Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Many people wonder what law permits Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee, to hang on to his post during the Biden Administration. I’ll answer that in a minute, but first, a word about Dejoy and his so-called 10-year strategic plan for the USPS.
The plan promised a path to fiscal stability service excellence, but has resulted in delivery delays and service cuts that all Americans have noticed. In fact, it appears that DeJoy’s postal service is more than happy to reduce service if it can reduce work hours and restrain wage growth and other costs.
You’ve noticed that this “reduction” effort does not (nor will it) apply to postage prices for businesses and consumers, right? Apparently, despite public and congressional opposition to DeJoy and his 10-year plan, the USPS is determined to make slower mail delivery a permanent condition.
Back to my original question: Why hasn’t the president dumped this guy?
Clearly, the Postal Service needs new leadership. Well, it’s not that easy.
By law, President Biden lacks direct power to fire the Postmaster General. DeJoy (a huge donor to Republican causes) serves at the pleasure of the USPS Board of Governors. Until recently, Republicans held a majority on the board; hence Dejoy was protected. Democrats recently gained a marginal majority with the confirmation of three new Biden appointees. So, again, why is this guy who never worked at USPS and claims to know ‘very little’ about the price of stamps still there?
Pursuant to 39 U.S. Code § 202, the president may fire members of the board “for cause,” but he may not fire the postmaster general—the board must do that. Is there a better reason “for cause” than appointing a postmaster general who has zero experience and a cost-saving plan that provides substandard service?
Now that the Democrats have the majority, hopefully, it is just a matter of time. However, the chairman of the board is a Democrat, a Trump appointee by the name of Ron Bloom who, according to reports, supports DeJoy and his 10-year plan.
So, for the president to save the USPS from going postal, he must first replace Ron Bloom. Who is this Bloom guy?
He’s the managing partner of an investment firm named Brookfield Asset Management. According to the Washington Post, Louis DeJoy recently purchased $305,000 in bonds from . . . wait for it . . . Brookfield Asset Management. Does anyone see a conflict here?
Bloom is serving a one-year holdover term which expires in December. His regular term expired; he can be replaced at any time, but Biden would be wise to wait until his term expires and simply decline to re-nominate him. Republican John Barger’s term is also set to expire in December, so Biden will have an additional opportunity to replace a board member, a Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa present for the American people.
For cause removals at government agencies are rare; a sledgehammer approach to the problem may result in constitutional challenges and political fall-out. With the power to replace two DeJoy advocates, Biden is better off waiting until their terms expire in December. It isn’t sexy and it probably won’t make headline news, but it is the best way to oust a controversial, ethically challenged, probably incompetent Postmaster General.
Will it actually happen? Stay tuned.
Mark M. Bello, a trial lawyer, is the author of “Betrayal at the Border" and other ‘ripped from the headlines’ Zachary Blake Social Justice Legal Thrillers available on Amazon.com and other online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.markmbello.com. Mark also is co-host of the new podcast, Justice Counts, now streaming.