On Wednesday, during a congressional hearing, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy remained defiantly confident in his job performance, despite widespread postal problems all over the nation, telling Rep. Jim Cooper that he would be there for “a long time,” and to “get used to me.”
Only about an hour later, breaking news reported that President Joe Biden has been vetting nominees to fill vacancies on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) board of governors, who have the power to oust DeJoy.
Later that day, the nominees were set: Anton Hajjar, former counsel for the Postal Workers Union; Amber McReynolds, CEO of Vote at Home, a group that help push Americans to vote by mail in the 2020 Presidential election; and Ron Stroman, former deputy postmaster general and member of Joe Biden’s transition team.
Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki later strongly implied DeJoy would be looking for work soon: “The Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.”
To understand how bad the postal service has gotten under Dejoy’s leadership, look at Chicago.
“It’s been a month and about two weeks we haven’t received any mail,” Larry Sykes of Chicago said while protesting at a South Shore post office that closed in the middle of the day on Tuesday. People are going weeks without mail in the area, according to various residents like Sykes.
Rep. Marie Newman echoed Sykes complaints:
“Far too many constituents across the Chicago region have gone days and sometimes weeks without mail. Our residents rely on postal mail to receive their medicine, bills, tax refunds, and essential documents but these delivery delays and customer service issues are causing them to lose faith in one of America’s most trusted and respected institutions. Our seniors are falling behind on their prescriptions and essential services are being shut off because bills were not delivered on time—this is unacceptable.” That’s the message Democratic lawmakers tried to make break through with DeJoy Wednesday, to little effect. “You can sit here and think I’m bringing all this damage to the Postal Service,” he told Rep. Jamie Raskin, but “the place was operationally faulty because of lack of investment and lack of ability to move forward, which is what we’re trying to do.”
Dejoy’s critics claim he is trying to intentionally slow down the mail and make it cost more. An analyst speaking to NPR, said that “degrading” first class mail is a really bad idea. Paul Steidler, senior fellow at the Lexington Institute, echoed that:
“You shouldn’t even call it first-class mail if it takes three days for something to get a short distance. There’s going to be greater instances of court notices not being received on time, payments to credit card companies not getting in on time and penalties being assessed … and it’s completely unnecessary.”
Michael Plunkett, president of PostCom, told NPR that nothing can justify DeJoy’s rate hikes:
“Customers of the Postal Service have been experiencing the worst service in decades in the last couple of months. It seems to me to be shortsighted and perhaps imprudent to plan on a large price increase in the middle of a pretty significant economic recession when your customers are extremely dissatisfied with the level of service they’ve been experiencing.”
Biden’s nominees for the Postal board are unlikely to let this happen, however. Some of them even left positions in the organization over Dejoy’s hiring, knowing his leadership would be poor.
The White House statement announcing the nominees was clear about the expectations of this crucial agency:
“These experienced and tested leaders will ensure the USPS is running at the highest of service standards and that it can effectively and efficiently serve all communities in our country.”