It was six months ago when Postmaster General Louis DeJoy unveiled his "strategic plan" for the future of the United States Postal Service, which was not well received. The Republican donor, chosen for the job by Donald Trump despite his lack of postal experience, presented a blueprint that included, among other things, higher rates, slower services, and reduced post office hours.
It was not well received, and over the summer, the Postal Regulatory Commission, which plays a USPS oversight role, was sharply critical of DeJoy's plan, questioning its core assumptions.
As USA Today reported yesterday, his changes are nevertheless being implemented, and those changes including making some mail service "permanently slower."
Americans who have been frustrated with the slow service of the U.S. Postal Service since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic probably won't be thrilled to hear this: The service is about to get even slower.... The changes mean an increased time-in-transit for mail traveling long distances, such as from New York to California.
In fairness, at least for now, roughly 60 percent of first-class mail won't be affected by the changes. Of course, if you're one of the people waiting for newly delayed mail, that's cold comfort.
Complicating matters is the fact that DeJoy's many controversies haven't gone away.
We learned in June, for example, that the postmaster general is facing an FBI investigation over a campaign-finance scandal. Based on public reporting, the available evidence against DeJoy suggests it's a serious controversy. Indeed, a Washington Post analysis noted last year, "Chief executives have gone to federal prison for similar schemes."
But it's not the only controversy. As Rachel noted on the show last night, the first sign of trouble came last summer, when DeJoy announced plans to scrap mail-sorting machines just as millions of Americans prepared to vote by mail.
This year, the USPS also ramped up its business with a company DeJoy used to run. It's also a company he holds a financial stake in.
The fact remains that President Biden cannot fire the postmaster general, though he probably wants to. Earlier this year, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, "I think we can all agree — most Americans would agree — that the Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job."
The governing board of the U.S. Postal Service can remove DeJoy, and the confirmation of Biden's nominees to the board increased the odds that it might take such a step, but for now, there's little to suggest his job is in serious jeopardy.
One of the Democratic board members is Ron Bloom, a Trump appointee who's expressed support for DeJoy. In the spring, Bloom, who currently chairs the USPS board, told The Atlantic, in reference to the controversial postmaster general, "Right now, I think [DeJoy is] the proper man for the job. He's earned my support, and he will have it until he doesn't. And I have no particular reason to believe he will lose it."
Watch this space.