U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Amy Klobuchar: New Report Confirms Postal Service Management Failures in Northern Minnesota

BEMIDJI, MN – Following a request from U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar (both D-Minn.), the United States Postal Service Inspector General launched an audit and released a comprehensive report on mail delivery issues in Northern Minnesota. The report’s findings underscored the need for serious changes at the Postal Service, including reforms included in the Senators’ bipartisan Postal Delivery Accountability Act

“When the mail is unreliable, it hurts Minnesotans, especially those who rely on the Postal Service to pay bills and receive paychecks and prescriptions.   Yet when I ask the Postal Service for information on these disruptions, they insist everything is fine. This report confirmed what I’ve heard from Minnesotans and postal workers across the state for years: the Postal Service management is failing Minnesotans,” said Senator Smith. “This isn’t the end of this story. The Inspector General’s district-wide report will be released soon, and I look forward to getting a full picture so we can hold the Postal Service accountable for real solutions.”

“Families in Bemidji and the surrounding communities rely on the Postal Service every day for everything from their prescriptions to paychecks, but I received troubling reports about significant delays and issues with local mail delivery. That is why I called for an investigation and for solutions,” said Senator Klobuchar. “The results of this audit are very concerning and the Postal Service must work to implement the Inspector General’s recommendations to improve operations and provide Northern Minnesota post offices with the resources they need to serve their customers.  Minnesotans deserve to have a reliable and responsive Postal Service.”

In November 2023, the Bemidji Post Office became the subject of national attention over a sudden influx of thousands of Amazon packages to the facility.  In response, Senators Smith and Klobuchar asked the USPS Inspector General (IG) to investigate.  The IG found that USPS headquarters management failed to adequately plan for, staff, resource, and even inform the facility about the sudden increase in package volume, in nearly 79,000 delayed mailpieces in the facility just from December 12 – 14, 2024.  The IG also found that facility management failed to accurately report the delayed mail. The IG report states, “This occurred because headquarters management did not have a program in place to provide Bemidji Post Office management with training on mail processing operations.”  

The report also makes it clear that management failures, not the failures of postal workers, are responsible for the problems.

The IG findings directly contradict the Postal Service’s response to Senators Smith’s letter dated November 28, 2023, which stated that the Postal Service “has well-established procedures and guidance to help every facility in the country prepare for the busiest time of year.” It is clear from the IG’s findings that those procedures and guidance failed to adequately address the situation in Bemidji.

Smith and Klobuchar have long worked to ensure Minnesotans can rely on the Postal Service to deliver on time. The Senators introduced the Postal Delivery Accountability Act, which would address USPS’ failure to accurately track when mail routes do not receive deliveries. Smith and Klobuchar both sent letters to Postmaster DeJoy regarding the disruptions caused by increased Amazon package delivery.  They also pressed USPS for answers about a payroll error that led to 53,000 rural letter carriers missing or receiving only a partial paycheck. Smith and Klobuchar have also asked USPS for answers to widespread missing and delayed mail deliveries across Minnesota.