OIG cites lack of supervision, letter carriers wasting time, late mail for $7.2m extra workhours cost in USPS San Francisco District

September 23, 2015 – Earlier this month PostalReporter reported on the Office of Inspector General’s audit of the USPS Sierra Coastal (California) District.OIG cites late mail, letter carriers wasting time as reasons in $7.4m extra workhours cost for USPS Southern California District

commut14The audit was conducted in order to assess the office efficiency of city delivery operations.  This OIG audit reports on the office efficiency of city delivery operations in the San Francisco (California) District.

USPS Office Of Inspector General City Delivery Office Efficiency- San Francisco District -September 15, 2015

In 2014, San Francisco District city carriers delivered over 1.5 billion mailpieces on 2,116 routes to more than 1.2 million delivery points. City delivery office workhours for this period totaled 1,430,600. The San Francisco District’s percent to standard was the fifth highest in the nation, at 116.93 percent. This was 11.85 percentage points above the national average of 105.08 percent. This variance means delivery units in the San Francisco District used more office time on average than the national average.

The San Francisco District could increase office efficiency and eliminate 158,847 workhours annually, saving 19 minutes on each route per day. This could be done by adjusting mail arrival times, correcting inefficient office practices, completing Integrated Operating Plans(IOPs) and enforcing policies and procedures at delivery units. We visited 29 judgmentally selected city delivery units (see Appendix B) and identified instances of:

■■ Late mail arrival or improper mail mix at 21 units.
■■ Time wasting practices by carriers at 15 units.
■■ Outdated or nonexistent IOPs at 29 units.
■■ Managers not enforcing policies and procedures at 27 units.

Mail Arrival
At 21 of 29 delivery units we visited, mail did not always arrive from the processing and distribution centers (P&DCs) on time or in the correct mail mix, as outlined in the IOP.7 Also, mail received from FedEx did not always arrive at the delivery unit in time to be integrated for sorting with mail received earlier from the P&DCs. We observed carriers in several units waiting for parcels to be distributed (see Figures 1 and 2).

Inefficient Office Practices
We observed instances of carriers being inefficient while on office duty, including carriers loading their vehicles on office time and not clocking back to office time when returning to the office in the afternoon. Specifically, we observed city carriers at 15 of the 29 delivery units loading mail into vehicles on office time rather than clocking to street time. This resulted in unnecessary office time at these units. Postal Service policy states carriers should proceed directly to their vehicles and load the mail in an orderly fashion after clocking onto street time.

Additionally, in 27 of the 29 delivery units we observed, we found supervisors need to better monitor carriers’ afternoon office time.We saw some carriers spending more than the allotted time in the office after returning from their routes. Further, review of the Route/Carrier Daily Performance/Analysis Report showed 284 routes with zero minutes for P.M. office time. This indicates carriers were not clocking back to office time when returning to the unit in the afternoon, resulting in office operations being recorded as street time.

Non-Existent Integrated Operating Plans
Management could not provide IOPs in 8 of the 29 units we visited. The IOP contracts cover mail arrival from the plant and identifies the mail product or class agreed to for each individual trip. Additionally, all IOPs need to be updated to reflect changes in mail arrival due to the implementation of Network Rationalization Phase II. The IOP is meant to stabilize mail flow and help the delivery unit establish appropriate staffing and reporting times to ensure carriers are not delayed.

Enforcing Policies and Procedures
Management did not always enforce policies and procedures for supervising city delivery office operations. For example, supervisors at 19 of the 29 delivery units we observed did not always set daily expectations for carrier route performance.

Additionally, supervisors at 27 of the 29 delivery units did not review performance from the previous day with carriers during morning office operations. Some supervisors printed the required reports but did not always discuss them with the carriers.

In some instances, supervisors did not even print the reports.
Supervisors are required to discuss expectations with each carrier every day. Also, if a carrier is not meeting performance standards, a supervisor must investigate and discuss deficiencies with that carrier. All delivery service managers should develop and maintain delivery units at a high degree of efficiency and assure Postal Service standards are maintained.

During 2014, the San Francisco District used 158,847 more workhours than necessary, resulting in $7 million in questioned costs.Furthermore, increasing overall efficiency at these delivery units would allow a onetime cost avoidance of about $7.2 million in the following year.

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We recommend the district manager, San Francisco District:
1. Eliminate 158,847 workhours at delivery units.
2. Eliminate inefficient office practices such as loading vehicles on office time and excessive P.M. office time.
3. Increase mail arrival efficiency by preparing up-to-date integrated operating plans with facility processing managers.
4. Ensure adherence to Postal Service policies and procedures for supervising city delivery operations at delivery units.

Management’s Comments
Management agreed with the findings and recommendations. However, management conditionally agreed with amount of workhour savings.In response to recommendation 1, management conditionally agreed with the need to eliminate 164,798 workhours. Management stated their conditional agreement was due to the high turnover in the City Carrier Assistant (CCA) position during the period of study which resulted in higher training hours and lower efficiency, and a higher than normal volume of Political Mail. Management further stated that a reduction of workhours will be achieved through better office and street efficiencies and reduction of overtime. These actions will be accomplished through training Postmasters, Managers, and Supervisors to identify and correct inefficiencies and issue corrective action where warranted. This will be completed by March 31, 2016.

In response to recommendation 2, management agreed with the need to eliminate inefficient office practices such as loading vehicles on office time and excessive PM office times. Management stated this will be achieved through 1-day counts and effective supervision through individual engagement with City Carriers. Also, on a daily basis, office performance will continue to be sharedwith the Senior Operations Managers, Postmasters, and Customer Service Managers. Management stated training for observing and correcting inefficient office work practices will be completed by March 31, 2016.

see full report

24 thoughts on “OIG cites lack of supervision, letter carriers wasting time, late mail for $7.2m extra workhours cost in USPS San Francisco District

  1. Yay, my district is number one in this survey! I frankly don’t understand how anything at all makes it its proper destination in a timely fashion. I see how the plants operate and therefore I do all of my business online and am grateful if an item I purchase is shipped via a competitor.

    The current crop of managers is a fraudulent circle of liars beyond redemption. Keep it up SF, maybe you’ll catch us next year.

  2. Numbers, numbers, numbers….. they can be spun in anyway you want them to be… this report doesn’t mean a thing

  3. IOP’s not followed, non-existant, outdated…….IOP is a MANAGEMENT FUNCTION to get the mail to the carriers in the best way possible…….

    It wasn’t done well during the report time frame, and probably still is not.

    Even the greatest rocket scientists would have to sit around on their duffs if they have to wait for the fuel for their rockets.

    IOG can’t even call management on the carpet for IOP ineptitude…..It’s not just plants, it’s the whole system only believes in these initials…..CYA……

  4. Need to promote people that have “paid their dues” like the private sector and worked more than 1 aspect of the mail flow (logistics)….not on Nepotism. When are those EAS titles being reduced? Oh that’s right, OIG says “lack” of Supervision….We’re doomed!

  5. Notice the OIG (getting paid by the P.O.) always says “lack of Supervision” and not “effective” or good. God knows We need more Supervisors…need to cut more Jobs of those moving the product….ya, that’s it……

  6. You are all crazy…Those who load on office time don’t come back early, they come back on time but they should be early because they loaded on office time…Stop drinking the union Kool Aid and wake up…..

  7. Employees waste time? What about making carriers scan everything in sight? If it don’t walk, if it don’t talk, scan it! What about time at stand up talks? How much time is wasted being disciplined over Jr. High School piddle s…? Rodney Dangerfield should run the Postal Service!

  8. OIG once again puts the pressure on carriers. This is a prelude to a nationwide clamping down on DOIS expectations and office “standards” which the NALC does not recognize. Management is being encouraged to harass and then discipline carriers who fail to meet DOIS figures, even though they can’t use those figures by themselves for disciplinary use. It is true that leaving the case several times, talking and not working about other than work issues, and not properly doing the office time and street functions is the carrier’s responsibility.
    But management can’t just jump on them before determining whether leaving the case or talking was a direct action that was necessary in the work function, such as getting supplies, 3849’s, etc. Carriers have to discuss what they’re doing when handing off swings, too.
    Plus, every carrier should be made aware to closely monitor their supervision with attention given to favoritism, i.e., allowing one person to violate rules and never saying anything to them or some other pet carrier, but hassling others.
    Many carriers aren’t aware their total office time includes afternoon times. Management wants to capture all undertime, but it just can’t be done all the time. To demand that a carrier have exactly five minutes of PM office time every day is stupid and impossible. Do all your emptying of outgoing mail, markup and CFS, misthrows and clearing of accountables before you clock back to the office and take your PM break on street time.
    OIG is nothing but a suck up team that is creating fake “pressure” for managers to use as an excuse for a wholesale harassment/disciplinary program. They have been swallowed up in their computer programs and math formulas, and refuse to allow any carrier to be human.
    That some supervisors knowingly and deliberately falsify volumes and any other factor they can fabricate to place unfair pressure on their carriers is an issue we don’t hear the OIG talking about. I contend my volumes have been falsely recorded on many occasions, and that sometimes parcels don’t even get counted. We should make note of that, too. Union officials should record their own volumes and compare them to what management claims or use those of random carriers. Management in far too many offices is corrupt enough it wouldn’t bother them at all to put phony numbers into their DOIS projections. Don’t let them run all over you.

  9. Late mail arrival or improper mix of mail, outdated or non-existent IOPs or SOPs, managers (supervisors, plant, postmaster, area, district) do not enforce policies and procedures, do not set daily expectations, do not review performances daily, do not print or cannot comprehend reports thus cannot discuss with employees. So because of the ineptness of postal management you get time wasting practices by carriers and clerks. This includes outside sources such as FedEx who could care less about delivering mail timely to post office for delivery and that the postal employee are instructed to wait for them.

    This is the status quo of all districts of the United States Postal Service not just the San Franciseco District.

  10. Need 2 hire several efficiency experts 2 monitor each station and another supervisor 2 input proper clock rings. That’ll save a ton.

  11. Let’s change the delivery standard to 3 days and consolidate more processing centers . Then the mail will be on time and you’ll save even more money. . Oh and then promote 3 or 4 people who can’t do their job to district supervisors at 6 figures pay checks. then do another audit and blame it on the people angain.

  12. More useless pie-in-the-sky stats from the Keystone Kop Korps!

    What’s the ration of supervisors to employees?

    Who cares about office/street time? The objective is to get the job done!

    “Eliminate 158,847 work hours at delivery units? In what time frame?

    Simply more bullcrap from a non-productive bureaucratic group that adds nothing to any category other than overhead!

  13. I know the OIG not a part of USPS but everybody has a BOSS , so time for The Congress , still owners of USPS to take a hint from the POPE and do their job ! Put the USPS back to it’s real job , i.e. MONOPLY of mail SERVICE ! !

  14. sell the place to fdx and ups mr OIG…..now they would be a smart recommendation and put you out of business saving the taxpayer money by not having the po go to the us treasury for free loans.

  15. what really matter is not office time or street time but the total time. A carrier can be late on office time but still arrive back earlier then total time projected.

  16. Dear Bob Batta,

    With your two recent audit of two districts, you’re able to find more than $14 millions of wasteful spending of delivery units. Extrapolate that across the nation I would imagine that the USPS can save billions of dollars, enough to get it out of the hole.

    Very well done.!

  17. So, to sum up this load of BS, we are angry because some carriers are performing street functions on office time (loading vehicles). We are equally angry because some carriers are performing office functions on street time (pm office duties). And, only in the upside down world of the USPS would higher percent to standard numbers indicate LOWER performance. Here’s a novel idea. Why not just have one classification (i.e.: carrier duties) and end all of this nonsense about which side of the office/street line everyone is on?!

    I must also take exception to the interpretation that carriers “not clocking to pm office time” indicates they’re performing office functions on street time. Maybe they’re simply getting off the clock and performing the pm office functions the next morning because they’re being chased off the clock by management when they return.

    EVALUATED ROUTES, PLEASE!! The only real solution to this bureaucratic nonsense.
    Pay for eight hours for a seven to nine hour assignment, cut the nonsense departments (i.e. OIG) and reap the savings!!! The agents can carry mail and actually contribute to the organization for a change!!!!

  18. Eliminate 158,847 workhours at delivery units.
    Simply saying it won’t make the work go away. Ensuring carriers swipe over to street time when loading will reduce office time, but it will increase street time.

    Problem: Too much work, too few carriers
    USPS Solution: More supervisors, more reports, randomly eliminate hours.

  19. what a joke. Ok…..so carriers didn’t move onto street time while loading their trucks and were on office time. I understand this shortens OFFICE time….but it increases street time. Our supervisors tell us not to move back into the office in the afternoon until ten clicks before your ready to clock off. That’s so the PM office times is less and they….the supervisors won’t have to explain all the things carriers do that you upper brass don’t want to hear about. For example. Hold mail. When do you work it. How long are carriers given to work it. The answer…..as long as it takes. Smart carriers like to work it in the afternoon so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning. Just in case you’re off the next day, the subs won’t place all the hold mail from the day before In one tub and not hold any of the vacation stops. If you have thirty people on hold, this takes time….twenty to thirty minutes. So you do it on street time In the afternoon. This way upper brass thinks it’s travel time back to the office. If you moved onto office time, they would raise hell,about too much pm office time. I’ve been inspected in the route I’m assigned to four times. Each time it took nine hours to complete. I make overtime four days a week. Curtailing mail to get off in eight once a week. I would say about twice a month I have a day where I can carry the complete route in eight hours without curtailing. Yet, even the four times I had an inspector follow me doing everything above standards. I’m told my route is adjusted to eight hours. When it took over nine hours to complete. I love Postal Math. So when I see articles like this, it’s so hilarious. You call it time wasting practices when the carriers are working. It’s typical postal math. You’re going to shift the hours from office time to street time. Then after the shift, you’re going to harp on the huge office time savings. Never mind the huge street time increases. Then scream bloody murder on how much office time you decreased to impress and blindly fool upper management into giving you a bonus. Then the next year, when you can’t beat SPLY…..(same period last year) you will blame it on carriers for making too much street time. Brilliant !

  20. Ummm… This just hit me! How bout recommending terminating the supervisors, postmaster, poom, etc???? It’s super easy. As easy as blaming the craft employees and firing us… You guys can do it.. C’mon..

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