Americans must weigh in on how poorly the U.S. Postal Service is run before it’s too late Skip to content

Americans must weigh in on how poorly the U.S. Postal Service is run before it’s too late

Louis DeJoy is intent on destroying the Postal Service. You’ve got to speak up now to save it.

Photo by Yannik Mika / Unsplash

While Americans may not use the U.S. Postal Service as often as they did 20 years ago, it remains “a universally beloved federal agency ... second only to the Parks Service in public favorability” (a jaw-dropping 77% approval rating, per Gallup ), writes Vishal Shankar in his opinion essay for Common Dreams, “The public has a right to know every detail of Louis DeJoy’s destructive agenda.”

The Postal Service is arguably also the most frequently-interacted-with component of the federal government: packages and letters are delivered to Americans' mailboxes six days per week. But many of the Postal Service operations are changing under DeJoy, and critics say his leadership has led to slower delivery, significant price increases, and less accountability. With a Postal Board of Governors as the only body that can censor or fire DeJoy, the public must stand up for what they hold dear, according to Shankar. “The future of the people's most treasured public institution depends on public participation and feedback.”

At a time when public trust in government is at near historic lows, the Board and Dejoy have worked to restrict public access to comment or meeting participation. “At least four times per year, the Board holds an open session meeting, its sole formal contact with the public. In recent years, these meetings have concluded with a well-attended public comment period, where in-person and virtual attendees have excoriated DeJoy for embracing a privatization-friendly agenda,” Shankar explains. “Just this year alone, public commenters at Board meetings have decried the mail slowdowns and price hikes, demanded changes to DeJoy's gas-guzzling and union-busting fleet plan, raised serious concerns about transparency of DeJoy’s facility consolidation plans, and pushed DeJoy to expand community services offered at the post office.”

But in its last open session meeting in November, the Board banned public attendance and comments without explaining why. “This abrupt new barrier to public accessibility led the number of public commenters – which in recent meetings has been a double-digit tally – to drop to 4,” Shankar adds. “The decline in attendance was also likely compounded by an unexplained shift in the meeting time: whereas past meetings have been held at 4:00 pm ET, Tuesday’s session was held at noon – the middle of the workday.”

The Board began suppressing public input before this November’s meeting.
“At the August 2023 meeting, each public commenter was allotted only 25 seconds to speak, in sharp contrast to the typical 3-minute time limit,” Sharkar notes. “But next year, the Postal Board’s accountability problem will worsen. Postal Board Deputy Secretary Lucy Trout explained that starting next year, the Postal Board will only hear public comments once per year in November. In other words, though the next three Postal Board meetings (February, May, and August 2024) are ostensibly ‘public sessions,’ members of the public will have no opportunity to inform the Postal Board about their concerns until a year from now.”

The Postal Board needs to drop its suppressive tactics and “reverse course by allowing both in-person and virtual public comments at all open sessions next year, and take further steps to improve accountability by responding to public comments and posting recorded comment sessions to the USPS website,” Sharkar writes. “Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration must publicly call out this shameful barrier to transparent government and fast-track filling Postal Board seats with anti-DeJoy, pro-accountability reformers. ... The future of the people’s most treasured public institution depends on public participation and feedback – that’s how public service works.”

To read a detailed account of USPS history under DeJoy’s leadership and ideas on how to engage with the Postal Service, click here.

--30--

Written by Heather Close. Cross-posted from the Rural Blog.



Print Friendly and PDF

Guest Author

Articles by outside authors. See the article for the author and contact information.

Comments

Latest

Clicky