Your Taxpayer Dollar$ at Work: Volume I

From The Acquisition Corner

As reported by the Washington Post, there seems to be a culture of corruption and massive waste, fraud, and abuse according to several Inspector General reports investigating operations of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Upon reading this article and other IG reports, the waste, fraud, and abuse that seems to be cultural at USPS is hard to swallow. However, I have been inspired to start a new piece here on The Acquisition Corner: Your Taxpayer Dollar$ at Work. My first edition!

…Dozens of former top executives and hundreds of former employees have returned to the agency in recent years as private contractors, sometimes making double the salaries they made as full-time workers, according to one of three watchdog audits released late last week…

I do not believe anything is really wrong with that, per se. Many federal government employees leave their federal positions, start companies or work as contractors, and make more money doing so. There are conflict of interest laws in place. What is wrong with that?

…”It appears unethical to hire back former executives at nearly twice their former pay to advise new executives who were placed in their position based on their expertise and years of Postal Service experience,” the report said…{Emphasis mine}

…The Postal Service has awarded more than 2,700 contracts to former employees since 1991 and awarded 17 no-bid deals to former executives between 2006 and 2009, according to one of the audits. Most of those executives earned six-figure sums, the report said. One unnamed executive received a $260,000 no-bid deal in July 2009 to train his successor just two months after retiring…{Emphasis mine}

Hired as a contractor to train and get up to speed your replacement? How does that even happen?

…The reports said the cash-strapped Postal Service is doing a poor job tracking its use of no-bid contracts, contributes more to worker health and life insurance benefits than other federal agencies and should consider closing more of its regional offices to help address an expected $230 billion, 10-year budget gap.

…The Postal Service is set to report billions of dollars in losses this week because of declining mail volume. It is also awaiting permission from regulators to raise postage rates and is locked in negotiations with two of its largest unions…

…Beyond employment contracts, the Postal Service improperly classified the status of 5 percent, or $910 million, of its $18 billion annual contracting costs, according to the report…

What a mess. It seems that that the mechanisms to provide contract oversight and surveillance are not only negligently poor and inadequate, but actually appear to make the oversight mechanisms for Iraq and Afghanistan sound like the equivalent of a well-oiled machine. Further, the USPS unions appear to be also obstinate and inflexible, in the face of a needed overhaul in how the USPS does business. Not just to improve, but to survive.

Better go out and get those “Forever” stamps, as postage rate hikes will be going up, in perpetuity.

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Jenyfer Johnson

Wow! I’ve read some things about how bad USPS was getting but this makes it look like it’s “circling the bowl” (to coin a phrase).

I think you’re right about those “Forever” stamps!!

Jaime Gracia

I think a restructuring is in order, which includes providing either more government oversight or privatization. Not sure how the USPS is functioning…