Postal Service racks up big bill for unauthorized overtime

Flickr user xde19

A new audit report showing the U.S. Postal Service spent more than $717 million on unauthorized overtime pay in fiscal 2010 and 2011 comes as the Senate prepares to take up key postal reform legislation later this month.

The USPS inspector general’s audit found that field operations employees worked about 1.2 billion hours in fiscal 2010 and 1.1 billion hours in fiscal 2011. Many of those hours were unauthorized by managers and supervisors. In numerous cases, managers failed to check overtime reports.

Auditors said conditions “created opportunities for employees to receive overtime without prior approval, clock-in for work before their scheduled tour began, and clock-out after their tour ended.” Employees told auditors that they worked overtime without authorization, and their supervisors never mentioned it was needed.

“Postal Service policy states that supervisors are responsible for controlling employee access to timecards,” the report stated. “They are required to take all necessary action to restrict employees’ access to the timecards before their scheduled tour begins and make certain employees clock in and out according to their assigned schedules.”

The overtime cost USPS $294 million in fiscal 2010 and $423 million in fiscal 2011. The cash-strapped agency lost $5.1 billion in fiscal 2011. Both chambers of Congress are still working on overhauls of the Postal Service’s business model.

The main House bill, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates could save about $20 billion during the next decade, includes a provision that would replace USPS leadership with a control-board like agency if the Postal Service cannot resolve its financial crisis.

“This sort of mismanagement poses questions about whether the agency can reduce costs on its own,” Ali Ahmad, a spokesman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Government Executive, in reference to the latest IG report.

The House has not scheduled debate on the bill, but the Senate could consider its reform measure later this month.

Emily Spain, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a co-author of the Senate’s 21st Century Postal Reform Bill, declined to comment Tuesday on whether the audit could affect negotiations on the bill.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.