Higgins Calls for the Removal of Postmaster General DeJoy
Congressman Higgins says Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must be removed in order to protect the future of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the American customers it serves.
In a letter to President Biden, Higgins writes “DeJoy’s operational changes - dismantling mail sorting machines, cutting overtime, restricting deliveries, and removing mailboxes - caused widespread delay and harm to the postal service. In the midst of a global pandemic, DeJoy chose to institute significant changes to a delivery system that many Americans relied on to pay time-sensitive bills, receive vital medications, and other basic necessities without any real thought to how it could impact communities. I urge you to quickly nominate leaders to the Board of Governors who are willing to strengthen and improve mail performance and remove those who continue to undermine that goal, including Postmaster DeJoy.”
Changes directed by Postmaster DeJoy led to major postal delivery problems. According to a report issued by the USPS Office of Inspector General, Post Offices reported a 143% increase in delayed mail in July 2020, and customer inquiries increased 79% from March through July 2020, following directives by DeJoy which slowed mail delivery.
Under the direction of the Postmaster General, 671 pieces of mail processing equipment were ordered to be removed from postal facilities across the nation, including 5 mail sorters in Buffalo. In August 2020, Congressman Higgins rallied against the changes with local postal workers and letter carriers. In September Higgins witnessed the DeJoy-imposed mail backups first hand during a visit to the Buffalo mail processing facility.
Congressman Higgins’ office heard- from hundreds of Western New Yorkers impacted by or deeply concerned about DeJoy’s actions last year. While public outrage stalled additional changes, there is new concern that Postmaster DeJoy will proceed with further dismantling of service standards. Higgins writes about that in his letter to President Biden, “It has been reported that DeJoy intends to institute a board-supported strategic plan that would ‘modernize retail and processing operations.’ Given the previous iteration of DeJoy’s service changes, we cannot anticipate that the current Board and Postmaster General would prioritize preserving the strength and reliability of the USPS and consider how important affordable, consistent mail delivery is to communities.”
In a separate letter signed by 80 members of the House of Representatives, Higgins and his colleagues are also calling for President Biden to quickly fill vacant seats on the USPS Board of Governors, pointing to the especially critical role of USPS services during the pandemic and expressing a lack of confidence in DeJoy. They write, “We do not doubt that the Postal Service requires some thoughtful reforms in order to continue to provide excellent service to the American people in the years to come; however, there is a plethora of evidence that Postmaster General DeJoy is not equipped to meet the rigors of these challenges. 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.”
The USPS Board of Governors consists of 11 members, 9 of which are appointed by the President of the United States. Currently, 3 of those seats are vacant. The 9 governors are responsible for the appointment of the Postmaster. The Board manages the powers, expenditures, practices, planning, and policies of the Postal Service, as well as the service standards and capital investments.
Congressman Higgins is also fighting to protect the future of the Postal Service through legislation. Higgins is cosponsoring the USPS Fairness Act, which would repeal the mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund 75 years of retiree health benefits, a major cause of financial strain for the Postal Service.