Cheryl Ollier replaces recently-retired postmaster Mike Milby
Our town used to be named Hot Springs. Daily Stage Coach Service began in 1862 and that meant routine mail delivery. In 1864, the Hot Springs Hotel was opened at 13th and Spring streets and mail was dropped there and placed on the fireplace mantle. Three years later, on June 14, 1867, a true post office space was officially opened in the hotel with Edward McCarthy as the ‘Springs Postmaster.’ In the mid 80s, a dedicated Post Office building was erected downtown but I don’t know where that was. Then, 22 years later on March 11, 1889, our pueblo incorporated under the official name of El Paso de Robles. Seven days later, Edwin Bennett was named Postmaster. Paso celebrated 125 years an incorporated city on March 11, 2014. Mashing this all together, Paso has had mail service for 155 years!
Through that 155 year span, we’ve had 23 previous Postmasters and now, we have a new one. Her name is CHERYL OLLIER. She replaces retired postmaster Mike Milby. During the time I spent interviewing her, I became more and more pleased with her decision to apply-for and then be chosen-for the position.
Cheryl was born in East L.A. and after high school, she attended junior colleges to become what she thought was going to be a career in Financial Planning. It didn’t happen. After accepting a position at the City of Industry’s Post office in 1984, Cheryl’s career blossomed and she has now spent 33 years with the Postal Department.
Cheryl began as a Central Clerk which she did for a year. 1985 brought a move to the Sacramento Division of the P.O. A year later and Cheryl was in Orangeville where she began as a Window Clerk and then a Rotating Clerk to learn all the positions as the fill-in person. By now, Cheryl knew the Post Office was her correct career choice. But it also showed her that she still had more to learn in her adopted company.
That decision led to a stint as the training supervisor and then she put “soles to the concrete” and took a city-walking-gig to understand what homes and businesses deal with in their mail service. Woodland, CA was the next stop, as Cheryl was promoted to the City Delivery System Supervisor in 1989. At last she was ready.
Cheryl greeted 1992 by becoming the new official Postmaster of Amador City. The small town allowed her to become involved with an entire small community. Not long after, Mt. Aukum — a word that means “My Home” — is another small community that remained her home for 14 years. For eleven of those years, Cheryl also supervised various offices throughout the Fresno-Oakhurst area. Both Amador City and Mt. Aukum were growing and as their towns’ Postmaster, Cheryl’s “this is what community means” understanding grew along with the people she served.
To relocate a little closer to family, it turned out that four Central Coast communities posted openings for new postmasters in the last year. Cheryl said that when she visited Paso, it just had that special feel that this was where she’d like to end up. Isn’t that why we all wanted to come here?
Chosen from a number of candidates, Cheryl was offered the position and now, just a few months into the job, she says she loves the job and the town.
Let’s take a little look at what she is in charge of. 90,000 pieces of mail go through the office each day. There are 27 carriers: seven are on the rural routes, nine are contracted highway carriers and 11 cover the city proper. Amazon’s Sunday deliveries are handled by Paso’s Post Office too. There are eight employees including window clerks and sorters and staff in the office and a fleet of 20 vehicles. Paso is the only town around here that does passports and an average of 75 are processed each month. School tours are pretty routine so the place is always hopping.
I asked Cheryl what her near-term goals are and there was no hesitation in the reply:
- No more than 3 minutes in line and happy customers when they leave
- Training for employees to make them more knowledgeable
- Re-evaluate all routes to match them to the growing population
- Encourage and respond to community feedback
- Increase Post Office community involvement
From all of us at PASO Magazine, Ms. Ollier — welcome to town; we’re glad you’re here! You can reach Cheryl at 805-238-8342.