On Friday morning, Aug. 21, Greensboro businessman Louis DeJoy, the country’s brand new Postmaster General, found himself under attack by Democrats in Washington, DC – in what at times seemed more like political theater meant to make President Donald Trump look bad than it did a US Senate committee hearing to get answers about the US Postal Service’s practices and procedures.
Trump didn’t appoint DeJoy to the Postmaster General position, but DeJoy has hosted many Republican fundraisers at his Greensboro home – which has made him no favorite of Democratic politicians like those that were making accusations at the Friday morning hearing.
Some senators had questions about DeJoy’s association with President Donald Trump and questioned whether DeJoy was attempting to use the mail service to swing the November election in Trump’s favor. Others defended DeJoy and pointed out that many of the changes in the postal service that are now under attack had begun before DeJoy even got the job.
Both Republican and Democratic leaders agree that the Postal Service has had major financial troubles for years and that it will take billions to bail the service out of its current situation. DeJoy stated that some of the moves being questioned were made as cost saving measures.
DeJoy had not worked in the Postal Service before accepting the job but he is by all accounts an expert in logistics – moving things from place A to place B in a timely manner, and that’s the way he made his fortune.
DeJoy, who became the Postmaster General on June 15, said no changes to mail service were made to have a “negative impact on the election.”
“That’s an outrageous claim,” he said.
DeJoy said he took the job to improve the service.
“I did so because I believe the postal serviced plays a tremendously positive role in the lives of the American people and the life of the nation,” he said.
He added that another goal of his was to make changes that allowed the postal service to be financially sustainable.
“Changes must be made to assure sustainability in the months and years ahead,” he said.
He noted that it had been three years since an oversight commission concluded that the current system isn’t working.
He said some sorting machines were shut down because they weren’t needed.
“Mail volume is dropping,” he said.
DeJoy said the sorting machines run at about 35 percent utilization and usage had dropped especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Others asked about the postal service removing some letter drop boxes.
“Both the collection boxes, and the machine closeout, I was made aware of when everyone else was made aware,” he said.
Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson asked, “So this isn’t some devious plot on your part?”
Johnson said that more as a statement than a question.