(SUN PHOTO/William Thompson) New Tucumcari Postmaster Robert Roark gets sworn in Friday by U.S. Postal Service official Yasmin Montano. Roark carries on a family tradition — his mother and father were both postmasters.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Robert Roark was sworn in as postmaster at the Tucumcari Post Office Friday.
Roark has an affinity for the Tucumcari office because his father, John Roark, was postmaster at there for 14 years.
After about one year of being officer in charge, Roark was sworn in at 10:18 a.m. by Yasmin Montano, Post Office Operations Manager based in Albuquerque.
“This is a great moment in my life,” Robert Roark said. “I have followed in my father’s footsteps.”
He then turned to his father at the swearing-in ceremony and said, “I’m proud of you, Pop.”
John Roark said he talks often with his son about life as a postal supervisor.
“I wish his mother was here to see this,” he said. “She was postmaster at San Jon for eight or nine years. The best advice I give my son is that you get more accomplished with positive motivation than with negative motivation. We talk about that quite a bit.”
The new postmaster said he already likes one benefit of his new position.
“Instead of having to ask permission to do some things, I can now just discharge my duty without having to ask,” Roark said. “I have 15 employees and our biggest task is ensuring accurate delivery of mail.”
Roark said 911 addressing, which ensures that all rural residences have standard physical addresses, causes problems in sorting.
“Some rural residents still get mail addressed to the addresses they had before the 911 addressing came into effect.” Roark said. “Our machine can’t read the old addresses, so then that piece of mail has to go through three pairs of hands before it is delivered. That slows down the mail service.”
Roark has been an officer in charge at post offices in Santa Rosa, Los Alamos, Taos and Artesia. He said small town post offices are a lot different than larger post offices.
“The small town post office is a place where people meet each other and discuss business,” Roark said. “In a small town, the post office is often the only federal government building the people see. People in smaller communities tend to be a lot more protective of their post office.”
Roark said he considers his fellow employees as family and they all bleed postal blue.
“If there are any of you that have any problems, let me know,” Roark told those who attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Montano said Roark gives everything he has to the postal service.
“He’s done an excellent job,” she said. “He is a career employee.”