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USPS moves ahead on plan to move Nevada mail to CA, despite opposition

Updated April 23, 2024 - 6:54 pm

The United States Postal Service announced on Tuesday it is moving forward with a plan to downsize and relocate its outgoing mail processing operations from Reno to Sacramento, much to the ire of Nevada elected officials.

Nevada elected officials on both sides of the aisle pushed back and fought to block the plan when it was introduced last month. Officials said they worry it could delay Northern Nevadans from receiving important mail, including prescriptions, as well as impact Nevada’s election process that relies heavily on on-time mail service.

Sen. Jacky Rosen said she is outraged by the decision.

“Let me be absolutely clear: This fight is not over,” the Democratic senator said in a Tuesday statement. “As a member of the committee with jurisdiction over the Postal Service, I will continue to fight against this ill-advised decision and explore all available options to prevent it from being implemented.”

‘Faster and more reliable delivery’

The Postal Service said in its Tuesday announcement that the decision follows a thorough business review and solicitation of public feedback.

Southern Nevada mail is handled in Las Vegas and will not be affected by the change in Reno, according to Rod Spurgeon, strategic communications specialist for the Postal Service.

As part of a $40 billion investment strategy to upgrade and improve mail processing, the Reno facility will remain open as a local processing center, but outgoing operations will be transferred to a processing and distribution center in West Sacramento, according to the Postal Service.

The Postal Service will invest up to $13.4 million into the Reno facility for expanded and streamlined mail processing and distribution capabilities as part of the Postal Service’s 10-year Delivering for America plan that aims to make the Postal Service more efficient.

Consolidating operations will allow the Reno processing center to be “co-located” with a sorting and delivery center, which will allow the Postal Service to provide faster and more reliable delivery over a larger area, according to the Postal Service.

Funds will be used to update workplace amenities like new lighting and renovated restrooms, according to the Postal Service.

The Postal Service’s Delivering for America plan also aims to achieve a break-even in operating performance over a 10-year period. In fiscal 2023, the Postal Service reported a $6.5 billion loss.

Election concerns

Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar said in March that the Postal Service is one of the critical pieces of the puzzle in Nevada’s elections systems, because mail ballots are sent out to every voter unless they opt out of them, and it’s become an increasingly more popular way to vote in the Silver State.

In Washoe, Nevada’s second-largest county, more than 85 percent of voters participated in the February presidential primary with a mail ballot.

Officials and political candidates on both sides of the aisle worry that sending mail ballots from Nevada to California before they are sent back to Northern Nevada — which can face inclement weather in the fall and especially winter — could cause delays in results and could lead to ballots not being counted.

Nevada state law allows for mail ballots to be postmarked on Election Day and must be received by election departments by 5 p.m. on the fourth day after Election Day.

“It’s unfortunate when federal decision makers don’t understand or acknowledge the unique challenges of a local community,” Aguilar said in a statement Tuesday.

The federal government gives the states the responsibility to manage its elections, but it interferes with functions vital to the process, Aguilar said. He hopes the USPS will reconsider its decision and invest in existing Northern Nevada operations.

“The Secretary of State’s Office will continue to focus on running some of the most secure, accessible and safe elections in the country,” Aguilar said.

Another concern from officials were layoffs of Northern Nevadans who work at the facility, however the Postal Service also announced on Tuesday there will be no “career layoffs” as part of the initiative.

Any reduction in the number of pre-career employees will be made in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, according to the Postal Service.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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