Nov. 13, 2020
The below comments were delivered by Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy during the open session meeting of the Postal Service Board of Governors on Nov. 13, 2020.
“During the past year – and especially over the last several months – the women and men of the United States Postal Service have been actively engaged in supporting the nation in its electoral process.
We took on the challenge of coordinating with thousands of election officials around the country about how to work with the Postal Service.
We educated them about the features and limitations of our service, and developed solutions for their specific needs.
We made special efforts to inform the American people that if they were going to use the mail to vote, they should plan ahead and vote early.
We encouraged voters to check with their state election officials to understand the rules – to ensure that their vote would be counted.
In all, we reached out in one way or another to 161 million people, thousands of election officials, and communicated constantly with the postal workforce.
It was our mission to deliver the nation’s political and election mail in a timely and secure manner.
I am proud to say that we accomplished that mission!
It is a point of pride throughout the Postal Service to play such an indispensable role in the electoral process.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, --- our own serious financial and operational challenges – and despite substantial political rhetoric and misleading sensationalism – we kept our focus on the mail and met the needs of the nation.
In the general election, we delivered more than 135 million ballots to and from voters.
In the 2020 election cycle, we delivered approximately 610 million pieces of election mail and 4 billion pieces of political mail.
97.9 percent of ballots were delivered from voters to election officials within three days, and 99.7 percent of ballots were delivered from voters to election officials within five days.
Overall, on average, we delivered ballots to voters in 2.1 days. Most importantly, on average, we delivered ballots from voters to election officials in just 1.6 days.
I would like to thank the 644,000 women and men of the Postal Service for their dedication, commitment and performance in delivering the nation’s political and election mail.
Our teams went to extraordinary lengths to meet the expectations of the public.
I would like to recognize the Board’s election mail committee.
Governors Lee Moak, Ron Bloom and John Barger met with us every week to review plans and performance, and to support our “all-hands on deck” approach to fulfilling our critical role in the nations electoral process.
There were innumerable calls and conversations, and strong counsel.
I would like to thank all of you for your active involvement, and for your many contributions along the way.
Our election mail task force was chaired by our General Counsel Tom Marshall and our Chief Logistics and Processing Operations Officer Dave Williams.
Along with our Chief Retail and Delivery Officer Kristin Seaver, they directed all election mail efforts across the enterprise.
They brought-in our marketing team to help with public education efforts, our legal team to navigate policy issues across many jurisdictions, and our communications team to disseminate and respond to constant requests for information.
We invited the leaders of our postal unions and management associations to join our task force, to ensure that all efforts and communications were unified from top to bottom. My special thanks to Fred Rolando, Mark Dimondstein, Ronnie Stutts, Paul Hogrogian, Dan Heins and Brian Wagner..Together we established local task forces at plants and post offices everywhere in the country.
We also worked closely with the National Association of Secretaries of State, the National Association of State Election Directors, and state and local election officials across the country.
I would like to thank our internal management team, our ballot monitors and ballet ambassadors throughout the country, our national and local task force members, and our partners at NASS, NASED, and within the election administration community everywhere, for their focus, their collaboration and their commitment to serving the needs of the public during the election season.
Not least on this list is Justin Glass, who led our internal Election Mail Strike Team. He directed the activities of thousands of postal employees who were interacting with thousands of election officials throughout the country.
He led the problem-solving efforts internally and played an outstanding role in organizing this effort.
Great thanks go to Justin and his team.
I am proud of the effort and the performance of the organization. Despite a narrative that arose in certain circles, we never wavered in our commitment to fulfill our sacred duty to deliver Election Mail, and ballots in particular.
The laundry list of extraordinary measures and individual efforts is quite long.
To meet deadlines on election day, our postmasters and letter carriers’ hand-delivered thousands of ballots to boards of election across the country.
Our people are extraordinary and went to extraordinary lengths – and did so during extraordinary circumstance to fulfill our mission in proud fashion.
Of course, we all know that there is much work to do going forward, not only with regard to Election Mail, but also in order to ensure the long-term health of the Postal Service.
Just as I was fully committed to our role in the nation’s electoral process, I am equally committed to securing the long-term viability of the Postal Service as an essential part of the country’s critical infrastructure.
In that regard, I will be proposing and executing on change. To believe that we can operate as we have before and continue to meet our service mission to the Nation is not realistic. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, and collaborate on new solutions.
Working with the Board of Governors, we intend to propose a strategic plan within the next several months that will outline a bright future for the Postal Service, our employees, and our customers.
It will acknowledge the Postal Service as an essential part of the federal government, preserve six-day delivery and our universal service obligation, and it will also ensure that we are self-sustaining.
I look forward to working with all of our interested stakeholders to chart a positive and prosperous path so the Postal Service can thrive for many years to come.
As I have said before, I remain very optimistic about the future of the Postal Service, but I am also a realist, and there are certain realities that we need to collectively confront.
Today, we are releasing our financial results for fiscal year 2020, and those financial results reveal that we recorded a net loss of $9.2 billion.
Clearly, we have an unsustainable business model. Our problems can be solved, but we need to get on now with the difficult business of solving them.
Our Chief Financial Officer – Joe Corbett – will review these results in detail this morning.
However, I want to make just a couple of comments.
The Postal Service has had a systemic imbalance between revenues and costs for more than a decade.
Absent major management actions and legislative and regulatory reform, this gap will only get wider.
We could easily see consistent losses of greater than $10 billion annually in the coming years – unless there is strong collaboration to change the Postal Service business model.
Our mail business will continue to see competitive pressures from other forms of communication.
Our package business will likely continue to grow post-COVID, but our ability to compete for customers will require constant investment and innovation.
While we can have an impact on some of our variable costs; the costs of maintaining our current network are mostly fixed and will only rise over time.
Together, these trends create enormous financial pressures on the organization – and this has negative consequences for our employees, our customers, and our ability to serve the public.
In this financial context, we will soon need to advance changes in our business model and gain relief from COVID and other economic impacts, or we have to lower future expectations of the organization.
There are a great many things that this Board and Management team can do to change and improve the Postal Service, and to better serve the public, and we would like to do them.
We need to invest to modernize our retail and processing operations, to purchase a new vehicle fleet, and to provide better training, technology and tools for our employees.
We need to improve the postal workplace and the employee experience. We also need to address the instability of our non-career workforce.
We need to address operational inefficiencies. The Postal Service can operate with much greater precision. This will improve the regularity, reliability, and timeliness of delivery, and enable us to shift resources to better meet customer needs.
And, we must also invest in a faster pace of innovation to diversify and grow our revenues.
I am convinced that the Postal Service can dramatically improve the way it serves the American public, and that it can do so in a financially self-sustaining manner.
The American public deserves a financially strong Postal Service that is capable of investing in its future and playing a more relevant role in their lives.
But there is also much we do not control.
If we are to be financially self-sustaining our business model must be reformed to change how we are required to operate and restructure the demands of our legislative and regulatory mandates.
The Board and I look forward over the coming weeks and months to working with the Congress and our regulator to effectuate the changes that are necessary to enable the long-term success of the Postal Service for many years to come.
I believe the Postal Service can play a larger and more useful role in the lives of the American public and in the life of the nation.
I am committed to establishing the Postal Service as the preferred delivery service for the American public.
I am committed to providing world class affordable and dependable service to every American home and business 6 and 7 days a week - today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
What will define the future of the Postal Service?
As we finalize plans to make these aspirations a reality, we will work with our unions, our customers, Congress, and our regulator, and ensure that we provide the transparency and accountability expected of a public institution.
I would like to conclude by recognizing the extraordinary people of the Postal Service.
The 644,000 women and men of the Postal Service live, work and serve in every community in America.
They have delivered in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have supported communities devastated by fires and hurricanes.
Under the glare of the national media, they performed an exemplary and sacred civic duty in delivering the nation’s political mail and election mail.
This year, the public rated the Postal Service as the most trusted government agency, and as the most admired of all public and private entities.
This is a testament to the commitment, dedication and hard work of the men and women of the Postal Service.
I will close by thanking them for their excellent service to our customers and the nation.”