Add “upkeep of postal facilities” to the list of tasks that get increasingly difficult to do under a budget crunch. Yet, Americans are passionate about their post offices, so it seems maintenance should be a priority.

However, the U.S. Postal Service’s financial challenges have made it hard to maintain facilities. During fiscal years 2009-2012, the Postal Service experienced a $382 million decrease in its budget for facility repairs, alterations, and capital improvements, resulting in incomplete repairs or unmet capital improvements. Our recent audit report found about half of the incomplete repairs represent safety or security issues and potential future major repairs. 

Future costs for these unfunded repairs could reach $1.4 billion. In addition, our work determined that some of these repairs were potential Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations.

The Postal Service operates 32,000 facilities throughout the country with 280 million square feet of space, and it includes post offices, mail processing facilities, and annexes. The Postal Service’s Facilities Department says employees and customers are not in danger, as it prioritizes repairs based on the safety and security of Postal Service property. Still, the Postal Service’s capital spending freeze initiated in 2009 has clearly had an impact on the ability to upgrade and repair facilities. The Postal Service spent 29 percent below the industry average on facility repairs in FY 2012. Lower priority repairs and improvements are less likely to occur, potentially leading to a longer-term cost.

Our audit found the Postal Service lacking in developing a strategy to complete all necessary repairs and it did not always accurately prioritize repairs. We recommended it develop a strategy, reallocate funds to complete repairs, and reconcile its prioritization list annually.

We welcome your thoughts.

How best can the Postal Service make the necessary repairs to its facilities while operating under budget constraints?
Will people be interested in buying or leasing Postal Service buildings that haven't been well maintained? Or could it affect the value of the properties?
Are there issues other than decreased funding that prevent the Postal Service from completing necessary repairs? 

Comments (4)

The most direct way to report fraud, waste, misconduct within the Postal Service is via our Hotline form

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
  • anon

    This problem should have been addressed before facilities were shut down or hours were decreased while others in dire need of repair were left open. I live in near a community where this happened. One fully incorporated town, with the largest school in the county, a police force, many businesses and a post office in great condition was deemed to be only useful for 4 hrs per day simply because its residents were being served by "addresses" from three other towns, the closest 3 miles away--in a building that it is leased and falling down. Now must the residents be subjected to a 4 hr post office but the postal service must maintain the same level of maintenance on this building AND pay the lease on the building that is such a state of disrepair 3 miles away. And yes, a public forum was held. 100% in attendance wanted the reverse, move the carriers to a nice, warm building and shutter the other where there are no businesses, no schools, nothing but falling ceiling tiles. But the Postal Service manager in charge of the meeting said, and was quoted in the local newspaper, "The decision has already been made.", and further stated that the opinion cards that were mailed were only a "formality." He also assured those in attendance that a truck driver had been given a key to collect the outgoing mail so they could still deposit mail into the collection box at the same time. As a former employee with the knowledge, skills, and expertise I offered to realign the routes (for free) to leave the office they travel by several times per day anyway. It would have actually the Postal Service money. But instead they close a perfectly good office, disappoint customers, and continue to pay a lease on a building that is literally falling down. This is only one. E mail me. I know of more.

    Jan 27, 2014
  • anon

    Get rid of the use it or loose it concept. 10 percent across the board cuts in building maintaince. Let facilities keep what they receive and combine funding with new fiscal year on big projects. If emergency funds are needed. Area managers should do the approval process.

    Jan 22, 2014
  • anon

    Hi i have problem need to a just help me processing talk back thank

    Jan 21, 2014
  • anon

    There will certainly be a decrease in value of the postal properties. I bought a house for about 30K under the going rate in my neighborhood because the previous owner did not properly maintain it. The post office needs to utilize the staff it has to make immediate repairs when needed, not put it off because the lobby needs to be waxed. The prioritization needs to be more on safety & less on looks. As to the other issues, probably, with Issa running his mouth and scaring people. We also need to look at the makeup of the Board of Governors. How many of them have worked as a wage earner, rather than an executive? Working conditions at the PO have never been stellar, and it sounds as though they are getting worse.

    Jan 20, 2014

Share this post

Recent Comments

  • 2 days 4 hours ago
    I placed a "hold mail" request (Confirmation #: CAH229463586). My mail was to be held from 11-20-15 to 11-26-15. I came home and mail was in my mailbox. I am very unhappy about this....
  • 2 days 8 hours ago
    Suspicion of passport stolen during "tracked" delivery # 9114 9999 4431 3872 0739 02, case # CA125527754. Details follow in message intended for Customer Service previously contacted by...

Monthly Archive