USPS Planned Changes Postponed

Attached is a statement (Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Statement) that the Postmaster General released today announcing that certain planned changes at the Postal Service will, be postponed until after the election. The statement also includes a public commitment to help “deliver the Nation’s election mail on time and within our well established service standards”.

I have had a few members ask me if SMC is “taking a stand” on the various issues swirling around about the Postal Service. Let me share my candid take on what’s happening, and what I am doing and not doing. 

From the standpoint of SMC members, I am not hearing about a lot of problems with service. Other marketing mail, and particularly mail sent as periodicals, have experienced service issues and there have been hotspots. I have been very disappointed that the new Postmaster General has basically ignored outreach efforts by stakeholder associations and customers. But I do not see an upside for SMC members, and am most concerned about the Postal Service “doing no harm” in its fall rate filing, to make any public statements critical of the new PMG.

I do not see conspiracy theories here or an effort of the new PMG to do the bidding of any one party. Most people do not understand the Postal Service’s service standards. When countless different counties and election officials start sending ballots out by nonprofit marketing mail, they may not appreciate that the service standards for delivery take longer than first class mail. Many states or areas will not count a ballot if it is not “received” by the date of the election. There have been a number of honest and well-intended communications by the Postal Service to try and educate election officials, that have been blown up in various media reports, or used to help each party advance its own desired narrative. 

I have had a number of meetings with other industry officials about “the new brass”. It seems clear that Postal Service leadership is paralyzed with the changes going on, and with the House and Senate now demanding the PMG, and others, to appear to give testimony. I have not seen any upside for SMC to get vocally involved in these issues.

As your Executive Director, I can and will continue to speak independently, and with others, that the Postal Service does not exist without a mix of mail customers including valuable marketing mail customers and shared mail programs. I fault the new PMG most that he has not made it a priority to engage with or hear the voice of customers. Had he done so, he might have a few “friends” working to support some of his cost containment measures. After all, it is the mail industry that pays for the operations of the Postal Service and currently underwrites its universal service mission.

It will be interesting to see what the PMG has to say when he testifies before the House later this week.

As one association leader put it, we have been trying to get Congress to pay attention to the Postal Service and its importance to the American and mailing public for years. Maybe there are some opportunities here. Only time will tell.