• on Jan 5th, 2009 in OIG | 4 comments

    As we start a new year, those of us helping on the Office of Inspector General blog thought it would be fun to reflect on the past year and pick our top 10 list of postal stories from 2008. We would like to hear your views. Take a look at the list and tell us what you like or don’t like. Tell us about any stories we missed and add whatever comments you think appropriate. In particular, we would like to know your pick of the top postal story for 2008, so take a minute and vote for the most important story by participating in the poll below.

    And now in reverse order . . . our top 10:

    1. Postal Service flexes pricing muscles — The Postal Service used its pricing flexibility under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) to offer new discounts for competitive products.
    2. Periodicals go web-only — Major publications such as PC World and The Christian Science Monitor decided to drop print editions in favor of electronic versions.
    3. PAEA-mandated reports hit the street — A flood of reports intended to lay the groundwork for the Postal Service’s future regulatory environment were released by the Federal Trade Commission, Treasury, Postal Regulatory Commission, Postal Service, and others.
    4. Voting by mail takes off — Prior to the 2008 election, it was anticipated that more than 31 million people would vote by mail, double the number in 2000.
    5. Postal Service announces VERA (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority) and a hiring freeze — In response to lowered revenues, the Postal Service took action to downsize and lower costs.
    6. Prefunding retiree health benefits — Anticipating large losses, the Postal Service, its Board of Governors, and other stakeholders urged Congress to allow the Postal Service to start paying current retiree health benefits from its dedicated retiree health fund now rather than in 2017.
    7. Gas price swings — The price of fuel, a major expense for the Postal Service, rose to record highs and then dramatically fell back.
    8. Greening of the mail — The Postal Service and mailing industry took steps to respond to concerns about mail’s environmental impact.
    9. DHL leaves the U.S. market — To stem large losses, DHL abandoned its effort to become a competitor for U.S. domestic parcel shipments.
    10. Postal Service mail volume declines — The weakening economy led to a decline in mail volume.
  • on Dec 29th, 2008 in OIG | 19 comments

    After blogging for several months, the Office of Inspector General wants you to know how it’s going.  So far, we’ve posted seven blogs (including this one) and received more than 100 comments. There have been a number of thoughtful observations about the Postal Service, and the Mail Transport Equipment blog actually led to a tip that resulted in the recovery of some pallets.

    Our most successful post so far has been "Self Service Mail Technologies". More than 150 people participated in the survey questions about Automated Postal Centers (APCs) — the Postal Service’s self-service kiosks. As the charts below show, as of the time of this post, 76 percent of participants said they were aware of APCs, and 81 percent said they would be more likely to use the Postal Service if self-service machines were conveniently located where they shop. We intend to incorporate your survey responses and comments into our work on APCs.

     Are you aware of APC?  Pie chart:  76 percent yes; 24 percent no

    Would you use APC if located where you shop?  Pie chart:  81 percent yes; 19 percent no

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and please continue to comment. We’d also like to hear your ideas for new blog topics. What topics should we address in 2009? We welcome your suggestions.

  • on Oct 14th, 2008 in OIG | 29 comments

    [singlepic=9,204,193,right]

    The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) plays a key role in maintaining the integrity and accountability of America’s postal service, its revenue and assets, and its employees. The USPS OIG achieves its mission of helping maintain confidence in the postal system and improving the Postal Service’s bottom line through independent audits and investigations. Audits of postal programs and operations help to determine whether the programs and operations are efficient and cost-effective. Investigations help prevent and detect fraud, waste, and misconduct and have a deterrent effect on postal crimes.

    With $73 billion in revenue, the Postal Service is at the core of a $900 billion mailing industry that employs more than nine million people. The 800,000 employees and contractors of the Postal Service comprise the largest civilian federal workforce in the country. The employees of the Postal Service impact every American on a daily basis.

    We are sponsoring this blog and related discussion forums to facilitate an ongoing dialog on relevant issues affecting the U.S. Postal Service. We intend to gather and enrich ideas from a large number of perspectives to address emerging issues and attack critical challenges facing the U.S. Postal Service. We will also use this tool to explore complex Postal issues that are sometimes misunderstood.

    We invite participation from Postal Service employees and customers, other Inspectors General, as well as colleagues from international posts and their audit and investigative organizations. Our goal is to add further value to the U.S. Postal Service. We want to hear from you!

    • What are some critical challenges facing the Postal Service that you would like to see us explore through this blog?
    • What could the Postal Service do to improve its service to you?
    • What could the Postal Service do to increase its revenues?
    • Do you view the Postal Service a business or a public service, and why?

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This site provides a forum to discuss different aspects of the United States Postal Service and how it can be improved. We encourage you to share your comments, ideas, and concerns.

This is a moderated site—we will review all comments before posting them. We expect that participants will treat each other with respect. We will not post comments that contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific individuals or groups. We will not post comments that are clearly off-topic or that promote services or products. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted.

We ask that reporters send questions to the USPS OIG Media Office through their normal channels and refrain from submitting questions here as comments. We will not post questions from reporters.

We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. Given the need to manage Federal resources effectively, however, we will review comments and post them from 9:00 a.m—5:00 p.m Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. We will read and post comments submitted after hours, on weekends, or on holidays as early as possible the next business day.

To protect your own privacy, and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information or personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, phone numbers or e-mail addresses in the body of your comment.

Except when specifically noted, any views or opinions expressed on this forum (or any other forums available via an RSS feed) are those of the individual bloggers. The views and posted comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, or the Federal government.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy and disclaimer. We plan to blog weekly on as many emerging new media topics as possible. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.