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USPS chief Louis DeJoys plan to slow mail and cut post office hours, sources say

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DeJoy should stress the need for austerity to ensure more consistent delivery and limit billions of dollars in financial losses, according to people, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations. The agency is burdened with $ 188.4 billion in debt, and DeJoy told a House panel last month that he expects the USPS to lose $ 160 billion over the next 10 years.

The plan, which he said was in the works for eight months, aims to reset expectations about the postal service and its place in the express transport market. It is framed in the notion that the historically high parcel volumes of the pandemic era will persist and reorient the agency around consumers who do not use the courier service for letters, advertisements or business transactions as much as they do. ‘in the old days.

Does it make a difference if it’s an extra day to receive a letter? DeJoy told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in February. Because something has to change. We cannot continue to do the same.

DeJoy will roll out his plan as Democrats have renewed calls for his ouster and removal from the agency’s board, supporting him and the proposals. More than 50 House Democrats last week called on President Biden to fire the six board members over a cause alleging blatant mismanagement, nationwide self-inflicted mail delays and conflict over endemic interests and allow a new slate of Biden candidates to consider DeJoys’ suitability for a position.

Biden has already appointed two Democrats and a voting rights advocate to fill three of the four vacancies (board chairman Ron Bloom, a Democrat, will serve for a one-year term) on the board of governors. If the Senate confirmed it, Democrats and the candidates nominated by Biden would hold a 5-4 majority with the votes to remove DeJoy, if you so choose.

Biden can’t fire DeJoy; postal operations are deliberately isolated from the presidency and Congress to prevent politicians from tinkering with the mail system for political gain. The Postmaster General only responds to the Board of Governors. Bloom told the House panel in February that the council believed the Postmaster General, under very difficult circumstances, was doing a good job.

Most of DeJoys’ changes will not face regulatory deadlocks. The post office manager unilaterally controls post office hours, and the board of governors appears to support DeJoy’s changes to delivery times. Bloom will join DeJoy in a webinar on Tuesday to announce the policies.

The postal service must consult the Postal Regulatory Commission on price increases, but the regulator only issues a non-binding advisory opinion. A group of shippers are suing the commission to block the new pricing regime, but DeJoy has signaled that he plans to move forward with new prices regardless.

DeJoy plans to extend the service standard for first-class mail by one day, the people said, confirming an earlier Washington Post report. The Postal Service currently aims to deliver first class local mail within two days and non-local mail within three to five days. The agency missed these measures for years, but struggled tremendously during DeJoys’ tenure.

A representative of the Postal Service declined to comment on Monday evening.

During the holiday season, postal performance hit their worst levels in generations: 71% on-time delivery for two-day mail and 38% for three-day mail in the last week of December. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) Compared these scores to unfavorable odds at a Las Vegas casino.

Sending a letter shouldn’t be a game of chance, he said.

Postal service delivery scores have rebounded in recent weeks, to nearly 83.7% for first class mail the week of March 12. The agency attributed the improvement to the increased capacity of the air transport network and the end of winter storms that have delayed operations in much of the country.

The measurements remain well below the agency’s marks before DeJoys arrived last June. The week before DeJoy implemented his changes in midsummer, the Postal Service delivered 90.6% of first class mail on time. It did not reach 90% in the next eight months.

DeJoy also plans to reduce post office hours, people said, a throwback to one of the changes he first implemented. The Office of the Inspector General of Postal Services found that the agency extended lunch breaks in some post offices from July 22 and often sought to match consumer demand with opening hours by closing post offices early. DeJoy suspended politics after a public outcry and after members of Congress accused him of shutting down postal facilities ahead of elections.

DeJoy also discussed a imminent increase in postal rates with industry representatives linked to a new decision by the Postal Regulatory Commission that created a new pricing system. Industry officials have said the increase could come as early as this summer and reach 9%, a cost many say will be passed on to customers.

But the rate hike, along with proposed changes in a postal reform bill from Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), could create fiscal leeway for the postal service for the first time. For years. DeJoy supports the legislation, which includes eliminating the heavy mandate of pre-funding retiree health care and enrolling postal workers in Medicare.

Its key provisions would immediately save the Postal Service $ 35 billion in liabilities that the agency has not paid into health care accounts since 2011. Bringing retired postal workers into Medicare would allow the postal service. postal service to save an additional $ 10 billion over 10 years.

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