mail issues
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Mail Issues Take Center Stage at Senate Hearing with Postmaster General DeJoy

USPS Postmaster General & Inspector General testify on inefficiencies and backlog in regional facilities resulting from implementation of key initiatives in 10-year Delivering for America plan

Mail issues such as delivery delays, missing mail, stolen mail, and backlogs have made headlines recently, particularly in parts of the country where the Postal Service is implementing changes at regional facilities as part of its 10-year Delivering for America plan. This week, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy appeared before a Senate Committee hearing to discuss ongoing issues in areas like Atlanta, where on-time mail delivery levels have reached 36%, according to U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff.

Mail Issues like Delays & Falling On-Time Delivery Increase as USPS Implements Network Modernization Changes

As part of its 10-year plan to modernize itself and become a financially sustainable operation, USPS recently opened repurposed Regional Processing & Distribution Centers (RPDCs) in Atlanta, Georgia, and Richmond, Virginia. RPDCs are large facilities that serve as sorting and distribution hubs for mail and packages. At them, postal workers sort incoming packages for delivery within the region, and sort letters and parcels traveling outside the region.

When speaking to the Senate committee during this week’s hearing, Tammy Hull—Inspector General of USPS—said the following regarding the RPDC in Richmond:

“A recent audit of the repurposed facility found significant problems. Prior to making changes, the Postal Service had not addressed staffing and other issues that we had raised in our 2021 and 2022 audits of the facility. Transportation planning for the new facility was also insufficient, leading to a 700% increase in extra trips.”

Hull added that “first class mail on-time service performance in the Richmond region dropped about 21 percentage points to 65%” after the implementation of the Postal Service’s “local transportation optimization initiative,” in which collection mail is held overnight at local Post Offices to reduce the number of trips and associated costs.

Senators Highlight Mail Delays for their Constituents Outside of Richmond

USPS is also experiencing similar mail issues outside of Richmond. During the hearing, Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff remarked that only “36 percent of the mail is being delivered on time” to his constituents in the state.

When he asked DeJoy about the specific reason behind that statistic, DeJoy said that USPS “had to move 2,000 people from all these different plants into one location,” adding that the Georgia RPDC in question is “a big facility that we opened up” and that USPS has “inbound transportation issues.” When Senator Ossoff asked when the issue would be fixed, DeJoy said, “…you should see it start now, and I think we’ll get to where we need to be in about 60 days.”

In his written testimony to committee members, DeJoy reiterated that due to the implementation of high-level initiatives in the Delivering for America plan, “on time service was largely stabilized…and we have cut our expected losses over the next 10 years by more than half.” DeJoy also noted that the Postal Service has begun implementing similar changes to RPDCs outside of Richmond and Atlanta, namely in Portland, Boise, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis.

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