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Biden nominated three people to fix USPS. Here’s how the Postal Service’s leadership works.

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Senators will each get seven minutes to question the three, as well as Biden’s pick to head the Office of Personnel Management, during the session. The nominees also have met individually with senators over the past few weeks to gather support for confirmation.

How do the USPS governors affect my mail?

In many ways, both large and small. Governors vote on how much to charge for mail products, such as stamps and packages. They decide how to spend the Postal Service’s money on everything from new mail trucks to holiday season ad campaigns. They decide how long it takes for your mail to arrive and help oversee the agency’s delivery of election mail, like ballots and ballot applications.

Who picks the governors?

The president selects the nominees for the Postal Service’s governing board, who in turn must secure Senate confirmation with a simple majority vote.

There are specific parameters required by law for the nine who are nominated to the board: Only five may be from the same political party; nominees must have experience in public service, law, accounting or corporate management; and at least four of the governors must have experience managing organizations or corporations of at least 50,000 employees.

Stroman, a Democrat, is the recently retired deputy postmaster general. Hajjar, also a Democrat, is the former general counsel to the American Postal Workers Union. McReynolds, an independent, is the chief executive of the National Vote at Home Institute.

Governors serve seven-year terms, and are paid $30,000 a year, plus a $300 per diem on days when conducting postal business.

How many governors are there?

There are 11 members of the Postal Service board of governors. Nine are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The remaining two are the postmaster general and deputy postmaster general, who are selected by the governors. The postmaster general and deputy postmaster general are voting members of the board, but cannot vote on certain issues, including the hiring and removal of the postmaster general, and his or her salary.

Who are the USPS governors right now?

There are six current members — Chairman Ron A. Bloom, Vice Chairman Roman Martinez IV, Robert M. Duncan, John Barger, William Zollars and Donald Lee Moak — and four openings.

Bloom and Moak are Democrats, while Martinez, Duncan, Barger and Zollars are Republicans. All were nominated by former president Donald Trump. Bloom’s term expired in December, but is serving in a one-year holdover until his successor is nominated and confirmed.

Trump also nominated David C. Williams, the agency’s former inspector general, as a governor, but Williams resigned from the board in April 2020 over concerns with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s hiring and the Trump administration’s involvement in postal operations.

Can Biden fire the USPS governors?

It’s complicated, but the simple answer is under certain circumstances. Legally, the president can remove governors “only for cause.” But what does “cause” mean in this context? It’s unclear. Some experts interpret that to mean some level of wrongdoing, such as breaking the law or becoming entangled in a conflict of interest. Simply having policy disagreements, they contend, does not constitute “cause” for removal.

Others, namely congressional Democrats, disagree. They assert that certain policy decisions — such as hiring a postmaster general they view as unqualified, or approving widespread service cuts — are cause enough to fire the governors.

“There should not be any toleration for [the governors’] silence or complicity in overseeing these harmful policy changes that have also eroded public trust in this agency,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) wrote to Biden in February asking him to fire the governors.

The more complicated part of this question is something called “Seila Law.” The Supreme Court in 2020 held that “for cause” removals of certain presidential nominees were unconstitutional, because Congress unlawfully regulated the president’s power. Some Democrats and left-leaning experts cite the Seila Law precedent in arguing Biden could fire the governors without cause.

Why do some people want DeJoy fired?

There are several reasons, but here’s a rundown of the main arguments:

His qualifications: Since the Postal Service announced DeJoy’s hiring in May 2020, questions about his qualifications for the job have poured in. DeJoy is a former supply-chain logistics executive and had no previous experience with the Postal Service or the mailing business. He’s also a Republican megadonor, and many saw his appointment as a patronage hire, since he was a strong ally of Trump.

Slow delivery: Since DeJoy took over, the Postal Service has experienced its worst delivery service in generations. During the heart of the holiday shipping season, the agency delivered only 38 percent of nonlocal mail on time. That’s had real consequences not just on holiday gifts, but on folks’ bills, paychecks and medications that come through the mail. DeJoy’s critics contend that the governors should dismiss him and find a replacement who will fix the agency’s service crisis.

The election: The Postal Service did a pretty decent job handling the tens of millions of ballots it sent and received during the 2020 election season. But there were still areas where it underperformed. The agency processed more ballots the day after Election Day than on Election Day itself, putting those votes at risk of not being counted. It lost track of 300,000 ballots during election week because of shoddy tracking procedures (reviews later found the vast majority of those ballots were delivered without issue). It defied a judicial order to expedite sweeps of processing plants to search for misplaced ballots because officials disagreed with the judge’s schedule on when the checks should have been conducted. Even though the Postal Service largely performed well during the election, there are still many who find the agency’s shortcomings inexcusable.

DeJoy’s plan: The postal chief released a strategic plan in March that constitutes the largest rollback of mail service in a generation. The plan calls for longer delivery times, raising postage prices and slowing mail transportation around the country. Some congressional Democrats and mailing industry officials — traditionally odd bedfellows — find the service cuts unpalatable, and want the governors to replace DeJoy with someone who will not take as draconian an approach to cost cutting.

Who has the authority to oust DeJoy?

The governors hire and fire the postmaster general, not the president.

But there’s an important distinction between the governors as individuals, and the board of governors. Usually the board of governors requires a quorum to conduct certain business. But when Williams resigned in April 2020, it left the board with only four members — too few for a quorum.

Postal Service officials interpreted the law to mean their authority to hire and fire the postmaster general resided with the governors as individuals, not the board of governors as constituted with a quorum. So with only four members, governors Bloom, Duncan, Barger and Martinez voted to hire DeJoy.

The principle comes back into play if Biden decides to fire any or all of the six sitting governors. If a certain number of the governors were gone, the remaining board members, under recent precedent, would have the authority to fire DeJoy and hire his replacement.

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