Cordova’s new postmaster could have the key to quicker deliveries

Postmaster Nicole Barela delightedly displays one of the post office’s old package slips, left, and a new, reusable slip, right. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/for The Cordova Times

Nicole Barela, Cordova’s new postmaster since Feb. 12, plans to revamp how residents get their mail. By the weekend of Saturday, March 5, Barela plans to roll out a new package delivery system that she hopes will cut wait time and reduce workload on postal staff.

Unlike the current system, all packages for a particular P.O. box would be grouped in a single place, eliminating the need for postal workers to note the location of a package on a pickup slip. The new system will also exchange the Cordova Post Office’s familiar, pinkish-colored package slips for reusable fluorescent-yellow ones.

Barela, who first began working as a postmaster in 2013 in Canby, Calif. said she hopes to add as many as 30 new, larger parcel lockers, supplementing the current parcel lockers which are repurposed P.O. boxes. If successful, this plan will probably go forward in 2023, Barela said. Barela also hopes to install a dedicated bulletin board, allowing the post office to cut down on the number of notices and other material taped to windows near the public entrance. Other possible future plans include refurbishing the office with new paint and furnishings.

The Cordova Post Office had been three years without a postmaster, during which time other staff divided up the postmaster’s traditional duties, which include processing financial data, keeping track of shift hours, managing purchases and numerous other miscellaneous — but vital — tasks.

Barela, whose sons work for FedEx in Anchorage, said she moved to Cordova to be closer to family. The community, with its neighborly atmosphere and scenic landscape, has fulfilled her expectations so far, she said. Barela also praised the customer service skills of the post office’s staff.

“Sometimes postal workers are cranky, but these ladies are just wonderful,” Barela said. “They’re happy and they’re nice and they’re hard-working.”


Barela invited the public to offer their suggestions for other improvements to postal services when visiting the post office.

“We’re here to serve them,” Barela remarked.

Wintry artwork by kindergarteners decorates the Cordova Post Offices. Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/for The Cordova Times