OIG Report finds USPS not accurately reporting delayed mail

United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General Audit Report

Delayed Mail Validation

8/10/.17

Background

The U.S. Postal Service considers mail to be delayed when it is not processed in time to meet the established delivery day. Mail processing facilities are required to complete daily counts and self-report on-hand mail, delayed mail, late arriving mail, and mail processed after the processing cut-off time. Mail processing personnel are to complete daily mail counts by 7 a.m.

Mail processing facilities use the Mail Condition Reporting System (MCRS) to report their daily mail count, providing the Postal Service with a standardized national view of mail conditions at processing facilities. MCRS information is available to management officials at all levels for analysis, forecasting, and planning.

We judgmentally selected eight Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DC) for review based on changes in their delayed mail reported from fiscal year (FY) 2014 to FY 2016. We conducted our observations at the Brooklyn, NY; Dallas, TX; Greenville, SC; Louisville, KY; Mobile, AL; Omaha, NE; Southern Maryland; and South Suburban, IL, P&DCs in February 2017.

Our objective was to determine the accuracy of the Postal Service’s delayed mail reporting.

What the OIG Found

We found that the Postal Service was not accurately reporting delayed mail.

We determined that five of the eight P&DCs we visited did not accurately count on-hand delayed mail. Specifically, we determined that there were more than 572,000 on-hand delayed mailpieces during our two days of observations; however, the P&DCs only reported about 369,000 on-hand delayed mailpieces (or about 64 percent) in their MCRS reports for that time period. This occurred because employees were not properly supervised and trained in counting and reporting delayed mail.

In addition, P&DC management did not have procedures in place to periodically reconcile MCRS entries to actual on-hand mail volume to ensure accuracy. According to Headquarters Network Operations management, there was no formal training for conducting daily mail counts and reporting delayed mail.

Additionally, the eight P&DCs did not include all late arriving mail in their MCRS reports. According to the Postal Service’s Mail History Tracking System (MHTS), the eight P&DCs had about 1.8 million late arriving mailpieces during the week of our observations; however, the facilities only included 121,000 of them (or less than 7 percent) in their MCRS reports. We projected that nationally from March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017, mail processing facilities underreported late arriving mail by about 2 billion mailpieces.

Further, the eight P&DCs did not report all mail processed after the established cut-off time for completing mail processing in their MCRS reports. Based on data in the Postal Service’s Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), the P&DCs processed about 7.5 million mailpieces after their cut-off time during the week of our observations; however, they only included about 868,000 mailpieces (or less than 12 percent) in their MCRS reports. This mail is not necessarily delayed; however, it should be included in the MCRS report as a processing plan failure.

Mail processing facilities are not required to report information from MHTS or EDW in their MCRS reports; however, using this information would provide P&DC management with a more accurate view of current mail conditions.

When mail condition reports are not accurate, management uses incorrect information to make decisions on staffing, mail processing equipment use, preventative maintenance, and the transportation of mail. These decisions affect the Postal Service’s ability to meet its mail service commitments.

Headquarters Enterprise Analytics management said they are planning to replace the MCRS with the Informed Visibility system to capture daily mail conditions. An initial pilot has been conducted and as of August 2017, the next pilot is on hold while the Postal Service simplifies mail condition calculations. We plan to look at the Informed Visibility system’s delayed mail reporting in future audit work.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management require formal training for all personnel involved in supervising, conducting, and reporting daily mail counts; ensure P&DC management periodically reviews the accuracy of MCRS reports; and improve the MCRS by integrating data from the Mail History Tracking System and Enterprise Data Warehouse.

We projected that nationally from March 1, 2016, through February 28, 2017, mail processing facilities under reported late arriving mail by about 2 billion mailpieces.
The four rural P&DCs had more than 1.5 million late arriving mailpieces, but only included about 10,000 of them (or less than 1 percent) in their MCRS reports. The four urban P&DCs
had more than 326,000 late arriving mailpieces but only reported about 111,000 of them (or 34 percent) in their MCRS reports.
Late Arriving Mail
The eight P&DCs did not include all late arriving mail in their MCRS reports. According to the Postal Service’s MHTS, the eight P&DCs had about 1.8 million late arriving mailpieces during the week of our observations. However, the facilities only included about 121,000 mailpieces (or less than 7 percent) in their MCRS reports. Specifically, the four rural P&DCs had more than
1.5 million late arriving mailpieces, but only included about 10,000 of them (or less than 1 percent) in their MCRS reports. The four urban P&DCs had more than 326,000 late arriving mailpieces, but only reported about 111,000 of them (or 34 percent) in their MCRS reports.
delayedmail17
Planned Changes to Delayed Mail Reporting
The Manager, IV Development, said they are planning to replace the MCRS with the IV system to capture daily mail conditions.He said that the IV system will eliminate the need for manual counting by automatically determining on-hand, delayed mail, late arriving mail, and plan failure by P&DC through employee and machine mailpiece, container, and transportation scanning.
An initial pilot has been conducted and as of August 2017, the next pilot is on hold while the Postal Service simplifies mail condition calculations. We are not making recommendations concerning the planned IV system changes to delayed mail reporting because it is outside the scope of this audit. We plan to review the IV system’s delayed mail reporting in future audit work.

Read full report

19 thoughts on “OIG Report finds USPS not accurately reporting delayed mail

  1. The toolbags got caught again but no one will be held
    accountable. This is only the cream at the top. How about
    scanning packages delivered before they leave the PO.
    How about changing color codes. How about counting
    pieces two or more times because they get rejected by
    a machine. How about spending millions on programs that never
    worked like PIT GPS, The “new” scanners, Safety programs etc.
    The toolbags just keep wasting money, ruining the service,
    creating havoc, destroying anything close to morale, making
    employees lives miserable etc etc etc. Fire the toolbags.

  2. Who cares. Nothing ever comes of the myriad of Office of Incompetent Goofballs reports anyway.

    After all, they themselves are part of postal mgmt.

    And 100% of the usps’s problems are the fault of mgmt.

  3. Its not only the plants not reporting delaying mail. It happens at the stations every day. Supervisors and managers scan the box mail as being up on time when the clerks are still walling it for hours. Just so they won’t get on some report and get into trouble. The stations need to be the OIG next hang out.

  4. And I’m suppose to get a FAIR Mail count??? After all these years I gave the Post Office???? I’m suppose to trust these management clowns???? These managers are the worst of the worst! They hide behind hard working employees, only to lie, cheat and steal!!!

  5. Amen! I have been a witness to it for 29 years. Only 1 more to go! I hope there is 1 life preserver left cause I sure don’t have a golden parachute.

    The Postal Service may be one of the most efficient posts in the world, but it is one of the worst mismanaged!!! Please hurry and give up on resuscitating letter mail and take advantage of the HUGE Parcel business, before it crushes all of us working employees!! The amount of parcels I deliver on a daily basis should bring in a lot more revenue than the spam letters I deliver? Shouldn’t it MANAGEMENT???? Can anybody hear me? Can you see the writing on the wall? Can anybody HELP US???????

    • Brooklyn is a basket case, Queens, NY was another mismanaged dump……Mid-Island, Bethpage, Western Nassau all competing in the race to the bottom. you can not run a successful business with 10th grade education mismanagers. the PO Circus is stage 4 Terminal. past the point of no return.

  6. Brooklyn,NY,is definitely failing the mail. They should close,the mail- failing,Brooklyn,(NY) P&DC. Send the destinating(incoming),letter-sized and flats,to the Morgan(Manhattan,NY) L&DC,or bring them back to the Queens(NY) P&DC. The Queens mail-processing facility,lost incoming flats and,letter-sized to Brooklyn,(NY);back in August 2015.

  7. Like this is news. I can’t tell you over the years I was a city carrier how shoddy, deliberately or otherwise the mail counts were as far as we were concerned, and there is every reason to conclude that misrepresentation of volumes, delays, curtails, etc. are a daily practice to benefit management quotas and estimates, accuracy be damned.
    I’ve seen parcels “counted” by certain individuals before the scanner machine was installed by flipping over a few packages and “guessing” what was in the buggy. Sometimes the count could be off by 20 packages! Letter volume comes in on the computer, and raw mail (not already in automated trays, aka DPS) is supposed to be added manually. It’s important volumes are accurate to give management the best estimates possible on how to cover the routes most efficiently. However, the upper level creeps don’t look at it that way.
    They want volumes to be undercut, and try to bully carriers to take less time simply by not allowing the time it takes to handle extra loads beyond their average volumes. Circulars are “estimated” to take a certain amount of time, and are almost always far too short. Sometimes volume will be measured by a yardstick when there are thin flyers that mean there is a lot more there and needs a piece count. Circulars in the DPS trays likewise are not given enough time credit.
    This is one reason mail runs late – not enough bodies to get mail out at a decent time. Upper level management knows what they’re doing. They couldn’t care LESS about timely delivery and only know how to harass and threaten lower level supervision to meet impossible demands. That pressure often gets passed on to the craft and everybody who allows the stress to get the better of them is miserable.
    Make no mistake: this is all about bonuses for high level muckety mucks at years’ end. In a service, there should not be performance “bonuses”. This isn’t a publicly traded company, all “profit” should go to operating costs and proper staffing. But they award themselves sometimes tens of thousands of dollars for a “job well done”, an accolade they bestow upon themselves. It’s like a local paper or TV news station – who do you think gives them these “awards”? They do it themselves! Bottom line is, it’s embezzlement. Taking skim off the top. Going out to a trophy shop and putting their own name on it. The OIG is worthless and can only “suggest” remedies. Not until there is a permanent non-connected oversight organization that holds all management accountable for all malfeasance and incompetence will this swindle end.

    • A good friend still carrying mail (I retired as a city carrier in January) told me there’s a temporary District Manager asshole in our state who has decided to set “standards” at the lightest volume and street time regular carriers had, and are totally ignoring the fact there are no figures they can use to discipline people with, as they are telling local supervision to write LOW’s to all carriers who can’t make the “standard”. The D.M. is also refusing to allow over volume mail, circulars, excess parcels, anything in an attempt to make good numbers for Area. Whomever it is, and management in general know this is a direct violation of the JCAM, and just like everything else they wipe their asses with it, and harass the living shit out of employees, skip disciplinary progression, and create an even more hostile environment while they try to pad their pockets and get promotions. If this is happening where you are, you can and should file Art. 16 grievances for failing to have “just cause”, skipping disciplinary steps by ignoring official discussions, which could be a point to make even though it’s argued that it isn’t “discipline” by management, but it certainly is when they’re building a case against somebody.
      I would also do a class action grievance under Art. 14 on two charges: violating the Joint Statement on Violence and Behavior in the Workplace (creating a toxic and hostile working environment by disciplining workers who have done nothing wrong), and creating safety hazards by trying to force carriers to work at unsafe speeds in and out of the office to try to make numbers that were never meant to be fair or even remotely representative of any given day’s workload. Because management is knowingly, willingly, and deliberately violating the JCAM and the Memorandum of Understanding that states that computer programs like the old DOIS and whatever they call the new one are strictly to be used as tools to help estimate a workday’s hours and assign auxiliary assistance if available, it can be argued that this too can fall under the Joint Statement on Violence . . . as they falsify data for their own nefarious numbers schemes and punish those who can’t make their goals as demanded by the program.
      Hell, I’d call the National Labor Relations Board if local stewards didn’t do their job and grieve the shit out of this latest managerial abuse.

    • Pay for performance? I know what you mean, Buck. However, that “performance” in management’s eyes is an insult to all hard working postal employees everywhere. Look at the class of people who (most of the time, not always, as my old office where I retired actually has some decent people in local management whose hands are tied) usually get into management: relatives, snitches, ass kissers, terrible craft employees who couldn’t do the craft jobs, etc. Bigger money, ego stuffing and the pursuit of power and abuse for many very mean incompetent people that get “inside”. It’s all a phony numbers game anyway – management will cook the books, falsify data, whatever to try to make it look like they’ve really done something special to deserve bonuses or level increases that they plainly have not earned. The “performances” here are probably unsuitable for a polite discussion, if you get my drift.

  8. There is no consequence to not reporting or under reporting delayed mail. There are consequences to being honest about it. I wonder if the behavior will continue.

    Put me on the witness stand and I’ll testify to the WHOLE CATEGORIES of mail that are not even in the system. Including machine rejects, sacked flat mail, returns from stations, you name it.

    Our “missent” or PARS or whatever you want to call the operation, hasn’t been touched since the abolishments commenced. Going on 12 days. Sending the OIG is just a further waste as nothing will be done.

  9. Management fudging figures. I’ve been there 36 years and saw it in my first week back in 1981. OIG doesn’t understand that is PO at its finest. Lying. Avoiding. Incompetent.

Comments are closed.