Many of the concerns shared by Northwest Philadelphia residents about the declining service from the United States Postal Service aren’t unique.
Many of the concerns shared by Northwest Philadelphia residents about the declining service from the United States Postal Service aren’t unique to this part of the city – or even the city as a whole.
While mail check theft has hit some neighborhoods harder than others, slower mail and staffing issues have plagued the city as whole, and even the entire country – a fact made clear at Congressional Field Hearing on the state of the United States Postal Service held last month at Temple University.
Last Thursday, a federal judge validated those concerns. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that DeJoy's changes to the post office before the 2020 election had harmed mail delivery. To increase efficiency, Sullivan ordered a revision of postal employee delivery practices implemented by DeJoy.
That’s why virtually every member of Philadelphia’s congressional delegation is calling for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to be fired.
“There is a reason why I and others of my colleagues have called for his termination,” Congressman Brendan Boyle, who represents parts of Old City, North Philadelphia and Northeast Philadelphia, said at the hearing. “I reiterate that today, we need change at the very top of the Postal Service.”
So, now that there’s a Democratic president in the White House, why does DeJoy still have a job?
The answer is complicated. President Biden cannot directly remove DeJoy from his post. Only the Postal Service’s Board of Governors, which consists of nine members, can do that.
What the president can do, however, is appoint new board members, who can vote for DeJoy’s ouster. And back in May, Biden appointed two new ones: Democrat Dan Tangherlini and Republican Derek Kan. He had to appoint at least one Republican because no more than five of the nine governors may be of the same political party.
So Biden now has five appointees to the board, compared to President Trump’s four.
Yet DeJoy still remains. Why?
When the Local reached out to the White House for an explanation, it was directed to comments former White House press secretary Jen Psaki made in November of last year. When she was asked whether the president was looking to remove DeJoy, she deflected and said “it’s up to the board to make a determination about leadership.”
“But we have continued concerns about the Postmaster General’s leadership,” she added.
Evidently, that answer hasn’t placated local elected officials.
“It’s inexplicable to me why the new appointees to the Board have not made replacing DeJoy a top priority,” Boyle said in a statement to the Local.
Congressman Dwight Evans, who represents Northwest Philadelphia, agrees.
“The leadership has not been performing his responsibility,” Evans said. “Obviously change is necessary.”
Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents parts of Delaware County, Southwest Philadelphia and South Philadelphia, said she thinks DeJoy “prioritizes questionable efficiencies over actual services, an approach more appropriate to a profit-driven corporate boardroom than a government agency tasked with providing an essential public service to all Americans.”
“It is clear that DeJoy’s priorities are not aligned with the mission of the USPS and the needs of the American people,” she continued. “He is not up to the job and should be removed by the USPS Board of Governors.”
In December of this year, two more USPS board members – both appointed by former President Donald Trump – will have their terms expire.
Evans, citing “dramatic increases in the amount of lost and stolen mail, undelivered packages and post office closures,” wants Biden to fill those seats with people who would fire DeJoy, said Turner.
Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan, who represents parts of Chester and Bucks Counties and has also called for DeJoy’s resignation, told the Local that the USPS board not having the votes to fire Dejoy doesn’t necessarily mean Congress can’t work to expose the USPS’ failures under his watch.
“My community, like so many others across our nation, has seen the noticeable and recent decline in USPS services impact our veterans, seniors, small business owners, and others,” she said.
“Just because there are not enough votes on the governing board to remove DeJoy doesn’t mean we are left without options to help everyday Americans get their mail on time,” she said. “Sometimes sunlight can be the best disinfectant.”