Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter seems to have finally moved the Biden administration to take the steps they should have made on the first day of his presidency. Katie unleashed her much loved whiteboard on Trump/Biden Postmaster General Louis DeJoy during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee. Her point was to demonstrate how, since DeJoy took office, the mail has gone from 92% on-time delivery to a startling 61%. And DeJoy just ordered another mail slowdown as of last month that will ring that 61% down into the 50s!
DeJoy was appointed by Trump to slow down the mail to interfere with ballots in the 2020 election and to help with Republican efforts to sell-off the post office and privatize mail delivery. (It should be noted that DeJoy has millions of dollars invested in shipping companies that are direct competitors to the USPS, giving him incentive to see the agency fail.)
Since Trump gave him the job, DeJoy corrupt nature has continued to come to light in one conflict of interest case after another. He bought $305,000 in bonds from the investment firm managed by the chair of the USPS's governing board.
Somehow he has been allowed to start down the road of a 10 year plan to wreck the post office's viability with slower and more expensive service and a smaller unionized workforce, a highly unpopular plan that neoliberals from both parties feel must be done but that no one wants to be tied to. Biden has been happy to see it being done by a Trump appointee, but fewer and fewer people are no longer unaware that he's Biden's Postmaster General now, not just Trump's.
The Center for Public Integrity reported this week that the Postal Service "paid its top executives more in bonuses and perks last year than at any other point in the past decade, adding up to $370,622 in extra income for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and four of his deputies, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of the agency’s financial disclosures. DeJoy got a $75,000 performance bonus in fiscal year 2021, plus about $56,000 in other perks... in addition to his $305,681 salary, the highest ever paid for the top job at USPS. In all, DeJoy earned about as much as Biden.
The generous executive compensation comes as the USPS continues to lose billions of dollars annually, and as mail carriers complain about rampant wage theft at the quasi-public agency. A Public Integrity investigation published in August found that hundreds of managers at post offices across the country have been caught illegally changing mail carriers’ time cards to show them working fewer hours than they did, resulting in lost pay.
...“[DeJoy] seems like the last person who should be the recipient of an unprecedented salary increase and bonus,” said Noah Bookbinder, president of the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Bookbinder pointed out that DeJoy intentionally slowed mail delivery as millions of Americans tried to vote by mail during the 2020 presidential election and resisted calls to sell stock he owned in a company that does business with the Postal Service, posing a conflict of interest.
In October, the Postal Service began slowing delivery of letters, bills and other first-class mail from three to five days in large swaths of the country-- part of DeJoy’s plan to save the agency money. The agency has long wrestled with massive amounts of debt because federal law requires the Postal Service to prepay retiree pension and healthcare benefits.
...And just like many large private-sector companies, the Postal Service has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Department of Labor for illegally underpaying its workers, with few consequences. The Postal Service was cited by the federal government 1,150 times for underpaying letter carriers and other employees between 2005 and 2020, according to Labor Department data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Partenheimer, the USPS spokesperson, said that the agency does not condone supervisors making improper changes to employee time cards, and that it takes such allegations seriously. “This position is messaged to the postal workforce directly from postal leaders,” he wrote in a statement.
Mail carriers who have struggled to get paid for all their work said it has impacted their mental health and their work relationships. Some have had to dip into their retirement savings.
“We are depending on that money,” Nancy Campos, a mail carrier in Midland, Texas, told Public Integrity earlier this year. “When you get shorted, it’s the most horrible feeling.”
Finally, yesterday, Biden announced that he is nominating two new members to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, Daniel Tangherlini and Derek Kan (a former McConnell advisor), a long overdue first step in firing DeJoy. The two new members have to be confirmed by the Senate.