USPS pay-for-performance system called into question

The U.S. Postal Service has manipulated pay-for-performance ratings for its postmasters, resulting in lower payouts than expected, according to union leaders.

In an Aug. 27 letter to USPS Inspector General David Williams, National Association of Postmasters of the United States President Robert Rapoza and National League of Postmasters President Mark Strong said the Postal Service has failed to address concerns about the management of its pay-for-performance program. The agency hasn't responded to requests to investigate complaints, they wrote.

Rapoza said 250 NAPUS members submitted appeals on pay-for-performance ratings released on Feb. 5. According to Rapoza, the agency failed to have face-to-face meetings with postmasters to discuss evaluations.

"Our request for investigation is not based simply on monetary payouts, it's based on a manipulation of the process where we believe several of our membership did not receive ratings based on what their accomplishments were," he said. "We believe they [the ratings] may have been lowered by higher-ups after they received the original rating. We've asked them to enforce administrative rules from within."

Rapoza said he has talked with Postal Service officials to resolve the problem, but the agency sent the associations' concerns back to the evaluators who provided the original ratings. NAPUS and the National League of Postmasters are requesting an IG investigation.

"Because of the ratings that postmasters received, they were labeled as noncontributors and for one thing we'd like to see the noncontributory rating go away," Rapoza said. "What we want out of this is to ensure the Postal Service follows their own rules."

Mark Saunders, a spokesman for the Postal Service, said the agency disagrees with the letter's assertions. A spokesman for the inspector general's office said an audit of the pay-for-performance program and the postmasters' concerns is under way.

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