The U.S. Postal Service has paid its top executives more in bonuses and benefits this year than a decade, adding up to $ 370,622 in additional revenue for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and four of his deputies, according to a review by the Center for Public Integrity of the agency. financial disclosures.

DeJoy earned a performance bonus of $ 75,000 in fiscal 2021, plus approximately $ 56,000 in other benefits, which include membership in two airline clubs, retirement counseling and planning services. financial, according to the Postal Service’s new 10-K report. DeJoy earned this on top of his salary of $ 305,681, the highest ever paid for the highest position in the USPS. In total, DeJoy was earning about as much as President Joe Biden.

The typical annual salary for all postal service workers, meanwhile, was $ 51,150 in 2020 – the most recent year studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The starting salary for a city letter carrier was around $ 38,000 at the start of the year.

The generous executive pay comes as the USPS continues to lose billions of dollars a year and letter carriers complain about widespread wage theft at the quasi-public agency. A public integrity survey released in August found that hundreds of post office managers across the country were caught illegally changing letter carrier scorecards to show them they were working fewer hours than them, resulting in lost wages.

While many of these cases predate DeJoy’s tenure, managers continue to change scorecards to avoid paying hourly workers overtime, according to dozens of factors and private arbitration documents shared with Public Integrity. .

Despite delivering a record number of packages to homes and businesses since the start of the pandemic, the Postal Service has lost $ 4.9 billion in revenue and recorded $ 206 billion in unfunded debt and liabilities in the during fiscal year 2021.

“[DeJoy] appears to be the last person who should receive an unprecedented pay rise and bonus, ”said Noah Bookbinder, chairman of the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Bookbinder pointed out that DeJoy intentionally slowed mail delivery as millions of Americans tried to vote by mail in the 2020 presidential election and resisted calls to sell the shares he owned in a company that deals with the postal service, posing a conflict of interest.

In October, the Postal Service began slowing the delivery of letters, invoices, and other first-class mail from three to five days to large areas of the country, as part of DeJoy’s plan to save the city money. agency. The agency has long been in the throes of massive debt as federal law requires the Postal Service to prepay pension and health care benefits for retirees.

The three main unions representing postal workers – the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the American Postal Workers Union – did not respond to Public Integrity’s request to comment on the 2021 bonuses.

The Postal Service Board of Directors, which hired DeJoy, sets his salary and determines his annual performance award, which is directly linked to the achievement of goals related to finances, employee performance and customer service, according to the report. Financial disclosure did not provide details on those goals for 2021, but DeJoy’s bonus was more than double the $ 30,650 target for the year.

The agency suggested in its file that this was unusual.

“Given our financial situation, it is unlikely that an individual reward will exceed the target amount,” the statement said.

The Postal Service’s board of governors, which plays a role similar to that of a corporate board, did not explain why DeJoy received a higher-than-expected award this year. John Barger, a board member who heads its compensation committee, did not respond to questions from Public Integrity.

USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer said executive bonuses reflect agency-wide improvements in accordance with DeJoy’s Delivering for America plan.

“In the last fiscal year alone, the Postal Service recorded a 5.3% increase in revenue, lower net loss and the best service performance for all mail categories since the previous year,” wrote Partenheimer in a statement shared with Public Integrity.

Partenheimer said executive bonuses in 2021 were not the highest in 10 years, although he did not provide evidence to support his claim – which contradicts figures in financial information published by the agency.

Unlike federal cabinet officials, whose salary has been capped at $ 221,400 this year, the USPS board of governors can set the post office minister’s salary up to 20% higher than that of the vice president. In 2021, that totaled $ 306,960, roughly what DeJoy earned. The board of directors also has wide discretion to reward the Postmaster General with benefits and performance bonuses.

That’s because Congress passed a law in 2006 – the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act – that increased the salary cap for USPS executives to provide them with a more generous salary. The idea was that because the postal service operates like a business, it needs to better align executive pay with the private sector to attract the best talent.

And just like many large private sector companies, the Postal Service has been cited repeatedly by the US Department of Labor for illegally underpaying its workers, with little consequence. The Postal Service has been cited by the federal government 1,150 times for underpaying letter carriers and other employees between 2005 and 2020, according to Department of Labor data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Partenheimer, the spokesperson for the USPS, said the agency does not tolerate supervisors making inappropriate changes to employee scorecards and takes these allegations seriously. “This position is communicated to postal staff directly by postal leaders,” he wrote in a statement.

Letter carriers who struggled to get paid for all of their work said it had an impact on their mental health and work relationships. Some have had to dip into their retirement savings.

“We depend on this money,” Nancy Campos, a letter carrier in Midland, Texas, told Public Integrity earlier this year. “When you’re bypassed it’s the most horrible feeling. “

Alexia Fernández Campbell is a senior reporter at Public Integrity. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaCampbell.

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