President Joe Biden just picked three new nominees for the postal service board. They could fire the postmaster general quickly.
President Joe Biden selected three new nominees on Wednesday to fill vacant seats on the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors, possibly setting up the firing of Republican Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. But a defiant DeJoy taunted Congress, declaring he does not plan to leave anytime soon.
The White House confirmed that Biden has selected two Democrats (former Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman and former American Postal Workers Union general counsel Anton Hajjar) and one independent (voting-by-mail advocate Amber McReynolds) for the three currently open seats. If confirmed, they and two currently serving Democrats could give Biden a working majority on the nine-member panel.
The Postal Service is run by a board of governors, appointed for a fixed term by the president — subject to Senate confirmation — and can be removed only for cause. The postmaster general is selected by that board and answers only to its members.
As a result, DeJoy — a Republican major donor who was appointed by Donald Trump's GOP-controlled board to the position last May — has remained on the job, even as Biden has replaced most of the Trump team in the executive branch.
Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for weeks for Biden to appoint new governors to the board, noting the massive problems at the agency under DeJoy's direction. Such a move, they noted, was needed to allow the board "to function in a nonpartisan manner, and will allow the Board to seriously consider whether the current Postmaster General is suitable to continue in his role."
Some have even urged Biden to fire the entire board, suggesting its failure to stop DeJoy's "operational changes that included gutting overtime pay, reducing hours of operations for facilities and removing community mail drop boxes," was cause for dismissal.
Less than a year into the job, DeJoy has implemented changes that significantly slowed mail delivery. Given that this came during a pandemic when millions of Americans relied on mail-in voting options to participate in the 2020 election, many accused him of intentional sabotage.
A federal judge said in September that the delivery slowdowns were a "politically motivated attack." The agency's inspector general said in October that his operational changes "negatively impacted the quality and timelines of mail service nationally."
In addition to disenfranchising voters, the delivery delays have been problematic for many Americans who rely on the Postal Service to get their prescription drugs and other necessities — especially at a time when vulnerable populations are staying home to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
Asked by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) how long he intended to stay in the job, he snapped, "A long time. Get used to me."
If Biden's nominees are confirmed and the new majority decides change is needed, Cooper may not have to do that.