The U.S. Postal Service, which has successfully operated for nearly two-and-a-half centuries without oversight by Denver’s health department, is now embroiled in a battle of the bureaucracy that perfectly exemplifies why the public is so mistrustful of government.
In one corner is the Denver health department that believes emergency pandemic powers gives it higher authority than the U.S. Labor Department and OSHA to protect the health of federal employees and to shut down federal operations.
In the other corner is the postal distribution center in Denver, through which medical supplies are being shipped, election ballots are sorted, and commerce out of Colorado and Wyoming flows.
They’re also trying to distribute millions of coronavirus stimulus checks.
The city health department is demanding the mighty postal service come to a screeching halt because they want to tour the facility and conduct their own inspection to ensure the center has not become a cesspool of Covid-19.
The Post Office maintains they have their procedures in order to address infected employees and clean potentially infected workspaces and are following such.
So what happens when bureaucrats say no to bureaucrats?
Those employed by the City of Denver are willing to bring medical supplies, COVID surplus checks, and elections to a screaming halt just to get attention.
“It certainly is not our intent to halt the delivery of mail or shut down an essential federal facility. This was a measure of last resort, and the only remaining tool we have to get the facility management’s attention and secure public health compliance during a pandemic.”
Not public health, but public health compliance.
Who knows if there is a serious situation at the facility? Neither side has said how many employees have tested positive for the virus or from where it was contracted.
The postal center is obviously still capable of operating, in spite of the city’s order to close.
And of no help to anyone comes U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette demanding the Postmaster General refocus their operation from handling the COVID-19 crisis to providing a report to Congress on whether they are playing nice with local public health agencies, like Denver.
Forget OSHA, DeGette is telling the Post Office to “follow strict, but appropriate guidance given by health officials, especially local leaders who are best equipped to assess the day-to-day situations in their respective communities.”
So the next time OSHA, the EPA, or other bothersome federal regulatory agencies come calling, does this mean we can petition city government for a second opinion?