Minnesota, North Dakota delegations respond to Inspector General’s audit of Postal Service, press Postmaster General for better service

Posted 7/4/24

U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) led the entire Minnesota and North Dakota congressional delegations in …

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Minnesota, North Dakota delegations respond to Inspector General’s audit of Postal Service, press Postmaster General for better service

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U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) led the entire Minnesota and North Dakota congressional delegations in sending a bipartisan letter pressing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to improve postal services in the Minnesota-North Dakota District. The letter comes after the Postal Service’s Inspector General audited the District and found 130,858 missing or delayed pieces of mail at six post offices over the course of only two days. The lawmakers also requested regular updates from the Postal Service on their progress in implementing these recommendations.

“It has long been clear that postal operations in the District are in trouble, and the investigation confirms this,” wrote lawmakers. “We need to ensure that the OIG’s recommendations are fully implemented and actually result in significantly improved mail delivery and services across our states.”

Senators Smith and Klobuchar requested the audit of the Minnesota-North Dakota Postal District back in December, as did the entire Minnesota House delegation inJanuary. Senator Hoeven, Senator Cramer, and Congressman Armstrong requested an audit in February. Senators Smith, Hoeven and Klobuchar introduced the bipartisan  Postal Delivery Accountability Act, which would address USPS’ failure to accurately track when mail routes do not receive deliveries. The legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Angie Craig.

You can find full text of the letter below. 

Mr. Louis DeJoy
Postmaster General
United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza Southwest Washington, DC 20260

 

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy,

 

We write in response to the United States Postal Service (USPS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report titled “Minnesota-North Dakota District: Delivery Operations” (24-032-R24). This report contains important findings about postal operations and recommendations to improve service across the Minnesota-North Dakota District (“District”). We urge you to take this report as an opportunity to improve service and operations in the District, both within the scope of the report’s recommendations and beyond. 

In the course of their investigation, the OIG visited six post offices in the District, selected based on their poor performance, to gather data on the operations at these facilities. Their findings are deeply concerning. In total, the investigators observed 130,858 pieces of delayed mail in just two days. They also found that staffing shortages contributed significantly to the poor performance of the District and led post office managers to prioritize package deliveries to keep up, going against Postal Service policy to deliver all First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Priority Express Mail on the day it is received at a facility. It has long been clear that postal operations in the District are in trouble, and the investigation confirms this. 

As you know, the OIG made seven recommendations to USPS based on their findings, five of which are considered closed. The two open recommendations, to review staffing of units and implement strategies to fill carrier and clerk vacancies, are vital to the health of postal operations in the District. We urge you to implement these recommendations expeditiously and with the ultimate goal of improving service for Minnesotans and North Dakotans. 

However, USPS’s efforts to improve service in the District should not stop with these recommendations. The District consistently ranks among the poorest performing districts. In the Postal Service’s opportunity rankings, which rank USPS districts from best (50th) to worst (1st) in performance, the District averaged 8.5 for mail delivery and 26.4 for package delivery in the final quarter of 2023. We need to ensure that the OIG’s recommendations are fully implemented and actually result in significantly improved mail delivery and services across our states.

To that end, we request that your staff provide monthly briefings to the staff of the Minnesota and North Dakota Congressional delegations on progress in improving service in the District. We also request that you provide us with monthly updates on the District’s opportunity rankings, staffing levels for different positions, and progress toward the implementation of recommendations two and three. The Postal Service is a lifeline to so many of our constituents, and there must be progress in improving service to them. Providing the Congressional delegation of the District with updates and data will provide much-needed transparency and accountability.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.