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.


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The USPS pays us well, above and beyond most other employees, so there is no real need for this except the greed that is there with this type of bonus. People will pay themselves and their friends, it is a corrupt system.

I can understand how USPS can lose a package, though I do not understand why USPS refuses to refund customers that have tracking numbers, insurance, packing slips. I love the click and ship program, but if you lose a package, stand up and do the right thing....PAY! USPS lost a $500 package, cost me $1500 and I lost a very valuable customer. I was told by the Domestic Claims Appeals Accounting Services, they had everything they needed...then refused to refund the package. If I owed them money, it would already be in the bank!

Yes...i too lost a very aluable item..or actually..the USPS lost it..or an employee stole it. It was my wedding band..all diamonds..2 1/2 carats...i insured it for what we pd ..which was $1200. I couldve insured for what it was worth..but i was not out to gain from the usps. Well..i. Got my pkg back..envelope opened..with a stamp saying"damaged"! When i sent in a claim..with all documents and reciepts and even pictures...they only gave me $400.00 and thats after a year of calling, getting hung up on, and sending multiple letters. Why do they even ask us how much we want to insure for..if they have NO intention of fullfilling their end? The USPS is a lying, cheating ripoff! Im using ups and fed ex for my packages now.

postal employees should be rewarded, but under the present system of management, it would not be fair. when Akron Ohio was still a district, I submitted 12 ideas. All of them were conviently "lost" and I was never able to ascertain whether any of the idaes were stolen. Too many of my superiors do not have the intelligence,responsibility, or iniative to see such a program properly through. Ihave never been properly rewarded for my contributions to the postal service,nor do i expect same. my 30 year certificate from the USPS even had my first and last names interchanged. Some days you are the bug, others you are the windshield

I agree we should have MORE say in the making of decisions and when people turn in ideas the help the unit or service they should be awarded.

Save the money to reduce costs. Employees should already be doing a job at 125% because our jobs may be eliminated.

Of course good employees should be rewarded in the postal service as in any other company. It is a good incentive for excellence.

Postal employees are well compensated for their work, already, and the expectation should be for exceptional service. The biggest problem with awards and incentives, in my experience, is that they are rarely given fairly or at least that is the perception of most other employees. The only way it would be effective is if there was a very well defined set of criteria, known to all, used to determine who gets such awards or incentives AND everyone who meets that criteria receives the same award or incentive. That would set a bar for employees to reach, rather than demoralizing good employees who are left out due to favoritism in the workplace.

I think good carriers should be rewarded with cash bonuses just like the ones that supervisors get based on the work that the good carriers do. Say carrier A comes to work every day and carries more mail per delivery than carrier B who calls in sick every 2 weeks and uses overtime when he really doesn't need it.why shouldn't carrier A be rewarded even though some would say he is just doing his job?

If you HAVE to give out "rewards", how about giving them to the people who actually TOUCH the mail?
PFP, give me a break, it's a reward for riding the carriers, clerks and mail handlers.

give back your cola and join in the PFP otherwise don't complain

I want what managers get....millions for doing nothing that requires any mind power. How hard can it be to pick up your #2 pencil and erase my true figures to unrealistic figures that suit your needs? PHHHAlleezzze!!!!!

If any union accepts reduction of pay, do what I will do....get out of it. Saturdays off is the only answer!

We should consider delivering mail on business routes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Resedential routes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturday. This would reduce carrier complement by 1/2 and vehicle usage by the same amount.

No.....Why? Because Post Office is a government agent. I was so proud when I got hired from Post Office. I thought I work for American people, but now I found out I'm working for Postal Management, our managers.

I remind my supervisors and managers all the time that we do indeed work for the american people!

No I do not think that large awards are appropriate, especially right now, However I read with interest that there are espresso makers, GPS system, Personal Computers being given as awards. These must be MANAGEMENT Perks and awards because Us lowly carriers are lucky to get 2 free movie tickets as a reward or recognition for a job well done, and even those have pretty much stopped.why doesn't the inspection service or OIG track that!

no--- because its a goverment job. and the more you reward mang. the more they will do anything aganist there fellow employees to get it.

We're a goverment agency regardless !
Do FBI agents get a cash reward if they catch a crook?

Does a soldier in Irag get a prize if he kills an enemy?

Does a Congressman get a bonus if he votes?

Why should USPS give rewards for doing your job???

The only problem is that the awards never make it down to the craft employees. i saw an audit the OIG did in the Western District and saw that money had been spent on employee awards of TVS, computers, etc. I can guarantee you that the craft employees did not receive any such gifts. Its called embezzlement. Theft. Someone should go to jail!

I am a letter carrier and I do the best job I can. I do not want cash or gifts just maybe an occasional pat on the back with "good job". Instead I get a knife in the back with "go carry extra on joe blow's route, NOW!" or "we are going to make your route longer". All I expect is my paycheck but five times in the last six months I have had to wait to get it four days late. I was told it was lost but it would eventually show up. I'll still do the best I can. Somebody around here has to get the mail delivered!

Mr. ataboy, you need to elect direct deposit option for your paycheck. One less problem to deal with! Keep up the good regardless how managment treat you. After all, you work for an organization that pays you well and didn't require a college degree.

no one in the southeast michigan district ever got more than a movie ticket (if they were craft) Managers get it all, for doing nothing, not working, etc. etc.

Why doesn't the OIG ever investigate fraud and misuse and abuse by management, but always craft?

We used to get a little bonus around Christmas, but that stopped when they decided to give the Managers the bonus. So instead of spreading the it around they have concentrated it on Management. Not necessarily the managers that have direct contact with the employees, because they have to meet unrealistic goals set by their district manager to attain a bonus. I wonder what kind of goals District Managers have to attain before they get a bonus? All those VPs don't make sense either.
It has made it an US against Them atmosphere. It's insane. All I want to do is deliver the mail.

THe biggest problem the USPS has are corrupt and totally inept managers. Get rid of them and everything will be okay. I can not count the amount of times my managers fudge numbers, hide mail, and do other shaddy things. If you want to reward people, you can do it without spending a dime. Change the work enviroment, give employees on the OTDL overtime again. Your already paying it out to PTF and TEs, just give it to the guys who need it most, the ones with families. A happy employee is a productive employee. Bonus's often lead to greed, and in the USPS bonus's wil not be earned, they will be stolen bases on alse numbers, and bogus reports(hell its already happening)


The USPS should still recognize and reward employees who go above and beyond the call of duty either with cash (maximum 1,000) or non-cash gifts (maximum $500). This is good practice and promotes good work habits. What should stop is the large bonuses that the PCES managers and VPs get just about every year. They all make upwards of $120,000 already and if they were doing such a great job the USPS would not be in such financial turmoil. When the USPS was making money these managers abused travel and relocation expenses when they could have been saving for a rainy day.


I am a manager and I do agree that we should be able to issue spot awards to our employees. Nothing drastic, but if an employee goes above and beyond we should be able to issue a 25 gift card, movie tickets, etc... However, large gifts at headquarters and District levels should absolutely be abolished as well as operations. We get paid well, but we should be able to recognize employees when they retire, x-mas etc...

Getting rewards sets a bad precedent...... give managers bonuses to swindle the workers is bad logic. Take a thousand bucks out of an employees pay check and we will give you 100 bucks, anyone with decent morals would believe this warped greedy thinking is wrong. The only bonus or reward you should receive is that you still have your job. Hire me to replace PMG Potter and you will see a 90% cut in management positions and a profitable postal service. I will do a much better job than the current PMG.


And that's what's wrong with the postal system. If you didn't have craft employees doing all the work you wouldn't have a job. And as far as decisions go...How's that working out for you because where i stand it looks like we are going down.

If "managers" could really make a decision, then I might agree but that is NOT the case. There is more bad management than I have ever witnessed, with no limit to the waste of $$$$. If higher level management would let the line managers make decisions based on business and logic, fire the bad inept ones and keep the good ones, we would be in a much better place today )-:

Give me a break...any incentives for the craft employees have been eliminated a while ago. Mgt used to have a set amount for each station to use for employee incentives...when is the last time you saw it used for that? It was being used for mgt to pay for their lunches and so on...Mgt. get bonuses for being "adequate" or hitting trivial goals..the USPS paid out bonuses to most mgt when we lost our shirts in revenue..what's next we go under and mgt stands in line waiting for the next "incentive" bonus?

With all the favortism and nepotism in the Post Office? Are you kidding? Cash incentives would only
serve as a "slap in the face". It's bad enough that
preference is given to hire and promote, now you want
to throw some cash their way too? Very nice!

Where I work, awards are subjective. Plant manager gave a $500 award to an individual who was out on FMLA working a day job (known to all) who just happened to hook up a wi-fi in the plant manager's house. Another individual (PTF/204b) got $250 even though that year he failed his manual scheme before becoming a 204b. Those who routinely broke a sweat every night getting the mail out got squat.
Another individual was called into the office and told his 30 year service certificate was on the other supervisers desk if he wanted it... then not 30 minutes later they had a standup talk and recognized a casual who was leaving for another job with a plaque.

I get so tired of all the crying about Management. When are you people going to grow up? Craft employees had a chance for PFP but your unions said no. Employees that go above and beyond should be able to recieve some extra compensation as long as the playing field is even for ALL employess.

im a mail handler and i agree we should not get rewards for a good job well done but management should not get bonouses either we are the ones that do the job management just sits on there butts all day we know are job we dont need baby sitters

USPS should be able to reward employees who do their jobs well.

This DOES NOT mean trying to meet "numbers".

An example: One of the local cellular phone companies sent a full mailing with NO POSTAGE. It should have been caught in Chicago where it was mailed from, but instead made it all the way into DPS. That means several chances to catch it. Instead I caught it at the delivery level.

I am estimating around 500 pieces in our office alone.

How about at least a "thank you" from management instead of implied "you made more work for us" attitude.

It is also too bad we can't accept any money at Christmas, the small amount I used to receive would basically break me even on all the postage dues I billed customers for and never got the money from.

No wonder us craft employees don't "do the right thing" when there are all the disincentives in place preventing it. DOUG

Once again I am disppoint that the OIG does not give readers real context. Employee awards this year are only .0002% (2/100ths of 1%) of compensation and benefits. This does not come through at all in the blog at how little has been given out this year. The total is also 63% below the same period last year.

Please if you are going to throw out questions to the public, give them facts to make judgements with, not just examples of designer watches, espresso machines, global positioning systems, box seat tickets to sporting events, and personal computers as awards for their employees

I totally agree, but would add that the "reward" system also needs to be re-vamped! Favoritism, especially among the races seems to be how awards are doled out. Do other "gov't" agencies give out bonusus/rewards?

Every Business should be able to reward employees for a job well done. The problem is that Headquarters obviously does what they want and the real employees who deserve it never receive anything. They are the craft who go beyond the call of duty and the poor suckers who take special details and work 17 hour days for over 6 months, receive no extra pay and end up getting hosed out of there PFP. It has always been a two tiered system, who you know and how high up they are. Try to get one of your craft an award, never happen.

Hey this would be GREAT, if it actually happened. I'm one of the hardest working carriers in my office, and I'm lucky If I get a "thanks for helping out today" even once a month. This is one of the largest problems with the post office today. If employee's were ACTUALLY rewarded for doing a good job, some kind of incentive,(bonus, move to next pay grade, something) there would no longer be the pervasive laziness that is throughout the post office. Because now the only way to get more money is to go soooooooooooooooo slow that you get some overtime. Here's an idea, set the routes like the rural's and simply state this is how much the route is worth. And just watch the carriers start rolling in early just so they can feel like they are getting paid for not work they didn't have to do. Oh well, until the culture changes carriers will have no incentive to do a good job.

Sure, why not. Annually, the USPS publishes
a list of organizations, who we can elect, a 'combined contribution" to. Everyone receives
this publication in the fall.

Service awards for performance could be linked to
this program, in the name of the awarded employee.
And, consequently place the burden of a "tangible
reward", if any, identified qualified organization.


Does anyone else see this blog as a tremendous fishing expedition?

Nearly every post is looking for stuff to nail the Postal Service on.

Very creative...but very deceptive.

As a former letter carrier (11 years) and current HQ Field Unit employee, I can tell you, the other side is not that great. The PFP is a joke. It depends entirely on favoritism by the manager. We have to jump thru hoops and circles and still get less than nothing, while those who are favorites are the only ones who are even able to talk to the manager. AND we don't get a COLA, step increases, nada. I know being a LC is harder than ever, but I enjoyed it more than the environment here.

And back in 1984, I submitted ideas about computerized delivery to a manager. I was told "Computers are a passing fad."

And I submitted a set of ideas I copped from UPS, and it dealth with scanners and packages and registered mail and was told it was too expensive.

I submitted an idea to lasar cancellers in the cancelling machines. It would end ink outage, spiilage and damaging letters from overflow and cancel most everything. I was told the mechanics couldn't figure out how to install them. And besides, the ink already works...right?

I have gotten "awards" from management: I was given bland cheese pizza and coupons for McDonalds (a place I never eat at)...
So, the place is open to innovation, but don't expect rewards. Ideas come from outside sources, which get paid immensely.

I think it will promote dissension between employes.
find a way to reward all employes of a work unit when
they excel.

There already is dissension among employees. Our postal workers in our town never get thank yous. TU's, a card, a pat on the back, SOMETHING... would go a long way & doesn't cost anything. They don't even get a donut or lunch when they pass mystery shops consecutively anymore like the old postmasters used to do. Their pay is cut and cut and cut & mgmt is on their back & on their back just to make their numbers & so mgmt will get their xmas bonus.

Managers gave up overtime and cost of living to move towards performance based pay, unions refused to do the same. If Congress wants the Postal Service to run as a business then treat them like a business and get out of the way. If Congress wants the Postal Service to pay the same as the rest of the Federal Government then pay them the same, such as locality like all the other Federal departments. Pay Postal employees public transportation assistance like the other departments.