• on Jul 27th, 2009 in Labor | 61 comments
    Should the Postal Service be allowed to freely award employees for a job well done? The Postal Service operates as a businesslike entity, but it is also part of the government. Appearances count — particularly in tough economic times. The Postal Service has an interest in recruiting and retaining talented employees to remain competitive, but what is appropriate? Competitors of the Postal Service are free to award employees with pricey gifts, tickets to major events, conferences held at resorts and other perks. These are rarely subject to scrutiny by Congress or provoke significant comment in the media. The Postal Service also uses incentives to reward employees for good job performance. While most Postal Service awards have been modest, Postal Service managers have authorized designer watches, espresso machines, global positioning systems, box seat tickets to sporting events, and personal computers as awards for their employees. Tell us what you think about spending of this type. Is this acceptable spending for the Postal Service? How should the Postal Service recognize employees' good performance during these tough economic times? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Suspicious Expenditures team.
  • on Jul 20th, 2009 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 127 comments
    As noted in the update on Wednesday, there was a tremendous response to last week’s brainstorming exercise! As of Friday afternoon there were almost 350 comments posted -- many more than usual! If nothing else, this shows widespread and heartfelt concern for the well-being and financial viability of the Postal Service. Not only was the quantity of postings notable, so was the variety of ideas; they covered a broad spectrum, from cost-cutting possibilities to new lines of business. And many of the postings received replies, for instance Nostradamus' original posting received 13 replies, which is a testament to the thoughtfulness of everyone involved. The creativity shown by the participants makes categorizing the ideas difficult, but we’ve attempted to develop poll questions to highlight the common themes, and get your reaction as to the relative importance of these items. While every comment received attention, some ideas stood out as particularly thought-provoking or creative. In order to gauge your reactions as to the viability and value of a sample of ideas, we’ve developed another poll question. The following ideas were submitted by Sheri, Randy, D. Traver, Move into the future, JM, and others. This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).
  • on Jul 13th, 2009 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 527 comments
    Wednesday Update:

    Wow. Thanks for the fabulous response to the brainstorm. We’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer number of thoughtful responses. To give everyone enough time to comment and us a little time to read through everything, we’ve decided to extend the period for taking comments and post a blog about the brainstorm with the poll on Monday. Until then, please keep sharing your ideas. All suggestions received by Friday morning will be candidates for the poll. Oh, a word about moderation, we moderate every comment, and our policy is not to include comments that include vulgar words (even if the words are partially obscured with other characters) or involve name calling. We have not been able to approve a few comments that were otherwise very interesting because they violated our comment policy, so please double check your comment before you submit it. Thanks again!

    Original Post:

    The Postal Service is facing a financial crisis and needs to pursue every option it can to improve its net income. Pushing the Envelope thought it might be a good idea to ask for your thoughts. How do you think the Postal Service can save money or raise additional revenue? To make this a bit more interesting, the blog team will review your ideas and pick the most popular or most interesting for a poll. We’ll post the poll on Wednesday. So brainstorm now, and be sure to come back on Wednesday to view the shortlist and to vote for your favorites. Share your ideas in the comments below. Describe the idea, whether it involves cutting costs or generating revenue, and how much you think it could add to the Postal Service’s bottom line. Happy brainstorming! This topic is hosted by the OIG's Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

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