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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."

Go deeper

52 mins ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.

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