Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Brian Higgins (Western District of New York)
Oct 22, 2020
Post Offices Reported a 143% Increase in Delayed Mail in July
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) says a report issued this week by the United States Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) confirms that sweeping changes by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy were implemented without consideration of the impact it would have on residents and businesses who rely on postal delivery.
The report concludes: “No analysis of the service impacts of these various changes was conducted and documentation and guidance to the field around these strategies was very limited and almost exclusively oral. The resulting confusion and inconsistency in operations at postal facilities resulted in significant negative service impacts across the country.”
Higgins said, “First and foremost, mail delivery is a service and any operational changes must analyze how Americans – the customers – will be impacted. This report verifies the impact on mail delivery was never a consideration. For now, the Postmaster has suspended further changes until after the election but that doesn’t undo the damages already made or provide comfort that future changes won’t significantly hurt the strength and reliability of the United States Postal Service.”
The impact of the operational changes are further outlined in the report which notes: “The Postal Service’s mail service performance significantly dropped beginning in July 2020, directly corresponding to implementation of the operational changes and initiatives.”
- Delayed mail reported in Postal Service systems for mail processing facilities increased 21 percent, from 2 billion pieces for the week ending July 10, 2020 to 2.4 billion pieces for the week ending July 31, 2020.
- Delayed mail, which is self-reported at post offices, increased 143 percent, from 4.7 million for the week ending July 10, 2020, to 11.4 million for the week ending July 31, 2020.
- Customer inquiries increased 79% nationwide from March 2020 through July 2020.
Additional report findings:
- 712 letter and flat processing machines were pulled between October 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020, 61 percent of which – 437 machines were removed in just three months (June through August)
- Between June 15 and August 31, 2020 776 blue mail collection boxes were removed
The OIG report was conducted in response to multiple congressional requests based on concerns that the Postmaster’s policy and staffing changes had an adverse effect on postal operations and slowed mail delivery. The report is critical of the Postmaster for being unresponsive to inquiries members of Congress made in response to a massive outreach from constituents, including an August 6 letter signed by Congressman Higgins.
Higgins raised objections to the Postmaster’s actions in remarks on the House floor and in multiple correspondence with the USPS. The Congressman joined local postal workers in Buffalo and Niagara Falls objecting to the unjustified and flawed operational changes. On August 22, 2020 the House voted to approve the Delivering for America Act, cosponsored by Higgins, which protects mail delivery for Americans. On September 10, Higgins visited the Buffalo Mail Processing Facility where he witnessed first-hand the delayed mail, dismantled equipment and other ramifications of the Postmaster’s changes.