As of Tuesday, Postmaster General Luis DeJoy announced he will delay changes to the USPS until after the upcoming election in November.
“I came to the Postal Service to make changes to secure the success of this organization and its long-term sustainability,” DeJoy said in his statement. “I believe significant reforms are essential to that objective, and work toward those reforms will commence after the election.”
DeJoy told the public that amid pushing off these changes, there are other items to focus on that date back to before he assumed position as postmaster general in June. He also said he wants to make it clear that the USPS is in no way impacting election mail, which influenced his decision to push back the changes.
“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,” DeJoy said. “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded.”
He addressed that some things will not change between now and election day. Such includes: post office retail hours will not change, mail processing equipment and blue will not be removed, no mail processing facilities will be closed, and postal service overtime will be “approved as needed.”
“The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall,” DeJoy said. “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.”
DeJoy also announced an expansion of the 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,” DeJoy said.
The postmaster general’s statement comes following news of DeJoy’s call to testify Friday before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, according to NPR. Dejoy is also scheduled to appear in front of the House Oversite Committee Monday, writes NPR.
After taking over as postmaster general in June, DeJoy implemented a series of changes within the USPS as a means to save money, which included curbing overtime and prohibiting workers from taking extra trips for late mail, according to NBC News. NBC also reported that these changes have led to delays in mail deliveries.
NBC wrote that the postal service confirmed that it sent letters to numerous states with the alert that mail-in ballots for the election may not be received on time to be counted. It continued that this then sparked controversy, as many states have already expanded their vote-by-mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This then led to DeJoy’s summon to testify.
“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,” DeJoy said. “As we move forward, they will have the full support of our organization throughout the election.”