Latta Calls for Permanent Change and Investigation of USPS Michigan Metroplex Facility
Washington, December 16, 2020 | Rebecca Angelson (2022256405)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) penned two letters, one to Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY12) and Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY1) of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and another to USPS Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Louis DeJoy.
The letters request a formal Congressional inquiry into the mail processing operations of the USPS Michigan Metroplex facility in Pontiac, Michigan, and a permanent transfer of processing duties for Northwest Ohio’s mail from the Metroplex to a mail processing facility within the State of Ohio.
The local postal carriers and the people who work to deliver the mail do a great job, but unfortunately, for years, the United States Postal Service (USPS) Michigan Metroplex Facility has failed to reliably deliver mail, including bills and absentee ballots, to residents of Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District.
“For too long, the Michigan Metroplex has failed in its duty to provide adequate mail processing services for my constituents in Northwest Ohio,” wrote Latta. “…Consequentially, the lack of dependable mail delivery services has resulted in late billing payments and penalties for constituents, delays in local judicial proceedings, reputational and monetary harm to small businesses, and the violation of the right to vote, to name a few.”
“I have tried to bring these concerns to the attention of USPS officials, including in Michigan, Northern Ohio, and Washington, D.C., with the hope that they could be addressed and remedied; unfortunately, the responses I have received over the years have been mixed at best,” Latta continued. “On behalf of my constituents in Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District, I respectfully request that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform launch an investigation into this matter and work to ensure that USPS is being proactive in addressing mail delivery issues brought forward by Members of Congress.”
Read the complete letter to Postmaster General DeJoy here.
Read the complete letter to Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member Comer here.
Since 2011, Congressman Latta has held calls with the Postmaster General, brought in USPS officials for meetings, and visited mail processing centers in Ohio and Michigan.
In October 2016, Congressman Latta was made aware of significant delays in the delivery of absentee ballots before the 2016 general election. Over the following weeks and months, he pushed for answers as to why hundreds of ballots were delayed, and in some instances, lost all together. The problems were traced back to the USPS Michigan Metroplex Facility in Pontiac, Michigan.
In April 2017, following up on these inquiries, Congressman Latta traveled to the Michigan Metroplex Facility to inspect their operations and receive a briefing. At the time, USPS officials made assurances that the facility’s performance would be improved and new absentee ballot procedures would be implemented.
Despite these assurances, mail issues persisted in Northwest Ohio, leading Congressman Latta to pen a letter to the Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service in June 2020 to request a formal inquiry into the possibility of transferring the mail processing responsibilities for Northwest Ohio from the USPS Michigan Metroplex Facility to either the Cleveland Mail Processing Plant or the Columbus Mail Processing Plant.
The Congressman did receive a response to that letter stating no formal inquiry into the possibility of transferring the mail processing responsibilities from Pontiac to either Cleveland or Columbus will be made.
At the beginning of August, Congressman Latta sent residents of Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District an online survey asking his constituents to share if they experience delays or challenges receiving their mail. 3,015 constituents marked they have experienced such hardships, which represents 85.9% of all people who responded to the survey.
Later that month, Congressman Latta led a bicameral letter urging the USPS to protect Ohioans’ constitutional right to vote. After discussions between Congressman Latta and the USPS, the USPS ordered Northwest Ohio mail to be sent to the Mail Processing Plant in Cleveland instead of the Metroplex facility in Pontiac, Michigan through the 2020 election. According to information provided to Congressman Latta’s office, USPS Headquarters has said that they diverted Ohio mail normally bound for the Metroplex Sorting Facility to the Cleveland facility from September 16, 2020 through November 14, 2020.
During this period, constituents of Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District observed noticeable improvements in the delivery of their mail. However, since November 14, 2020, delays and delivery hardships have persisted, and will continue to do so if permanent changes are not made.