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USPS OIG – Distribution of Repair and Maintenance Resources

April 24, 2023
2023 04 24 at 6.05 PM

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Office of Inspector General OIG

Background

The U.S. Postal Service operates over 29,000 retail facilities, which provide postage, products, and services to patrons in all areas and communities in the United States. To ensure these facilities are safe for both customers and employees, the Postal Service provides preventive maintenance and repair resources for their upkeep. This includes employee workhours to maintain the building and grounds and address general repairs. As part of the 10-year Delivering for America (DFA) plan, the Postal Service plans to create initiatives to upgrade retail facilities, which include refreshing the lobbies.

What We Did

Our objectives were to examine the distribution of resources for maintenance and repairs at retail facilities in lower‑and higher‑income communities and assess the impact of the retail portion of the DFA plan on these communities. This review was initiated in response to a Congressional request. We analyzed repair and maintenance data to identify funds expended, conducted observations at 48 judgmentally selected retail sites, and interviewed Postal Service officials.

What We Found

We could not determine if there was a fair and equitable distribution of repair and maintenance resources between retail facilities in lower‑and higher-income communities nationwide, as the Postal Service’s systems do not identify and track all repair and maintenance costs by facility. However, we judgmentally selected and reviewed all repair and maintenance costs at 48 facilities in both low‑and high‑income communities and found repair and maintenance costs were approved and expensed equally across income communities. We also found that the Postal Service did not consistently record repair and maintenance information and related costs in its data systems. During our site visits, we identified maintenance issues that had not been reported and, therefore, not addressed.

The Postal Service has not yet developed and implemented DFA initiatives to upgrade retail facilities; therefore, we could not assess the plan’s impact on these communities. We will conduct future audit work on the DFA as initiatives are developed and implemented. Developing a robust execution plan will ensure that DFA initiatives allocate resources to maintain retail facilities consistently across all communities.

Recommendations

We recommended management develop a plan to identify all repair and maintenance costs at the retail facility level; direct responsible personnel to record the cost of all completed work in the appropriate data systems; and address all outstanding maintenance issues identified at selected facilities.

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