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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Admits Major USPS Mistakes: "We Blew It"

He opened about his overhaul plan—and where it's gone wrong—in a new interview.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is struggling—but that's nothing new. When Louis DeJoy took over as Postmaster General in 2020, he made it clear that his main goal was to turn things around, and he's certainly made moves to do so. In March 2021, DeJoy unveiled his Delivering for America (DFA) initiative, with the intention of transforming the USPS  "from an organization in financial and operational crisis to one that is self-sustaining and high performing" over the course of a decade. But in a new interview with Federal News Network, DeJoy is admitting to some of the USPS mistakes that have occurred over the last three years—and before he took over.

RELATED: 6 Major Changes Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Has Made to the USPS.

The Postal Service is supposed to be financially self-sufficient, which means it "should cover its expenses through the sale of its products and services, not taxpayer money," according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). But the agency's revenue hasn't actually been able to cover its expenses and debt since 2006—which was the last year the USPS was profitable.

"We have violated the law. For the last 15 years, the law was to break even. In order to do that, you have to evolve your service … That's what we're in the process of doing," DeJoy told Federal News Network. "It should have been us 15 years ago. We had this in the bag, and we blew it."

It's taking longer than DeJoy initially expected to dig the USPS out of the hole it fell into almost two decades ago. Under his DFA plan, the agency was projected to break even in fiscal year 2023 and start turning a profit in 2024. Instead, the agency ended the 2023 fiscal year with a $6.5 billion net loss, and a total operating revenue decrease of $321 million.

"We fumbled a couple of things in a couple of areas, which is unfortunate. So, the journey is longer than I wanted it to be," DeJoy told Federal News Network. "Our problems are bigger, and more programmed into our systems on how we do things. So, it's taking time. We've had a lot of adverse headwinds."

RELATED: 6 Ways Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Has Ruined the USPS, According to His Critics.

The Postmaster General admitted that because there are so many moving parts to his 10-year DFA plan, it doesn't always go exactly to plan. For instance, the USPS in-sourced its logistics work from third-party contractors at several Surface Transfer Centers last quarter, which DeJoy said brought 1,000 jobs into the agency that it had previously contracted out.

But during the height of peak shopping season last December, the USPS was forced to shut down a Surface Transportation facility in St. Louis for nearly two weeks because of a hazardous mercury leak from an illegally shipped package, according to Federal News Network.

"There were mistakes and there were events, and there is positive action, and there are things that could go faster. I don't run away from that," DeJoy said.

Still, the Postmaster General believes that continuing to move fast and make big changes is better than the "status quo" of an agency that loses money—even if there is the occasional setback. And when mistakes do happen, he said they're also addressed and corrected with the same expediency.

"This is about saving the Postal Service for the next 50, 60, 100 years," DeJoy told the news outlet.

RELATED: USPS Head Louis DeJoy Slammed for "Fanatical Devotion to Price Hikes."

Despite past mistakes, it's clear that DeJoy has no plans to slow down his reform plans. Right now, much of his focus is centered around capturing a bigger piece of the package business for the USPS from private-sector companies like UPS, FedEx, and Amazon.

The agency has recently been making several investments to exponentially increase its capacity to process and ship packages—but they can't take their time with these changes if they want to stay alive and come out on top, according to the Postmaster General.

"Our competitors are reacting to us out there, and we will get better faster," DeJoy told Federal News Network. "I'm very confident in that—that we'll get better faster. My issue right now is to get it done fast enough, before we run out of cash."

According to the most recent Treasury Department data, the USPS had $17.4 billion left in cash at the end of Jan. 2024.

"I'm into us being as self-contained as we possibly can, but we got to do it. We've got to do it like the other guys do," DeJoy concluded. "Which is really really good. Or we'll be really, really gone."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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