Advance Notice: Briefs

Peters launches investigation into Postal Service delays

By: - August 6, 2020 12:08 pm

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters at the Detroit NAACP dinner | Andrew Roth

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) announced Thursday that he has launched an investigation into a myriad of reported issues at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Peters cites widespread delays of crucial mail deliveries, including prescriptions and mail-in ballots, that have come following recent changes directed by newly appointed leadership at the federal agency.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has failed to respond to multiple inquiries from Peters into the problems, the senator said.

“For 245 years, the Postal Service has worked to provide reliable, consistent and on-time delivery that keeps Americans connected no matter where they live – especially in rural areas,” Peters said. “Unfortunately, in recent weeks, I’ve heard firsthand from constituents, postal workers and local officials in Michigan who have encountered problems with the timely and dependable service they count on to conduct business, get prescription medications and critical supplies, and even exercise their right to vote.”

DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser and businessman, has come under scrutiny during his short tenure for his overtly political career, ties to President Donald Trump and large financial stake in companies that have business with the USPS. DeJoy has served as head of the nation’s foremost mail delivery service since May.

Peters sent letters to DeJoy on July 17 and July 31 requesting information from the agency. Both inquiries went unanswered.

“As ranking member of the [Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs] committee charged with oversight of the Postal Service, I will be working to get to the bottom of any changes that the new Postmaster General may be directing that undercut the Postal Service’s tradition of effective service,” Peters said.

The USPS has struggled financially with debt and unfunded liabilities for more than a decade — a problem which became much worse after COVID-19 began to rip through the United States in early spring.

For the investigation, Peters is asking that anyone affected by USPS delays or other operational changes share their experiences here. His office also will be requesting information from organizations, state and local officials, local postmasters and other workers at the USPS and chambers of commerce.

“As increasing numbers of Americans plan to vote by mail in upcoming elections, the Postal Service must also ensure that any operational changes do not limit voter participation,” Peters’ release notes.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins covers the environment, Native issues and criminal justice for the Advance. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service. When Laina is not writing or spending time with her cats, she loves art and design, listening to music, playing piano, enjoying good food and being out in nature (especially Up North).