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Buffalo's first female postmaster will focus on customer service

Roselle Murrell’s first day as Buffalo postmaster landed on her father’s birthday, April 15. It was a day he will never forget, the day his daughter became the first woman to hold that position in Buffalo.

Murrell will be installed as the 45th postmaster of Buffalo at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Erie Community College's City Campus, a former Buffalo post office. There to see her sworn in will be about 20 family members, including her parents, husband, two sons and her sister who is flying in from Germany, Murrell said.

“I don’t think my kids really understand the scope of the job, but my husband is thrilled, he’s excited about the position,” Murrell said. “And actually being the first female postmaster, he’s pretty proud. My whole family is. The kids, I think tomorrow it’ll hit them.”

Her work in the U.S. Postal Service started off casually in 1995, as a person hired to alleviate the extra load of letter sorting during the winter holiday season. Her position, by definition, was temporary, but she took an exam to see if there was a future for her there.

Right before she was to be let go, Murrell got a letter inviting her to interview for a position in the Medina post office as a part-time flexible clerk. Soon after, she got the job.

Since then, Murrell has served in more than a half-dozen postal positions across Western New York including in Buffalo, Darien, Middleport, Tonawanda, Lockport and Rochester.

“I loved the job,” Murrell said. “I love talking with the customers in the community and I love working with the employees and seeing the end result. Like watching Grandma pick up her package and seeing her smile.”

The potential difference she could make in customer service in Buffalo was Murrell’s motivation to apply to be postmaster. She held the position in smaller offices but wanted to make an impact on a larger scale.

“I’m just honored to be the postmaster of the City of Buffalo,” Murrell said. “To me that’s the honor, whether I’m the first female, that is just a little added bonus.”

As postmaster, Murrell oversees all of the ZIP codes that start with 142, she said. She is responsible for about 270,000 business and residential addresses, retail service to almost 1.3 million yearly Buffalo Post Office visitors and about 650 employees, according to a Postal Service press release.

But, at the end of the day, what matters to Murrell is making sure her employees are working safely, that delivery is reliable, consistent and cost efficient and that her customers are happy.

Like her day-to-day work, her speech Friday will have other people at the center.

“It’s a special day because it’s about my team,” Murrell said. “I didn’t get here all on my own. People helped me get here and I want to make sure they get the credit for that as well.”

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