Numerous senators are calling for major changes at USPS after the agency underestimated its delayed mail by 2 billion pieces. These delays cost the Postal Service $85 million, an August report by the USPS inspector general found.
Mail is considered “delayed” when its “not processed in time to meet the established delivery day”.
The auditors tested the accuracy of the Postal Services delays at several facilities across the country and figured out this amount was over the course of a year. The IG reported that a lack of training and supervision caused the failure to accurately report delayed mail. These imprecise measurements of delayed mail have led to management using faulty information when making decisions on staffing, equipment, maintenance, and transportation.
Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who chair committees and subcommittees with Postal oversight, sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan demanding the agency immediately boost its training for managers at processing and distribution centers. They also asked for regular updates on these programs and for the IG to measure the effectiveness of the new training.
In their letter, the senators wrote, “The mail continues to be a vital lifeline in rural America and the dependence on this service to deliver goods, as well as connect individuals, communities, and businesses, demands that it be a reliable and accurate mode of delivery. This cannot happen if we do not understand the full scope of a postal customers mail experience in real time.”
Another Senator, John Tester (D-MT) noted another IG report that found supervisors manipulated mail delivery records and employees deliberately delayed mail delivery so their colleagues working subsequent shifts would appear to be busy. The think the Postal Service should take immediate action.
He wrote his own letter to the postmaster general. “To be clear, any employee who deliberately delayed mail delivery or who knowingly misreported mail delivery should be terminated for violating the trust of America’s hardworking taxpayers and postal ratepayers.”
All the senators said they wanted to work with the Postal Service to improve its performance. They also said the agency needs to take responsibility for its own failures. “As always, I stand ready to assist in your responsibility to bolster the Postal Service to help it meet the needs of the American people,” Tester wrote. “But that begins with our commitment to getting rid of any supervisors or senior who intentionally provided inaccurate reports of delayed mail and to deploy formal training for P&DC managers.”