What’s up with the Post Office?
On June 15 of this year, Louis DeJoy became the Postmaster General and CEO of the United States Postal Service.
As Postmaster General, DeJoy takes over an organization in a financial position which he calls “dire”. The U.S. Postal Service has experienced over a decade of financial losses, with “nearly $80 billion of cumulative losses” since 2007; In 2019, USPS losses amassed almost $9 billion, and in 2020 losses are closing in on $11 billion. DeJoy says without “dramatic change”, the Post Office will “face an impending liquidity crisis”.
Because of this financial position, the new Postmaster General explains he is “forced to take aggressive measures to cut costs”, and “implement an organizational realignment that will refocus our business, improve line of sight, enable faster solutions, reduce redundancies, and increase accountability”.
As such, USPS has announced organizational restructuring, increased mailing prices, stopping of after-business hours shipping and employee overtime, and the creation of a new internal department in charge of “all mail processing facilities and local transportation network offices”. Additionally, while there is not yet a “reduction-in-force”, the Postal Service has implemented a “management hiring freeze”.
Under the newly modified structure, reports of mail sorting machines as well as postal collection boxes being removed around the country have come to light. While USPS calls these removals “necessary to match changing mail and package volumes”, the removals have sparked concerns ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Postmaster General DeJoy commented that “with regard to Election Mail, the Postal Service and I are fully committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process…, [and] will do everything we can to deliver Election Mail in a timely manner consistent with our operational standards.”
Still, amid the growing concern, USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum announced today that “the Postal Service will postpone removing boxes for a period of 90 days while we evaluate our customers concerns”.
Additionally, while the Postal Service says it has “ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on-time”, USPS Executive Vice President Thomas Marshall sent letters to the different state’s election commissions with a warning that under current state laws there remains a “risk that ballots requested near the deadline… will not be returned by mail in time to be counted”. To meet the deadline, USPS is requesting “voters should submit their ballot request early enough so that it is received by their election officials at least 15 days before Election Day”.
Postal Service is historically known as being a nonpartisan organization, and “despite any assertions to the contrary”, DeJoy claims USPS “is not slowing down Election Mail or any other mail”.