Bruce DePuyt | Fill postal vacancies to speed Postmaster DeJoy’s departure

Bruce DePuyt Contributing Columnist

President Biden could help reverse the harm done by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — and hasten his exit — by filling the vacant seats on the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors, members of Congress said in a letter this week.

The letter was sent to Biden on Tuesday and according to a report by The Hill, was spearheaded by North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams along with Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Gerry Connolly of Virginia.

In a joint press release, the trio of lawmakers made it clear that they believe DeJoy must go.

“As we look to ameliorate the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are eager to work with President Biden to build the United States Postal Service back better,” said Adams. “Filling the vacancies on the Postal Service Board of Governors with strong, passionate advocates who will help secure its long-term health will ensure the Postal Service continues to serve all Americans in a nonpartisan, effective manner.”

Connolly was more blunt. “Louis DeJoy’s tenure as President Trump’s handpicked Postmaster General has been one of deliberate sabotage, draconian service cuts, and craven partisanship,” he said. “Tragically, he has been given free rein to inflict such damage by a partisan, ineffective, and incomplete Board of Governors.

All told, the was signed by 80 members of the U.S. House, including Adam’s fellow North Carolina Democrats, Reps. Deborah Ross, G.K. Butterfield, Kathy Manning and David Price.

Their letter comes as Americans endure a spike in delayed mail.

Critics blame DeJoy, a Trump appointee who took the helm of the agency last summer. His initiatives — including a ban on overtime and extra trips to deliver mail, and the removal of high-speed sorting machines — has led to investigations by congressional committees and the USPS inspector general.

The changes were reversed last fall in the face of national uproar.

In their letter, the lawmakers label DeJoy a “Republican Party mega-donor… who had no experience working for the Postal Service prior to his appointment.” They said his actions have “rapidly transformed the Postal Service to the detriment of Americans.”

“Critically, the on-time delivery of flat mail has plunged drastically; veterans, who rely almost exclusively on the Postal Service to receive their medications through the VA, have faced life-threatening delays in receiving those parcels; and the public perception pertaining to the integrity of the 2020 general election was threatened by the impact of these delays on the timely delivery of mail-in ballots,” the officials wrote.

The USPS Board of Governors serves as the agency’s board of directors.

Nine of the board’s 11 seats are appointed by the president and there are three vacancies.

Filling the vacancies could pave the way for DeJoy’s ouster, the lawmakers suggest.

“There is a plethora of evidence that Postmaster General DeJoy is not equipped to meet the rigors of these challenges,” they told the president.

“Filling the vacant seats on the Postal Service’s Board of Governors with strong, passionate advocates for the institution will allow it to function in a nonpartisan manner, and will allow the Board to seriously consider whether the current Postmaster General is suitable to continue in his role.”

Late last week, House lawmakers invited DeJoy, Board of Governors Chairman Ron Bloom, Postal Service Inspector General Tammy L. Whitcomb and American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein to a hearing on legislative reforms for the Postal Service set for next Wednesday.

Reporter Bruce DePuyt helps cover Washington for the news outlet Maryland Matters. Rob Schofield also contributed to this report.