Staffing shortages that led to mail delivery delays in Kennebunkport have been addressed and residents and businesses should now be getting deliveries in a timely manner, a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson in Boston said Monday.

The USPS statement follows a selectman’s complaint a day earlier that he had not received any mail for a week, and that residents had reported delays in deliveries of prescriptions, Social Security checks, gifts and other time sensitive materials.

“We did have some short term staffing issues at the Kennebunkport Post Office,” including one person who was on medical leave, USPS spokesperson Stephen Doherty said in a statement. “The postal operations manager who covers that area is aware of the situation and is flexing resources from surrounding offices to bring all mail current and to put contingencies in place to maintain the level of service that our Kennebunkport residents deserve.

“As of today, everything should be current as far as deliveries go,” Doherty said in a phone interview Monday night. He said workers from other post offices have been brought in to work at Kennebunkport.

Kennebunkport Selectman Mike Weston posted a blistering Facebook post Sunday complaining of service disruptions.

“No mail delivery for a week. Maybe no mail next week,” said Weston said in the post.

“The excuse – one person on medical leave and one on vacation. No provisions now for coverage. Local postmaster called district management and asked for help and (was) told we were on our own,” Weston wrote, adding that the Kennebunkport post office’s response appeared to lack urgency given delays in important deliveries to some residents.

“This is the chaos that the postmaster general has fostered on customers,” Weston wrote, referring to controversial Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. DeJoy was appointed to the post by former President Trump and has been criticized by lawmakers from both parties and pressured to resign following changes made at the agency that have resulted in service slowdowns over the past year.

Weston and Selectman Allen Daggett contacted to Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins for assistance. Weston said King’s office assured him the delivery issue had been resolved.

“Senator King’s office continues to monitor the protocols and timetable of the United States Postal Service, given cuts and adjustments made in the past year – particularly long-term impacts to delivery based on Postmaster General DeJoy’s operations changes,” according to a statement issued by King’s staff Monday night.

Postal service in Maine has been disrupted at other times over the past year. USPS officials blamed the pandemic, but some union leaders said chronic staffing shortages and operations changes designed to save money were the culprits.

King was told by the United Postal Service that all mail delivered in Kennebunkport should be current by Tuesday. The postal service also told King that the problems were limited to Kennebunkport.

Weston said Monday said he had not received any mail in seven business days at his Cape Porpoise mail box – the town’s main post office is located on Temple Street.

Weston said he became increasingly concerned after constituents started calling him to complain. One elderly woman told him Friday that her prescriptions had not arrived. Others complained about missing time-sensitive mail, packages, Social Security checks and other important documents.

Weston said he went to the main post office Saturday morning and waited in line with nine other people. When he asked the clerk what was going on, he was told that one postal worker was on vacation and a carrier had been out sick.

“I worked for a corporation for 40 years. We had people on vacation or out sick all the time and we had plans in place to fill those positions,” Weston said.

Joanne Thompson, who lives on Goose Rocks Road, said that in recent days, her packages have been significantly delayed or returned to the sender. Notices from Amazon informed her that packages had been delivered, she said, but when she checked her mail box, it was empty.

She has repeatedly tried to call the Kennebunkport post office, but no one answered, she said.

In a response to Weston’s Facebook post, Doherty said no post office in Maine or anywhere else is ever on its own.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Doherty said. “No post office is ever on its own. We have a strong support system in place and an incredibly flexible workforce. In the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic we had to be flexible and people had to be relocated between post offices to cover vacancies.”

He said one staffer took sick leave, resulting in mail not getting delivered on some days, as well as some late deliveries. He would not be more specific, saying only that it was not COVID-19 related.

Recruiting postal workers to fill staffing vacancies has presented another challenge, Doherty said. Like employers across Maine and the country, the USPS is struggling to find qualified candidates to fill job openings.

Doherty said anyone interested in pursuing a career with the postal service should visit usps.com/careers and search by state for available positions near their homes.


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