KENAI - A window clerk at the Soldotna Post Office has been ordered to replace the funky ties he's worn for nearly a decade with a standard blue model, and many residents, including the town's mayor, aren't pleased.
Customers have written letters of protest to Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey after postal clerk Steve Adams was banned from sporting his colorful, sometimes clashing, ties at work because they didn't conform with dress code regulations.
"There's a huge uproar in Soldotna," Adams said. "This is much more than a tie. It's community flavor. What's the big deal?"
Carey said he has a list of people who are very unhappy about the tie ban. He plans to discuss the matter with Postmaster General and CEO Jack Potter, who will be in Soldotna this month for the Kenai River Classic.
Carey, who also is known for his brightly colored, sometimes goofy ties, wrote Adams a letter of support.
"In an age in which many bureaucrats try to make humans into robots, your care for customers is a most pleasant experience," Carey wrote. "Your ties are always uplifting."
Margaret Merrill, postmaster for the Soldotna Post Office, said she is simply enforcing the rules. In the five years Merrill has been postmaster, she said she has considered telling him to follow the dress code.
"He has been informed that sooner or later he is going to have to conform," Merrill said. She said the decision was not based on customer complaints.
Merrill said she's heard from people who miss the ties, while others in the community of about 3,800 say are tired of hearing about them.
Adams now wears a plain blue tie with the Postal Service logo of an eagle while he helps customers mail letters and parcels. But he has more than 100 pieces of colorful neckwear on a display rack at home and still has a license plate on his truck that says "TIE GUY".
"Maybe I need to change my license plate to X-TIEGUY," he said.