City calls for a chat with Aspen’s new postmaster |

City calls for a chat with Aspen’s new postmaster

John Colson

Aspen’s City Council wants to talk to the interim postmaster,whose one-month tenure here has raised the hackles of many inthe community.”I think he should come in and have a little chat with us,” saidCouncilman Terry Paulson, who suggested the idea at Monday’s regularcouncil meeting. “I think we need to put him on the spot.”Paulson was referring to interim Aspen Postmaster Jarman Smith,who has been making controversial changes in the way the publicgets to use the post office.Smith has closed off the rear exit from the post office parkinglot onto Puppy Smith Street, forcing motorists to exit onto theaccess road into the Clark’s Market parking area. The move hasgenerally been condemned by local drivers.He also has ordered the removal of newspaper racks from the sidewalkacross from the post office entrance, and forbidden the gatheringof signatures on political and candidate petitions on the postoffice grounds. Postal patrons have been picking up papers andsigning petitions there for decades.The resulting storm of protest has convinced Paulson that theCity Council must intervene – or at least hear Smith’s side ofthe story.Acknowledging that the post office is not under the jurisdictionof the council, Paulson said, “they’re a member of the community”and should be accountable in some way.Besides, he said, “the service down there … sucks!” Paulsonrelated how he stood in line with some 30 other patrons Mondaywhile a lone clerk staffed the service counter. He said the cityand the county are both held to “high standards” of official conduct,and the post office should be, too.The others on the council generally agreed, although Mayor JohnBennett suggested, “putting [Smith] on the defensive from dayone is probably not the best strategy.”Jokingly, he said to Paulson, “Why don’t you put on your Kevlarvest and go down there?”The council agreed to invite Smith to a brown bag lunch meeting,and possibly later to invite other postal officials to talk aboutthe uproar caused by the temporary postmaster’s actions.

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