USPS Office of the Inspector General finds ‘confusion and inconsistency,’ DeJoy’s changes in compliance

Tonda Rush

Oct 30, 2020

Falls Church, Virginia — The Postal Service management created “confusion and inconsistency” in operations at postal facilities around the country that resulted in damage to service, the USPS Office of the Inspector General said in October.

At the request of Congress, the OIG reviewed the Postal Service’s actions in June and July that set up pushback from members of Congress as the public complained about delayed mail deliveries.

The OIG looked at three initiatives from new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, as well as 57 other directives aimed at reducing cost:

  • Elimination of late and extra trips to transport mail. Started July 10, 2020, this initiative was to eliminate all late and extra trips outside of regularly scheduled transportation service.
  • Organization Restructure: On August 7, 2020, the Postmaster General announced a reorganization of field operations and headquarters functions to align functions based on core business operations.
  • Expedited Street Afternoon Sortation (ESAS): This initiative began as a pilot program at 384 facilities nationwide on July 25,2020, and was designed to eliminate excessive overtime.

In addition to creating confusion in mailing operations, the manner in which the Postal Service set initiatives into motion or accelerated others was also tagged by the OIG as resulting in little or no communication to Congress, mailing customers or stakeholders. Even within the operation, communication was often conducted orally, leading to misunderstandings and inconsistencies, OIG noted.

But the Postal Service was not found out of compliance with laws requiring it to notify the Postal Regulatory Commission of intended service reductions. OIG found that, technically, the law had been obeyed because USPS considered each of the initiatives independently and did not intentionally set out to degrade service. The OIG pointed out that the law requiring PRC consultation could be inadequate if USPS took a “head in the sand” approach to changes by disregarding its various initiatives as a whole for their potential to change nationwide service.

The ESAS program generated objections from National Newspaper Association as well, as members reported learning on short notice that their issues would be delivered a day late. Inquiries from Congress and news reports tying the initiatives to the White House’s concerns about mailed ballots resulted in a decision by DeJoy to put off further action on some of the initiatives until after the election.

Tonda Rush is the director of public policy and serves as general counsel to the National Newspaper Association. Email her at