Peters, Schumer, Warren, Sanders & Colleagues Call on Postal Board of Governors To Immediately Reverse Changes Made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that Have Degraded and Delayed Postal Service Operations

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  U.S Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, along with U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Tina Smith (D-MN) sent a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors calling on them to immediately use their authority under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 to reverse changes to postal service operations and mail service delays put in place by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. 

"We ask that you immediately take action to reverse any and all changes put in place by Mr.  DeJoy that degrade or delay postal operations and the delivery of the mail," the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

DeJoy's short tenure has endangered millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service to keep in touch with their friends and family, obtain prescription drugs and other daily needs, and access their Social Security, VA, and other benefits. DeJoy’s actions also threaten the ability of Americans to vote by mail in the 2020 elections. Since his appointment as Postmaster General, DeJoy has cut back hours at some post offices, denied overtime to mail clerks and carriers, and required that carriers leave some mail behind. Just within the last several weeks, DeJoy removed two top executives who oversee the day to day operations of the USPS, and reports indicate that the USPS is decommissioning 10% of its mail sorting machines and removing dozens of mailboxes - with no valid explanation.

The lawmakers noted in their letter that the Board of Governors—not DeJoy alone—"directs the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service, directs and controls its expenditures, reviews its practices, conducts long-range planning, approves officer compensation and sets policies on all postal matters."  It also "takes up matters such as service standards and capital investments." The Board is designed not to be a partisan body. Federal law specifically restricts the number of Governors belonging to any one political party and requires that Governors be "chosen solely on the basis of their experience" in fields relevant to Postal Service administration. While members are appointed by the President, the duty of Governors is to "represent the public interest generally."  

"It is critical that you act immediately to address efforts by President Trump and Mr. DeJoy to sabotage the Postal Service...It is time to use your full power and authority on behalf of the Postal Service, the American people, and the 'public interest' you are required to represent," the lawmakers wrote. 

The full text of the letter is copied below and available here.

August 17, 2020

The Honorable Robert M. Duncan, Chairman
The Honorable Jon M. Barger, Member
The Honorable Ron A. Bloom, Member
The Honorable Roman Martinez IV, Member
The Honorable Donald L. Moak, Member
The Honorable William D. Zollars, Member
United States Postal Service Board of Governors
U.S. Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza West, S.W.
Washington, DC 20260

Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Postal Service Board of Governors:

We are writing to ask that you act immediately, consistent with your responsibility to “represent the public interest” and your authority under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, to reverse changes to postal service operations that have been put in place by Postmaster General Louis

DeJoy. Mr. DeJoy appears to be engaged in a partisan effort, with the support of President

Trump, to delay and degrade mail service and undermine the mission of the United States Postal

Service. You have the responsibility to reverse those changes and the authority to do so.

The Board selected Mr. DeJoy to serve as Postmaster General on May 6, 2020, noting his “desire to … preserve and protect this essential institution.”

His time in office has belied this statement, however, as he has rapidly taken numerous actions that threaten the service and integrity of the Postal Service. Mr. DeJoy’s short tenure has endangered millions of Americans who rely on the Postal Service to keep in touch with their friends and family, obtain prescription drugs and other daily needs, and access their Social Security, Veterans Affairs, and other benefits. And his efforts threaten the ability of Americans to vote in the 2020 elections.

Within days of his appointment, Mr. DeJoy made several fundamental changes to Postal Service operations, cutting back hours at some Postal Service offices, denying overtime to mail clerks and carriers, and requiring that carriers leave mail “behind or on the workroom floor or docks.”

Just within the last several weeks, Mr. DeJoy displaced “the two top executives overseeing day to-day operations” at the Postal Service and reports indicated that the Postal Service is decommissioning 10% of its mail sorting machines and dozens of mailboxes, with no valid explanation. These changes have already delayed mail delivery “by as much as a week,” and simultaneously the Postal Service has warned 46 states and the District of Columbia that it “cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted.”

These actions by Mr. DeJoy directly undermine the mission of the Postal Service, which is to “be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the

United States,” with “the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people,” and to “provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas.”

You have the authority and responsibility to act. The Board – not Mr. DeJoy alone – “directs the exercise of the powers of the Postal Service, directs and controls its expenditures, reviews its practices, conducts long-range planning, approves officer compensation and sets policies on all postal matters.” It also “takes up matters such as service standards and capital investments.” The Board is designed so as not to be a partisan body. Federal law specifically restricts the number of Governors belonging to any one political party and requires that Governors must be “chosen solely on the basis of their experience” in fields relevant to Postal Service administration.

While members are appointed by the President, the duty of Governors is to “represent the public interest generally.”

It is critical that you act immediately to address efforts by President Trump and Mr. DeJoy to sabotage the Postal Service. You should immediately, using authorities granted under your bylaws to revoke powers given to the Postmaster General15 and make decisions on “[a]ll … [Postal Service] matters that the Board may consider appropriate,”16 reverse any and all actions taken during Mr. DeJoy’s tenure that have harmed service. Should he not cooperate with these efforts, you have the authority, under the Postal Reorganization Act, “to remove the Postmaster General,” with “a favorable vote of an absolute majority of the Governors in office.”

It is time to use your full power and authority on behalf of the Postal Service, the American people, and the “public interest” you are required to represent. We ask that you immediately take action to reverse any and all changes put in place by Mr. DeJoy that degrade or delay postal operations and the delivery of the mail.

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