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OpinionEditorial

Postal Service head must resign

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Postal Service on Capitol Hill on Monday. Credit: AP/Tom Williams

When an executive search firm created a list of qualified candidates for the position of postmaster general late last year, it gave 53 names to the United States Postal Service’s board of governors. 

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s name was not among them. 

That’s because DeJoy is unqualified, and because his conflicts of interest are disqualifying. What DeJoy does have is a history as a megadonor for President Donald Trump and a willingness to erode this great institution, one the public has more faith in than any other, to serve the long-term goals of the GOP and the current needs of Trump. 

DeJoy’s predecessor, Megan Brennan, had a distinguished Postal Service career that began with her hiring as a letter carrier. Brennan’s predecessor, Patrick Donahoe, and Donahoe’s predecessor, John Potter, were also career postal service employees. Each pushed sensible plans to make the Postal Service more economical by offering more services, like banking, and cutting expenses by eliminating Saturday delivery and unneeded facilities. 

The suggested improvements were rebuffed by Congress.

DeJoy, a logistics executive, testified before the House Oversight Committee Monday, offering querulous answers and little explanation for disabling high-speed mail sorting machines and pulling blue mailboxes off the street months before an election that will be held largely by mail. 

It’s an increasingly important issue as Trump argues that mailed ballots will be untrustworthy even though states that vote exclusively by mail have had no widespread problems. 

DeJoy told the committee, “I am not engaged in sabotaging the election. We will do everything in our power and structure to deliver the ballots on time.” But DeJoy also said he won't return mailboxes and mail sorters to service.

Those moves, along with reducing overtime and cutting delivery trips, have resulted in delays in mail delivery, including medicine, bills and checks. America has a deep reliance on the Postal Service, which is the envy of the world. The House passed a bill to restore the machines but the GOP-controlled Senate won't address it. And New York Attorney General Letitia James has rightly filed suit to block postal services policy changes meant to slow down the mail ahead of the election.

DeJoy owns about $30 million in stock in a company, XPO Logistics, that works for the Postal Service. This massive conflict is a telltale sign, because XPO is the kind of company that would profit if the dream of many Republicans and Trump, privatizing the Postal Service, were realized.

But the Postal Service, though it needs reforming, can’t be privatized, because its mission of providing affordable reliable service to all Americans makes it, like nearly every service governments provide, unprofitable.       

DeJoy — conflicted, unqualified and actively undermining mail service in the run-up to an election — should resign. The USPS needs a leader with stellar credentials who can work with the White House and Congress to deliver to the nation the Postal Service it deserves.

— The editorial board

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