The U.S. Postal Service is required to provide universal service to every person in the United States. Most of Alaska’s communities are not connected due to its vast geography and lack of surface highway and road infrastructure. To meet its mission in Alaska, the Postal Service uses airplanes, helicopters, hovercraft, and other modes of non-traditional transportation to deliver mail to 82 percent of the communities that are not accessible by road.
Alaska mail services includes two primary classifications of mail — priority and non-priority service. Priority mail consists of First-Class, Priority, and Express Mail; and non-priority mail consists of in-house non-priority and bypass mail. Bypass mail is prepared and tendered by authorized shippers directly to air carriers for transportation and delivery to rural Alaska, thus bypassing the Postal Service.
What We Did
Our objective was to evaluate the internal controls for mail movement and payment processes of the Alaska mail services. We conducted site visits in Anchorage, Bethel, and Fairbanks the week of May 23, 2022. In addition, we interviewed Postal Service management, reviewed internal controls for mail acceptance, and analyzed air carrier payments and bypass mail program costs.