At Senate hearing, USPS Board nominees express commitment to improving quality and reliability, upholding universal service obligation
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) held a confirmation hearing on April 22 for President Biden’s three nominees to the U.S. Postal Board of Governors: Anton Hajjar, Amber McReynolds, and Ronald Stroman. The nominees testified before the Senate committee alongside Kiran A. Ahuja, who was nominated to be Director Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Earlier this year, APWU members and supporters petitioned the Biden Administration to swiftly nominate governors to the Board who would work to restore quality mail service and support an agenda of expanding the role of USPS in serving our communities.
Prior to the hearing, APWU members contacted their Senators and urged them to vote to confirm Hajjar, McReynolds, and Stroman when their nominations are brought before the Senate for a full vote. Over 2,000 calls were made.
Anton Hajjar, the former general counsel of the APWU, said that “the crowning achievement of the USPS workforce is its diversity. For many underrepresented communities, the USPS is the first rung on the ladder of economic opportunity. Today, the USPS is one of the largest employers of underrepresented communities including minorities, women and veterans.”
A recent article in the Washington Post noted that “[Hajjar’s] nomination represents the growing clout of the APWU in policy circles both in the White House and in Congress.”
All the nominees expressed their commitment to improving the quality and reliability of mail delivery, and upholding the universal service obligation during the Senate hearing. “The deterioration of service in recent times is simply unacceptable and it can’t be the hallmark of the Postal Service that it’s declining in delivering service to the American people,” said Hajjar.
McReynolds, a leading expert on election administration and policy, brought up how the Postal Service stepped up during a critical time in our country, pointing out that “[i]n the midst of a global pandemic, millions of Americans across the country relied on the postal service to cast their ballots. Despite great challenges, the postal service helped deliver democracy during the 2020 election.”
Hajjar, McReynolds, and Stroman discussed the need for postal reform and innovation in their answers to the committee. Stroman, former Deputy Postmaster General, highlighted his background working on postal reform legislation and committed to working “in a bipartisan manner to return the Postal Service to operational excellence, future growth and long term financial stability.”
The nominees agreed that investing in postal infrastructure is a top priority, given the decades-old fleet is in desperate need of modernization and postal facilities that require maintenance and upgrades. McReynolds said that “[w]e know that the success of this great institution depends on the ability to adapt to change. Many of the problems facing the Postal Service are clear. Chronic underinvestment in technology, facilities, infrastructure and the workforce have exasperated this crisis.”
As the hearing came to a close, the three nominees reiterated their commitment to upholding the universal service obligation, especially in rural communities. McReynolds emphasized that the “universal service obligation means that every American should expect reliable, affordable and equitable service across the country.”
Stroman agreed, saying “it is absolutely critical that the Postal Service provide its reasonable access delivery services to all parts of the country, but particularly to rural parts of the country.”
The Senate has not voted to confirm the nominees yet but is expected to do so in the coming weeks. Check the APWU webpage for updates.