USPS Under Fire for "Constant Delays" and "Endless Excuses"
The agency is initiating a new audit over ongoing postal problems.
Customers have found a lot to criticize the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for recently. Their complaints have covered everything from overcharging issues to stolen checks. But over the past year, no problem has been more prevalent and persistent than postal delays. People all across the U.S. have reported going weeks without their mail, and the situation has not been resolved. Now, the USPS is initiating an audit to try to get to the root of the problem. Read on to find out why the agency is under fire for "constant delays" and "endless excuses."
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Lawmakers in Missouri have been questioning the USPS about delays since last fall.
People in Kansas City, Missouri, have been dealing with postal problems for quite some time now. Emanuel Cleaver and Sam Graves—two U.S. representatives for the state—sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in Oct. 2022, questioning why residents in the region have been subjected to ongoing issues with inconsistent and unreliable mail delivery.
"Missourians from all walks of life depend on the United States Postal Service to deliver the mail six days a week," Graves said in a statement.
The lawmakers cited the 2022 Postal Service Reform Act, which was signed into law in April, in their letter to DeJoy. As part of this ruling, the Postal Service is required to make deliveries at least six days a week. Limited exceptions to this requirement include weeks where federal holidays fall and when emergency situations arise.
"It doesn't matter if you live in downtown Kansas City, in the suburbs, or in rural North Missouri, folks depend on the mail to get prescriptions, bills, and other important documents in a timely manner. The failure of the agency to live up to its core promise, particularly when they just posted a $60 billion net profit, is unconscionable," Graves added. "I've long supported our postal workers and the dedication they have to delivering the mail on time, but it's clear there's a leadership problem somewhere in the chain of command and Missourians deserve some answers."
They followed up with complaints this month.
The USPS failed to adequately address these concerns over the last five months, according to the lawmakers. Cleaver and Graves sent another letter to DeJoy on March 21 following up on their complaints.
"We are writing to further express our concerns that the USPS continues to inadequately perform their Congressionally mandated duty of six-day mail delivery," they wrote. "Our constituents were receiving their mail far fewer than six days per week, if at all. We continue to receive these reports on a regular basis, and as far as we know, there has been no action taken to ensure that the USPS carries out their mandate to reliably deliver the mail six days per week."
In their most recent letter, Cleaver and Graves requested that DeJoy host a listening session in Kansas City to hear complaints directly from those in the community about these postal problems.
"A stable, consistent, and responsive Postal Service is not a Republican or Democratic issue—it's an essential function of government that hardworking families rely on and have come to expect over the past two centuries," Cleaver said in a statement. "Unfortunately, under the leadership of Postmaster General DeJoy, we've seen this beloved institution quickly devolve into a sad display of constant delays, infrequent deliveries, and endless excuses."
An audit has been started to investigate the ongoing delivery delays in Kansas City.
The Postal Service's Office of Inspector General (OIG) is now stepping in to help with this ongoing situation, local news outlet FOX4 reported.
The OIG is responsible for ensuring "efficiency, accountability, and integrity" throughout the USPS—which it does by conducting audits, evaluations, research, and investigations when necessary. According to FOX4, the OIG just confirmed that it will now conduct an audit of delayed mail and delivery operations in the Kansas City area.
"I'm glad the Postal Service finally decided to wake up and investigate what's causing these delivery issues, but this must result in action," Graves said in a statement. "The people of Kansas City and the Northland have been dealing with these delays for months on end. This can't just be an investigation with a report—there needs to be a plan to fix these issues. The leadership of the United States Postal Service needs to understand just what they've been putting Missourians through and any investigation must take into account the voices of Missourians who have been affected by these delays."
Best Life reached out to the USPS about the new audit and ongoing concerns about delays, and we will update this story with their response.
The USPS previously blamed staffing shortages for delays.
In Dec. 2022, the agency responded to the Congressmen's original complaint by blaming staffing struggles in the area.
"Unfortunately, the Kansas City region, like many other areas of the country, has had trouble hiring the appropriate number of personnel," James Reedy, a government relations representative for the USPS, wrote in a response letter to Cleaver and Graves. "In Missouri, the unemployment rate is 2.4 percent, and 2.6 percent in the Kansas City region, where employee availability issues have led to inconsistent service."
According to Reedy, a lack of available employees has "been the main factor" affecting delivery times in several parts of the U.S., including in Kansas City.
"To address these challenges, local and district management are aggressively working to hire an additional 80 career carriers and 43 substitute carriers. Hiring efforts are ongoing with weekly job fairs, both in person and virtually, supported by media campaigns," he added. "We encourage your constituents who may be interested in working for the Postal Service to apply online."
- Source: https://cleaver.house.gov/sites/evo-subsites/cleaver.house.gov/files/evo-media-document/usps-letter.pdf
- Source: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3076/text
- Source: https://cleaver.house.gov/sites/evo-subsites/cleaver.house.gov/files/evo-media-document/letter-to-usps-re-listening-session-request-3.6.pdf
- Source: https://www.uspsoig.gov/about-us#OurMission
- Source: https://graves.house.gov/sites/evo-subsites/graves.house.gov/files/evo-media-document/5871-final-case-response.pdf