President Biden’s three nominees to the US Postal Service’s governing board could fundamentally tilt the balance of power at the beleaguered mail agency and add pressure on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
If they win Senate confirmation, the nominees — Democrats Ron Stroman and Anton Hajjar, and independent Amber McReynolds— would serve on a board that historically operates by consensus, delivering decisions with unanimity and through scripted public meetings. They also would give Democrats and Biden appointees a one-seat majority and potentially the votes to remove DeJoy, under whose oversight the mail service has recorded sharp declines in mail delivery standards. But the board’s two sitting Democrats, chairman Ron Bloom and Donald Lee Moak, have publicly supported the postmaster general.
Political divisions among board members — and between the board and Democrats in Congress — have quietly percolated since former president Donald Trump tried to meddle in mail operations by leveraging the Postal Service’s finances, then hampering the agency’s ability to send and collect mail ballots.
Here’s what you need to know about the nominees, who begin the Senate confirmation process Thursday with a hearing before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. From there, their nominations would advance to the full chamber for a vote.
He is the recently retired deputy postmaster general, an office he held from 2011 to May 2020. In that role, he was the Postal Service’s liaison to Congress and the White House, and its point person on voting by mail.
If confirmed, he would be the only Black person on the board that oversees the Postal Service, which has been a historic driver of employment in African American communities.
Stroman resigned shortly after the board of governors voted to replace retiring postmaster general Megan Brennan, a Democrat, with DeJoy, a former supply-chain logistics executive and Republican megadonor. The move was widely expected in postal circles; incoming postmasters general frequently hire their own deputy, and one of the same political persuasion.
The responsibilities of the role also change with each incoming postmaster general. DeJoy has not hired a deputy, and people familiar with his plans for the agency say he and the governing board have no intention of doing so.
Stroman over the summer served as a senior fellow at the Democracy Fund, a left-leaning, good-government nonprofit, and after the November election led the Biden transition’s review team on the Postal Service.
He was widely considered to be among Biden’s first nominees for the governing board given his postal experience and years working for Democratic presidents and House committees. He served in leadership roles at the Department of Transportation and the Government Accountability Office, and for a decade was a senior policy adviser to the House Oversight and Reform Committee and its Democratic leader, the late representative Elijah Cummings.
The political independent’s nomination was the biggest surprise to postal industry insiders. She is chief executive of the National Vote at Home Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that advises election officials on how to expand mail-in voting. The group became a darling of liberals during the 2020 election cycle for helping 37 states, including Georgia, send and collect ballots through the mail, though it maintained a strict apolitical stance.
If confirmed, she would be the only woman on the governing board.
From 2005 to 2018, she served in various roles at the elections division in Denver, rising to be its director in 2011. In that role, she led the city to develop first-of-its-kind ballot-tracking software that notified voters when their mail ballots were delivered and counted. Similar systems are now in use in 45 states, plus D.C.
McReynolds is a board member of the Massachusetts Election Data and Science Lab, and coauthor of the 2020 book “When Women Vote,” with Stephanie F. Donner.
Her nomination took mailing industry insiders by surprise because of her work on voting access and election administration, rather than postal issues. But of the six sitting governors, only Bloom has postal experience: as a consultant in 2011 for the National Association of Letter Carriers. None of the other governors had mail industry experience before joining the Postal Service. Neither did DeJoy.
He is the former general counsel to the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 agency employees and retirees and is the most left-leaning of all of the Postal Service’s labor groups.
He has nearly 40 years of experience representing workers and unions in private legal practice, and began his career as a staff attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.
He is a member of the American Law Institute Council, a research and advocacy group of judges, attorneys, and legal experts that publishes work to simplify and analyze federal and state statutes.
His nomination represents the growing clout of the APWU in policy circles both in the White House and in Congress. The two Democrats already seated on the board, Bloom and Moak, are both supported by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the Postal Service’s largest union and a more centrist group. The letter carriers union has fought off calls from congressional Democrats for Biden to fire the governors specifically to protect Bloom and Moak, according to correspondence between the union’s president and House Democrats.