In remarks at his first open session Board of Governors meeting on Aug. 7, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy outlined his strategy for a “transformative process” for the Postal Service.
“Our goal is to change and improve the Postal Service to better serve the American public, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead,” said DeJoy. “I am enthusiastic and energized about the prospects for our future and our untapped promise.”
DeJoy praised the USPS workforce for employees’ dedication and commitment to serving the American people, and “the fantastic competencies” of the organization. “I believe that there are tremendous opportunities available to us, and I am very confident that we can turn our business around and become financially healthy, while remaining a vital part of the nation’s critical infrastructure,” he said.
Addressing the challenges facing USPS, DeJoy said the organization’s financial position is “dire,” stemming from “substantial declines in mail volume, a broken business model and a management strategy that has not adequately addressed these issues.” DeJoy noted that Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission “have long delayed much needed legislative and regulatory reforms to help address the situation,” but that the Postal Service “will not and cannot wait for the legislative and regulatory process to save us.”
DeJoy said it is “absolutely imperative” for the Postal Service to operate efficiently and effectively, while continuing to provide service that fulfills the universal service mandate and meets customer needs.
“We have begun by vigorously focusing on the ingrained inefficiencies in our operations,” said DeJoy. “To start with, we have taken immediate steps to better adhere to our existing operating plans, which were developed precisely to ensure that we meet our present service standards in an efficient and effective manner. By running our operations on time and on schedule, and by not incurring unnecessary overtime or other costs, we will enhance our ability to be sustainable and to be able to continue to provide high-quality, affordable service.”
DeJoy said, “As we implement our operating plans, we will aggressively monitor and quickly address service issues.” DeJoy said customers and employees can rest assured that operational practices will be continually reviewed and adjustments made as required “to ensure that we operate in an efficient and effective manner.”
The Postmaster General also took the opportunity to clear up misconceptions that have been raised in the media and social media:
“First, while I certainly have a good relationship with the president of the United States, the notion that I would ever make decisions concerning the Postal Service at the direction of the president, or anyone else in the administration, is wholly off-base,” said DeJoy. “I serve at the pleasure of the Governors of the Postal Service, a group that is bipartisan by statute and that will evaluate my performance in a nonpartisan fashion. The Postal Service itself has a proud tradition of being a nonpartisan organization, which I believe is one reason why the Postal Service is consistently rated by the public as the most trusted federal entity. I intend to uphold the trust that has been placed in me by the Governors, and to fulfill my responsibilities to this organization and to the public interest, by trying to make good decisions through the exercise of my best judgment and business acumen gained through 35 years of commercial experience, and not based upon any partisanship.
“Second, let me be clear that with regard to Election Mail, the Postal Service and I are fully committed to fulfilling our role in the electoral process. If public policy makers choose to utilize the mail as a part of their election system, we will do everything we can to deliver Election Mail in a timely manner consistent with our operational standards. We do ask election officials and voters to be mindful of the time that it takes for us to deliver ballots, whether it is a blank ballot going to a voter or a completed ballot going back to election officials. We have delivery standards that have been in place for many years. These standards have not changed, and despite any assertions to the contrary, we are not slowing down Election Mail or any other mail. Instead, we continue to employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail.”
DeJoy outlined how the Postal Service has been working closely with election officials throughout the country to ensure that they are well educated about the mailing process and can use the mail effectively to administer elections. “Ensuring that election officials throughout the country have an understanding of our operational parameters, including the circumstances under which we postmark mail and our delivery standards, so that they can educate voters accordingly, is important to achieving a successful election season,” he explained. “Although there will likely be an unprecedented increase in election mail volume due to the pandemic, the Postal Service has ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on-time in accordance with our delivery standards, and we will do so. However, as discussed, we cannot correct the errors of the election boards if they fail to deploy processes that take our normal processing and delivery standards into account.”
A third misconception that DeJoy addressed covered his role as Postmaster General. “I was not appointed by the Governors to position the Postal Service to be privatized or to manage its decline,” he said. “To the contrary, I accepted the job of Postmaster General fully committed to the role of the Postal Service as an integral part of the United States government, providing all Americans with universal and open access to our unrivaled processing and delivery network, as reflected in the Mission Statement that the Board adopted on April 1, 2020. I fully embrace six-day delivery of mail and packages as one of this organization’s greatest strengths and I plan to invest in tools and equipment for our letter carriers, as well as enhance the stability of our non-career workforce, to continue to provide the nation’s most trusted service. I accept the responsibility that the Governors gave me to maintain and enhance our reputation and role as a trusted face of the federal government in every community, and I intend to work with postal executives, management associations, managers, union leadership, and our craft employees to do everything I can to put us back on a financially stable path.”
“I am confident that we can chart a path forward that allows the Postal Service to fulfill our vital public service mission in a sustainable manner. I look forward to the challenge, and know we are up to it.”
To read the Postmaster General’s full remarks, go to the USPS Newsroom.