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Tag: postal service

DeJoy Hangs On At Post Office As His Company Reaps Huge Bonanza

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

U.S. lawmakers and ethics advocates on Friday reiterated calls for firing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy after The Washington Post revealed that the United States Postal Service awarded a $120 million contract to XPO Logistics, a company he helped run and "with which his family maintains financial ties."

"Louis DeJoy is a walking conflict of interest," declared Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). "He had no business being named postmaster general, and he has no business continuing to serve."

"It's long past time to #FireDeJoy," added Connolly, chair of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, which has legislative jurisdiction over the Postal Service.

Connolly was far from alone in responding to the report by calling for DeJoy's removal.

"How in the world is Louis DeJoy still the postmaster general?" asked Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). "It is long past time to #FireDeJoy."

DeJoy's personal spokesperson referred most of the newspaper's questions to USPS—whose spokesperson "said that DeJoy did not participate in the procurement process for the XPO contract, which was competitively bid." The company's spokesperson noted that XPO was not awarded some other contracts it sought.

Under the contract that XPO got, it will take over two centers that organize and load mail. Dena Briscoe, president of the American Postal Workers Union branch for Washington and Southern Maryland, told the Post that the move felt like a "slap in the face" to workers.

"This is the work that they've been doing for years and years and years," Briscoe said, "and you're going to segregate it away from them, put in another building, give it to a company that previously had a [top executive] that is now our postmaster general. A lot of our members are taking offense to that."

As the Post detailed:

The new contract will deepen the Postal Service's relationship with XPO Logistics, where DeJoy served as supply chain chief executive from 2014 to 2015 after the company purchased New Breed Logistics, the trucking firm he owned for more than 30 years. Since he became postmaster general, DeJoy, DeJoy-controlled companies, and his family foundation have divested between $65.4 million and $155.3 million worth of XPO shares, according to financial disclosures, foundation tax documents, and securities filings.

But DeJoy's family businesses continue to lease four North Carolina office buildings to XPO, according to his financial disclosures and state property records.

The leases could generate up to $23.7 million in rent payments for the DeJoy businesses over the next decade.

Although the leases to XPO were cleared by government ethics officials before DeJoy took office last year, some experts are still critical—such as Virginia Canter, chief ethics counsel at watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

"There's no question he's continuing to profit from a Postal Service contractor," Canter said. "He can comply with these technical legal requirements… but it does create an appearance issue about whether it's in his financial interest to continue to make policy that would benefit contractors like XPO."

Friday's calls for the USPS Board of Governors to fire DeJoy are just the latest from the past year. He has been accused of slowing down mail service before the 2020 election and now faces a criminal probe over GOP political donations; DeJoy has denied any wrongdoing on both fronts.

DeJoy's "14-month run as postmaster general has been a masterclass in cronyism and deception," Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) said in response to the Post reporting. "The amount of suspicion I had about him and his efforts to intentionally undermine delivery times at [USPS] could have filled the Grand Canyon. The Board of Governors should #FireDeJoy."

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who led previous calls for the board to oust the postmaster general, said Friday that "Louis DeJoy should've been fired long ago for his sabotage of USPS. He is under federal criminal investigation and now may be using your post office to wet his beak. The postal governors protecting him need to be fired first. This is an outrage."

DeJoy is spearheading a controversial 10-year reform plan for USPS that would involve cutting hours, slowing first-class delivery, and raising prices—an approach that has also provoked demands for his immediate ouster.

The 10-year plan was a key focus of a Board of Governors meeting Friday—the first that included all three members appointed by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the Senate.

"Ronald Stroman, the former deputy postmaster general and one of Biden's nominees, took the most aggressive approach in criticizing DeJoy's plan, saying the delivery slowdowns would hinder the agency's ability to provide prompt and reliable service without federal funding," reported Government Executive.

According to the outlet:

He said the plan is "strategically-ill conceived, creates dangerous risks that are not justified by the relatively low financial return, and doesn't meet our responsibility as an essential part of America's critical infrastructure." USPS expects to save about $170 million annually from the changes, a small fraction of its operating budget.
"There is no compelling financial reason to make this change," Stroman said. "The relatively minor savings associated with changing service standards, even if achieved, will have no significant impact on the Postal Service's financial future."

Stroman accused DeJoy and the existing board members of abandoning the customers most loyal to and dependent on the Postal Service and said the plan would accelerate people and businesses turning away from the mailing system. He added that "rarely, if ever," has a USPS policy change received such widespread pushback.

DeJoy, for his part, acknowledged to the board that the plan involves some "uncomfortable changes," while doubling down on it: "We are confident we are headed in the right direction."

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) disagrees. In a March letter urging DeJoy's firing, she wrote that his "pathetic 10-year plan to weaken USPS demonstrates that he is a clear and present threat to the future of the Postal Service and the well-being of millions of Americans, particularly small business owners, seniors, and veterans, who depend on an effective and reliable USPS to conduct daily business, safely participate in democracy, and receive vital medication."

Don’t Let The Republicans ‘Fix’ The Postal Service

It was surprising when Donald Trump declared he would make fixing the U.S. Postal Service one of the top personal priorities of his four-year White House adventure. It quickly became obvious, though, that he was using the word "fix" in the same way your veterinarian uses it when you bring in your dog.

Yes, Trump was saying, "Let's fix this puppy," and he wasted an inordinate amount of his presidential power and prestige in a failed attempt to neuter an agency that literally delivers for the people. Think about it: For a 55 cent stamp, America's extraordinary postal workers and letter carriers will take your piece of mail and deliver it by truck, car, airplane, boat, motorbike, mule — and, of course, by foot — to any address across town or across the country. The post office is a public system that works; it is both essential and effective. Indeed, the U.S. Postal Service ranks at the top of federal agencies in popularity, with 91 percent of the public approving its work. Thus, an uproar of protests (including by Republicans) spread across the country, killing Trump's attempt to gut the agency.

When it comes to bad public policy, however, failure is just a way of saying, "Let's try the back door." Trump was defeated, but he left behind an undistinguished Postmaster General named Louis DeJoy, who had only two qualifications for the job: He was a Trump megadonor, and he was a peer of corporate powers that've long wanted to privatize the Postal Service. In March, before the new Joe Biden presidency had taken charge of the postal system, DeJoy popped through the back door with his own "10-year Plan" to fix the agency.

Rhetorically, his plan promised to "achieve service excellence" by making mail delivery more "consistent" and "reliable." How? By consistently cutting service and reliably gouging customers. Specifically, DeJoy's plan was to close numerous mail processing facilities, eliminate jobs, reduce post office hours of service, and cut the standard of delivering first-class mail from three days to five. Oh, and to potentially raise stamp prices.

Delivering lousy service at higher prices is intended to destroy public support for the agency, opening up the mail service to takeover by private profiteers. That's the real DeJoy plan. And who gets joy from that?

Corporate ideologues never cease blathering that government programs should be run like a business.

Really? What businesses would they choose as the ethical model for governing our democracy? Pharmaceutical profiteers? Big Oil? Wall Street money manipulators? High-tech billionaires? Airline price gougers?

The good news is that the great majority of people aren't buying this corporatist blather but instead valuing institutions that prioritize the Common Good. Thus, by a 2-to-1 margin, Americans have stunned smug right-wing privatizers like DeJoy by specifically declaring in a recent poll that our U.S. Postal Service should not be "run like a business." Indeed, an overwhelming majority, including 49% of Republicans, say mail delivery should be run as a "public service," even if that costs more tax money.

In fact, having proven that this 246-year-old federal agency can consistently and efficiently deliver to 161 million homes and businesses — day after day, year after year — it's time to let the agency's trusted, decentralized, well-trained workforce provide even more services for our communities. One service it is uniquely capable of delivering is so-called postal banking. Yes, the existing network of some 31,000 post offices in metro neighborhoods and small towns across America are perfectly situated and able to provide basic banking services to the one out of four of us who don't have or can't afford bank accounts. The giant banking chains ignore these millions, leaving them at the mercy of check-cashing exploiters and payday-loan sharks that extract exorbitant profits for their Wall Street backers.

The post office can offer simple, honest banking, including small-dollar checking and savings accounts, very low-interest consumer loans, low-fee debit cards, etc. The goal of postal banking is not to maximize corporate profits but to serve the public. Moreover, there's nothing new about this: Our post offices served as banks for millions of us until 1967, when Wall Street profiteers got their enablers in Congress to kill the competition.

We the People own this phenomenal public asset. To enable it to work even better for us , rather than for the forces of corporate greed, go to AGrandAlliance.org.

To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

Biden Urged To Oust DeJoy And Entire Postal Service Board

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Even though the 2020 election wasn't ruined by sabotage and we now have President Joe Biden, we still have a deeply broke and highly politicized U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Among all the other housecleaning Biden has to do, New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell isn't going to let him forget about it. The Democrat has written to Biden, urging him to "fire the entire Postal Board of Governors for their silence and complicity in trump and dejoy's [sic] attempts to subvert the election and destroy the Post Office."

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Postal Service Faces ‘Unprecedented’ Holiday Weekend Delays

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is currently inundated with "unprecedented volumes of mail" as Americans report package delays amid the Christmas holiday weekend.

According to the USPS website banner, the mail carrier is "experiencing unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19." The Hill reports that the staggering increase in package volume and the limited number of employees due to the pandemic has created a number of problems for the mail carrier.

On Dec. 14, USPS released a statement urging Americans to keep shipping deadlines in mind when placing time-sensitive as they braced for Dec. 14-21, which was described as the "busiest mailing and shipping week" of the year.

"This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic — and the Postal Service is expecting significant increases in the volume of mail and packages," the statement read. "Sunday delivery has been expanded in select high package volume locations, and the agency already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities. Mail carriers will also deliver Priority Mail Express packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations."

However, prior to the release of that statement, many people had already reported substantial delays. While speaking to the Associated Press, Austin Race, of Grand Rapids, Mich., placed an order for his father's Christmas gift on Nov. 30. Despite having a 2-day shipping priority and placing the order long before the USPS deadline, his package was still delayed. In fact, as of Thursday, Dec. 24, the package still had not been delivered.

"I do understand the situation, but it's still kind of frustrating," Race said.

Others have faced package delivery challenges due to inaccurate notifications. A woman in Ann Arbor, Mich., told the publication that "Christmas ornaments she ordered Nov. 17 got stuck in Detroit, despite a Dec. 11 message from the postal service stating that it had already arrived at its destination in Columbus, Ohio."

"I was frustrated last week thinking, 'C'mon, get here,' but now I am just sort of laughing it off," she said.

The latest news about USPS comes just months after Trump-appointed postmaster general Louis DeJoy found himself at the center of controversy for incorporating unprecedented rollbacks that delayed the delivery of mail as the presidential election approached.

At the time, DeJoy was widely accused of making the changes to directly kneecap mail-in voting—an age-old voting method President Donald Trump had waged war against for several months. Although the House approved $25 billion in emergency funding back in August to reverse DeJoy's operational changes, it appears the damage had already been done.

Thousands Of Poorly Protected Postal Workers Sick With Covid-19

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

For months, one postal worker had been doing all she could to protect herself from COVID-19. She wore a mask long before it was required at her plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. She avoided the lunch room, where she saw little social distancing, and ate in her car.

The stakes felt especially high. Her husband, a postal worker in the same facility, was at high risk because his immune system is compromised by a condition unrelated to the coronavirus. And the 20-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service knew that her job, operating a machine that sorts mail by ZIP code, would be vital to processing the flood of mail-in ballots expected this fall.

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Federal Judge Orders DeJoy To Halt ‘Politically Motivated Attack’ On Postal Service

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

One of the suits brought by states attempting to prevent Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Donald Trump from continuing sabotaging the agency's operation has resulted in an injunction. Judge Stanley A. Bastion, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, has temporarily blocked DeJoy's operational changes from continuing.

Ruling from the bench directly after a two-and-a-half hour hearing Thursday, Bastion said that Trump and DeJoy are "involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service" that could disrupt the 2020 election and that harm to the public "has already taken place" by DeJoy's operational changes. "The states have demonstrated that the defendants are involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service. They have also demonstrated that this attack on the Postal Service is likely to irreparably harm the states' ability to administer the 2020 general election," he said.

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How The Trump Campaign Is Sabotaging An Election He Fears Losing

Down in the polls and facing the possibility of defeat, Donald Trump is using his platform to generate mass confusion ahead of the November general election, which could make it harder for Americans to vote in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

Trump, along with the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee, have been taking numerous actions that would depress the vote for the upcoming election, which Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is currently favored to win.

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Suspicious Timeline Shows DeJoy’s Massive Donations Just Before Trump Made Him Postmaster

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

How did Louis DeJoy, the first Postmaster General to have never worked in the Postal Service to ever serve in the job, get that plum position? Could it have been, oh, I don't know, buying his way in? DeJoy donated more than $600,000 to the Trump campaign and to the Republican National Committee from the time the job opened up and getting the nod. Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research, which investigates the influence of money on public policy, testified to Congress Monday detailing the depth of DeJoy's spending with the GOP.

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