Biden to nominate 2 for U.S. Postal Board, replacing Bloom

FILE PHOTO: United States Postal Service (USPS) workers load mail into delivery trucks outside a post office in Royal Oak
FILE PHOTO: United States Postal Service (USPS) workers load mail into delivery trucks outside a post office in Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S. August 22, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

November 19, 2021

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden is nominating two former government officials to serve on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors, replacing the current chairman, Ron Bloom, the White House confirmed on Friday.

Biden announced he intends to nominate Daniel Tangherlini, who was chief financial officer at the U.S. Treasury Department under President Barack Obama and held other government positions.

He will also nominate Derek Kan, an executive at startup Deliverr and a former deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and senior Transportation Department official during the Trump administration.

Reuters first reported the nominations.

Bloom has drawn anger from some Democrats in Congress over his support for a plan from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy released this year to restructure USPS operations in hopes of reducing anticipated red ink over a decade.

The board last week voted to re-elect Bloom as chairman, even though the White House had not decided whether to renominate him.

Bloom did not comment Friday.

Bloom will be forced to leave the board next month. Biden is also replacing Governor John Barger.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said under DeJoy USPS “lost focus on its core mission” and hoped the board “will begin to hold the Postmaster General accountable for the damage that has been done to the Postal Service’s operations and credibility.”

Many Democrats have urged the Postal Board to fire DeJoy, a supporter of Trump named USPS head last year who came under criticism for changes to election mail deliveries in 2020.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the administration “continues to be deeply troubled” about DeJoy’s “potential financial conflicts” and takes “serious issue with the job he’s doing running the Postal Service.”

Some Democrats have raised questions about DeJoy’s investments in USPS contractors and competitors.

She noted Biden cannot fire DeJoy.

A USPS spokesman pointed to comments from USPS’s inspector general in February that said DeJoy had “divested appropriately” from USPS contractor XPO Logistics, a former DeJoy employer.

The board cannot have more than five Democrats and the new nominations are not expected to result in a board majority willing to oust DeJoy, officials said.

In September, the USPS’s revised service standards took effect, slowing some first-class mail deliveries.

Existing one- to three-day service standards were revised to one to five days, affecting about 40% of first-class mail. USPS has also recently hiked prices.

DeJoy, who had warned that USPS without reform is “on a death spiral,” in March proposed cutting $160 billion in predicted losses over the next decade with changes in service standards a key part. The USPS has struggled with poor delivery performance over the past year, facing a huge jump in packages and staffing issues due to COVID-19.

The Postal Service has reported net losses of more than $90 billion since 2007. One reason is 2006 legislation mandating it pre-fund more than $120 billion in retiree healthcare and pension liabilities, a requirement not shared by other businesses, which labor unions have called unfair.

Congress is considering a plan to provide the USPS with $46 billion in financial relief over 10 years, including eliminating the requirement that the service pre-fund retiree health benefits for 75 years.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)