Delivering mail and parcels is a thankless job. Nevertheless, it’s not an excuse for delivery delays. This was the focus of an audit report cited by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) regarding the broken “swift completion” promise of the United States Parcel Service (USPS). He cited the report in a letter to Megan J. Brennan, USPS Postmaster.
The report was completed by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the goal of analyzing reasons for the delays. It even quoted USPS’ definition of the term “delay,” as it noted that “five of the eight P&DCs [Processing and Distribution Centers] did not accurately count on-hand delayed mail.”
According to USPS, mail is considered “delayed” when it is “not processed in time to meet the established delivery day.” Count is expected to be done by 7 in the morning.
USPS used the Mail Condition Reporting System (MCRS) to report daily mail count to help identify if all mail and parcels are shipped out on time. The audit report said the MCRS also monitors the quantity of items shipped and the frequency with which deliveries are done in a day.
The OIG report focused on the following P&DCs: South Suburban, IL; Southern Maryland (no mention which town or city in particular); Omaha, NE; Mobile, AL; Louisville, KY; Greenville, SC; Dallas, TX and Brooklyn, NY.
OIG found that these facilities recorded 572,000 on-hand delayed mail pieces over a two-day observation period, but only 369,000 of these were reported in the MCRS. The same P&DCs also failed to record 868,000 out of 7.5 million mail pieces in the MCRS that were processed after 7 a.m. or the designated cut-off time. While those pieces are not technically late, OIG said they should have been recorded nonetheless. OIG described this as “a processing plan failure.”
OIG attributed this lack of documentation to the lack of proper employee training. OIG minced no words in describing how “employees were not properly supervised and trained in counting and reporting delayed mail.” This was a problem confirmed by the USPS’ Headquarters Network Operations management (HNOM), admitting that its personnel had “no formal training” to keep track of which mail pieces failed to be delivered and how many failed to make the 7 a.m. deadline.
USPS’ Headquarters Enterprise Analytics management told OIG in the audit report that there is a plan “to replace the MCRS with the Informed Visibility System to capture daily mail conditions.” While the initial pilot has begun, the Postal Service is in the middle of simplifying mail condition calculations.
Sen. Tester’s letter suggested Brennan let go of incompetent employees. OIG, instead, chose to recommend training for all personnel “involved in supervising, conducting, and reporting daily mail counts.”