mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX

USPS Board Again Loses Its Quorum Amid Further Leadership Turmoil

Turnover in the top ranks comes as House Democrats renew push to give cash-strapped Postal Service financial relief.

The No. 2 official at the U.S. Postal Service will resign at the end of the month, the agency has announced, leaving it without a governing quorum less than a year after finally regaining one. 

The resignation of Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, which USPS announced in a financial filing on Tuesday but will take effect June 1, comes days after the agency’s board of governors named Louis DeJoy as the next postmaster general. DeJoy will be the first outsider to lead the Postal Service in nearly 20 years and his selection was met with some criticism from stakeholders who raised concerns about his political connections to President Trump and the Republican party. Stroman has served in his position since 2011 and has more than 40 years of federal government experience. 

Stroman's resignation also follows the recent departure of David Williams from the postal board, who stepped down over the Trump administration’s heavy-handed role in the agency’s business decisions. Williams was seen by many stakeholders as a valuable member of the board due to his experience as a former inspector general for USPS and several other agencies.

Williams had expressed concerns about Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin placing conditions on USPS before Treasury would release a $10 billion loan authorized by Congress to help the agency respond to the fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic. House Democrats this week unveiled legislation that would repeal Treasury’s authority to place such conditions, instead making the loan available as soon as the postal board requested it. The bill, part of a larger $3 trillion package to stimulate the economy during the ongoing pandemic, would also provide a $25 billion cash injection to the Postal Service to help it offset revenue lost during the economic downturn. 

House Democrats previously pushed for such a provision, but the White House ultimately stripped the funding from a previous stimulus package during its negotiations with the Senate in favor of the loan with conditions. The Democratic proposal, to which Trump has already voiced his opposition, falls far short of the $75 billion in relief sought by postal management. The USPS board last month approved a request for a $25 billion appropriation, $25 billion in unrestricted borrowing authority and an additional $25 billion for “shovel-ready” projects to modernize the agency. 

A spokesman for the Postal Service said agency officials are still reviewing the legislation. 

With Stroman’s departure, the Postal Service now only has five members on its 11-slot board, meaning it does not have a governing quorum. Four members are Trump appointed, Senate-confirmed governors and the fifth is outgoing Postmaster General Megan Brennan. USPS was without a quorum on its board from 2014 through July 2019. Just like it did in 2014, the board has created a “temporary emergency committee” that will carry out its tasks to make business decisions and set the long-term vision for the agency. That committee can vote to appoint a new deputy postmaster general, which would then restore the quorum. 

While DeJoy, the incoming postmaster general, has extensive experience in private sector shipping and logistics, his appointment was seen by postal worker unions and large-scale mailers as an attempt by the Trump administration to install a like-minded leader at the Postal Service. Trump has long complained the agency undercharges for its services and said rate increases would solve its longstanding financial problems.