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April 11, 2024

Move of mail processing from Hampden to Scarborough draws ire from politicians

Some mail processing operations that now take place at a Hampden facility will move to one in Scarborough, the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday.

The consolidation, part of an ongoing modernization effort by the USPS, calls for the Hampden site to become a local processing facility and for all outbound mail operations to move to southern Maine.

As part of a 10-year-plan to modernize the Postal Service, it had floated the idea of consolidating Maine's two regional processing centers. The proposal has drawn sharp criticism from Maine politicians, postal workers and residents, who have said the move would hurt mail service and cost jobs.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement, “This misguided decision, which I repeatedly urged the USPS to reject, jeopardizes the reliable delivery of mail, including critical medication, for Mainers. In addition, residents will certainly see their local mail delayed.

"These concerns are further heightened by the recent USPS IG report highlighting pre-existing delivery delays in Southern Maine. The USPS should reconsider this decision and be transparent with Mainers about its impact.”

Collins noted that for mail being sent from northern Maine, the consolidation would add 130 miles to the path the mail has to travel before it's even processed for delivery.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows also objected to the plan, saying, “Timely mail service is vital, particularly for ensuring Mainers’ ability to vote absentee and know their ballots will be received on time to be counted. I have serious concerns that eliminating services from the Hampden facility will negatively impact our ability to keep elections accessible to busy Mainers in the northern and Downeast regions of our state who depend on the ability to vote by mail.

"The disregard shown by USPS leadership to the voices of Maine postal workers and local leaders who know our communities best is disrespectful to the Mainers we’re elected to serve.”

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