We depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our publication strong and independent. Join us.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, from the time then-President Donald Trump nominated him for the job last year, has behaved like a man with two missions: to devalue the U.S. Postal Service while fattening his own financial portfolio.
Some of his early moves, ostensibly meant to make the agency more-efficient, seemed more likely to worsen service, such as ending the practice of keeping delivery trucks waiting an extra 10 or 15 minutes if it meant their being able to take larger quantities of mail.
When he ordered mail-processing equipment to be dismantled in many post offices, some unions began to see a pattern designed to slow the delivery of mail ballots, which figured to harm the presidential candidacy of Joe Biden and thus aid the man who had tapped Mr. DeJoy for the job.
Democratic Members of Congress had the same concerns, and called him before oversight hearings late last summer in which Mr. DeJoy acted contrite and said he would postpone the changes he had planned until the election was over. He did not, however, order the reinstallation of the dismantled mail-processing equipment.
Like a lot of Trump appointees, and the former President himself, the Postmaster General seems to also view government service as a chance to enrich himself. Although he sold the company where he made his fortune, XPO Logistics, seven years ago, he continues to hold $30 million of its stock, and has outsourced "a good portion of the postal service's logistical operations," according to Jonathan Smith, president of the New York Metro Area Postal Union.
The more of that business that winds up going to XPO Logistics, the better for its stock price, and for Mr. DeJoy's continued investment in it. He is also collecting $2 million a year from his former company as it leases buildings he still owns.
He has been able to do this because he has the support of Ron Bloom, the Chairman of the Postal Board of Governors. When it recently was revealed that Mr. DeJoy over the past year purchased $305,000 in bonds from Brookfield Asset Management, a lower-Manhattan-based firm in which Mr. Bloom is a managing partner, the Chairman said it was news to him, since he doesn't oversee the part of the company that deals with such business. That wouldn't have prevented Mr. DeJoy from mentioning it in casual conversation.
Since taking office, President Biden has been replacing Trump appointees to the Postal Board. Mr. Smith argued during a union rally outside Brookfield's headquarters Sept. 23 that this would only do so much, urging him to decline to reappoint Mr. Bloom in December as the first step to getting rid of Mr. DeJoy.
Given the likely conflicts of interest that may be binding the two men, action should be taken before they are too far along with a 10-year plan that New York Metro asserts is meant to tarnish the USPS's reputation for efficiency to make it easier to convince the public that privatization is the only solution.
As the rally wound up, one union member grabbed a guitar and offered a variation on the classic song by the Kingsmen, with colleagues joining him in singing, "Louie, Louie, oh, baby, you gotta go, yeah yeah yeah yeah."
Mr. Biden should start humming it, and then act accordingly.