New postmaster starts work

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 12/17/96.

The Paynesville postmaster position was permanently filled last Tuesday, Dec. 10, when Dan Severance punched in at the Paynesville Post Office.

Severance has 13 years of experience working for the postal system. He worked in Duluth, then Virginia, Minn., for several years. Severance worked as a clerk, then a city carrier for over ten years in Duluth. He was promoted to a supervisor position in Virginia.

Before his move to Paynesville, Severance had only lived in northern Minnesota. His home town is Hermantown, which is right outside of Duluth. His wife, Dawn, is an Esko native.

Severance applied for the Paynesville job late last summer. The process involved filling out an application and interviewing for the position. Severance knew that he had been chosen for the postmaster position in November, but his boss in Virginia was on vacation, so Severance's transfer to Paynesville was delayed by nearly a month.

Promotions in clerk and carrier positions are determined by seniority, but in management, the "best qualified" people are chosen for the various positions, Severance said. He believes his background helped with his promotion. Working with mail processing and a letter sorting machine gave him experience that will benefit him in his new postmaster position.

Severance entered into his new job at the beginning of the post office's busiest season. Not only does mail volume nearly double around the holidays, but it's followed by tax forms and sweepstakes mailings in January. Post office business doesn't calm down to normal volume until February, Severance said.

The new postmaster is concentrating on organizing the post office and learning how the Paynesville Post Office operates. He's finding about about the city scheme and the managing "the financial end," he said.

Dawn and Jordan, Severance's wife and son, are still living near Virginia. The Severances are waiting to sell their house. Dawn and Jordan visit Dan when they can, and the family does some house hunting. Meanwhile, Paynesville's newest addition to the post office staff is "living out of a suitcase."

Severance wants to "become part of the community." He was involved in several civic activities in Virginia, including Rotary Club, and is interested in participating in similar activities in Paynesville. Involvement in the community is part of his job, since he sees himself as a representative of the post office.

The Severance family is "looking forward to settling down," Dan said. They've moved five or six times in the last 10 years, but they plan on staying in Paynesville for awhile. Jordan starts kindergarten next year, and the Severances plan on staying in Paynesville through his school years.

Severance has grandparents, aunts and uncles in Central Minnesota, but aside from one trip to Paynesville when he applied for his new job, he had never been here.

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