Early this year, Steve Mnunchin, the Treasury Secretary, invited two members of the Postal Service for a meeting to discuss a matter he was concerned with. Mr. Mnunchin was in search of a new postmaster general, and he had made it known that he wanted a general that could adhere to the price increases and cost-cutting needed in the country.
History of the Postal Service
The Postal Service has always been an independent agency since the 1970s. It has managed to stay away from any political influence as the postmaster general is not a cabinet member and the president doesn’t appoint a person into the position.
Instead, they’re selected by a board of governors that consist of members from both parties. The president nominates these members, and the Senate confirms them for seven-year terms. Through Mr. Mnunchin, the Trump administration was involved in the selection process of the new postmaster general.
However, since the two Democratic governors serving on the board weren’t invited, the meeting wasn’t subject to laws that apply to board meetings. Additionally, there’s no record of minutes of what Mr. Mnunchin and the rest discussed.
Mr. Mnunchin and the Postal Service
Mr. Mnunchin’s interactions with the postal board are now facing heightened significance due to allegations that the Trump administration wants to use the Postal Service in its political campaign. According to accusers, the Trump administration wants to hinder the Postal Service’s ability to handle a spike in ballots in the upcoming elections.
Mr. Mnunchin plays a key role in selecting the board of members that hired the individual leading the Postal Service. Donald Trump’s malice towards the Postal Service agency dates back to 2013, but his criticism heightened this year.
In a tweet in 2018, Mr. Trump wrote that the Post Office scam needs to stop, starting one if his numerous attacks towards the agency over the years. In the same year, Mr. Trump put Mr. Mnunchin in charge of the postal reform task force.
However, this year the administration managed to enforce their agenda amid the election and coronavirus concerns. After the meeting, the board’s chairman, Robert M. Duncan, threw a name for the position of postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, suggesting he’s one of the individuals for the post.
Mr. DeJoy is known for his relentless leadership style and his donations towards the Republican Party. He works as a logistics executive, and in 2017, he hosted an event for the president’s re-election campaign.
Three months after Mr. Mnunchin’s meeting, Mr. DeJoy was announced as the nation’s 75th postmaster general. Mr. DeJoy began carrying out changes as soon as he was elected by limiting mail delivery trips and making cuts to overtime.
However, in July, some insiders warned that the new changes might cause mail on the workroom docks or floors or mail left behind. Members inside the Postal Service office fear that the changes are too rapid, especially now that a general election is around the corner.
Soon enough, veterans weren’t receiving their bills and medications on time, and mail was piling up in post offices. Suspicions have surfaced that Mr. Mnunchin’s postmaster and the Postal Service won’t handle the high amount of mail-in ballots in this year’s election.
Mr. Mnunchin’s history with the Postal Service
Mr. Mnunchin has been actively involved in the Postal Service, meeting privately over the last past few years with Mr. Duncan on postal matters. Mr. Mnunchin also met with John M. Brager, who he later recommended to Mr. Trump to serve on the postal’s board of members.
Mr. Barger was one of the individuals that attended Mr. Mnunchin’s February meeting. Mr. Mnunchin was also actively involved in the search for the new postmaster general, and initially, Mr. DeJoy wasn’t among the contestants chosen.
There have been accusations that Mr. Munchin was involved in Mr. DeJoys appointment though Mr. Mnunchin has denied these allegations.