Oct 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

USPS IG: Postal service changes compounded significant negative service

Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on August 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill

Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in August on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

A U.S. Postal Service inspector general report out Tuesday found changes implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy led to "confusion and inconsistency in operations at postal facilities" that "compounded the significant negative service impacts across the country."

Details: The IG report concluded that the changes led to on-time delivery performance of priority and first class mail worsened. "No analysis of the service impacts of these various changes was conducted and documentation and guidance to the field for these strategies was very limited and almost exclusively oral," the report notes.

  • The USPS initiated "significant cost reduction strategies on top of three initiatives the Postmaster General launched to achieve financial targets" between June and July, per the report.
  • "These initiatives undertaken individually may not have been significant," the report notes. "However, launching all of these efforts at once, in addition to the changes instituted by the Postmaster General, had a significant impact on the Postal Service."

The big picture: The report responds to congressional requests regarding concerns that DeJoy's modifications to staffing and policies had an adverse effect on Postal Service operations, leading to slower and less reliable mail delivery.

  • DeJoy said in August he'd halt planned USPS changes until after November's election to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail," following widespread delivery delays and backlogs. But some changes "remained in place" after his pledge, per AP.
  • At least three judges have issued orders temporarily blocking the changes after several states and the District of Columbia filed lawsuits, saying the Postal Service service reductions were "unlawful" and designed to impede efforts to conduct "free and fair elections."

What they're saying: The USPS Board of Governors said in a statement that they don't agree "with the premise that underlies the report: That the initiatives reviewed are strategic in nature, or that they are 'transformational' to postal operations, either individually or collectively."

  • "The noted efforts this year are similar to efforts that the Postal Service pursued over the last several years, predating the hiring of Mr. Louis DeJoy as the Postmaster General."
  • House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement to CNN, "Today's report confirms that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's sweeping changes -- which were hastily implemented without analyzing their potential impact -- caused serious delays across the country."
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