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November 22, 2021

Maryland Delegation Presses Postmaster General DeJoy for Update on Readiness for Holiday Mail Surge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 22, 2021

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen David Trone, Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin, and Andy Harris, M.D. (all Md.) wrote to United States Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster General Louis DeJoy requesting a progress report on the Postal Service’s efforts to ensure mail is delivered in a timely manner this holiday season. In the letter, the lawmakers press for answers from the Postmaster General on specific questions regarding USPS’ preparations for the holiday mail surge, as well as actions it has taken to correct the processing issues identified in this month’s OIG report on Baltimore area mail facilities.

The members begin, “We are writing to follow up on your recent commitment that the U.S. Postal Service is ready to deliver packages in a timely manner this holiday season, and to request an update on the Postal Service’s implementation of recommendations made by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) following their review of problems at nine post offices in Baltimore, MD.”

“According to the most recent data on service performance published by the OIG, which covers July to September of 2021, 89.0% of packages were delivered on time in the Baltimore District and 88.6% of packages were delivered on time in the Capital District. There continue to be significant service problems in Maryland, but this is a welcome improvement from the poor service our constituents received last holiday season,” the lawmakers continue. “That said, the OIG’s report on Baltimore revealed several problems that could contribute to a recurrence of delays this holiday season, including that 42% of the packages they sampled in their review had been improperly scanned.

“We heard from many constituents who experienced problems sending holiday gifts to their loved ones, shipping products for their business, and receiving life-saving medication. We have also spoken with the postal workers who do their best every day to deliver top-notch service and take pride in their vital mission, and they deserve leadership that puts them in a position to succeed,” they note, going on to pose specific questions regarding to the Postmaster General their concerns.

“After last year’s problems, our constituents are understandably concerned about package delays this holiday season. In order to provide our constituents with the utmost confidence in the Postal Service as we begin this holiday season, please provide a response to these questions by December 1, 2021,” the members close.

The full letter is available here and below.

Dear Mr. DeJoy, 

We are writing to follow up on your recent commitment that the U.S. Postal Service is ready to deliver packages in a timely manner this holiday season, and to request an update on the Postal Service’s implementation of recommendations made by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) following their review of problems at nine post offices in Baltimore, MD.

According to the most recent data on service performance published by the OIG, which covers July to September of 2021, 89.0% of packages were delivered on time in the Baltimore District and 88.6% of packages were delivered on time in the Capital District. There continue to be significant service problems in Maryland, but this is a welcome improvement from the poor service our constituents received last holiday season. That said, the OIG’s report on Baltimore revealed several problems that could contribute to a recurrence of delays this holiday season, including that 42% of the packages they sampled in their review had been improperly scanned.

We heard from many constituents who experienced problems sending holiday gifts to their loved ones, shipping products for their business, and receiving life-saving medication. We have also spoken with the postal workers who do their best every day to deliver top-notch service and take pride in their vital mission, and they deserve leadership that puts them in a position to succeed. To that end, and to ensure that the Postal Service is prepared to deliver for our constituents this holiday season, please answer the following questions:

  1. Both nationally and for the State of Maryland, please provide a progress report on the number of additional package sorting machines added by the Postal Service, the number of seasonal employees hired for this holiday season, and the number of annex facilities acquired to handle peak season surges.
  2. The OIG report on Baltimore post offices recommended that USPS, “Develop and implement a plan to monitor and ensure compliance with package scanning and handling procedures.” What has been done to implement this recommendation, which USPS committed to do by November 19, 2021?
  3. The OIG recommended opening a new city carrier training academy for the Baltimore region. What has been done to implement this recommendation, which USPS committed to do by November 30, 2021?
  4. The OIG recommended that USPS establish key metrics for when the Baltimore postmaster should request help from outside the area to deliver mail.
    1. Please provide the metrics that have been established to implement this recommendation, which USPS committed to do by November 30, 2021.
    2. What additional support, if any, has been provided to the Baltimore region due to lagging performance on these metrics?
    3. Please provide the established threshold and key metrics used at the headquarters level to determine Districts and units falling below the threshold?
    4. At the headquarters level, what necessary actions are taken to address mail processing and delivery issues to regions that fall below the threshold? 

After last year’s problems, our constituents are understandably concerned about package delays this holiday season. In order to provide our constituents with the utmost confidence in the Postal Service as we begin this holiday season, please provide a response to these questions by December 1, 2021.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

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