USPS did not analyze how changes would affect mail delivery, watchdog says
Posted October 20, 2020 6:56 p.m. EDT
CNN — The inspector general for the US Postal Service issued a new report Tuesday criticizing USPS service reductions implemented under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, charging they were put in place without proper consideration of the effect that the cuts would have.
"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 says. "The resulting confusion and inconsistency in operations at postal facilities compounded the significant negative service impacts across the country."
Three changes DeJoy made after he started in June, including the elimination of late and extra trips to transport mail, were compounded by more than 50 other cost-cutting initiatives that also went into effect, the report states.
"These initiatives undertaken individually may not have been significant. 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 report adds.
The Postal Service's inspector general's report is just the latest critique of policies enacted under DeJoy's tenure. It's become an issue in the upcoming election next month amid concerns that the changes would harm the delivery of absentee ballots. The USPS changes have been curtailed after four federal judges granted preliminary injunctions from state attorneys general and others over the mail delays.
As a result of the changes put in place under DeJoy, the inspector general report found the on-time delivery performance of USPS' priority and first class mail and packages declined.
According to court documents obtained by CNN, the on-time delivery performance for all categories of USPS mail -- including first class mail that's used for election mail -- have still not recovered.
DeJoy has defended the reduction, arguing that they are necessary to get the Postal Service's finances under control, but he suspended many of the changes until after the election amid the criticism.
In a statement, the USPS Board of Governors said "we do not 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," the board said.
Democrats knocked DeJoy in response to the new inspector general report.
"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," House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.
The inspector general said that to date, DeJoy's met the ethics requirements for financial disclosures, divestments and recusal. But the review is ongoing, the report says, because the inspector general's office has not been able to review all of DeJoy's accounts, although the specific accounts that need to be reviewed are redacted in the report.