After a 40-year career in the New Jersey Postal Service, Edward Walloga, postmaster for Union City, has hung up his postal hat to pave the way for the next generation to take over.
“I think its time to enjoy my grandchildren, and 40 years is long enough,” said Walloga.
Although he will be sorely missed by employees and customers alike, in their opinion, no one deserves this more than “Ed.”
“It’s a sad day for all of us, but the time has come,” said John Sogluizzo, customer service supervisor. “It was an absolute pleasure to work for him. I have worked with other postmasters, but he is the best.”
Among the employees at the Union City Post office and other colleagues, the consensus is the same. Walloga always maintained a harmonious relationship with his employees and could relate to all of them, having worked in most of their positions.
“I never wanted an employee to get up in the morning and not want to go to work, and I wanted them to feel that they did a good job. I tried to spend as much time on the floor as possible instead of my office,” said Walloga.
“He’s a mentor, a people person and a caring person,” said Sogluizzo.
Ten years here, 20 there
Walloga first began his career in 1966 as a clerk carrier in Union City after his wife saw an announcement for employment opportunities in the local newspaper.
“I was a tool and drill maker prior to that,” said Walloga. “I passed the clerk carrier test and the post office called me for an interview.”
Walloga and his wife moved from New York to Union City in 1959, after they were first married.
“This was the country when we first moved here from New York City,” said Walloga. “We saw trees so we thought it was the country.”
In 1974 Walloga was promoted to supervisor and sent to work at 10 different postal offices over the next 10 years in Clifton, Newark, Passaic, Orange, South Plainfield, Jersey City and Secaucus.
“Then in 1984, I became postmaster here in Union City,” said Walloga. “[It was ideal because] I live in Union City and it was my goal to become a postmaster. It was an honor and a challenge.”
Walloga worked his way up the management ranks and served as postmaster for Union City for the last 21 years. “The service has been good to me; I came to the postal service to have a career,” said Walloga. “It provided my family with a livelihood, my wife and I put three children through college and it’s been a very rewarding job.”
Honoring a friend
The week before his final days on the job, Walloga was given a special tribute from his friends and colleagues in the postal service with a luncheon in his honor.
“I was totally shocked and surprised; I didn’t know about it,” said Walloga.
“I have known Ed for 15 years; he’s a professional, very organized and real communicator,” said Thomas Almendola, officer in charge. “For a lot of the employees here, he’s been their only boss.”
Almendola and Walloga met while working in the Secaucus Post Office, and now Almendola will be taking over for Walloga.
“Ed was very happy that I was chosen to replace him, and he’s making the transition really smooth,” said Almendola. “The supervisors are very loyal to Ed and he’s asked them to give me the same loyalty.”
“They have a very good replacement and they will do a fine job,” said Walloga.
Walloga received a commemorative plaque and a city proclamation for his years of service from Commissioner Chris Irizarry, as well as a plaque from the employees and a watch and a certificate of appreciation from District Manager Eugene Reer.
“It was a pleasure working for him; you learned a lot and he gave you the information you needed if you wanted to move ahead,” said Joseph Basile, postmaster of Montclair and former Union City employee.
Among some of the invited guests were postmasters from surrounding areas and a councilman from Weehawken since the Union City Post Office distributes mail for that municipality too.
“The postmaster earned this and he deserves it, and we all wish him a long and happy retirement,” said Sogluizzo.
“I’ve had 21 years here [in Union City] serving people I know, and it’s the people I’m going to miss the most,” said Walloga. “I just want to thank the people who worked here and made my job easy, and I want to thank the customers for their patronage.”
Walloga, along with his wife, will now spend his days engaging with his four grandchildren, who are all boys between ages 9 years old and 15 months old, and doing some repairs to their Union City home. Currently, Walloga has no plans to move but if he did, he would relocate to an area closer to his family.
“We won’t move away from the grandkids [who live in Dumont], but we might move closer,” said Walloga. Walloga’s last day as postmaster was Jan. 3.