Ossoff demands quick update from postmaster general on mail delays

Warnock officials confirm postal service chief did not respond to senator’s letter by Friday’s deadline
U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is demanding more answers about the U.S. Postal Service's delivery woes.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is demanding more answers about the U.S. Postal Service's delivery woes.

Georgia’s Jon Ossoff continues to press U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for an update on what improvements the postal service has made since the contentious April 16 committee hearing, where the senator questioned him about the persistent late mail deliveries.

Ossoff and fellow Georgia senator Raphael Warnock have been begging for answers from DeJoy for more than a month, writing multiple letters in hopes of receiving positive news.

The widespread mail delays originated from the Atlanta Regional Processing and Distribution Center in Palmetto, causing metro area customers to complain about late bill payments, late deliveries of medications and other concerns. The problems have gone on for months.

In a letter dated Thursday, Ossoff followed up on his demands from the hearing, when he said the U.S. Postal Service performance should improve immediately.

“At the hearing, you told me that my constituents should start seeing service improve ‘now’ and that ‘we will get to where we need to be in about 60 days.’ Please provide me an update on the current on-time delivery statistics in the metro Atlanta area within one week,” Ossoff wrote.

The final sentence was in bold.

Warnock sent his own letter, co-signed by six other lawmakers from the state, to DeJoy in April. It reiterated that USPS’ timeliness had been inadequate and set a deadline for DeJoy to respond.

That deadline was Friday. Warnock’s representatives confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Friday that they had not received a formal response. The AJC has reached out to USPS for comment.

In his letter, Ossoff pointed out the glaring fact he learned at the hearing: In the Atlanta area, on-time delivery for first-class mail was being met only 36% of the time.

DeJoy explained at the time that the delays were the result of having to move 2,000 employees to the Palmetto facility from other locations, and that the postal service has “strict requirements as to when they move,” as well as “inbound transportation issues.”

On Friday, Channel 2 Action News obtained a video that shows a mail machine spewing packages onto the floor at the facility. The video shows a Matrix Regional Sorter spitting out mail so fast that workers couldn’t keep up.

DeJoy addressed the problems in a meeting Thursday with the USPS Board of Governors.

“We apologize for these conditions and are working hard and know that we soon will be delivering the service the American people deserve,” DeJoy said.

Referencing USPS’ “Delivering for America” plan that was introduced in 2021 to improve postal efficiency, DeJoy said it will take time for it to work.

“I must remind our stakeholders that the DFA plan is not a magic wand,” DeJoy said. “And that change, particularly on the scale that this is needed, is hard, uncomfortable for everyone, and encounters errors of varying magnitudes.”

He added that the postal service is also in the middle of correcting “years of failed practices.”

Prior to the DFA plan, he said, there was no path to financial sustainability and no growth strategy.

“Throughout this journey, we recognize that there have been impacts to our customers, especially in regions like Atlanta, Houston and Richmond, where transformation activities have been elevated” DeJoy said.

“We cannot snap our fingers and instantly implement our strategy.”

It was not the first letter Ossoff has sent to DeJoy. He previously sent one March 14, asking for updates on how the problems were going to be fixed and how USPS was notifying customers about delayed or lost packages. At the April hearing, DeJoy told Ossoff he had not read that letter.

“You should personally read letters from members of the U.S. Senate committee that oversees your operations, particularly where you are failing abysmally to fulfill your core mission,” Ossoff told DeJoy during the hearing, before clarifying that he was not referring to postal workers.