Biden Admin Jake Johnson Politics

Calls to Fire U.S. Postal Service Postmaster Intensify as Start of 10-Year Overhaul of Mail Service Looms

Image of a USPS postal truck.
(Wikimedia Commons)

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Defenders of the U.S. Postal Service are urgently renewing their calls for the ouster of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy as his 10-year plan to overhaul the cherished government institution is set to take effect Friday, ushering in permanently slower mail delivery while hiking prices for consumers.

“DeJoy calls his plan ‘Delivering for America,’ but it will do the exact opposite—slowing many First Class Mail deliveries down, taking their standard from three to five days,” Porter McConnell of Take on Wall Street, a co-founder of the Save the Post Office Coalition, warns in a video posted online late Tuesday.

“Slower ground transportation will also now be prioritized over air transportation,” McConnell added. “These new service standards won’t improve the Postal Service—they will make it harder for people all across the country to receive  their medications, their bills, their paychecks, and more.”

Appointed in May 2020 by the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, DeJoy—a major donor to former President Donald Trump—sparked a nationwide uproar by dramatically slowing mail delivery in the run-up to that year’s pivotal elections, which relied heavily on absentee voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re still wondering why the hell Louis DeJoy is still Postmaster General when he’s doing this to USPS.”

But DeJoy, who can only be fired by a majority of the USPS board, has clung to his job despite incessant demands for his resignation or removal over the past year. In recent months, calls for DeJoy’s termination have intensified as his conflicts of interest and past fundraising activities continue to draw scrutiny from watchdogs and the FBI.

During a House Oversight Committee hearing in February, DeJoy made clear he has no intention of leaving his post voluntarily.

“Get used to me,” he told lawmakers.

Despite widespread criticism of his performance as head of the USPS, DeJoy still enjoys the enthusiastic backing of key postal board members, including Chairman Ron Bloom, a Democrat. Bloom, along with five other officials on the nine-member board, was appointed by Trump.

Notably, however, two recently confirmed board members appointed by President Joe Biden have vocally criticized DeJoy’s looming 10-year strategic plan for the U.S. Postal Service.

Ronald Stroman, the former deputy postmaster general and one of Biden’s picks, called DeJoy’s plan “strategically-ill conceived” during a postal board meeting in August.

Presented as a roadmap toward “financial sustainability and service excellence,” Stroman warned that DeJoy’s initiative “creates dangerous risks that are not justified by the relatively low financial return, and doesn’t meet our responsibility as an essential part of America’s critical infrastructure.” Experts have noted that the Postal Service’s recent financial woes are largely the fault of an onerous congressional mandate that requires the USPS to prefund retiree benefits decades in advance.

“There is no compelling financial reason to make this change,” Stroman said of DeJoy’s plan. “The relatively minor savings associated with changing service standards, even if achieved, will have no significant impact on the Postal Service’s financial future.”

On top of lengthening mail delivery timelines and raising prices, DeJoy’s strategy (pdf) would slash Post Office hours across the nation and consolidate mail processing facilities—a plan that the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union condemned as a “slap in the face.”

After DeJoy rolled out his 10-year blueprint in March, a group of House Democrats ominously predicted the plan would ensure the “death spiral” of the Postal Service

Citing USPS spokesperson Kim Frum, NPR reported Tuesday that “beginning October 3 and ending on December 26, the postal service will temporarily increase prices on all ‘commercial and retail domestic packages’ due to the holiday season.”

“In August, the Postal Service announced its standard for first-class mail delivery was met 83.6% of the time throughout the quarter ending June 30, in comparison to its 88.9% performance during the same period in 2020,” NPR noted.

As USA Today summarized, “USPS mail delivery is about to get permanently slower and temporarily more expensive.”

To limit and potentially reverse the damage DeJoy has inflicted on the USPS, watchdog groups and progressive advocates are ramping up pressure on Biden to take immediate action.

While the president can’t remove DeJoy on his own, analysts have noted that he can soon replace both Bloom—who is currently serving a one-year holdover term—and John Barger, whose term expires in December. Such steps would give Biden appointees a majority on the USPS board—and potentially the votes to oust the postmaster general.

“President Biden has the power to remake the postal governing board and remove DeJoy,” McConnell said in her video Tuesday. “He must act soon to name two new governors who understand the Postal Service is essential and must be strengthened as a beloved public institution.”

Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research, told Common Dreams that “the American people deserve a Postal Service with leaders devoted to ensuring that this public institution provides fast and affordable mail and other public services like postal banking.”

“Instead with DeJoy and the majority of the board Trump appointed,” Graves added, “we have seen the Postal Service politicized, a series of poor decisions that have caused severe delays, issued directives that will charge people more for slower mail, and rebuffed innovations like postal banking.”

This story has been updated with comment from Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research.

7 comments

  1. He needs to go – I am victim of DeJoy someone changed my address online and postal inspectors said their hands were tied – anyone can change your address because they only need an email and credit card number – when I askedthem to check it to they blew me off – all my mail was going to an address in Carrollton TX and since it was a USPS matter the local police could do nothing – I had to close all my accounts and then call my utility companies as well – then someone attempted to open a credit card in my name – at a bank I don’t even bank at. I has been a nightmare and I wish I could sue them – send letters to Senator Wyden and keep mailing the Whitehouse so someone can make a change to the system. It is not working and losts of people are getting ripped off! Get rid of that asshole! He is ruining the system and he is a snake just like Trump! Thank you Lisa for reporting this and I am hoping to reach out to NY Times and other new agencies and put pressure on them to let him go.

  2. Why the fuck hasn’t hopeless Joe fired him and the entire postal board to restore the USPS to what it should be… given its role in electing him in the first place ?

    1. Biden can’t fire him, but as the article states, he can replace two of the cretins on the board and replace them with people who will vote to remove DeJoy. The idea is of course to destroy the Post Office, to privatize it, and get rid of the unions. This has been the dream of the right wing for a long time. And the Dems are, by their inaction and disregard, down with this.

    2. Well that would be because the Democratic wing of the Party of Wall St and war intend to destroy and privatize the USPS too.

  3. The goal of Trump appointed government department heads was to destroy, as much as possible, the ability of the federal government to function. In this case it sounds like more of the postal board members should be replaced and this is something the Biden administration “can” do.

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