A New Twist on "Going Postal"

From TPM Muckraker:

One Postal Service employee used his government travel card at adult entertainment establishments more than 50 times. Another paid for an Apple computer and his mortgage. Three others purchased airfare tickets (including tickets to Spain and Italy) for family and friends.

That's all according to a Postal Service Inspector General report [PDF] issued last week on non-compliance with travel policies.

The report said that Postal Service employees "did not comply with prescribed travel policies resulting in over $600,000 in excessive travel costs for lodging and airfare in FYs 2009 and 2010." If the Postal Service took action to "curtail employee noncompliance with travel polices" it could "realize an additional $600,000 in savings over the next 2 years, or $300,000 annually."

According to the report, the Postal Service "did not cancel 2,491 credit cards issued to former employees, including 53 employees listed as deceased in employee records. At the time of our audit, there was more than $37 million in open credit associated with cards of former employees."

It's poor timing for the Postal Service, which is planning to cut about $2 billion in costs this year but still forecasts a $7 billion loss after losing a record $8.5 billion in fiscal 2010, according to the Washington Post. The Postal Service also warned this week that it is most likely going to run out of money by the end of the fiscal year.

I wrote about the latter problem at the super-ginormous bureaucracy last week. Link via TPM honcho Josh Marshall.

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  • ||

    "realize an additional $600,000 in savings over the next 2 years, or $300,000 annually."

    The higher maths.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If the Postal Service took action to "curtail employee noncompliance with travel polices" it could "realize an additional $600,000 in savings over the next 2 years, or $300,000 annually."

    We seem to be neglecting to factor in the cost of compliance auditing which, for the Federal Government, could cost well in excess of $300,000 a year.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Time to privatize the fuckers. I admit that when I sell a book on amazon I like using them because they're so cheap compared to UPS, but no more. I am not paying taxes so some parasite public employee can buy a better computer than the one I have at home. I say privatize, privatize, privatize.

    Black Chamber of Commerce: Did Obama Lie to Us? Oh yes he did!
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl.....obama.html

  • ||

    Stop rectaling this comment board. Nobody wants to read your quasi-relevant blog posts. If they did they would comment there and not here. If you want to add to the coversation, fine. But you don't have to blogwhore to be heard.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Today I had 8 people from reason.com, that's 40 people for the entire month. So obviously some people are reading my blog entries.

    Oh, and what's wrong with being a blogwhore? You don't support capitalism?

  • kinnath||

    A firing offense in the real world has no consequences at the post office.

    That must be an indicator of something or other.

  • Postal Union Member||

    Lucky for me I don't live in the real world.

  • Zeb||

    When emplyees are treated like federal employees, but the organization is expected to be self funding, there is bound to be trouble.

  • ||

    "$7 billion loss"

    "$600,000 in excessive travel costs"

    Methinks there's some structural issues to address first, like pensions and healthcare for employees.

  • ||

    Attack all the waste.

    If a kid can't handle a dollar, I'm not going to lend them 10.

  • JD||

    If they stopped sucking so bad, maybe people would use them more. I will frequently pay a buck or two more to avoid the USPS when ordering online because their customer service, hours, and tracking software are so much worse than UPS or FedEx.

  • ||

    If the Postal Service took action to "curtail employee noncompliance with travel polices" it could "realize an additional $600,000 in savings over the next 2 years, or $300,000 annually."

    That's such a small portion of the overall budget, there's no reason to believe it would make a difference; why bother? They should buy all brand new electric delivery vehicles, instead, because that would mean something.

  • Private Judy Benjamin||

    You get to shop and travel when you join the Post Office? Where do I sign-up?

  • Abdul||

    You may not realize it, but employees using government travel cards are personally liable for the debts. For example, if those former employees are charging things at Target, they still have to pay the credit card bill at the end of the month or it's their personal credit rating that's screwed and their personal liability to the credit card company.

  • Mo||

    Exactly. It did not say that those purchases were reimbursed by the USPS, just that they were made on the card. The former is a big deal, the latter, not so much.

  • ||

    And the gov is very "meh" about repaying legitimate expenses - don't you dare forget to pay off the balance at the end of the month (even if deployed) because its your ass, but don't worry, we'll get around to covering your expenses eventually.

    I've had to help fund deployments off of my gov credit card - not during small scale detatchments but when the whole batalion deployed.

  • kinnath||

    My Fortune 500 employer halted that practice 15 years ago. Personal charges on a company card are absolutely forbidden at this point.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Kinnath,
    Same here - if I even dare use my T&E card for unjustified personal purchases, I can get fired. I don't see however why would the USPS not implement a similar policy... Maybe because they're union???

  • kinnath||

    There are very few offenses that can get you walked out the door without a long, drawn-out warning/probation process. Time charging violations and credit card abuse are at the top of that short list.

  • Brett L||

    My former employer halted the practice after an employee ran up $50k in expenses wooing a dancer in NC over 3 months.

  • ||

    You may not realize it, but employees using government travel cards are personally liable for the debts.

    Fine. Fire them AND make them repay their personal charges.

  • ||

    Actually, while that's true, I believe the company (or agency) is also liable. Unless there's some fraud or something that shifts the burden to the issuer.

  • ||

    No link to the movie in the picture? C'mon, it IS Valentine's Day, after all...

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes. Link to Postal MILF nao!

  • ||

    Caption:

    "I sure hope one of these is my replacement fleshlight."

  • ||

    Caption: "No, I have a package for YOU!"

  • ||

    I am no fan of the Post Office (yours or ours), but $600,000 on a $7 billion loss doesn't even make a mathematically significant figure.

    Also, having worked for a large corporation, I know damn well that the bosses pad their expenses thoroughly (and with relative impunity) in the name of "client development."

    A little perspective is in order here.

  • ||

    So, as long as an agency is running a huge deficit, who cares how much the help is stealing. Is that the "responsible" position here?

  • ||

    I'm not trying to dismiss the stealing.

    I am just pointing out that:
    1) In the context of a $7B loss, $600K is petty cash. There are much bigger issues involved here. (Not sure if they can easily be resolved either. IIRC, your constitution mandates a federal postal service.)
    2) In large private corporations, there is similar grafting done at the "executive" level with impunity.

  • Johnny Cosmo||

    I feel kinda weird that I recognize the actor but not the actress.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Cassidy Blue :)

  • ||

    Come on in here, Tony, and explain how the Post Office is providing jobs and services that impact our economy in a positive manner.

  • ||

    What's the name of the movie the picture inset is taken from?
    Male sacs?
    Big package for you?
    Rear delivery?
    The postman cums twice?
    I believe I have reached the pun limit...

  • ||

    and of course,
    "let me finger your box"

  • ||

    Night Deposit.
    Air Male.

  • ||

    The Femail Man.

  • T||

    Damn. Matt handed you one in the alt-text.

    Cock On Delivery.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Singlehandedly, even. ;-)

  • ||

    Debbie does the Post Office?

  • ||

    id bang that postal babe on the job.

  • ed hardy||

    good article

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