Ossoff receives long-awaited updates on post office woes

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sent U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff a lengthy letter addressing the mail delivery problems in Georgia.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sent U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff a lengthy letter addressing the mail delivery problems in Georgia.

It’s been weeks since U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia began begging for answers about recent United States Postal Service failures. On Friday, he finally got them.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sent Ossoff a lengthy letter addressing the problems at the Atlanta Regional Processing and Distribution Center in Palmetto after months of metro Atlanta residents complaining about late mail. The facility opened in February.

Local residents told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the issues have been burdensome. Some complained of not being able to send wedding invitations and birthday cards, while others struggled to make bill payments and receive medicine.

In DeJoy’s letter, he admitted to inadequacies at the Palmetto facility due to several changes being implemented.

“Unfortunately, the initiation of the Atlanta RPDC led to a significant drop in performance, which was unanticipated,” DeJoy wrote.

This week, in a letter addressed to Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), DeJoy agreed to pause the changes being made at some post office facilities until 2025. In that letter, DeJoy discussed the changes being made at nearly 60 mail processing facilities in the U.S., including the one in Palmetto, and said USPS would take a closer look at its “Delivering for America” plan.

While those revisions will pause, DeJoy said that USPS will continue to make other improvements until the issues are fixed. Some of the changes include sending more than 100 personnel to make sure employees are adhering to new procedures, conducting operational meetings more often and increasing local trips to improve service.

“To address this challenge in a purposeful and deliberative manner, we will continue to devote substantial time, resources and attention until the facility and network improvements are performing to the intended specifications,” he said.

DeJoy’s letter is in response to a letter Ossoff sent May 9, when he asked for updates regarding improvements made since an April 16 Senate committee hearing, where Ossoff battered him with questions.

At the time, the Democratic senator had requested that DeJoy respond within a week. Before receiving DeJoy’s letter, Ossoff made a statement calling him “incompetent.”

“Postmaster General DeJoy’s refusal to cooperate with basic Senate oversight is baffling and disturbing. It suggests that in addition to being incompetent at delivering the mail on time, he doesn’t care about the Georgians in distress as a result of his incompetence,” Ossoff said. “I will continue fighting for the Georgians suffering from the Postmaster General’s failure.”

DeJoy explained at the April committee hearing 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.”

In the Friday letter, DeJoy also added that staffing problems should improve soon, stating that USPS continues to experience “poor and variable” employee availability at plants around the city.

“In the next two weeks, once we can complete the necessary steps to adjust and reorder scheduling and staffing, this issue should alleviate,” DeJoy wrote.

A chart showing service improvements in Georgia is also included in the letter. The data shows that performance in the state for first-class mail has improved from 36% during the week of April 9-16 to 64% as of Friday, DeJoy stated.