While the Postal Service has seen some declines in on-time mail delivery over the past two months, DeJoy said other factors, including workforce shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and other “unforeseen events,” have contributed to mail delays.
“As I testified, the intervening mail service declines should not have happened, but the changes are fundamental and necessary, and the Postal Service is strongly committed to fixing the problems by identifying and rectifying their root causes,” he said.
In a section of the letter titled, “Accountability rests with me,” DeJoy also smoothed over some of the more contentious moments of last week’s hearing, in which he and members of the committee butted heads over management changes made before and during his tenure at USPS.
“I am ultimately accountable for the decisions I have made as Postmaster General and will provide the data necessary for members of the committees to assess ongoing performance improvements,” he wrote.
During the nearly six-hour hearing, DeJoy defended his plans to keep USPS trucks running between mail processing facilities and post offices on-time, but pushed back on questions about the specifics of frontline operations.
“I’m not the COO, I’m the CEO of the organization,” DeJoy said last week.
DeJoy told several members that the decision to remove mail-sorting equipment at postal facilities predated his time in office, but he also rejected requests to turn on mail processing plants that had been recently decommissioned.
“You’re being selective in what you’re taking credit for or not,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) said during last week’s hearing.
While USPS agreed to weekly data releases for lawmakers, committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said Monday she intended to issue a subpoena requiring DeJoy to turn over documents related to postal operations and mail delays since he took office in mid-June.
The scope of these documents ranges from the number of trips taken to deliver the mail, to the handing of election mail, to DeJoy’s vetting by the USPS Board of Governors.
“If there are any questions about whether you are legally authorized to produce these documents, please let the committee know, and we will issue a subpoena to resolve these doubts and compel their production,” Maloney said.
In a press release, however, USPS officials said they were “frankly surprised and confused” with the subpoena, adding the agency has been working with committee staffing on producing additional information. The agency, they added, had also arranged a briefing for committee members for its most recent data release.
USPS Chief Counsel for Global Business and Service Development Anthony Alverno argued that the agency submits this data to the PRC on an annual and quarterly basis, and that the commission’s regulations “do not compel more frequent reporting.”
“Adhering to all these well-established timetables allows the Postal Service to properly review and finalize all its data and ensure its accuracy before the Postal Service files these data with the Commission,” Alverno said.