University of Baltimore to Host Congressional Hearing on Postal Service Issues – CBS Baltimore
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Congressional lawmakers will hold a court hearing at the University of Baltimore on Monday to examine the U.S. Postal Service’s longstanding poor performance in and around Baltimore City.
Members of the government operations subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee will meet at the university‘s John and Frances Angelos Law Center on North Charles Street at 11 a.m. to examine the root causes and potential solutions to the downturn. of the Postal Service, according to Congressional staff.
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The list of witnesses for the hearing includes Baltimore Postmaster Eric Gilbert, U.S. Postal Service Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Audit Melinda Perez, and its mail processing clerk and shop steward Rictarsha Westmoreland. .
ReBUILD’s subway controller, Chuck Metzger, is also expected to testify at the hearing.
“Baltimore residents are experiencing some of the worst postal service performance in the nation,” according to a statement from the Oversight Committee Democrats’ press office. “One-piece first-class mail intended for delivery within three to five days in the Baltimore area arrived on time only 63.2% of the time during the fourth quarter of the financial year 2021.”
According to lawmakers, senior U.S. Postal Service executives, including Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, made consequential operational changes to mail and package delivery throughout 2020 without consulting customers.
The changes have worsened the performance of delivery services in the Baltimore area and disrupted critical delivery services amid a global pandemic to the detriment of shippers and customers, officials said. Recent performance in Baltimore has improved, but Baltimore has most often underperformed the national average since fiscal year 2012, according to lawmakers.
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An audit conducted by the USPS Inspector General’s Office in late 2021 found that a postal service center in Baltimore was processing millions of fewer mail items than in 2020, even though working hours and overtime has increased significantly.
Auditors examined the operations of the facility between August 2020 and last July. They found that workers processed about 1.67 billion postal items during this period, about 70 million fewer items compared to the previous year. At the same time, working hours increased by 14.6% and overtime by 43.5%.
Additionally, the audit found that employee availability was 65%, well below the agency’s 95% target.
According to the audit, faulty equipment and lack of management at the Fayette Street facility are just some of the factors that contributed to the decline in productivity.
Auditors determined that a lack of managers led to inadequate supervision, which contributed to lower productivity, a problem that was made worse by a hiring freeze imposed by DeJoy between August 2020 and May 2021.
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Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the subcommittee, and members of the Maryland congressional delegation will hold a press conference in the 12th-floor Reading Room at the University of Maryland at 2 p.m. to discuss the information uncovered during the hearing. Maryland Democrats Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Representative Kweisi Mfume, Representative Dutch Ruppersberger and Representative John Sarbanes will attend the press conference.