USPS Suspends Changes After Outcry Over Delivery Slowdown

As criticism and public pressure mounted, the Postal Service’s board of governors held emergency meetings via conference call on Saturday and Monday, where the outcry was discussed, according to a person familiar with the meetings who asked for anonymity because they were closed to the public.

According to a notice in the Federal Register regarding the meeting on Saturday, the Postal Service’s general counsel “certified that the meeting may be closed under the Government in the Sunshine Act.”

While the board oversees the strategic direction of the Postal Service and selects the postmaster general, who serves at the pleasure of the board members, it is not clear what role it played in approving the cost-cutting changes or suspending them until after the election.

Board members either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment on Mr. DeJoy’s moves and what role, if any, they have played. A Postal Service spokesman declined to comment on the board’s role or the meetings, instead asking a reporter to file a Freedom of Information Act request for the agendas of the meetings.

Mr. DeJoy and his administration allies have argued that the removal of underutilized mailboxes and replacing sorting equipment were policies first set into motion by Mr. DeJoy’s predecessors. But Mr. DeJoy has carried them out with a speed and vigor previous postmaster generals had not, according to people familiar with their execution.

“So, Postmaster General DeJoy, two weeks ago, and again, recently, has reiterated his commitment to pay overtime to postal workers and letter carriers if there’s an increase in volume that demands that in order to be able to get ballots or any other first-class mail to its destination as efficiently and as fast as possible,” Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told reporters on Tuesday. “President Trump at no time has instructed or directed the post office to cut back on overtime, or any other operational decision that would slow things down.”

Union officials said that some very limited overtime requests had been fulfilled. The bigger concerns, they said, were the routing and transportation changes detailed in a memo in July that was widely circulated. Among the changes, mail carriers are supposed to avoid waiting for delayed trucks or taking multiple trips.