USPS Headquarters Tells Managers Not to Reconnect Mail Sorting Machines, Emails Show

"We are not to reconnect any machines that have previously been disconnected."
August 20, 2020, 3:36pm
Mail sorting machine
Image: Office of Senator Joe Machin

Shortly after USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a public statement saying he wanted to "avoid even the appearance" that any of his policies would slow down election mail, USPS instructed all maintenance managers around the country not to reconnect or reinstall any mail sorting machines they had already disconnected, according to emails obtained by Motherboard.

"Please message out to your respective Maintenance Managers tonight. They are not to reconnect / reinstall machines that have previously been disconnected without approval from HQ Maintenance, no matter what direction they are getting from their plant manager," wrote Kevin Couch, Director of Maintenance Operations. "Please have them flow that request through you then on to me for a direction." A subsequent email sent to individual maintenance managers across various regions forwarded that request along with a single sentence: "We are not to reconnect any machines that have previously been disconnected."

Email from USPS director of operations saying not to plug machines back in

Screenshot of email obtained by Motherboard

The emails confirm what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi relayed from her conversation with DeJoy yesterday, that the USPS's stated "suspension" of these new policies does not mean reversing them. It also sheds additional light on the emptiness of DeJoy's promises from his Tuesday press release, since the USPS is apparently not even willing to take the bare minimum step of plugging machines back in even if they haven't been moved.

The email instruction further underscores that, as one postal worker at a maintenance facility in the northwest that has had multiple machines decommissioned told Motherboard, the damage has already been done. "There are a lot of machines targeted or pulled already."

USPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but yesterday spokesperson David Partenheimer told Motherboard they would not be issuing any further comment about DeJoy's suspension of new policies until after his Congressional testimony. DeJoy is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate on Friday and the House on Monday.

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