as he began working in the Palisades he took action to improve service quickly. ‘I got dirty,’ said the Redondo Beach resident. ‘There were a lot of transportation problems. And a lot of problems arose because of a lack of communication between downtown and this facility.’ Beyond a sometimes irresponsive downtown mail facility, Miles said that local service was often hobbled by poor coordination between clerks and carriers. When trucks arrive from the central processing and distribution center carrying thousands of pieces of mail, clerks must sort the mail before carriers deliver it to homes. But carriers, who were delivering mail as late as 9 p.m., complained that clerks were not sorting the mail fast enough, Miles said. To move mail through the La Cruz processing office more quickly, Miles hired an extra supervisor. He said that mail service in the Palisades has dramatically improved, but ‘there is always room for improvement.’ Residential mail delivery is now completed by late afternoon. Miles has said that a disproportionate number of workplace injuries short-staffed mail carrying and dampened morale. Of 43 carriers, 12 are injured and cannot deliver mail full time or at all. Miles said that most were injured before 1995. The continuing high number of on-the-job injuries threatens to slow mail delivery, said the local carrier interviewed by the Palisadian-Post. The carrier said ‘healthy’ carriers have had to do the work of injured carriers, which has meant carrying larger loads and risking injury. Miles said that two new full-time carriers are scheduled to begin working this week and should help prevent against short-staffing problems. Miles attributed a large share of the improvement this past year to feedback he received from local residents. He said that when he began working here, ‘there wasn’t an open line of communication’ between customers and the post office. He encouraged residents to call him with their complaints so that he could target Post Service weakness. ‘I loved the Palisades,’ he said last week on his last day in the Palisades. ‘And I’ll miss the employees there too. They are the best group of carriers I have ever worked with.’ Valerie Raynes could not be reached for an interview. ———– To contact Staff Writer Max Taves, e-mail reporter@palipost.com or call (310) 454-1321 ext. 28.