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IrishExport  
#1 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 4:42:36 AM(UTC)
IrishExport

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Joined: 1/31/2013(UTC)
Posts: 11


Hi, I’m a newbie and I apologise in advance for coming in here and immediately asking a million questions. I did the personality part of the Postal Service test yesterday and am due to take the 473 exam next Wednesday.

There were 3 open positions in my area (surprisingly – unemployment is very high here), and I applied for all three. The last one, though, is a CCA and as a tiny 5ft tall woman (already carrying extra lbs), I don’t know that I’d be able to hack the carrying.

Anyway, the other 2 were a PSE Post Office Clerk, and a PSE Sales & Svcs/Distribution Associate. The first is a grade 4, the second grade 6.

I’ve trawled through here looking for answers, but I think the situation might be a little different here as it is a rural sparsely populated area and the post offices are small. I saw someone post that a PO clerk was more mail processing – but there are no processing plants that I know of close by. The job descriptions put each job site as the local post office.

Enough of my babbling – here are the two job descriptions:



Job Title
PSE POST OFFICE CLERK

Facility Location
MOHAWK
25 COLUMBIA ST
MOHAWK, NY 13407-9998

Position Information
TITLE: PSE POST OFFICE CLERK
GRADE: - 4
FLSA DESIGNATION: Non-Exempt
OCCUPATION CODE: 2395-0016
NON-SCHEDULED DAYS: VARIABLE
HOURS: VARIABLE
SALARY RANGE: $12.63/hour
FINANCE NUMBER: 355390
BENEFIT INFORMATION: OPPORTUNITIES FOR RAISES, PAID VACATION DAYS AND ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER THE FIRST 360-DAY TERM.

PSE CLERKS MAY BE REQUIRED TO WORK WINDOW OPERATIONS WITH EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS. CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT MAY BE CONTINGENT ON QUALIFYING ON APPROPIATE EXAMINATIONS.

Persons Eligible to Apply
APPLICANTS MUST LIVE WITHIN 50 MILES OF THE FACILITY ADDRESS IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS POSITION BECAUSE THE WORK IS PERFORMED IN THE FACILITY LOCATION AND CANDIDATES WILL NEED TO BE PRESENT FOR SCREENING ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING AN INTERVIEW. NOTE: VETERANS WHO ARE ENTITLED TO VETERANS PREFERENCE AND/OR COVERED BY THE VETERANS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY ACT MAY APPLY FOR ANY POSTED POSITION.

Functional Purpose
Performs a variety of supervisory, window, box, general delivery, rural route, highway contract route, or city delivery services to support a small community when the Postmaster is on leave or not available.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1. Operates a small, single unit postal facility supervising a small size group of carriers and/or clerks in the performance of distribution, delivery, and window services.
2. Implements and adheres to approved programs as they apply to local requirements; operates within established postal rules, laws, and regulations.
3. Submits and monitors a small operating budget.
4. Trains new employees to ensure quality service.
5. Ensures that proper safeguards are instituted for the welfare of customers and the protection of the mails.
6. Maintains files and records and submits reports.
7. May personally handle window transactions and perform distribution tasks as the workload requires.
8. Has regular contact with postal customers.
9. Exercises normal protective care of accountable paper, building equipment, and office supplies.
10. Follows established safe work methods, procedures and safety precautions while performing all duties.
11. Performs other duties as assigned.

Now this post office is in Mohawk, NY – a village with a population of about 2700 people. The description states that it is a single unit facility, and I know that it is actually closed over lunch times. The hours it is open 9.00-10.30am then 12.30-4.30pm Monday to Fridays, and 8.30-11.30am on Sat.

Here is the second job:


Job Title
PSE SALES & SVCS/DISTRIBUTION ASSOCIATE

Facility Location
ILION
48 1ST ST
ILION, NY 13357-9998

Position Information
TITLE: PSE SALES & SVCS/DISTRIBUTION ASSOCIATE
GRADE: - 6
FLSA DESIGNATION: Non-Exempt
OCCUPATION CODE: 2395-0017
NON-SCHEDULED DAYS: VARIABLE
HOURS: VARIABLE
SALARY RANGE: $14.89/hour
FINANCE NUMBER: 354085
BENEFIT INFORMATION: OPPORTUNITIES FOR RAISES, PAID VACATION DAYS AND ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER THE FIRST 360-DAY TERM.   PSE CLERKS MAY BE REQUIRED TO WORK WINDOW OPERATIONS WITH EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS. CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT MAY BE CONTINGENT ON QUALIFYING ON APPROPIATE EXAMINATIONS.

Persons Eligible to Apply
APPLICANTS MUST LIVE WITHIN 50 MILES OF THE FACILITY ADDRESS IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THIS POSITION BECAUSE THE WORK IS PERFORMED IN THE FACILITY LOCATION AND CANDIDATES WILL NEED TO BE PRESENT FOR SCREENING ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING AN INTERVIEW. NOTE: VETERANS WHO ARE ENTITLED TO VETERANS PREFERENCE AND/OR COVERED BY THE VETERANS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY ACT MAY APPLY FOR ANY POSTED POSITION.

Functional Purpose
Performs distribution and a variety of sales and customer support services for products. Maintains pleasant and effective public relations with customers and others requiring a general familiarity with postal laws, regulations, and procedures commonly used.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
1. Performs any variety of sales and customer services at a retail window such as maintaining sufficient inventory of and selling stamps, stamped paper, other retail products and services and may use a computerized system, accepting and delivering packages and accountable mail; issuing and cashing foreign and domestic postal money orders; accepting and responding to customer claims and inquiries, and providing information to the public regarding postal regulations.
2. Provides sales and customer service support by greeting customers and explaining store layout; determining special interests and referring to sales and promotional programs; offers assistance in product selection; provides special assistance; and answers customer inquiries when needed.
3. Provides product and service information to customers, including informing customers regarding special offers; suggestive selling related merchandise; promoting products based on customer needs. Provides additional information regarding product features and services.
4. Handles and processes customer purchases and returns relating to products and services and may use a point of sale system. Assists customers with transactions.
5. Maintains appearance of store by setting up, arranging, and replenishing displays and merchandise racks; ensures display and selling areas, work stations, and storage areas are presentable to customers.
6. Conducts product inventories by counting items on hand; attaches and removes security devices; accounts for items on display; and verifies and records sales floor inventory and shrinkage. Brings inventory discrepancies and shrinkage reports to the attention of the appropriate supervisory presence.
7. May verify presort and bulk mailings of all classifications computing and maintaining on a current basis mailers' credit balances.
8. Checks and sets post office stamp-vending machines and postage meters.
9. Rents post office boxes, receives rental payments, conducts reference checks, and completes related forms.
10. In addition, may assign and clear accountable items.
11. Distributes primary and one or more secondary schemes of incoming mail by delivery point based on a knowledge of the distribution scheme established for the office, branch or station.
12. Distributes primary and one or more secondary schemes of outgoing mail for dispatch based on knowledge of current distribution schemes.
13. Follows established safe work methods, procedures and safety precautions while performing all duties.
14. Performs other duties as assigned.

This post office is in Ilion, NY (which is right next to Mohawk) – a village with a population of about 8000 people. This place closes in the daytime too, but not for as long. The hours it is open 9.00-1.15pm then 2.15-4.45pm Monday to Fridays, and 9-12pm on Sat.

I know I’m jumping the gun – I haven’t even taken the exam yet. But I like to have a plan - this is a very economically depressed area, with the bulk of people working in low-skill minimum wage jobs, and not continuing their education or possessing many qualifications, so I think I have at least a shot. We’re kind of smack-bang in the middle between Albany and Syracuse – but because you have to live within 50 miles of the facilities and both those cities are further away than that, I don’t *think* there’s going to be a huge influx from those cities.

Anyway, I’m just trying to get it clear in my head what the difference between these jobs would be. The Mohawk PO is smaller – more informal/relaxed then? It pays less, but it might be a better environment? It seems to have more responsibility than the higher paid job. Supervising other clerks? Then again, would the fact that the Mohawk PO is only open about 30 hours a week mean that I would get few hours, or would I be farmed out? Would such a small PO even be worth the risk – wouldn’t it be more likely to get shut down? Both POs are a 5 minute drive from me, so distance doesn't factor.

Again, sorry for the questions and for this very long-winded post. I’m a mum of 2 young kids and I’m really looking hard for a chance. Although I’m married to a US born citizen, it was a long process getting my Green Card – so I have a large gap on my resume. My background back in Ireland was in social work. I’m hoping to get something stable so that I can no longer be dependent on my abusive husband and we can leave him. Reading all these threads it doesn’t look like there is much stability though. Being a permanent resident, I can’t file for any benefits or public assistance for 10 years. Looking at the calculators, it would seem that I’d get almost as much from alimony and child support as working, but I want to be proactive and self-supporting again. This appealed because I figured the Post Offices I'm looking at are only open during the day, therefore I would only have to work during the day – I hadn’t considered being shuffled around other Post Offices though.
IrishExport2013-02-01 14:20:04
Knickatknite  
#2 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 5:19:33 AM(UTC)
Knickatknite

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Joined: 1/27/2013(UTC)
Posts: 29

This is just a guess (I was just hired as a PSE and have yet to start), but I think they are the same position--just different grade levels (which seem to pay differently). I applied for a job as a PSE Sales Service and Distribution Associate for $14.60/hr., but my hiring paper work says PSE Postal Clerk--all the duties are the same. Fortunately, for you, it looks like both of these positions are 360 day terms, mine is only a 90 day term. Good luck!
postalvet  
#3 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 7:02:29 AM(UTC)
postalvet

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PSE clerk will most likley work in a plant, night time hours 7 days a week. might work a DBCS machine by yourself.

PSE Sales & Svcs/Distribution Associate will work at a station or post office selling stamps and other duties as assigned, day time hours might have sunday off.
Retired postal worker of 38 years who is willing to help even though some do not want to hear the truth.
deleted  
#4 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 7:14:50 AM(UTC)
deleted

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Joined: 8/14/2011(UTC)
Posts: 380

postalvet wrote:
PSE clerk will most likley work in a plant, night time hours 7 days a week. might work a DBCS machine by yourself.

PSE Sales & Svcs/Distribution Associate will work at a station or post office selling stamps and other duties as assigned, day time hours might have sunday off.


They've been listing mail processing clerk for our AO offices, I've seen a listing for one the size of a bathroom...I think its pretty much anything except window.

Our steward had fits when they tried to have 1 person run a DBCS. There was a lot of arguing over OSHA regulations.
IrishExport  
#5 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 8:42:24 AM(UTC)
IrishExport

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Joined: 1/31/2013(UTC)
Posts: 11

That's why I'm so bloomin' confused by this job description - it looks nothing like the job description for a Mail Processing Clerk, right?

Window services are mentioned 3 separate times. And "submitting and monitoring a small operating a small budget" as well as "supervising a small size group of carriers and/or clerks"?

It says you have to live within 50 miles of the facility which is given as the Mohawk PO - the nearest P&DC is nearly 70 miles away in Syracuse (they closed a closer one down in Utica, NY last year), so I'm assuming it wouldn't be based there?


______________________________


I just went to the USPS website and looked up the Post Office Clerk positions - it seems like a separate post from the Mail Processing Clerk, and is only in "small single unit posting facilities". I don't get why it's a lower grade than other clerk positions though.
LokiThinks  
#6 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 10:20:18 AM(UTC)
LokiThinks

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Posts: 597

I believe the lower grade PSE position has to do with the office Level. Also the PSE PO Clerk sounds an awful lot like old PMR's for the lower level offices because PSE SSDA in Lvl 18 offices don't submit TACS reports usually.LokiThinks2013-02-01 18:27:25
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” -Isaac Newton
IrishExport  
#7 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 11:42:28 AM(UTC)
IrishExport

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Joined: 1/31/2013(UTC)
Posts: 11

LokiThinks wrote:
I believe the lower grade PSE position has to do with the office Level. Also the PSE PO Clerk sounds an awful lot like old PMR's for the lower level offices because PSE SSDA in Lvl 18 offices don't submit TACS reports usually.


OH I SEE! So you're basically there to work days when the Postmaster is on holiday or out sick? (And every Saturday, I presume, LOL).

Thanks for that, it doesn't sound too feasible if that particular post office is only open for 30 hours a week as it is. Just what I needed to know! I feel easier in my mind (even though I haven't taken the exam yet or done anything beyond apply).
   
L16PTF  
#8 Posted : Friday, February 01, 2013 11:49:40 AM(UTC)
L16PTF

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Joined: 7/8/2011(UTC)
Posts: 165

Depends on the office. Some offices only use them on Saturdays and vacation days. Larger offices may use you more. No guarantee on hours, though. Some don't get many, some get lots, some get splits. It's hard to schedule around with kids. Nothing worse that having splits everyday and only getting a total of 4 or 5 hours total.
Hope it works for you.
Blix  
#9 Posted : Saturday, February 02, 2013 4:59:19 AM(UTC)
Blix

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Joined: 1/13/2013(UTC)
Posts: 342

Run away, run as fast as you can away from the PO.
RIKSNY  
#10 Posted : Saturday, February 02, 2013 8:47:47 AM(UTC)
RIKSNY

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Joined: 1/29/2011(UTC)
Posts: 50

The hours you are mentioning are the hours the window is open, not the hours that people are working in the facility. Ilion looks like about a Level 20, Mohawk looks to be at least an 18. Working in either of these offices is not going to be a Saturday-only-or-when-the-PM-is-gone job. They both have career clerks, city and rural delivery. Not sure what the rules are for using PSE's in those offices but I imagine there are limitations, and the career employees get the hours first. You can call the PM's of those offices up and ask them. I would be glad to talk to anybody who called me with a question about a vacancy if I had one. (PM of a smaller office than either of those.)
IrishExport  
#11 Posted : Sunday, February 03, 2013 5:05:31 AM(UTC)
IrishExport

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Joined: 1/31/2013(UTC)
Posts: 11

Blix wrote:
Run away, run as fast as you can away from the PO.


I'm applying for anything that looks feasible, and at least reading this I have considerably fewer illusions about the postal service than I might have had before. If this comes through for me, I'll definitely think carefully about it and make sure I know as much as I can going in. Meantime, I'm applying for any social service positions I can find too.

My husband works for the state, so I have familiarity with how it works with seniority and getting temps in to do jobs for much less than the tenured staff.

Bottom line is that I'm looking for a life raft now, but taking baby steps. I am very lucky in that I don't work outside the home now, and if I went back to not working outside the home it would be a setback for me personally, but our family would not starve.

Plus if it turned out to be a nightmare and I quit, I'm not in the dilemma that others face regarding receiving unemployment benefit - I'm not allowed to claim it anyway, as a non-citizen.

Thank goodness I found this forum - such a wealth of information!
IrishExport  
#12 Posted : Sunday, February 03, 2013 5:08:34 AM(UTC)
IrishExport

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Joined: 1/31/2013(UTC)
Posts: 11

RIKSNY wrote:
The hours you are mentioning are the hours the window is open, not the hours that people are working in the facility. Ilion looks like about a Level 20, Mohawk looks to be at least an 18. Working in either of these offices is not going to be a Saturday-only-or-when-the-PM-is-gone job. They both have career clerks, city and rural delivery. Not sure what the rules are for using PSE's in those offices but I imagine there are limitations, and the career employees get the hours first. You can call the PM's of those offices up and ask them. I would be glad to talk to anybody who called me with a question about a vacancy if I had one. (PM of a smaller office than either of those.)


Thank you VERY much for this! I'll wait until after I sit the 473 (then if I get a dismal score I won;t have wasted my time, LOL) on Wednesday and then call the post offices as you suggest. Both job descriptions DID give the numbers of the PMs and said to call them for more information. Really appreciate the input!
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