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Dennis and Jalloh duo working in tandem to revamp, revitalize Sylacauga’s post office

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SYLACAUGA, Ala. – In November of last year, the Sylacauga Post Office awarded Phillip Dennis the position of postmaster. For Dennis, this opportunity has been a long time coming.

“The one thing I noticed that was consistent [in Sylacauga] was that postmasters, they come and go,” Dennis noted. “I wanted to be that one difference that when I got here, I would be here until I retire. That brings some consistency throughout the city.”

Sylacauga is a city with which Dennis is quite familiar. After working for Buffalo Rock and Coca-Cola, he became a United States Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier for the town in 2009 as a transitional employee (TE). He was then hired as a full-time city carrier in 2014 and began working his way up USPS’s ladder, eventually earning his chance in 2018 as a customer supervisor in Birmingham.

Dennis quickly learned the nature of high-level employee movement within USPS. After stops in Cahaba Heights and Hoover, he became acting postmaster in Alexander City.

After that, he headed to Columbiana. Then, he stopped in Leeds.

Finally, in July of 2021, he saw the final stop on his career route: the postmaster position in Sylacauga opened up.

As a postmaster, Dennis handles the budget makes sure the post office has what it needs to run efficiently. According to Dennis though, he feels as if he only has one employee.

Ibrahim “Abraham” Jalloh is the customer service supervisor at Sylacauga’s USPS station. He oversees the day-to-day operations of all the employees at the post office.

“He’s very knowledgeable with what he does,” expressed Dennis. “Upon my arrival, I couldn’t have asked for a better supervisor.”

Jalloh started at the Sylacauga post office in April of 2019, but his service in the mail industry has taken him far from where he began. Jalloh hails from Long Island, New York. He also started as a mail carrier in New York City circa 2008, and Jalloh says that there is plenty of opportunities for workers to rise through the ranks within USPS.

“I was eventually handpicked by a postmaster that I worked for,” Jalloh said. “She asked me if I’d like to begin a career in management, and I said yes. I knew that working for USPS, you can expand your talents.”

Ibrahim, or Abraham as he chooses to go by, then expanded his region to the state of Alabama. He went into management at the Phenix City post office in 2018 before transferring to Sylacauga a year later.

Jalloh and his then girlfriend, now wife, decided to make the big move due to her having family in the area. The change in scenery is one that Jalloh had to adjust to initially, but he welcomed.

“It’s a lot more slow-paced down here in Alabama versus New York City,” said Jalloh. “New York City is more fast-paced, the mail volume is a lot higher. Down here, there’s a chance to slow down and learn about what you’re doing. You’re not just going through the motions. You can fine tune things. I think that’s made me a better manager.”

To Jalloh, the biggest culture shock he endured was the weather including experiencing tornado season for the first time, but when asked what he misses about New York City, Jalloh’s reply was swift:

“Nothing.”

Jalloh was in agreement with Dennis that this is a location he could see himself retiring at. First, though, the two want to put their own stamp on Sylacauga’s post office, and they see things that need to be addressed.

“Employee availability and appearance” are the two main aspects that the pair want to tackle.

“What I mean by that is having enough employees in general to cover the day-to-day operations,” Dennis explained in regards to employee availability. “By doing that, it guarantees that we’ll be able to get our customers serviced in a timely manner.”

In terms of appearance, Dennis said that one of the first things he did after becoming postmaster was pressure wash the building.

“The appearance of the post office, to me, sets the standard,” remarked Dennis. “I think it looks better now than it ever has.”

Another issue that both Jalloh and Dennis are stressing is safety for employees, especially mail carriers on their routes.

“The employees that come into this building who I am responsible for,” Jalloh said, “I preach to them every day about safety. The bottom line is to do it safely so that you can get back home to your family.”

The biggest risk potential that Dennis sees for carriers is stops on Highway 280, and he wants drivers to be overcautious when delivering anywhere on the high traffic road.

Nevertheless, Dennis and Jalloh see the positive potential for the post office and for their partnership, too.

“Phillip has a plan,” said Jalloh. “I’m right there behind him. I’m supporting everything that he has planned. We just started this relationship, it’s been great since day one, and it’s continuing to get better every day.”

“The key to a successful operation is having a cohesive management team,” Dennis acknowledged. “That is something that I thing Sylacauga, in the long run, will greatly benefit from.”

The pair are striving to make Sylacauga’s post office the premier mail service in the area, and Jalloh carries a facetious warning shot to the competitors of the local USPS.

“They don’t have nothing on us right now. We just want to let y’all know that we’re way ahead, so good luck.”


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