Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 8, 2010

New Palo Alto postmaster to be sworn in Friday

Son of former postmaster to carry on family tradition

by Sue Dremann

On Friday afternoon, when Dean Maeda is sworn in as Palo Alto's new postmaster at the main branch on East Bayshore Road, the veteran mail carrier and manager will be following in his 80-year-old father's footsteps.

"It's sort of neat. I didn't think I would get here," Maeda, 47, said in an interview earlier this week. "If it was not for my father I would never have chosen a career with the Postal Service."

A father of three, Maeda will take over management of Palo Alto's five post offices and its 228 employees from retired Postmaster John Kelly, who ran the stations for nine years.

The new job will offer challenges in a stalled economy and as the Internet continues to erode traditional modes of communication, such as sending letters.

But Maeda has plenty of experience, starting on the ground floor as a letter carrier in 1982 and working his way up through the ranks. He began at the Sunnyvale post office and studied business at De Anza College.

When Maeda raises his hand to take the oath, his father, Johnny Maeda, who was postmaster at the same branch, will be there, he said.

Maeda's connection to the U.S. Postal Service is extensive. He is married to a letter carrier who works out of Sunnyvale, and some of her seven sisters are also letter carriers in San Jose. His father-in-law is also a San Jose postal supervisor, he said.

The Palo Alto postal workers are "like my second family," Maeda said.

In his new role, Maeda said he will make subtle changes in the floor plan and how managers supervise workers. He will try to monitor delivery and complaints. A primary goal is to improve service and eliminate lines as quickly as possible, he said.

"I know people don't like to stand in lines — I've been in them myself," he said.

"Taking the postmaster oath of office is not just symbolic gesture but a sign of my commitment and dedication to serving the citizens of Palo Alto," he said.

But reaching his goals will be challenging, as he tries to improve services with reduced staffing and fewer supervisors, he said.

"These days, we're trying to maintain the revenue and balance costs at the same time. The way things have been going with the Internet, the mail volume is reduced," he said.

Palo Alto's post offices were impacted by the downturn as companies reduced the volume of product they shipped, he said.

But overall, parcel volume is increasing over letters, he said.

Maeda was the main station's manager for about five years.

A good manager is "someone who thinks things out and makes the right decision," he said. That includes listening to and appreciating his employees.

"The employees are the ones doing the majority of the work," he said.

The public is invited to Maeda's swearing-in ceremony, which takes place at 12:30 p.m. at 2085 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto.

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields