N.C. attorney general joins 20 other states, files complaint against Postal Service’s 10-Year Plan

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 10:57 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-Year Plan for the U.S. Postal Service is facing pushback from state attorneys general including North Carolina’s AG Josh Stein.

Stein filed a complaint against the agency for DeJoy’s plan on Thursday, claiming DeJoy adopted it without taking the proper steps and getting an opinion by the Postal Regulatory Commission.

“The Postal Service is an essential government service, and it cannot restructure without considering how those changes will affect millions of Americans,” said Stein. “I’m filing this complaint to ensure that Postmaster General DeJoy’s radical plan doesn’t destroy the timely mail service that people depend on for medications, bill payments, and business operations in rural parts of the state.”

DeJoy’s plan, which will slow down services by the USPS, has faced criticism since it was announced earlier this year.

“The 10-year plan would undermine the Postal Service, including changes that would enact slower service standards for first-class mail and other packages, change the location of post offices, and adjust rates. The plan would slow down USPS standard delivery for 30 percent of mail from three days to five days, increase the price of each piece of mail by six to nine percent, and put these changes in place without doing anything to effectively address the larger Postal Service budget deficit,” according to a press release from Stein.

This is not the first time Stein has taken issue, as well as legal action, against DeJoy. Last year he filed a lawsuit against DeJoy for mail slowdowns ahead of the November 2020 election.

DeJoy says there is a need for these changes.

“We are transitioning from an outdated network and operational posture that was ill-equipped to handle the effects of the pandemic on the mix of mail and packages we process – and we expect this volume shift to continue into the foreseeable future,” he said. “As we establish our new network design and deploy our operating initiatives, we will operate with much greater efficiency and precision, become financially self-sustaining, and deliver greater value to the American public we serve.”

The 44-page complaint says DeJoy violated the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act by putting the plan into place without the approval of the commission.

According to the act, “When the Postal Service determines that there should be a change in the nature of postal services which will generally affect service on a nationwide or substantially nationwide basis, it shall submit a proposal, within a reasonable time prior to the effective date of such proposal, to the Postal Regulatory Commission requesting an advisory opinion on the change.”

The complaint alleges that the USPS has only submitted two requests for opinions from the commission for small, but significant changes that makeup only part of the 10-Year Plan’s scope.

“The attorneys general contend that DeJoy failed to do so, and without the proper review, DeJoy’s plan could lead to future problems with mail delivery. The attorneys general are requesting 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,” according to Stein’s press release.

The USPS issued a statement on the complaint on Friday afternoon claiming they will move to dismiss the complaint.

“The recent complaint filed by a group of Attorneys General has no legal or factual merit, and the Postal Service intends to move to dismiss it pursuant to the rules of the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Postal Service has and will continue to follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as we move forward on implementing our strategic plan to restore service excellence and financial sustainability,” according to an email from the USPS.

Other states that joined in filing the complaint were Pennsylvania, New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Washington.

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