BENNINGTON — Bennington’s new postmaster said he’s very familiar with Southern Vermont’s scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities, and this is his kind of environment.
“It is a pretty area. I think I’m pretty lucky to be up here,” said Emmanual Olimpo during an interview Monday. “I hike and bike a lot. Those are my outdoor activities.”
Olimpo replaces John Harwood, who transferred to another post office in Vermont.
Olimpo, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service, previously worked in Berkshire County, Mass., for about 17 years, most recently as a supervisor and then as acting postmaster in North Adams. He was named postmaster in Bennington in late March.
“We like the culture and the outdoors, and Bennington County is pretty much an extension of Berkshire County,” he said.
A native of the Albany, N.Y., area, Olimpo, 55, said the beauty of the mountains and valleys is what drew him to the area. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in communications and photography, he said he enjoys taking scenic photos.
He and his wife, April, are hikers, he said, and as a cyclist he has ridden the length of Route 7 up to the Burlington area. The couple and their son, Cooper, 9, reside in Pittsfield, Mass.
As for the staffing and related mail delivery issues that prompted complaints during the height of the pandemic, Olimpo said he believes the situation has improved.
“This was like every other post office,” he said. “It was like that in North Adams.”
Delivery problems eased at that post office once the staffing issues eased, he said, adding, “I think we are addressing that [in Bennington].”
Regional USPS spokesman Stephen Doherty said in an email, “As part of the postmaster general’s Delivering For America Plan, the Postal Service has been investing in all aspects of the business, from facilities to technology, transportation and, of course, personnel. That means investing in our current employees with training and advancement opportunities and expanding our workforce, where needed, to meet our customer’s demands.”
He added, “As you know, we’re not alone in our struggle to hire in certain communities. Vermont is enjoying a period of very low unemployment at the moment, which makes attracting new help more difficult.”
Olimpo began his Postal Service career as a clerk in Albany. He has also worked as a supervisor in Westfield, Mass., and in the North Adams post office.
“I look forward to being up here in Vermont and enjoying the area,” he said.