Postal Updates

PMG DeJoy says Postal Service must make changes

Jul 28, 2020, 9 AM
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s statement did not spell out what those changes might be, but he said the first steps would be a “refocus on all of the items within our control.”

Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, reinforcing his declaration on the United States Postal Service’s soaring overtime costs, has declared that “changes must be made” in the agency’s operations.

In a statement released July 27, the new postal chief executive appeared to follow up on his previous directive to slash the agency’s overtime costs.

“The only way that the Postal Service can continue to provide prompt, reliable and affordable universal postal services for all Americans over the long-term is by vigorously focusing on the efficiency of our operations,” he said in the statement.

DeJoy said the USPS “has experienced over a decade of financial losses, with no end in sight, and we face an impending liquidity crisis.”

“To start with we must better adhere to our existing operating plans,” he said, noting a recent report by the agency’s inspector general that said the USPS spent $1.1 billion in mail process overtime and another $2.9 billion in delivery overtime.

Yet even with those added costs, DeJoy said the agency has not seen “material improvement” in its mail delivery scores.

“Given our current situation, it is critical that the Postal Service take a fresh look at our operations and make necessary adjustments,” he said

His statement did not spell out what those changes might be, but he said the first steps would be a “refocus on all of the items within our control.”

Other changes that are not within the agency’s control will be proposed, he added.

DeJoy made his first moves on overtime in remarks that were delivered to postal workers on July 10 by supervisors.

According to documents that were leaked to the media, key steps are to cut down on overtime and to direct workers to keep the mail moving on scheduled departures.

“If the [mail-processing] plants run late, they will keep the mail for the next day,” said one leaked document with the title “New PMG’s expectations and plans.”

“Carriers must begin on time, leave for the street on time and return on time,” according to the documents.

“We may see mail left behind on the workroom floor or docks,” DeJoy’s message said. That has prompted worries by some mailers that delayed mail could be a result of the DeJoy order.

Michael Plunkett, president of the Association for Postal Commerce, expressed delight “that USPS finally issued a public statement from the PMG,” adding that it was overdue.”

Plunkett said it was unfortunate that DeJoy repeated the “tired USPS talking point” that its products face competition, and he complained that the agency “has done nothing to support commercial mailers who have been severely impacted by the pandemic.”

Stephen Kearney, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, said he was glad to hear that the USPS would pursue some ideas for cost-cutting that have been previously proposed to the Postal Regulatory Commission and by the Postal Service’s inspector general.

Kearney also said: “Our members believe that adhering to operating plans, following the advice of the OIG [Office of Inspector General], reducing over $5 billion in overtime, and eliminating excessive transportation all make common sense. These are the kinds of things everyone has to do.”

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