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Consolidation eyed for Indiana mail processing centers

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The U.S. Postal Service is moving closer to making decisions on closing some large Indiana mail-processing centers in cost-cutting moves.

Proposals include shutting down the Terre Haute center and moving its work to Indianapolis and Evansville, along with shifting processing from the South Bend center to Fort Wayne.

The Postal Service estimates closing the Terre Haute center would save about $7 million a year, with the consolidation eliminating 35 jobs. An estimated $6 million would be saved by shutting down the South Bend center, with the loss of 60 jobs.

Because of a decline in mail volume, the Postal Service has too many employees and too much equipment in some mail processing operations, agency spokeswoman Mary Dando said.

"The Postal Service is at the brink financially," Dando told the Tribune-Star of Terre Haute. "We are awaiting proposed changes we have asked of Congress. We must pre-pay our retiree benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion. We are the only federal agency that is required to do that, and no private company has to do that either."

The Postal Service has scheduled public hearings for Nov. 14 in Terre Haute and Nov. 17 in South Bend on the proposals.

The agency is considering closing half of its 500 mail-processing centers nationwide, including seven in Indiana. Centers in Bloomington, Gary, Kokomo, Lafayette and Muncie also face possible consolidations.

The Postal Service announced in April that it would study whether to shift Fort Wayne mail processing to South Bend.

Dando told The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne that she could not provide reasons for the reversal except that "with the goal of a more-efficient use of the facilities, the equipment and the work force, Fort Wayne seems to be a better choice" to retain mail processing.

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