Postal Service to move ahead with mail delivery plan
Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister
The United States Postal Service is pressing ahead with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan to slow mail deliveries despite the efforts of two new members of the Postal Service’s board of governors to derail the controversial proposal.
Two of the three Democratic appointees of President Joe Biden voiced their strong concerns about the Delivering for America plan during an open session and a closed session of the board of governors held Aug. 5 and 6, respectively.
But they failed to win over any of the six governors named by former President Donald Trump, prompting DeJoy and the board majority to declare that the plan, which will slow mail deliveries, will be implemented immediately.
Although the outcome was expected, it nonetheless produced some dramatic moments at the first public meeting of the postal board with all nine presidential appointees present in more than 10 years.
Former Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman, a Biden appointee, led the charge, calling the plan “strategically ill conceived” and saying it would create “dangerous risks.”
Anton Hajjar, a former postal union lawyer, joined his fellow Democrat in questioning why the plan needed to be imposed so quickly.
The third Biden appointee, Amber McReynolds, a former Denver elections official, did not speak at the public meeting.
The opposition, which was laid out in the private board session, seemed to reinforce the support for DeJoy’s plan among the Trump appointees, who had selected DeJoy for postmaster general.
DeJoy and his supporters came to the open meeting armed with statements endorsing the mail delivery plan, which the postmaster general conceded contains “some uncomfortable changes.”
Those changes are necessary to reverse the agency’s years of massive deficits and unattainable service standards.
Postal Service Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett said that the plan, when fully implemented, will make the USPS “self sustaining” with losses a “thing of the past.”
In his remarks, Stroman conceded the board didn’t agree with his criticisms and suggested that the governors should make it their goal to see that 95 percent of mail is delivered under the new service standards.
The new standards will allow up to five days for delivery of first-class domestic letters instead of three days.
Stroman said the changes will disproportionately impact California, Florida, Maine, Texas and central areas of the country.
DeJoy argued strongly that he had inherited a sick federal agency when he became head of the Postal Service in June 2020, and strong action was needed to resolve its downward spiral.
The board was informed that the agency posted a net loss of almost $3 billion in the quarter ended June 30, compared to a loss of about $2.2 billion in the same period a year earlier.
Revenues grew to $18.5 billion from $17.6 billion.
For the first nine months of fiscal 2021, the USPS had a loss of $2.7 billion, compared to a loss of $7.5 billion during the same period in the previous year.
Revenues totaled $58.9 billion for the nine months ended June 30, compared to $54.8 billion for the same period last year.
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