Exclusive: U.S. Postmaster General to pause all operational reforms after outcry

WASHINGTON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is set to announce later on Tuesday that he will suspend all operational reforms and initiatives until after the November presidential election, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters and sources briefed on the matter.

"I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded," DeJoy will say, according to the draft release, adding that the changes are to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail," according to the draft statement seen by Reuters.

The U.S. Postal Service did not immediately comment.

DeJoy will also say that the Postal Service will not change retail hours at Post Offices as well as that mail collection boxes will remain where they are and no mail processing facilities will be closed.

DeJoy will also announce an expansion of a task force on election mail to include postal unions.

The move follows a lengthy call by the postal board of governors on Monday night, two people briefed on the matter said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Will Dunham)