The Columbus US Postal Service fails well beyond the national USPS. It lies about its illegal lack of service and private profiteering in advertisements paid for by my taxes, and to my face.
Mail truck

Of no interest to anyone in City Hall, any of Columbus’ daily “media” outlets, and any of its Congressional representative except Sen. Sherrod Brown, the United States Postal Service in Columbus ranks as one of the three or four worst in the entire United States. They break the federal postal code daily. In so doing, they knowingly and purposefully violate the legal and civil rights of all persons affected. Both postmasters and “inspectors” who do no inspection lie to Brown’s office, their own regional and national coordinators, and residents who depend on regular postal service six days per week excepting legal holidays.

It became clear to me in 2021 that the USPS service in Columbus continued to worsen months after Trumpist major contributor Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was appointed in August 2020 to destroy delivery and service especially of mail-in ballots to benefit 45s failed re-election effort. For the first time in my 74 years I could not expect delivery 6 days each week. I also had to keep track of weekly and monthly magazine delivery. Substitute carriers missed my neighbors and my house because they were not told that the route required them to turn a corner. My carriers tell me horror stories repeatedly.

As it became clear that Columbus was not beginning to recover like much of the US, I first asked City Council to make public statements and to contact the Postmasters.

Of course, they declined the request of a resident. I was told that Joyce Beatty, then congressional representative for much less of the city proper than after the most recent round of Ohio gerrymandering would “look into it.” There is no evidence that she had or has any interest. Moreover, as soon as she was redistricted to become my rep., I contacted her offices in Washington, DC and Columbus. I did not even receive an acknowledgement.

Democrat Beatty’s lack of service to her constituents exactly parallels my former representative Troy Balderson, former Republican senator Rob Portman, and present Republican senator JD Vance. All are completely unresponsive. As a legal resident of Columbus, Ohio, and the US, I have no elected representative on any level other than Brown.

Beatty awaits appointment as a US Ambassador to a Caribbean island for her retirement. All sources report that she ranks low on the Biden administration’s list.

Brown’s office is different. After my initial contact in late 2021, the constituent services staff has filed three formal complaints against Columbus USPS on my behalf. This accomplished nothing concrete as service continues to decline.

But through my frequent communications with a regional Consumer Service leader—and the misconduct of the local and national fraudulent Inspectors General—my knowledge of USPS dishonesty, disinterest in the American postage-paying public, and outright criminality expands, I must say, to the breaking point. That is why I have filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Justice.

This is how I know how poorly the Columbus USPS service compares to the nation and almost all other cities. Interestingly, Cincinnati also ranks among the worst. Columbus postal officials lie regularly to the media and the public, including me, about this. Residents should be aware of the names of the latest rotating postmaster Eric Gilbert; area manager Angela Lazenby; station manager Mike Jones; and worst of all inspector liaison and serial liar to Sherrod Brown, USPS, and me directly Michelle Shimmel. In addition to brazen lying, she misspells my five-letter last name to Sherrod Brown. A request for correction gets no apology or any other response.

The USPS in general and the Columbus PS in particular are guilty of mismanagement and violation of the federal Postal Code since August 2020. First, they removed and destroyed sorting machines, a mistake that DeJoy later admitted but never fully rectified. The Columbus PS does not always repair its machines, and as a matter of practice does not sort mail regularly. This means that most of the deliveries are pre-sorted first class mail consisting almost completely of bills, requests for donations, and advertisements.

The USPS is loath to deliver many weekly and monthly magazines, especially the weekly national edition of The New Yorker. My veteran carriers and I joke that DeJoy has a particular aversion to the word “New York.” I miss so many issues that the magazine’s subscribers’ services department know my voice when I call to request resending issues. In one case, USPS delivered only one of three copies that the magazine confirmed that they sent to the correct address. This is not accidental.

In addition, USPS in various parts of Columbus since August 2020 has not delivered first and second-class mail six days/week. This is required by the US Postal Code except under emergency circumstances. That was offered initially as an excuse but was never fully corrected. Most importantly, an emergency cannot go on for 34 months.

The proof of the failing pudding lies in the  stark fact that USPS is delivering packages for itself, FedEx, and especially Amazon 24/7 at the same time that it is not delivering mail to regular postal customers 6 days a week.

This is an explicit violation of federal law, specifically US Code 1701 and Ch 83. The USPS cannot legally deliver packages 24/7 and not deliver first and second-class mail 6 days a week. USPS knows this. My carriers know it. To a person, the veterans “hate” the present mismanagement and forced illegality. They tell me this regularly.

USPS fraudulent “inspectors” respond to complaints by dismissing them all without investigation of explanation. On one occasion, I submitted a report online in the evening. It was dismissed by 7:00 am, before business hours, the next morning, with the outright lie that “after careful review.” As if they are playing ping-pong, for no stated reason the Inspector General bounces my complaints made specifically to them to USPS Consumer and Industry Contact Office. This is not only a violation of their own printed charge and mission but an insult to the taxpaying public.

On other occasions, both the local inspector liaison Shimmel and “East City Station” lie blatantly to me and deny documented reality.

Since August 2020, despite USPS nationally and locally lying to all parties from the President and Congress to national and local media, in a number of areas matters continue to worsen. National and local service remains inconsistent and highly variable.

Two specific developments take place. First, DeJoy’s USPS issued a muddled, self-promoting, contradictory, repetitive, and dishonest “Deliver for America” “new service policy.” It is on the USPS website. I challenge any readers to attempt to make sense of it.

Despite that, USPS declares in national mass media and print advertising that this constitutes a commitment to serve the American people and maintain the proud historical mission and legacy of the Post Office from the days of the pony express forward. That is fundamentally untrue.

Blame is cast on Covid-19, not on DeJoy’s actions beginning in August 2020. Claims about volume are not documented. The purported “ten-year plan” has no program, timetable, or metrics for accountability. The “Transformational Goals,” to use a technical term, are no more than bullshit. Nothing is stated about honoring of the letter of the law, the existing US Postal Code.

Among the countless issues ignored are not only DeJoy’s destructive actions, but also the positive effect of ending the requirement that USPS must self- and advance-fund its employee pension program. And DeJoy’s illegal efforts to counter the federal requirement of shifting all vehicles to EV, of course, is ignored. “Not Deliver for America” wastes 56 pages, among USPS’s attack on our endangered environment.

Even worse is DeJoy’s signing a contract for the public USPS to deliver packages 24/7 for private, often law-breaking, union-busting, and environmentally damaging Amazon. As if Amazon’s own and its contract workers’ vehicles drivers parking illegally and delivering to wrong addresses did not do enough damage.

The conduct of this contract also violates the federal Postal Code. USPS cannot legally deliver packages 24/7 for private delivery companies when it does not sort and deliver first and second class six days/week. DeJoy and other USPS administrators are major investors in Amazon and other competitors. That is an illegal conflict of interest.

DeJoy, the presidentially appointed Board of Governors, the president and Congress, and other representatives apparently do not care. But my veteran carriers care a lot. At least a half-dozen tell me that they “are under intense pressure” to meet the terms of the private Amazon contract and ignore the US Postal Code. They know the law and are disgusted.

And as a resident who depended on the post office since his earliest memories, I care. I have legal and civil rights that the USPS is stomping on for its own illegal profiteering.

That is why I file complaints through my only representative who responds to me. And that is why I am talking to the US Department of Justice about a formal complaint.

Will others join me?


Harvey J. Graff is Professor Emeritus of English and History at The Ohio State University and inaugural Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies. Author of many books, most recently he published Searching for Literacy: The Social and Intellectual Origins of Literacy Studies was My Life with Literacy: The Continuing Education of a Historian. The Intersections of the Personal, the Political, the Academic, and Place is forthcoming. “Reconstructing the new ‘uni-versity’ from the ashes of the ‘multi- and mega-versity’” is in progress.