Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Aug. 7 announced significant changes to the leadership structure at the United States Postal Service (USPS).
The overhaul is part of “an effort to operate in a more efficient and effective manner and better serve customers,” according to the press release about the new structure.
A comparison of organizational charts from Aug. 7 and June 12 shows that at least 20 officials have been moved to new roles. DeJoy also appointed a new chief technology officer, acting chief customer and marketing officer, and acting chief information officer.
“This organizational change will capture operating efficiencies by providing clarity and economies of scale that will allow us to reduce our cost base and capture new revenue,” DeJoy said in a statement.
“It is crucial that we do what is within our control to help us successfully complete our mission to serve the American people and, through the universal service obligation, bind our nation together by maintaining and operating our unique, vital and resilient infrastructure.”
The changes do not amount to a reduction in force, according to the USPS. DeJoy has also implemented a management hiring freeze.
DeJoy took over the reigns of the USPS in May. A successful businessman and a supporter of President Donald Trump, he became the first postmaster general who was not a career USPS employee.
DeJoy announced the changes as top Democrats in Congress scrutinized slowdowns in mail delivery. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized the leadership overhaul in an Aug. 6 letter to DeJoy.
“We believe these changes, made during the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, now threaten the timely delivery of mail—including medicines for seniors, paychecks for workers, and absentee ballots for voters—that is essential to millions of Americans,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote.
“While it is true that the Postal Service has and continues to face financial challenges, enacting these policies as cost-cutting or efficiency measures as the COVID-19 public health emergency continues is counterproductive and unacceptable.”
Although the USPS is not directly funded by taxpayers, it enjoys a government-backed monopoly on mailbox delivery and a number of advantages unavailable to private delivery companies. The organization is nonetheless billions of dollars in debt. DeJoy told the USPS Board of Governors on Aug. 7 that the management realignment is part of a larger effort to cut costs.
“Our financial position is dire, stemming from substantial declines in mail volume, a broken business model and a management strategy that has not adequately addressed these issues,” DeJoy said. “Without dramatic change, there is no end in sight, and we face an impending liquidity crisis.”
The USPS has been thrust to the forefront of political controversy in recent weeks due to the heated debate over mail-in voting. Trump has vehemently opposed the idea, saying it would increase the risk of voter fraud. Democrats have framed the opposition to mail-in voting as an attempt to suppress voters.
Trump recently altered course and backed mail-in voting in Florida, explaining that the Republican governors there have established an efficient and reliable system.