Postal Service Reshuffles Leadership As Democrats Push For Answers On Delays

Written by on August 7, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service says it misplaced $2.2 billion within the three months that resulted in June because the beleaguered company — hit arduous by the coronavirus pandemic — piles up monetary losses that officers warn may prime $20 billion over two years.

However the brand new postmaster normal, Louis DeJoy, disputed experiences that his company is slowing down election mail or some other mail and mentioned it has “ample capability to ship all election mail securely and on time” for the November presidential contest, when a big improve in mail-in ballots is anticipated.

Nonetheless, DeJoy provided a dismal image of the 630,000-employee company Friday in his first public remarks since taking the highest job in June.

“Our monetary place is dire, stemming from substantial declines in mail quantity, a damaged enterprise mannequin and a administration technique that has not adequately addressed these points,″ DeJoy informed the postal board of governors at a gathering Friday.

“With out dramatic change, there isn’t any finish in sight,″ DeJoy mentioned.

Whereas bundle deliveries to homebound Individuals had been up greater than 50%, that was offset by continued declines in first-class and enterprise mail, whilst prices elevated considerably to pay for private protecting gear and substitute staff who received sick or selected to remain residence in worry of the virus, DeJoy mentioned.

With out an intervention from Congress, the company faces an impending money circulation disaster, he mentioned. The Postal Service is looking for an infusion of at the very least $10 billion to cowl working losses in addition to regulatory modifications that will undo a congressional requirement that the company pre-fund billions of {dollars} in retiree well being advantages.

The company is doing its half, mentioned DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser and former provide chain government who took command of the company June 15. DeJoy, 63, of North Carolina, is a significant donor to President Donald Trump and the Republican Get together. He’s the primary postmaster normal in almost 20 years who will not be a profession postal worker.

In his first month on the job, DeJoy mentioned, he directed the company to vigorously “deal with the ingrained inefficiencies in our operations,″ together with by making use of strict limits on time beyond regulation.

“By working our operations on time and on schedule, and by not incurring pointless time beyond regulation or different prices, we are going to improve our capability to be sustainable and … proceed to supply high-quality, inexpensive service,″ DeJoy mentioned.

Whereas not acknowledging widespread complaints by members of Congress about supply delays nationwide, DeJoy mentioned the company will “aggressively monitor and rapidly handle service points.″

DeJoy’s remarks got here as lawmakers from each events known as on the Postal Service to right away reverse operational modifications which can be inflicting delays in deliveries throughout the nation simply as large quantity will increase are anticipated for mail-in election voting.

Democratic Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Chief Chuck Schumer mentioned Thursday that modifications imposed by DeJoy “threaten the well timed supply of mail — together with medicines for seniors, paychecks for staff and absentee ballots for voters — that’s important to tens of millions of Individuals.″

In his remarks to the postal board of governors, DeJoy known as election mail dealing with “a sturdy and confirmed course of.″

Whereas there’ll “possible be an unprecedented improve in election mail quantity as a result of pandemic, the Postal Service has ample capability to ship all election mail securely and on time in accordance with our supply requirements, and we are going to achieve this,″ DeJoy mentioned. “Nonetheless … we can’t right the errors of (state and native) election boards in the event that they fail to deploy processes that take our regular processing and supply requirements under consideration.″

Later Friday, DeJoy launched one other memo detailing modifications that reshuffle dozens of officers on his government management crew. The previous chief working officer, David Williams, was moved to guide logistics and processing operations, whereas Kevin McAdams, vice chairman of supply and retail operations, was faraway from management.

DeJoy mentioned the modifications — which additionally embody a administration hiring freeze — would enhance effectivity and “align capabilities primarily based on core enterprise operations.″

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Home Oversight Committee, mentioned DeJoy shouldn’t be instituting such main modifications throughout “the center of a once-in-a-century pandemic with a nationwide election across the nook.″ Maloney, who has known as DeJoy to testify earlier than her committee subsequent month, demanded he ”halt these modifications now.”

DeJoy bumped into related resistance at a closed-door assembly Wednesday with Schumer and Pelosi. Schumer known as it “a heated dialogue” and mentioned Democrats informed DeJoy that “elections are sacred.” They urged him to not impose cutbacks “at a time when all ballots rely,″ Schumer mentioned.

In separate letters, two Montana Republicans, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte, additionally urged the Postal Service to reverse the July directive, which eliminates time beyond regulation for tons of of 1000’s of postal staff and mandates that mail be saved till the subsequent day if distribution facilities are working late.

And 84 Home members — together with 4 Republicans — signed yet one more letter blasting the modifications and urging a right away reversal. “It’s critical that the Postal Service doesn’t cut back mail supply hours, which may hurt rural communities, seniors, small companies and tens of millions of Individuals who depend on the mail for crucial letters and packages,″ the Home members wrote.

The flurry of letters got here as the highest Democrat on a Senate panel that oversees the Postal Service launched an investigation into the operational modifications. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the highest Democrat on the Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee, mentioned DeJoy has failed to supply solutions concerning the service delays, regardless of repeated requests.

Democrats have pushed for $10 billion for the Postal Service in talks with Republicans on an enormous COVID-19 response invoice. The determine is down from a $25 billion plan in a Home-passed coronavirus measure. Key Republicans whose rural constituents are particularly reliant on the put up workplace assist the thought.

Trump, a vocal critic of the Postal Service, contended Wednesday that “the Put up Workplace doesn’t have sufficient time” to deal with a big improve in mail-in ballots. “I imply you’re speaking about tens of millions of votes. .. It’s a disaster ready to occur.″

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