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October 8, 2021
LANSING - Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of 20 Attorneys General, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and New York Attorney General Letitia James, in submitting a formal complaint asking the Postal Regulatory Commission to order the U.S. Postal Service to request an advisory opinion on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's ten-year plan to transform the Postal Service.
"We continue to watch Postmaster General DeJoy make reckless changes to the postal service that only further delay and disrupt operations," Nessel said. "The Postal Regulatory Commission must reject these efforts by supporting additional scrutiny of the ten-year plan and a proper evaluation of its potential impact to the U.S. Postal Service."
The attorneys general submitted the complaint and its relevant exhibits to the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent federal agency that provides transparency and accountability to the Postal Service. The complaint asserts that Postmaster General DeJoy adopted a ten-year plan that will make significant changes to postal services without first obtaining an advisory opinion from the Commission. Federal law requires the Postal Service to go to the Commission whenever it makes a change to postal services that will affect the entire country. The group writes:
"The Plan will transform virtually every aspect of the Postal Service… rework how the Postal Service transports mail and other products; overhaul its processing and logistics network; enact slower service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals and First-Class Packages Services; reconfigure the location of places where customers can obtain postal products and services; and adjust rates... To date, the Postal Service has only submitted two requests for an advisory opinion to the Commission on important but narrow changes that represent only a small portion of the Plan's scope."
Congress empowered the Commission to provide expert advice and oversight to the Postal Service-oversight that is sorely needed after Postmaster General DeJoy implemented operational changes in summer 2020 that caused nationwide mail delays. The group explains that avoiding review by the Commission will harm the States and the public and could lead to future problems with mail delivery:
"The Plan reflects multiple unprecedented changes in the Postal Service's operations and service, at a time when reliance on the mail remains at historic levels, and states across the country are grappling with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant. Implementing the full breadth of these changes without adhering to the process set forth in section 3661(b) deprives users of the mail of their statutory rights, and undermines public accountability. In addition, failing to seek the Commission's expert review on such a transformational change upsets the statutory balance established by the [Postal Regulatory Act], deprives the Postal Service of the Commission's expert recommendations, risks significant errors in the Postal Service's decision-making, and ultimately harms all who rely on the Postal Service for timely and efficient mail."
The complaint requests that the Commission order the Postal Service to request a review of the full extent of the ten-year plan, affording the States and the public an opportunity to provide comment.
Joining Nessel in this complaint are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Washington.
Earlier this year, Nessel joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general and two cities in calling on the Postal Regulatory Commission to oppose efforts to increase delivery times for First-Class Mail and other essential postal services.