Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has unleashed a vicious and unfair attack on Louis DeJoy, the new Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service, while also implying that the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors was derelict in its duties when hiring Mr. DeJoy.
While this has the classic markings of being a political stunt that will likely soon pass, the Senator’s actions are reckless and could spin out of control, becoming problematic to the public.
First, Senator Schumer further distracts Congress from implementing postal reform, which should be done within the next 12 months before the Postal Service becomes insolvent. Second, he throws an added and wholly unnecessary burden on the leadership of the Postal Service, which must respond to these frivolous charges, during a pandemic that makes mail and package delivery critical.
In a June 14 letter to Robert Duncan, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Senator Schumer demands to know if Mr. DeJoy, “was selected for reasons of politics or patronage or if he will protect and strengthen its (USPS’s) essential services.”
Senator Schumer also wants to know if DeJoy has financial conflicts. There is a request for voluminous information.
Like Senator Schumer, Louis DeJoy is a native of Brooklyn. While Senator Schumer has spent his career in politics, DeJoy has been a stellar success in business with nationally respected expertise in supply chain, logistics and cost issues – the key skill set necessary to run today’s Postal Service.
DeJoy has also been a philanthropist and involved in political activities. In fact, he has been a big contributor to President Trump’s re-election campaign, and he was in charge of fundraising for this year’s Republican National Convention.
Having someone with political skills at the helm of the Postal Service is a valuable and important attribute. Senators and Congressmen are regularly looking for ways to micro-manage the Postal Service, but hesitant to make the difficult, holistic reforms that are necessary to give the Postal Service a new business model so that it can continue to serve the public while avoiding a massive taxpayer bailout.
And to be sure, DeJoy is much more than a politico.
In its May 6 news release announcing DeJoy’s appointment, the Board of Governors said, “He transformed a small, family owned transportation company with 10 employees into a nationwide provider of highly engineered, technology-driven, contract logistics solutions employing more than 9,000 people.”
The Board of Governors voted for DeJoy’s appointment unanimously. Among those doing so was Ron Bloom, who served in the Obama Administration as a senior advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the auto industry and manufacturing policy. Governor Bloom, too, is from New York. Perhaps Senator Schumer should speak with him about these matters.
The process to select DeJoy as Postmaster General was transparent, thorough and non-partisan by design. It involved two prestigious executive recruiting firms. The May 6 news release says, “The Governors reviewed the records of more than two hundred candidates for the position before narrowing the list to more than fifty candidates in first round interviews and invited seven candidates for follow-up interviews.”
Finally, a note about timing. The Senator’s letter to the Board of Governors was sent on Sunday, June 14 more than six weeks after DeJoy’s appointment was announced. In New York, Senator Schumer is legendary for “Sunday for Monday” — identifying a news topic that will arouse coverage and putting it out on the slow news day of Sunday for pick-up Monday morning.
The Senator then typically moves onto other issues. He should do so again here, with an apology to Postmaster General DeJoy and the Board of Governors.
About the Author: Paul Steidler is a senior fellow with the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank based in Arlington, Virginia.
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