Postmaster retires after 18 years of service

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 8/27/96.

For the past 18 years and four months, you've received your mail, and received it on time.

Harold Morris made sure of that. He made sure that mail got out on time in all kinds of weather. He supervised 12 employees. Above all, he was always the Postmaster.

"You are a postmaster 24 hours a day. If there are any problems, you're on call," Morris said. Then, smiling, he added, "Fortunately, there were no problems in Paynesville."

Morris started working at the St. Cloud Post Office in the summer of 1962. He was promoted to a full-time employee eventually. In 1975, Morris was appointed to manager of postal operations in Willmar. In April 1978, Morris moved to Paynesville as the postmaster. The job was "challenging," Morris said.

Winter is one part of the postmaster job Morris won't miss. He never liked snowstorms. He was always concerned for his staff that was out braving the elements.

In the typical blowing snow atmosphere of bad winter weather, Morris' rural carriers were "sitting ducks" for other traffic when they pulled over to make their deliveries.

The city carriers also had a rough time in the winter months. Generally, city carriers are outside for six and a half hours on their routes.

"I was always very pleased to see them come back safely," Morris said.

Morris finished four years in the Air Force in the early '60s. He came out looking for work in a personnel department in either St. Cloud or the Twin Cities area.

Every time Morris went to take the civil service test required for the personnel job, the examiner pushed and asked him to take the postal test.

"Finally, to get him off my back, I took it," Morris said. He passed.

The postal test, along with many other things, has changed since Morris took it in 1962. When Morris started working, the post office didnât use zip codes. Postal employees had to memorize mail sorting codes. When Morris retired last Friday, the zip-plus four had been commonly used for several years.

"As I get older, I find it difficult to adapt to the changes," Morris said. "I felt it was time to let someone with fresher ideas come in."

Terry Niehaus will take over Morris' portion temporarily, as the Officer in Command, or OIC. Niehaus is also bidding on the open postmaster position that Morris left.

Morris has plenty of confidence in Niehaus, so don't worry about getting your mail and getting it on time for the next 18 years.

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