New postmaster gets to work in Avon | VailDaily.com

New postmaster gets to work in Avon

Elizabeth Turner hits the ground running, identifying ways to improve package receiving process

Avon Post Office staffers gather outside their building on Wednesday, Oct. 2. Postmaster Elizabeth Turner, third from right, has been on the job for about a month.
Barry Eckhaus | Special to the Daily

The Avon post office has a new postmaster. Elizabeth Turner has been on the job for about a month and is excited about the position.

James Boxrud with U.S. Postal Service public relations said the Avon Post Office is seeking to fill a position that has been a bit of a revolving door in recent years with its hiring of Turner. Boxrud himself is a former Avon postmaster.

“They were rotating a lot of us in and out of there that had a lot of delivery experience, just to round out our training, for different postmasters that were going to be moving up,” Boxrud said. “And that way they’d be well trained.”

With Turner, the Avon office is now hoping for stability in its top position. And that’s exactly what Turner says she’s ready to provide.

“I’m home now, here in Avon,” she said. “I have a sister who lives in Breckenridge; it’s perfect. She’s lived there for over 20 years.”

Born in Indiana, Turner first visited Colorado when her mother — after seeing a mountain scene in a movie — demanded her father take the family to see the Rocky Mountains.

Their life was never the same.

“The first place we stopped was Independence Pass,” she said.

Turner’s father found a job with the Department of Motor Vehicles in Colorado and the family moved to Broomfield.

“His territory was the Western Slope,” Turner said of her father. “We were up here all the time.”

Turner started working for the USPS in 1997 with a part-time job at the mail sorting facility in Denver. It was a non-career position but it quickly blossomed into more.

“I grew into it,” she said.

Turner credits the post office with helping her raise two kids as a single mom. Her kids were 5 and 7 when she started working for USPS.

“They grew up postal,” she said with a laugh. “Across the country, we are a family, the postal service.”

Family mentality

A postal family mentality has shaped the management philosophy Turner brings to Avon, she said.

In Avon, that family has a unique set of challenges. Tasked with servicing the population centers of Avon and EagleVail and parts of Edwards, none of which have street delivery, the office’s box receiving section is huge.

If a package reaches the Avon office with a home address attached to it, it’s automatically sent back to the sender.

In taking the job, Turner was aware of the frustrations the lack of home delivery brings from the community.

“This is their life,” she said.

And she is now living it, as well, as an Avon resident. In starting her position after the bustle of the summer, she said she was lucky to find housing relatively quickly in town.

‘I was fortunate,” she said.

But the search alone made her aware of one of her other big challenges at the Avon office — housing and the cost of living. The Avon post office currently has two unfilled positions.

“I think that the turnover is the way it is because of the cost of living,” she said.

Challenging position

In identifying the challenges associated with unfilled staff positions and lack of home delivery in Avon, Turner is determined to find solutions.

She touts the impressive benefits package associated with the job, which can ease a major concern of many working residents in the valley in the health care coverage it provides, which is available even in the post office’s non-career positions.

“We still have the best benefits ever,” Turner said. “Our health insurance, our retirement … we call it a thrift savings plan, it’s amazing. I raised my children by myself with this.”

Getting the Avon office’s open jobs filled should help locals get their packages more quickly, but Turner has also identified another measure that could be taken to that end.

“We’re looking at adding probably another 200 more parcel lockers, at least,” she said. “Probably, unfortunately, after Christmas, but we’ll see.”

In the life cycle of the Avon package, a bit of a holdup is known to occur in the final stages of delivery. Locals may recognize this stage — where the package’s tracking confirmation shows that the package has reached the Avon office, but you are not yet able to retrieve it.

“Our goal to have everyone’s mail to them, and their packages available, is 3 o’clock,” Turner said.

But she’s quick to add that depends on staff.

“(The additional parcel lockers) will make the service easier for our customers,” she said.

The major advantage Turner said she has currently is the talented staff that was already in place in Avon when she arrived.

“Without this crew, it wouldn’t be as efficient,” she said.