Dave Allender’s remedy doesn’t need to journey far. The retired therapist will get a prescription to battle an an infection associated to problems from his knee substitute despatched from Auburn to his dirt-road house in Somerville each week, a distance of about 50 miles.
The refrigerated remedy arrived on time till final week. Allender managed to get one other cargo by way of courier and discovered he was one in all 10 individuals whose shipments from his supplier have been tousled that day. He tracked the unique bundle and located it had been despatched to Wells and Nashua, N.H., earlier than heading again north.
“They said they’d never had that problem,” Allender mentioned. “My medications are set on a daily basis to lower the infection rate, so it’s scary what would happen if I miss one.”
He’s among the many many Mainers who’ve seen drugs, paychecks or payments delayed over the previous few months after the U.S. Postal Service slowed operations as a consequence of cost-cutting measures underneath new Postmaster Normal Louis DeJoy. Throughout a congressional listening to Friday, DeJoy acknowledged that modifications had led to delays and that fixing them would take weeks.
The Bangor Day by day Information just lately filed a Freedom of Info Act request with the Postal Service in search of info on common supply occasions within the state and area that has not but been returned. Native postal unions have spoken out in opposition to explicit coverage modifications, however delays reported by Mainers don’t seem like linked to these particular incidents.
Earlier this month, the native postal union reported tens of 1000’s of letters delayed in southern Maine as a consequence of a brand new coverage that didn’t enable vehicles to attend to load mail, although the Postal Service disputed that determine.
This summer season, two sorting machines have been disassembled on the Scarborough processing heart. One was moved to Hampden. Every machine can kind 36,000 letters hourly and the company has cited decreased mail quantity through the coronavirus pandemic. Postal staff, nonetheless, are fearful about what may occur if volumes rise and are preventing the brand new extra time limits.
It’s unclear how all of this pertains to delays and even whether or not it does, however as consideration across the arcane mail supply course of has heightened, many Mainers are reporting new points.
Tom Sheffield of Wells, who as soon as labored as a rural service, mentioned he and his spouse have struggled to get mail usually since they moved from Scarborough to Wells a couple of months in the past, regardless of updating their tackle for bank cards and payments and filling out a change of tackle kind with the publish workplace. A carpenter, Sheffield sends invoices to his purchasers as soon as a challenge is completed, however currently they’ve been arriving late or in no way.
“I’ve been doing this for 13 years, and I’ve never had a problem with the mail probably until the end of June,” he mentioned. “When I send out mail to my clients, they’re not getting it, which means that I’m not getting paid.”
Whereas Sheffield waits to receives a commission, Terri Libby of Milford has run into delays whereas paying payments. On the finish of June, she put her automobile insurance coverage invoice within the mail per week earlier than it was due, as she sometimes does. Normally, it arrives inside 4 days, she mentioned. This one didn’t arrive for a month.
Libby mentioned she couldn’t keep in mind having a invoice delayed like that earlier than, however then observed that her July bank card assertion included a late charge as a result of that fee arrived after the deadline too.
“It just caught me totally off-guard,” she mentioned.
Dealing with backlash over delays, DeJoy mentioned this week that he would maintain off on additional modifications to the postal service till after the November election amid considerations that the delays would hinder mail-in and absentee voting. However he additionally mentioned he wouldn’t roll again many modifications, together with the removing of some tools.
All 4 members of Maine’s congressional delegation assist extra funding for the postal service, which has confronted monetary difficulties for greater than a decade and was hit onerous by a decline in advertising mail as a result of coronavirus pandemic.
However it isn’t clear that such funding will move the Senate, the place Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is one in all just a few members of her social gathering who helps it. For Maine residents whose mail has been delayed or interrupted, that raises considerations that issues will proceed or worsen.
“We’ve just been very frustrated,” mentioned Sheffield, the carpenter from Wells. “You know, we’re not even really getting junk mail.”