Biden nominates 3 to postal board as delays persist

Anthony Izaguirre
Associated Press

President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated three postal experts to the governing board of the U.S. Postal Service, a move that could alter the course of an agency grappling with delivery delays and rumored cuts under its embattled Republican leader.

If confirmed by the Senate, the Board of Governors nominees would bring additional Democratic scrutiny on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor whose tenure has been mired by slow service and politicization.

United States Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy looks on during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on "Legislative Proposals to Put the Postal Service on Sustainable Financial Footing" on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Washington.

The nominees are Ron Stroman, a former deputy postmaster general; Amber McReynolds, a mail voting advocate who leads the nonprofit National Vote at Home Institute; and Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union. A White House announcement of the move came just after a long and sometimes tense congressional hearing with DeJoy about the agency’s ailing financial health.

“President Biden is committed to the USPS’ success, and these experienced and tested leaders will ensure the USPS is running at the highest of service standards and that it can effectively and efficiently serve all communities in our country,” a White House statement read.

Democrats have been pressing Biden to nominate a slate of potential governors who could oust DeJoy. The six members who currently comprise the board were nominated by President Donald Trump. A spokesman for the Postal Service said it “will welcome all qualified members to the Board of Governors.”

DeJoy, a prominent supporter of Trump, has come under heavy criticism for a series of operational changes that slowed mail before the 2020 elections. The policy shifts fueled fears that DeJoy was attempting to sabotage the agency on the behalf of Trump, a vocal critic of mail voting, before it handled unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballots. Despite the worries, the agency said, it delivered more than 99% of ballots within five days.

After the election, the Postal Service again came into the spotlight as it struggled to handle the holiday season surge of packages and mail, leading to additional condemnation. DeJoy and other postal leaders have acknowledged and pledged to attend to the delays, saying the agency fell short of expectations.

DeJoy and the board are finalizing a 10-year plan to revitalize the Postal Service, an independent agency with roots to the 18th century. Asked about rumored cuts during the congressional hearing Wednesday, DeJoy told lawmakers that postal officials are “evaluating all service standards” but declined to offer many specifics.

“We need to, frankly, confront the problems we face, be candid and realistic about the magnitude of the solutions we require, and embrace the few, crucial, elements of legislative help we need from the Congress,” DeJoy said.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, praised the nominees and said they represent an experienced group who will oversee any potential changes to the agency’s operations.

“The board has the right to hire and to fire postmaster generals, so DeJoy’s certainly going to have to function in a way that he keeps the support of the board,” Dimondstein said. “He’s going to be dealing with some changing dynamics on the board.”

Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York.

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