More than a year and a half into President Joe Biden’s first term, Louis DeJoy—a megadonor to former President Donald Trump and a villain in the eyes of progressives and many Democratic lawmakers—is still running the U.S. Postal Service.
DeJoy’s staying power in the face of widespread outrage over his sabotage of postal operations and his ethics scandals, one of which spurred an FBI probe, can largely be attributed to the loyalty of the USPS Board of Governors, a majority of which has remained supportive of the postmaster general amid repeated calls for his ouster over the past two years.
While Biden lacks the authority to fire DeJoy directly, he does have the ability to alter the composition of the postal board, which can replace the postmaster general with a simple-majority vote.
As The American Prospect‘s David Dayen explained Wednesday, the president may soon have an opportunity to pave the way for DeJoy’s removal by nominating two DeJoy opponents to postal governor spots that will be open in December, when the terms of Republican William Zollars and Democrat Donald Lee Moak—allies of the postmaster general—expire.
“Moak’s presence has been one reason why DeJoy has continued in his position, despite Biden having appointed a majority of the board and all of its other Democrats,” Dayen noted. “Roman Martinez, a Republican, serves as board chair, despite the fact that Republicans only hold four of the board’s nine slots.”
“The Postal Service Board of Governors has a requirement that only a bare majority of its members, in this case five out of nine, be affiliated with the president’s own party,” Dayen continued. “However, board member Amber McReynolds, whom Biden appointed in 2021, is a registered independent. Therefore, it’s technically possible for Biden to replace Moak and Zollars with Democrats who align with the vast majority of the Democratic base in opposing DeJoy. That would ensure enough votes to fire DeJoy.”
Earlier this month, a coalition of more than 80 advocacy organizations led by Take on Wall Street sent a letter pushing Biden to nominate replacements for Moak and Zollars who are “wholly committed to the task of protecting and expanding our Postal Service.”
The 83 groups also expressed alarm over DeJoy’s stated plan to “raise postage prices at ‘uncomfortable rates’ around the country” as part of his decade long policy vision, which has drawn pushback from postal unions, lawmakers, and Democratic members of the USPS board.
“Additionally, numerous post office locations are set to be shuttered under his 10-year restructuring plan, potentially impacting thousands of employees during a time of economic crisis,” the groups wrote. “After DeJoy’s numerous failings at the helm, it is imperative that we have a strong, full, and reform-oriented Postal Board of Governors in place to hold him accountable to the true mission and public service goals of the USPS.”
“This is one of the last opportunities your administration has to appoint governors to the postal board,” they added.
The letter, dated August 1, was sent days after DeJoy announced his goal of slashing 50,000 positions from the Postal Service in the coming years, an effort that the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union (APWU) condemned and vowed to fight.
“If it’s management’s intent to weaken our union, attack our pay and conditions, or eliminate family-sustaining union postal jobs, the [postmaster general] will get a strong fight from the APWU,” Mark Dimondstein, the union’s president, told Government Executive last week.
“We will oppose future job reductions that affect the lives of the postal workers we represent,” Dimondstein added. “Rest assured that any such management actions will be met with [the] unbridled opposition of the APWU.”
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Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams. Follow him on Twitter: @johnsonjakep.