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A postmaster is the head of an individual post office. When a postmaster is responsible for an entire mail distribution organization (usually sponsored by a national government), the title of Postmaster General is commonly used. Responsibilities of a postmaster typically include management of a centralized mail distribution facility, establishment of letter carrier routes, supervision of letter carriers and clerks, and enforcement of the organization's rules and procedures.
In Canada, many early places are named after the first postmaster.
In the days of horse-drawn carriages, a postmaster was an individual from whom horses and/or riders (known as postilions or "post-boys") could be hired. The postmaster would reside in a "post house".
In the United States
Historically in the United States, women served as postmasters since the American Revolutionary War and even earlier, under British rule. An appointed position, postmasters were prized offices for political party members.
Many postmasters are members of a management organization that consults with the United States Postal Service (USPS) for compensation and policy. On November 1, 2016, two two organizations, the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS) and the National League of Postmasters, merged to form the United Postmasters and Managers of America(UPMA).
Level of pay is based on deliveries and revenue of the post office. Levels are from EAS (Executive and Administrative Service) 18 through 26. Smaller remotely managed post offices no longer have postmasters and report to a nearby larger office. Larger metropolitan post offices are PCES (Postal Career Executive Service).
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