Incomplete and Indecisive USPS Board Flounders and Awaits Direction

Yves here. Sorry to be the bearer of less than cheery tidings on the USPS front. Despite Biden moving to fill empty USPS board seats and achieve more party-balanced oversight, true to Biden’s branding, nothing fundamental will change, at least anytime soon.

Sadly, it does not look like pressure from “progressives” or even the general public is having much impact. Contrast the sober piece below with the #2 story at Common Dreams: Senator Demands Postal Board Fire DeJoy Over ‘Pathetic 10-Year Plan to Weaken USPS. The centerpiece of the article:

By run75441. Originally published at Angry Bear

It is undecided yet, as to whether a newly assembled USPS Board of Governors would jointly act under the leadership of Ron Bloom, a Democrat and former Obama administration appointee, to dismiss PMG Louis DeJoy. President Biden has appointed three additional members to the Board including;

– Ron Stroman, formerly the deputy postmaster general (resigned);

– Amber McReynolds, a voting rights activist; and

– Anton Hajjar, a former American Postal Workers Union official,

to fill the three vacancies currently open. The Senate still has to approve their appointments.

If confirmed, the USPS Board of Governors would have all nine seats occupied for the first time in more than a decade. It would consist of a balanced makeup of four Republicans, four Democrats, and one independent.

It was thought that the Board would fire PMG Louis DeJoy. The Board is the only ones who can do such regardless of whether Congress stamps calls for such to happen. It also appears, the existing members appointed by former President Trump show little interest in firing DeJoy.

Democrat, Obama appointee, and Chair of the Board Ron Bloom has shown little interest in taking such action. Indeed, he reiterated recently he had worked with DeJoy on the 10-year business plan and he would support it. Previously. Ron Bloom helped write a helped write a National Association of Letters Carriers report castigating postal management for proposing to slash services and standards.

Chairman Bloom is serving in a holdover year which will expire in December. He approved of DeJoy’s appointment last year (2020).  Campaign- minded Biden, vowed to fill the board vacancies, put the Postal Service on firmer financial footing, help postal employees join unions, and defend the agency’s obligation to deliver to every address in the country.

The postal board can only have five presidential-appointed members from the same party by law. Four board slots will expire in the next two years. Biden has an opportunity to take USPS leadership in a different direction in his first term if needed.

Perhaps I am wrong; but, I believe Biden will sit this one out for a bit while he handles other pressing issues with the pandemic, McConnell, the economy, and getting as much done before the next election in 2022.

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  1. Michael Ismoe

    And when one of the D senators dies in office, DeJoy will get a federal pension, a gold watch and a seat on the board at FedEx when he privatizes the USPS.

    I’ve seen this movie before.

      1. Bart

        No, specifically if a Dem Senator dies or resigns who is from a state with a GOP governor, that gov will appoint a GOP replacement, and that’s it for Senate control.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That’s what the Catfood Democrat Senators are hoping for . . . . that action can be delayed till one of their number dies and is replaced with a Republican Senator. Or till the Catfood Democrats can “lose” their Senate Majority in 2 years.

          If the Catfood Democrats can just reach that ” safe harbor” deadline with DeJoy still in position and the Catfood Democrats on the Postal Oversight Board still safely supporting the DeJoy Plan, then the Catfood Democrats will have achieved their goal of Postal Service destruction and allowing private actors to sift through the wreckage for profitizable bits and pieces.

  2. lyman alpha blob

    Maybe not the best of news but it is very good information. All I’ve heard is how this is all Trump’s fault for appointing Dejoy – very good to know that the chairman of the USPS board is a Democrat, was appointed by Obama, and is just fine with having Dejoy in charge. Sounds like the very much bipartisan effort to gut the Post Office is all going according to plan, now with the added bonus of having a convenient scapegoat to blame it all on.

    1. Darius

      Obama was very much on board for a “smart, entrepreneurial, big tech, 21st Century” privatization of USPS. It was totally on brand for him. The current situation is further confirmation that nothing fundamental will change under Biden, even though, in the short term, he appears to have thrown Obama’s priggish devotion to austerity by the side of the road.

  3. orlbucfan

    Yves: thanks for the USPS update. Maybe, the situation might improve by November 2022. Off-topic: how are you and your family doing? I read earlier today that a very nasty storm system roared through AL, TN, and parts of southern GA last night and early this morning. There was a lot of tornado damage and power outages. Having lived in Birmingham years ago, I recall March and spring coming. It roared in complete with funnel clouds and tornado warnings. Here’s hoping you all were spared. Please stay safe and take care!

    1. run75441


      You are welcome on the update. Steve Hutkins at “Save The Post Office” is very good at supplying USPS information. He is the man along with retired Post Master Mark Jamison who testified in Southern District NY against DeJoy and his polices.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Very kind of you to ask. We are fine. We are in Jefferson County when the nearest touchdown was in Shelby County. A friend who owns a high end auto industry supplier had a tornado go over her plant, as in not touch down. We didn’t even lose power. But this was clearly a very bad set of storms.. EMS left emergency messages (“Stay home!”) and this was the first time I ever heard the tornado sirens.

  4. lobelia


    As to:

    Perhaps I am wrong; but, I believe Biden will sit this one out for a bit while he handles other pressing issues with the pandemic, …

    But this is a hugely pressing issue.

    Millions having their rent checks arrive on time to landlords more than happy to penalize and/or evict – this on top of the looming millions of evictions to come and those quietly happening as means testing moratoriums don’t work for many – when, after all, Obama/Biden substantially increased those forced to rent versus own, under their horrid ‘watch.’

    Millions who receive medications by mail, who need them on time, and not degraded over days in transit.

    Millions who pay their bills by check; for one, because they cannot trust mortgagers, telecoms, utilities, health insurance companies, etcetera with auto pays; secondly, because some entities – California’s PG&E Utility for one – add convenience fees to already barely affordable bills if paid by phone or online.

    Millions with no online access (I believe the number has always been deliberately understated, and there are wildly varying counts as to the accessless) to send timely, important correspondence and payments. And I suspect that reliable and affordable online access will further disintegrate as millions are being pushed into impoverishment as a consequence of both pre pandemic, decades long bipartisan failures and austerity, and the coronavirus. Reliable computers, smartphones™ and internet connections are not at all inexpensive to maintain. Additionally many of the elderly and physically disabled have a hard, if not impossible time, using them.

    So sick of many acting like it’s no big deal at all (not referring to the post above) what’s happening with the Post Office. I so miss not hearing anymore what was once spoken frequently: walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. May every one of them have a week or more power outage and an important bill to pay. I so miss not hearing anymore what was once spoken frequently: walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

    gotta run

    1. run75441


      I pay most of my bills by check and stamps. Your point is well taken on the internet issues. Also the USPS will deliver anywhere in the US where UPS, FEDX and Amazon will not go.

  5. barefoot charley

    Forced to manage family matters from far away, I learned the hard way I must buy tracking for all my USPS mail. Alternatively, FedEx overnight may take a week. I live in the sticks, taking grim pleasure that privatizers can do no better than the services they destroyed, for twice the price. All good for making the National Product a little Grosser. And that’s what it’s all about.

  6. Fraibert

    It seems to me that Senator Duckworth should work on firing her colleagues first before worrying about Postmaster General DeJoy. Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (where the hated healthcare prefunding requirement was imposed) quite rapidly. Formally introduced in the House of Representatives on December 7, 2006, it was fully signed by December 20 of the same year. In fact, the Senate passed the House’s version by unanimous consent (i.e., not a /single/ Senator objected). (

    While Mr. DeJoy is undertaking draconian cuts to postal service, I’m not hearing the obvious solution: direct federal subsidization of an important government service. The U.S. Postal Service’s primary source of income is what it earns from operations (which, technically speaking, is an automatic Congressional appropriation–under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, Congress is treated as appropriating all earnings from operations back to the USPS). The fundamental problem with Mr. DeJoy’s approach seems to be he is treating a public service as a business and making cuts to unprofitable areas, while pursuing the profitable ones. If Congress has a problem with that, it’s well within its power to fix it, and I’m tired of having legislators like Senator Duckworth pass the buck.

    1. Fraibert

      To be clear, I think it’s important to have a fully functioning, universal service postal system. But, with the business reality being what it is–i.e., first-class volume falling constantly, package volume exploding upwards, Congress is going to have to act. Changing the management isn’t going to change the economic fundamentals.

      1. run75441

        Mr Fraibert:

        Others may disagree with what I have to say; but, I believe it to be as close to the truth as what I know in having dealt with Professor Hutkins and retired NC Postmaster Mark Jamison. I think if you examine what did take place in the Senate in their review of the House Bill HR 6407 you may think differently.

        POSTAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENHANCEMENT ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 152, No. 135
        (Senate – December 08, 2006)
        . This is the Senate record of a proposal put forth by Senator Susan (snatch the football away when we kick) Susan Collins.

        It is interesting in that she is hurrying back to one of her offices to report on a surge in migrants at the border which is being claimed by Republicans as a failure by Biden since January 20th or slightly more than two months ago to take action.

        I guess one could claim it as a failure; but if you examine the CBP numbers, one could see the surge is the same as what happened for the last 12 years (further in the history) with the exception of 2020 when the borders were closed (late in closing) due to Covid. The numbers of migrants at the border are not expected to be any greater than 2019 and most likely less. We shall see what Biden does and if he deserves to be condemn just yet.

        Yes the story is not germane to the discussion. It is a good reflection on Senator Collins approach to take any half baked issue and blow it up.

        Senator Susan Collins In 2005, Collins introduced the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). In 2006, it became law and required the post office to pay for retirement healthcare benefits for workers 75 years into the future. No other federal agency or private corporation has been saddled with such a massive pre-funding mandate.

        There is no business reality (s you state) to the USPS and to expect such is wrong headed. The USPS is tasked to deliver nationally and to any part of the country regardless of profitability or capability. If this were UPS, FedEx, Amazon, etc. it would not be happening. The USPS delivers for the other three the last mile of a shipment mostly and will go where they will not go as it is tasked to do so constitutionally.

        Below are the words of Mark Jamison who has repeatedly made the case for the USPS. We exchange emails on occasion and mostly to check on each other. He is a good read and says it better than I.

        Management’s failed strategy

        Over the last twenty years, postal management has embraced a vision of postal services in this country that increasingly seeks to marginalize the principles of universal service in favor of a the needs of a narrow group of “stakeholders” in the mailing industry. profit-driven corporate structure designed to serve

        Management has pushed the vast and complicated set of ideas that are the foundation of the universal service obligation into a very narrow corner of the discussion. They have been able to convince themselves that the national postal infrastructure has no other purpose but serving narrow business interests, and they have forgotten its primary function

        ” serving the public good.”

        In doing so, they have given far too much weight to stakeholders who represent a relatively small part of the mailing industry.

        This narrow view is an extension of the way we’ve come to look at business and commerce generally in this country. We have devoted ourselves to the creation of financial value without a concomitant connection to social value.
        When we come to worship at the temple of “money for nothing” — that is, when we use finance as a tool of manipulation rather as the provider and distributor of capital — then we also lose the sense of public and social good arising from commerce.

        When the marketplace becomes a virtual arena devoid of and devolved from any real substance, when traders sitting in their underwear at 3 a.m. simply manipulate the overnight spreads, then we lose contact with the very important concept that work — our participation in the marketplace — has a social value and a public good. We forget the very purpose of work, the way it occupies, enervates, enriches, and helps us assign value and meaning to life. The question, as writer Wendell Berry puts it in a 1985 essay, comes down to this: “What are people for?” It’s a question we must confront, sooner or later.

        Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions.

  7. drumlin woodchuckles

    When I learned from reading this that the chairman of that Postal Service Oversight Board is a Catfood Obamacrat, I realized that the bipartisan Catfood Depublicrat Coalition plans to privatize the USPS by all possible means.

    The only action Congress will ever take is to privatise it even faster than the DeJoy plan for controlled 10 year flight into terrain.

    Blue state citizens should look into whether individual states can take over their own state-sized chunks of USPS when it is put up for sale. If there is any legal way to do that, blue state citizens should see if they can conquer their own Catfood Democrat state governments and take them over to use them as tools for taking over state-sized pieces of USPS within the borders of those blue states.

    That way, at least a state or a few-states or an inter-blue-state postal system will still exist within those states which can take over entire state sized chunks of USPS within their state borders when the “scramble for Africa” commences upon announcement of the Privatization Sale of the Century.
    And those states which were unable or unwilling to grab off their own state-sized pieces of USPS to have their own state sized SPS’s ( State Postal Services) can throw themselves on the mercy of the Darwin.

  8. Ep3

    “ The postal board can only have five presidential-appointed members from the same party by law”
    Whose politically motivated idea was this?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I will just purely guess that ideas like this started with warty little bipartisanship toads like Alan From and David Boren and such.

    2. John Anthony La Pietra

      So if Biden wanted to replace the Democratic chair, it would be with another Democrat. (Can’t be a fifth Republican — and after all, it’s not as if there are any other parties out here, right?)

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