Louis DeJoy, the Postmaster General of the US Postal Service, was a businessperson and Republican fundraiser with no experience in the area of the agency he was picked to lead by Trump. He seems intent on ruining the postal service in the name of cost savings and efficiency. Like many Trump and Republican free market enthusiasts, they do not seem to realize that some vital government services are just that, services whose goal should be to serve the public well, not to generate profits.
What is even more puzzling is that in providing uniform pricing for mail, the USPS is using the heavier volume of mail sent to and from urban areas (which makes it cheaper to handle per item) to subsidize the mail sent to and from rural and remote areas. For some rural areas, the postal service is their lifeline to the rest of the country and the way they get essential items like medicines. Since urban areas tend be more Democratic and rural areas more Republican, cutting postal services or raising prices would hurt Republicans more. And yet, Republicans, so indoctrinated against the government, seem to be on board with both those measures that are promoted in the name of ‘efficiency’ and ‘cost cutting’.
The postmaster general is appointed to that position by a nine-member Board of Governors, which is supposed to have no more than five members belonging to the same political party. (Why party affiliation is a factor for such a position beats me. Surely you would just want people who are committed to the mission of the USPS?)
At present there are only six people on the board out of the nine. Four of them are Republicans and two are Democrats. The current chair is a Democrat whose term expired in December 2020 and is a holdover and all six are wealthy white men with corporate backgrounds who were appointed by Trump. Congressperson Cori Bush has blasted this lack of diversity.
Joe Biden has now nominated three people to fill out the board.
Mr. Biden has chosen Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of the American Postal Workers Union; Amber McReynolds, a voting rights activist and the CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute; and Ron Stroman, who recently retired as deputy postmaster general.
Hajjar is an Arab-American, McReynolds is a woman, and Stroman is an African-American and all have backgrounds in the postal system, thus bringing with them not just diversity but also relevant knowledge and expertise to their positions.
If and when they are confirmed by the Senate, Democrats would have a majority on the board but it is not clear whether the two current Democrats would vote to replace DeJoy. DeJoy himself seems confident of staying on, combatively telling a congressional hearing that he intends to be around “for a long time” and that they should “get used to me”.
Let’s hope he is wrong.