U.S. Postal Service Recognition and Awards Program

Background

The U.S. Postal Service’s Recognition and Awards Program is intended to recognize employees who have demonstrated outstanding performance, superior competence, or had some other significant accomplishment. For fiscal years (FY) 2018 to 2021, the Postal Service presented 133,330 awards totaling over $76.8 million.

What We Did

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s effectiveness in managing its Recognition and Awards Program. We reviewed FY 2018 through FY 2021 recognition and awards data from the eAwards system.

What We Found

Postal Service management could improve controls to effectively manage its Recognition and Awards Program. Specifically, 271 employees inappropriately submitted and approved 10,035 awards totaling $9.1 million; six employees submitted seven awards for themselves totaling $2,598; and 254 employees submitted 598 reciprocating awards for each other totaling $820,128. We also found that management approved 36,959 of 53,377 judgmentally selected awards with inadequate or insufficient justification narratives in the eAwards system. Additionally, management did not audit its awards program.

These conditions occurred because management did not adequately implement or execute existing system controls or review them. Additionally, they did not provide employees with formal training on the awards program and did not properly review award justification narratives before approval. In addition, the policy was unclear on the awards’ audit requirement, and did not have procedures in place to audit the awards for fairness. As a result, we estimated the Postal Service incurred $8.2 million annually in questioned costs.

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