BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Members of Congress will hold a field hearing at the University of Baltimore on Monday to review the U.S. Postal Service’s longstanding poor performance in and around Baltimore City.
The government operations subcommittee of the House Oversight and Reform Committee will meet at the university’s John and Frances Angelos Law Center on N. 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; US Postal Service Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Audit, Melinda Perez; and USPS Processing Clerk and Steward, Rictarsha Westmoreland.
Chuck Metzger, a member of the nonprofit ReBUILD Metro community, 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 released by committee Democrats. “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.”
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 pieces of mail compared to 2020, even though hours of work and overtime have increased significantly.
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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 at 2 p.m. to discuss information uncovered during the hearing. Maryland Democratic Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Kweisi Mfume, Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes are expected to attend.