LIMESTONE, Maine — Two weeks after helping to secure work from the Army National Guard that will keep the current work force employed into the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced late on Thursday night that she had helped set up Maine Military Authority with an additional $3.2 million contract.
Collins, a member of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, was instrumental in securing the contract from the General Services Administration. Employees will refurbish 80 high-tech, communications Humvees for the United States Army Communications-Electronics Command. This contract also will secure jobs until 2012.
The Army National Guard Bureau will be sending 50 five-ton trucks to the Limestone facility right away, according to Collins.
The Maine Military Authority refurbishes vehicles, mostly Humvees, for the Army National Guard, and thus far has refurbished more than 10,000 Humvees in its 400,000-square-foot industrial facility. Two hundred people are employed there, which is down from the 350 employees who worked there at the start of the year. Because of federal cuts and the downturn in the economy, MMA also has not secured as many National Guard contracts as in past years. Officials at MMA had been trying for several months to find other work to replace what has been lost from the Guard.
MMA has received funding from the Department of Defense in the past, but as the United States has begun to draw down troops in Iraq, funding has begun to dry up. That forced MMA officials to lay off 150 people on March 1.
Collins and other members of the state’s congressional delegation announced on May 5 that the National Guard Bureau would send 50 5-ton trucks to MMA for immediate work. According to MMA, each vehicle represents 700 hours of work.
In total, the Army has provided $9.3 million in new work since Collins brought to MMA in April 2010 a contingent of senior Army officials that included Major General Raymond Carpenter, the chief of the Army National Guard.
The newest contract was made possible after MMA was recently added to the General Services Administration schedule with the assistance of Collins. The new contracting method makes it easier for the Army to send work to MMA.
“This is exciting and encouraging news for people who work at MMA, their families, and for the northern Maine economy,” Collins said in written statement on Thursday. ”For more than a decade, the professionals at MMA have demonstrated their value to the Army and the National Guard Bureau by performing important, innovative and cost-efficient work. I am delighted to have worked to secure this additional work which, along with the work announced earlier this month, will help save jobs in Aroostook County.”