It’s been eight weeks since Mr. Louis DeJoy began his service as the 75th Postmaster General (PMG) of the United States and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service (USPS). In that short period of time, he’s done something his recent predecessors could not – have the Congress and the Press shine a spotlight on the USPS.
However, the coverage is around 99.76% negative.
Along the way, he’s alienated stakeholders and postal employees. The general public is up in arms about real and perceived slowdowns in mail deliveries. Social media is awash with reports about cuts and changes – some true, some false and many in-between.
The primary culprit for these problems? Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, mailing industry association leaders receive twice-weekly briefings from the USPS. The changes in volumes by mail category are shared, along with news about specific area issues or hotspots. Mailers are able to follow-up with specific questions. The consistent exchange of information has been helpful during uncertain times.
However, little information is provided about the changes being implemented by PMG DeJoy. When pressed, mailers are told that PMG DeJoy and his leadership team are developing a strategic plan, and it will be shared when complete.
Then news about implementing parts of the plan to eliminate overtime was leaked by postal employees. Then reports about signs being displayed at post offices about reduced hours and planned closings. Then the implementation of testing new sorting procedures for carriers. Then last week, the announcement of a massive reorganization of the USPS structure and reassignments of senior officers.
Yet, still no briefing from PMG DeJoy to the mailing industry about the strategic direction of the USPS. In fact, no meetings with PMG DeJoy at all. The Postmaster General didn’t even show up for a meeting of the Postmaster General’s Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee.
As noted in an earlier post, in place of facts, rumors take hold. Headlines for the last few days have included:
‘Friday Night Massacre’ at US Postal Service as Postmaster General—a Major Trump Donor—Ousts Top Officials
USPS seeks early retirements for non-union postal employees, management hiring freeze
As November nears, the Postal Service is facing a crisis that could interfere with the election.
Senator Launches Investigation into Postal Service Delays After Postmaster General Fails to Provide Answers
Although PMG DeJoy stated in the recent Board of Governors’ meeting that he and the USPS “are committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process,” critics claim he is intentionally slowing mail. Even worse were stories about attempts to illegally change postal rates for ballots. One story being floated is that the administration is considering directing the USPS not to deliver ballots.
Conspiracy theories will never be slowed by facts. However, much of the uninformed reporting and speculation would be stopped by transparency. This would begin by PMG DeJoy addressing the industry in an open meeting – and taking questions – about his plan for the USPS. Next, he should schedule interviews with national press outlets – from both sides of the political spectrum.
The mailing industry was in a period of transformative change before the pandemic. The sudden economic decline added to the uncertainty and instability. Learning of changes through rumors, press reports and social media worsen the situation.
It isn’t possible to support change when there’s no clear vision of the future. PMG DeJoy is a public servant who’s been entrusted with a national treasure. The public deserves to hear what his plans are to enhance and bring stability to the USPS.
The best time for PMG DeJoy to meet with the mailing industry was a month ago.
The second-best time is today.