When Deborah Anderson started her career with the U.S. Postal Service as a part-time carrier in Shawnee, Kansas, she recalled, her supervisor said she had three days to show she had what it takes to see if she could stick with the service.
After three days, she knew she could make it with the Postal Service, so she went up to her supervisor and said, “I met the challenge. Now what?”
Anderson, the newly appointed postmaster in Independence and the first woman to hold that position, promises to continue impress the same spirit with her new job and not just stay in her office all day.
“You met the challenge, now what?” she told acrowd gathered for Friday's postmaster installation ceremony at the main office near the Square.
Bookended by remarks from some former colleagues and supervisors, Anderson took the oath of office administered by Senior Area Manager Randy Acord, with her son Marlon Love holding the Bible. Anderson didn't note being the first woman for her particular post, but rather was she feels as the 33rd postmaster in the hometown of Harry Truman, the country's 33rd president.
“That is special,” she said.
Anderson had served as manager for customer service operations in the Mid-America District in Kansas City for six years and previously worked in customer service in Shawnee and Kansas City. She had been officer-in-charge in Independence since January, essentially leading operations in lieu of a postmaster after Brian Perron's departure.
Retired carrier Wayne Jackson remembered when Anderson started, how she came prepared to work and showed attention to detail.
“We all said, 'She's going places,'” Jackson said.
John Morgan, Mid-America district manager for the Postal Service, recalled how Anderson volunteered to do whatever she could as a carrier to improve the Kansas City operations.
“It's great to reward a true leader,” he said.
Anderson oversees the Independence branches and finance station, which includes 105 city carriers, 15 clerks, nine rural carriers, five custodians, seven members of management and once finance station. Overall, her service area includes more than 57,600 city customers and 3,000 rural customers.
Anderson said the biggest change she's noticed since January is improved motivation and customer service.
“It's just incredible how they've shown concern for citizens,” she said. “I think they just needed to hear something different.”