WALLINGFORD >> Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are urging Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to agree to a one-year moratorium on further consolidations of the U.S. Postal Service mail-processing facilities, scheduled to take place sometime early next year.
Blumenthal and Murphy, both Democrats, announced their request to Donahoe during a midday press conference outside the USPS Southern Connecticut Distribution and Processing Center on Research Drive. The two lawmakers were joined by about 50 postal workers who chanted “The U.S. mail is not for sale.”
“The United States Postal Service is betraying the public’s trust,” Blumenthal said.
Murphy said the moratorium would give Congress time to work out a plan to preserve the USPS at current service levels. The Wallingford facility has already been hit by a partial consolidation, with about half of its work relocated to a Hartford mail processing facility last September.
Maureen Marion, a Postal Service spokeswoman, said Donahoe is aware of the request by federal lawmakers to have a one-year moratorium declared on the further consolidation of facilities. But Marion said the Postal Service had delayed moving forward with the effort in February in order to give federal lawmakers time to take action.
“They didn’t and now we need to move forward because our needs are significant and urgent,” she said.
Because the Postal Service was unable to locate the 35 missing trailers or show details on trailer utilization, we estimate the Postal Service unnecessarily paid $124,727 annually in leasing costs, or $249,454 over 2 years. In addition, the Postal Service unnecessarily paid an additional
$37,920 in damages to the supplier to replace these lost trailers.
1. Thirty five trailers doesn’t seem like an unmanageable task to keep track of.
2. Apparently did not need them in the first place, since they were not missed.
The U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) initiative began in December 2010 to increase operational efficiencies by consolidating delivery operations into centralized facilities. Management issued revised DUO guidelines in March 2013 as a result of a December 2012 Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit. From March to September 2013, management implemented 273 DUO consolidations.
Our objectives were to assess the adequacy of the revised DUO guidelines and determine whether Postal Service areas and districts complied with the guidelines.
What the OIG Found
The revised DUO guidelines were not adequate for processing DUO proposals with projected financial losses. Also, management did not always comply with the guidelines. Specifically, in fiscal year 2013, management approved 41 consolidations with projected financial losses of $321,550. According to management, there may be valid business reasons to approve a DUO consolidation with a projected financial loss; however, the Postal Service did not document these reasons because the guidelines did not require it to do so. As a result, management did not fully support a business case for implementing 41 of the DUO consolidations.
Further, eight DUO proposals lacked sufficient support for $584,797 of savings reflected on the DUO worksheets and some DUO before and after cost studies were not performed as required. These shortcomings were due to insufficient management oversight and management’s belief that they needed data from a longer time period to adequately assess the consolidation. We could not validate projected savings or losses for the studies that were not performed. Consequently, we estimate questioned costs of over $906,000 because post-implementation studies were not performed.
The boldings are mine, highlighting some common USPS themes – over-estimate savings, and don’t report on or learn from results.