The History Channel reminded us today that the Postal Service has been around longer than our country, since is was established on this date in 1775.
On July 26, 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system.
In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight.
In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.
Louis DeJoy was confirmed as Postmaster General on June 16,2020. The position of Postmaster General is somewhat unique due to the fact that he (0r she) can only be fired by the Board of Governors. When is is fully staffed, the Board of Governors has 11 members, one of whom is the Postmaster General. In recent years, it had as few as 7 members.
If you look at the website for the Post Office, you'll notice that have been some additions since Joe Biden took office.
Douglas Tulino was confirmed as deputy Postmaster General in May of 2021.
Anton Hijjar was confirmed in May of 2021.
Amer McReynolds was confirmed in June of 2021.
Ronald Stroman was confirmed in June of 2021.
Trump called the Postal Service as a joke, and vetoed billions of dollars in aid as the agency was ravage by COVID-19.
Joe Biden, in contrast, is a big fan of the Postal Service.
Although it's entirely possible that DeJoy will finally get fired, there are reforms in process that will save the organization even if DeJoy somehow manages to keep his job.
While concerns about his allegiances dominated the headlines, the Biden campaign offered some concrete, if less noticed, proposals to help the Postal Service. It called for emergency financial relief. It also advocated maintaining six-day-a-week mail delivery and eliminating a requirement that the agency prefund its future retiree health benefits every year, which effectively drove it into insolvency as overall mail volume fell. Prefunding accounted for about half of the USPS’s 2020 losses.
Although DeJoy’s detractors would prefer otherwise, the president can’t hire and fire the postmaster general. That’s up to the nine members of the Board of Governors, who are appointed by the president, subject to Senate confirmation. Four of the current six (as of February 2021) appointees are Republicans. Biden has the opportunity to tilt the board against DeJoy by filling three vacant positions with governors of his own - which he has now done.
There’s no indication that Biden has DeJoy’s ouster in mind. When asked about it at a White House briefing on Jan. 25, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We all love the mailman and the mailwoman. I don’t have anything for you on it.” Postal worker unions aren’t calling for DeJoy to go, either. They waiting for him to release a 10-year plan for the USPS that he’s been working on. “The jury’s out,” says Jim Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letter Carriers and a member of the Biden transition team on the USPS.
A while back, I predicted the DeJoy would be lucky to stay in his position for an entire year - and he proved me wrong.
In my opinion, his longevity will be determined by two things:
1) The details of the 10 year plan that he is working on and
2) The passate of the USPS Fairness Act, which was introduced in the House of Representatives on 2/2/2021.