New guy at helm of P.O.
A changing of the guard last week at Aspen’s post office doesn’tmean controversial new policies will be changed anytime soon,no matter what one U.S. congressman thinks.That’s because Jarman Smith, the interim postmaster who ruffledthe feathers of many postal patrons and nearly every newspaperpublisher in the valley, will be hiring Aspen’s next permanentpostmaster. In the meantime, Smith last week installed 20-year postal veteranBob Reinstra as the “officer in charge” at the Puppy Smith Streetfacility. Reinstra, one of a dozen or so candidates who want tobe Aspen’s next postmaster, said Smith is expected to make hisselection sometime in April.Smith took over operations in Aspen on Jan. 2, following the resignationof the last postmaster. He first made headlines last month whenhe put up a chain to block traffic from exiting the parking lotaround the back of the post office. Cars are now required to leavethe same way they enter, but with just a pair of one-lane entrances,traffic often becomes gridlocked during peak hours.The chain was stolen in the middle of the night just a few daysafter it was installed. But, as if to punctuate the permanenceof Smith’s influence, it was recovered yesterday from a snow bankon Independence Pass and will be reinstalled before week’s end.Smith also shook things up by ordering the removal of nearly two-dozennewspaper vending machines from the edge of the parking lot andbanning politicians and activists from soliciting petition signatureson postal property. He said the changes were necessary to bringAspen in line with the postal policy manual.Reinstra, who also started on Jan. 2, declined to offer an opinionabout any of the policy changes and said he had no intention ofundoing his boss’s work.But one person perhaps in position to undo Smith’s work is U.S.Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction. Aspen’s representative toCongress fired off a letter last week to the U.S. Postmaster Generalasking for an investigation into the policy changes wrought bySmith. McInnis aide Will Bos said the postmaster general has yet to respond.”Usually,” Bos said, “we give them a little time to respond. We’rein a holding pattern right now, but not for long.”
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