The Postal Service’s Latest Problem: Dilapidated, Unsafe Buildings

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe Carolyn Kaster/AP File Photo

The U.S. Postal Service has slashed jobs, posted net losses for several consecutive years, raised its prices and cut back on services. The latest problem for the beleaguered agency? Decrepit post offices.

USPS instituted a capital spending freeze in 2009, resulting in a severe underfunding of postal facilities’ upkeep, the agency’s inspector general wrote in a blog post this week. The Postal Service slashed $382 million in its budget for facility repairs between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2012.

The agency did not complete more than 19,000 repairs in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012, according to a recent IG report. Half of those uncompleted projects represented safety or security risks, and about 16 percent presented potential Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations.

Left untreated, the condition of buildings in need of repair could worsen. The IG said the total repair price tag could eventually come to $1.4 billion, calling the figure a “conservative” estimate. The IG criticized the Postal Service for not properly allocating funds to nip those costs in the bud.

“Our audit found the Postal Service lacking in developing a strategy to complete all necessary repairs and it did not always accurately prioritize repairs,” the inspector general’s office wrote. “We recommended it develop a strategy, reallocate funds to complete repairs, and reconcile its prioritization list annually.”

USPS management agreed with the IG’s recommendations and vowed to develop a strategy by April for funding the repairs. Postal Service facilities include 32,000 post offices, mail processing facilities and annexes -- a total of 280 million square feet. 

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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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