Loading...

Lawmakers Lambast Postmaster General for Mail Delivery Delays

February 15, 2022 by Tom Ramstack
<strong></img>Lawmakers Lambast Postmaster General for Mail Delivery Delays</strong>
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

BALTIMORE — A congressional hearing Monday showed the days are likely to be numbered for Louis DeJoy as the 75th U.S. postmaster general.

The Trump administration appointee took over as head of the U.S. Postal Service in May 2020 with a plan of making the nation’s mail service more efficient.

At a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing on persistent mail delays in Baltimore, he fell under heavy criticism from lawmakers, particularly the Democrats.

“Postmaster DeJoy must be removed,” said Rep. David Trone, D-Md.

“Postmaster DeJoy must step down. He’s got to go,” said Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md.

Lawmakers used problems with staffing, equipment breakdowns and on-time mail deliveries in Baltimore as an example of why the Postal Service needs top-to-bottom changes.

DeJoy, 64, ascended to postmaster general based largely on his success as chief executive officer of North Carolina-based logistics and freight company New Breed Logistics, which he founded in 1983. He sold it in 2014 for $615 million.

The company operated with nearly 7,000 employees and held several Postal Service contracts. 

Upon taking over at the Postal Service in 2020, DeJoy instituted a 10-year efficiency plan. It was supposed to cut costs to reduce the Postal Service’s growing budget deficit and to put it in a better position to compete with private delivery services, like FedEx and United Parcel Service.

The plan included eliminating overtime, banning extra trips by carriers to deliver mail, decommissioning hundreds of high-speed mail-sorting machines and removing the least-used mail collection boxes from streets.

Within months, customers began complaining about delays in mail delivery. The complaints led to congressional investigations and a Postal Service inspector general’s audit.

The criticisms continued Monday before the subcommittee on government operations. The lawmakers chose Baltimore as the example because of a Postal Service inspector general’s report last year that said Baltimore residents experience some of the nation’s worst mail delivery problems.

Single-piece first-class mail designated for three-to-five-day delivery in the Baltimore area arrived on schedule only 63.2% of the time in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, the inspector general’s report said. Nationwide, the average has been around 93%.

Eric Gilbert, acting Baltimore postmaster since October, tried to defend the Postal Service as an organization trying to do its best while struggling under difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic and a low budget.

“We make every effort to see that when we receive the mail, we deliver the mail,” Gilbert said.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., responded, “That’s not happening.”

Gilbert said Baltimore’s greatest problem was a staffing shortage. The local Postal Service reports a shortfall of 102 mail carriers and 113 processing clerks.

The pandemic deepened the problems by making some postal employees leave their jobs because of illness, fear of illness or the need to care for children unable to attend school.

Now, some longtime employees must continue their normal workload while also training new employees, Gilbert and other postal employees say.

“We need consistent employee availability,” Gilbert said.

DeJoy has largely ignored criticisms of his operating style.

Last year, in response to a question from the Postal Service’s Board of Governors about how long he planned to stay in his job, he replied, “A long time, get used to me.”

Last month, DeJoy defied Biden administration instructions to convert the Postal Service fleet to electric vehicles. He announced he placed an $11.3 billion order to renew the fleet with mostly gasoline-powered vehicles.

The Environmental Protection Agency criticized DeJoy’s decision, saying the combustion engine vehicles have low fuel efficiency and would cause $900 million in environmental damage over 20 years.

Tom can be reached at tom@thewellnews.com

In The News

Health

Voting

Postal Service

16 States That Want to Electrify USPS Fleet File Lawsuits

California and 15 states that want the U.S. Postal Service to electrify its mail delivery vehicles are suing to halt... Read More

California and 15 states that want the U.S. Postal Service to electrify its mail delivery vehicles are suing to halt purchases of thousands of gas-powered trucks as the agency modernizes its delivery fleet. Three separate lawsuits, filed Thursday by the states and environmental groups in New... Read More

April 7, 2022
by Kate Michael
Congress Says USPS Electric Fleet Either ‘National Example’ or ‘Green New Deal Guinea Pig’

WASHINGTON — In a rare show of bipartisan support, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 was signed into law... Read More

WASHINGTON — In a rare show of bipartisan support, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 was signed into law this week, yet many aspects of USPS modernization, including the future of an all-electric postal fleet, appear to remain starkly divided along party lines.  “There has... Read More

February 15, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Lawmakers Lambast Postmaster General for Mail Delivery Delays

BALTIMORE — A congressional hearing Monday showed the days are likely to be numbered for Louis DeJoy as the 75th... Read More

BALTIMORE — A congressional hearing Monday showed the days are likely to be numbered for Louis DeJoy as the 75th U.S. postmaster general. The Trump administration appointee took over as head of the U.S. Postal Service in May 2020 with a plan of making the nation’s... Read More

February 9, 2022
by Dan McCue
Schumer Vows to Bring Postal Reform Bill to Senate Floor Before Presidents’ Day

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday vowed to bring a postal service reform bill to the... Read More

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday vowed to bring a postal service reform bill to the Senate floor for a vote before the Presidents’ Day recess. The bill, which passed in the House with overwhelming bipartisan support on Wednesday is widely considered... Read More

February 8, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
House Expected to Approve Overhaul of Postal Service

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House plans to vote as soon as this week on a bill that would overhaul the... Read More

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House plans to vote as soon as this week on a bill that would overhaul the way the Postal Service does business. After years of financial losses, the House Rules Committee believes it has developed a bipartisan way to help the Postal... Read More

May 25, 2021
by Reece Nations
Bipartisan Delegation Wants USPS to Preserve Door Deliveries

WASHINGTON — A House resolution urging the United States Postal Service to ensure the continuation of door delivery for all... Read More

WASHINGTON — A House resolution urging the United States Postal Service to ensure the continuation of door delivery for all business and residential customers has received bipartisan support from a total of 118 cosponsors. The resolution, authored by Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., was written in response... Read More

News From The Well