Federal district judge orders USPS to provide status reports
By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
In another move that reflected tension between Congress and new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., ordered the U.S. Postal Service to give him daily reports on how the agency is undoing some of the steps it took that have slowed mail deliveries.
Judge Emmet Sullivan’s Oct. 27 order won praise from two Democrats in the House of Representatives who have been among DeJoy’s strongest critics in Congress.
House Oversight Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-NY, chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, expressed delight at the ruling, saying it “demands — with daily judicial oversight — that the Postal Service fully reverse any and all of the sweeping changes rushed through by Postmaster General DeJoy that have caused nationwide delays that persist to this day.”
“These Postal Service delays are now jeopardizing the delivery of election mail,” Maloney added.
Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, said the order “further emphasizes that Postmaster General DeJoy has either been unable or unwilling to fix what he broke within the Postal Service and to get our mail delivery back to what it was before he started on the job.”
“I certainly hope that Judge Sullivan’s actions work,” Connolly said, adding that serious delays have continued.
Among the points that the judge made in his order to the USPS are the following:
1. Inform workers that the July 14 guidelines for late and extra mail delivery trips issued by Robert Cintron, a postal vice president for logistics, are rescinded.
2. Make late and extra trips “to the maximum extent necessary to increase on-time mail deliveries, particularly election mail.”
3. Give postal employees “a list of state specific statutory ballot receipts deadlines so that USPS managers and employees can implement” the agency’s election mail guidance.
DeJoy agreed in congressional testimony to roll back a number of actions, saying he had not directly ordered a number of the changes impacting mail deliveries that the Postal Service was making when he arrived mid-June.
Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said that the agency was complying with the judge’s order.
“We take all of our legal obligations very seriously,” he said.
“With a record number of people across the country voting by mail, the U.S. Postal Service’s number one priority between now and the November election is the secure, timely delivery of the nation’s election mail,” he said.
Partenheimer also said the USPS is deploying “extraordinary measures — expedited handling, extra deliveries and special pickups — consistent with practices used in past elections to accelerate the delivery of ballots.”
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