Mellissa Coty joined the United States Postal Service (USPS) a little less than three years ago, and now she’s the postmaster for the USPS office in Westport.
Hugo Vo, manager of post office operations for the area, said the USPS selected Coty as the best from a pool of candidates. Vo also hosted Coty’s swearing in on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the Westport Post Office.
Postmasters from surrounding areas, including former Westport postmaster, Shannon Ferguson, were on hand to help celebrate Coty’s promotion.
Coty’s fiance, Kyle Jeffers, who beamed as Coty took her seat as postmaster, spoke to The Daily World about how proud she makes him as she takes her next step in her career.
“She has worked her tail off for it,” Jeffers said. “She’s the youngest postmaster in this district to ever be appointed the postmaster.”
Jeffers talked about how Coty, who’s now 30, excelled at her previous job — medical assistant — as well. She worked in southern Alabama, where she met Jeffers. The two got engaged during that time, and then she brought him up to Washington when “some family reasons” came up.
“She got in the post office in Tokeland and she worked her way up,” said Jeffers, looking at Coty with a glint in his eye. “She moved from Tokeland, to Grayland, and this came open, and she jumped in feet first.”
Coty’s promotion was a few months in the making. Ferguson, who is Coty’s mentor, wanted Coty to try for the officer in charge position. The officer in charge position is basically an interim management role for the USPS.
Ferguson spoke about how she isn’t surprised by Coty’s rise through the ranks. In fact, she makes it her mission to make a career track like Coty’s possible.
“My goal as management is to bring up the ones who are eager and ready to take on the job,” Ferguson said. “It’s all about promoting and giving them the opportunity that they deserve.”
Ferguson said with so many people who are nearing retirement, the service needs to keep looking for younger employees who want the opportunity to take on bigger roles.
Ferguson said anybody who is interested in a career with the USPS can get a hold of her at the Rochester Post Office.
“I’m more than willing to help them walk through the process of getting hired,” Ferguson said. “It’s a difficult process… They can call me, and I can walk them through the online application process that you have to get through, because it’s pretty complicated. I’m more than willing to help anybody who wants to become an employee of the USPS.”
Ferguson said it’s been hard to fill staff positions, and it’s not just the pandemic, it’s a “multitude,” of things.
It’s why someone like Coty’s promotion is such happy news, even though her ascent doesn’t happen often.
“It’s rare, but that’s OK,” Ferguson said. “It’s very rare, but that’s where we’re at in the state with the post offices. There are many positions out there.”
It sounds like Coty, who’s worked hard to get where she is, is ready to take on her new position as postmaster for the Westport area, which serves about 2,500 customers, including 1,600 P.O. Boxes, and 350 residents along the mail route.
“I love it,” said Coty about her new job. “It’s been a lot for me to learn, but I’ve been able to take it all on. The community, I just love the community out here. Everybody’s been super great, and very supportive. I love it out here.”
Coty mentioned she’s helped out several different offices along the South Beach coast, from Westport to Tokeland.
“When the position came up for OIC, it was definitely something I wanted to get into, and it just kind of progressed from there,” Coty said.
Coty also said, with her short time working for the USPS, that her promotion has happened at a rapid pace.
“My conversion was very, very fast, too,” Coty said. “I’ll be in for three years (in September 2022.) But, I’ve only been a career employee for two (years.) So, that’s very, very fast.”
But, as her fiance said, Coty feels she has earned the job.
“I put in a lot of legwork for it,” Coty said. “I helped a lot of offices. I had up to 12 offices I was running around before I finally became OIC here.”
When Coty joined the postal service, she wanted to serve her community. She thought USPS was a good way to do that. It doesn’t hurt that she likes where she works.
“It’s just a really good company,” Coty said. “People get in and get a good position with a nice office, and a good crew. It’s just a really wonderful place to work for. Everybody talks about the benefits and stuff, but aside from the benefits, it’s just (about) the people I’ve met and services I provide.”
Coty sounded grateful that Ferguson encouraged her to take the OIC position. She said she was on the fence about taking the job. Looking back, it led to her new position as postmaster, so things have worked out.
“(Ferguson’s) been my guide and my go-to for a lot of things since I got the position, and long before,” Coty said.
While Coty doubted herself, when it came to taking the OIC position, Ferguson wouldn’t hear of it.
“She pulled me out of the dark,” Coty said. “She knew what was best for me.”
Apparently, Ferguson knew what was best for Westport’s postal customers. She isn’t concerned for the service in the South Beach town with Coty in charge.
“I didn’t have one worry at all walking away from the office with Mellissa being in here,” Ferguson said.
According to Ferguson, Westport was the last place she planned to hang her professional hat.
“Westport was my endgame, but Rochester is five minutes away from home,” Ferguson said. “I wouldn’t have left if I didn’t get the opportunity in Rochester. Westport’s in good hands with Mellissa.”
Coty also had a message for Westport residents about what to expect with her in charge of the post office.
“One-hundred percent customer service,” Coty said. “They can call me for anything. I’ve been able to help them with just about anything.”