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New postmaster general overhauls USPS leadership amid probe into mail delays

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced an overhaul of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on Friday, removing the top two officials in charge of day-to-day operations as Democrats in Washington call for an investigation into changes that have slowed mail delivery.

According to a new organizational chart released by USPS, 23 postal executives were reassigned or displaced and five staffers joined the agency’s leadership from other positions.

“This organizational change will capture operating efficiencies by providing clarity and economies of scale that will allow us to reduce our cost base and capture new revenue,” said DeJoy. “It is crucial that we do what is within our control to help us successfully complete our mission to serve the American people and, through the universal service obligation, bind our nation together by maintaining and operating our unique, vital and resilient infrastructure.”

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DeJoy announced there would be a hiring freeze and a request for voluntary early retirements. The USPS will also configure itself into three “operating units” of retail and delivery, logistics and processing, and commerce and business solutions and will cut back from seven regions to four.

The reshuffling comes as Democrats clamor for an investigation into USPS amid concerns over the agency’s ability to handle what is expected to be a flood of mail-in ballots this year. Lawmakers have warned that changes DeJoy has made, including reducing overtime and adjusting delivery policies, may leave the agency even more unprepared. 

“We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail — including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters — that is essential to millions of Americans. While it is true that the Postal Service has and continues to face financial challenges, enacting these policies as cost-cutting or efficiency measures as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues is counterproductive and unacceptable,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a letter to DeJoy on Thursday.

The efforts to cut cost are in part an effort to dig USPS out of the steep financial hole it finds itself in; DeJoy announced Friday that the USPS lost $2.2 billion in the second quarter of the year and could in total shed about $20 billion overall in 2019 and 2020. The agency has suffered a heavy financial toll during the coronavirus pandemic, with steep drops in first-class and business mail.

“Our 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,” he said in remarks to the USPS Board of Governors on Friday. “Without dramatic change, there is no end in sight, and we face an impending liquidity crisis.”