Hamilton Beach is passionate about its postman.
Bill McInerney had been delivering the mail in Hamilton Beach and part of Old Howard Beach — including the business district in Coleman Square — for only a year now. But he has made a lasting impression.
Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, recalled how, when his aunt was ill and staying at a cousin’s house nearby, McInerney knew about it.
“He started delivering her mail to my cousin’s house — and he did it automatically,” said Gendron. “No one asked him. Where do you find that anymore?”
So, when he found out last month he was going to be transferred to a new route, the mailman began to say goodbye to residents.
That’s when the packages hit the fan.
Up in arms over the transfer, scores of residents started posting messages on the civic association’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the office of state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) just over the bridge in Old Howard Beach started to get phone calls — which really were unnecessary. McInerney was Addabbo’s mailman too, and the staff in his office was just as alarmed to hear he was going, the senator told the Chronicle.
The news that McInerney was leaving “became very personal to the people on his route,” Gendron explained.
A week before Christmas, he wrote to the postmaster general in Washington, DC, on behalf of the association requesting that McInerney be kept on the route.
“When you have a mail carrier who truly cares about his work and, more important, a neighborhood,” he wrote, “every effort should be made to keep building on the positive relationship that has developed.”
Since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, mail delivery has been done mostly with fill-in carriers, said Gendron.
“I’d come home from work and it’d be dark,” he said, “You’d see guys with flashlights walking the route.”
In fairness, house numbers in the small enclave at the end of Howard Beach are not always continuous and most of the streets are dead ends, meaning mail carriers have to walk twice as far to make deliveries.
“But when Bill arrived last year, things changed,” said Gendron. “Everybody, everybody loves Bill.”
The transfer is the result of Postal Service labor rules, which give mail carriers the right to take over routes assigned to others with less seniority. Last November, a mailman at the Howard Beach station with one month more on the job than McInerney put in for the Hamilton Beach route and got it.
Starting this month, McInerney became a temporary replacement on other routes in the district.
Officials of the Howard Beach station told Addabbo last Friday their hands are tied. “I had to make a call,” Addobbo said. “But his status is as a rover until he gets more time in, they told me.”
The civic association isn’t giving up, said Gendron.
“I don’t care what they say. The powers that be should be able to turn this around,” he said.