Herring demands additional information about postal changes

Attorney General Mark R. Herring has sent a letter demanding “additional information on any recent operational or infrastructure changes that could affect mail service in Virginia, and details on plans to reverse any such adverse changes.”

On Aug. 18, Herring filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s drastic operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that threaten critical mail delivery services and could undermine the national election in November. The states’ lawsuit asserts that the changes made to the Postal Service are unlawful and seeks to immediately halt the agency’s actions. The coalition’s lawsuit seeks to block the unlawful service reductions and operational changes at the Postal Service.

Postmaster General DeJoy announced that same day that he was suspending any further changes until at least after this fall’s election.

“The Trump Administration has a pattern of saying one thing publicly and doing the complete opposite behind closed doors and I fear this could be the case with their statement concerning the changes at USPS,” said Herring. “I want to hear from the USPS directly about any changes and reductions they have already made or are planning to make, despite the announcement from the Postmaster General that all changes will cease until at least after the election. I also want to know how they plan to reverse any damage that has already been done because of these hasty, illegal changes.

As Herring says in the letter, “Despite Postmaster General DeJoy’s statement, I have reason to believe that further changes may be underway, and that the extent of previously enacted operational and equipment changes in Virginia are more significant and severe than previously known.”

Reports of changes and reductions to two critical USPS processing facilities in Northern Virginia that “handle hundreds or thousands of pieces of mail each day” prompted Attorney General Herring to send today’s letter. The facilities allegedly undergoing changes and reductions include:

Dulles Processing and Distribution Center: The USPS recently removed at least a delivery barcode sorter, a flat sequence order machine, and an automated flat sorter machine.

Merrifield Processing and Distribution Center: The imminent removal of necessary processing equipment.

In his letter, Herring requested the following information from USPS by no later than Aug. 27:

Please confirm the removal from the Dulles Processing and Distribution Center of a delivery barcode sorter, a flat sorter, an automated flat sorter, and any other significant pieces of infrastructure or equipment, as well as the date of such removal.

If this or other equipment has been removed or idled, please explain the timeline for reinstalling or restoring this equipment to its previous functionality.

Please explain whether processing equipment has been, or is about to be, removed from the Merrifield Processing and Distribution Center, and when such removal occurred or is expected to occur.

If this or other equipment has been removed or idled, please explain the timeline for reinstalling or restoring this equipment to its previous functionality.

Please describe any other equipment that has been removed, idled, decommissioned, or otherwise taken out of service at Virginia postal facilities within the last six months, including the date of such action and the facility at which it occurred.

Please explain the timeline for reinstalling or restoring any such equipment to its previous functionality.

Please explain any significant changes in the last six months to staffing levels at Virginia’s USPS facilities or in operations, including any layoffs, hiring freezes, or furloughs.

Please explain any significant changes in the last six months to operating hours or overtime policies that could affect mail delivery in Virginia.

Please identify any mailboxes or collection points that have been removed, closed, or decommissioned in the last six months.

Please explain any changes in the way that electoral mail is to be handled and provide a copy of any such guidance.

Please share any additional information that you believe may be useful in helping Virginians understand what changes are occurring in USPS operations in Virginia.

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