Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said Tuesday that he is suspending certain changes at the U.S. Postal Service until after the 2020 election in order to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail.”
DeJoy, whose sweeping cost-cutting measures at USPS have raised alarms about widespread mail delays that could impact the November race, said in a statement that he is temporarily halting “some longstanding operational initiatives” that “predate my arrival at the Postal Service.”
He didn’t cite which specific initiatives he was suspending. He did, however, provide some assurances.
DeJoy’s statement said that retail hours at post offices will not be changed, mail processing facilities will not be closed and that mail processing equipment will not be moved. He also said that “overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.”
DeJoy is a major donor to Republicans and committees supporting the reelection of President Donald Trump, who has claimed without evidence that an anticipated flood of mail-in ballots in the presidential race will lead to massive levels of voter fraud.
Democrats in recent weeks have sounded off about the steps DeJoy has taken at USPS in the months since he was selected for the role by the agency’s board of governors, all of whom were appointed by Trump.
Those measures reportedly include crackdowns on making late delivery trips and cuts to overtime pay, among other changes. The overhaul of the government agency has led to significant delays in mail deliveries, according to mail workers’ advocates and other figures.
“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability,” DeJoy said in a statement released by USPS. “I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election.”
“In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic,” he said. “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
Read DeJoy’s full statement below:
WASHINGTON, DC — Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued the following statement today:
“The United States Postal Service will play a critical role this year in delivering election mail for millions of voters across the country. There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether the Postal Service is ready, willing and able to meet this challenge.
I want to make a few things clear:
The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall. Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards. The American public should know that this is our number one priority between now and election day. The 630,000 dedicated women and men of the Postal Service are committed, ready and proud to meet this sacred duty.
I am announcing today the expansion of our current leadership taskforce on election mail to enhance our ongoing work and partnership with state and local election officials in jurisdictions throughout the country. Leaders of our postal unions and management associations have committed to joining this taskforce to ensure strong coordination throughout our organization. Because of the unprecedented demands of the 2020 election, this taskforce will help ensure that election officials and voters are well informed and fully supported by the Postal Service.
I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability. I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election. In the meantime, there are some longstanding operational initiatives — efforts that predate my arrival at the Postal Service — that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic. To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.
I want to assure all Americans of the following:
- Retail hours at Post Offices will not change.
- Mail processing equipment and blue collection boxes will remain where they are.
- No mail processing facilities will be closed.
- And we reassert that overtime has, and will continue to be, approved as needed.
In addition, effective Oct. 1, we will engage standby resources in all areas of our operations, including transportation, to satisfy any unforeseen demand.
I am grateful for the commitment and dedication of all the men and women of the Postal Service, and the trust they earn from the American public every day, especially as we continue to contend with the impacts of COVID-19. As we move forward, they will have the full support of our organization throughout the election.”
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