In its five-year strategic plan, the U.S. Postal Service emphasizes the importance of regularly maintaining its facilities. In fact, it outlines an initiative to standardize, upgrade, and realign maintenance operations across field offices to reduce operating expenses.

However, the Postal Service only established and tracked maintenance optimization planned savings at the national level and not in its seven operating areas. We looked at area performance by comparing actual fiscal year 2017 data to planned results. In particular, we looked at two cost categories: building and plant equipment and building services.

Our audit report focused on the Northeast Area and found that the area achieved savings in building services by implementing improvements in the facilities cleaning process, updating cleaning equipment, and using better supplies.

However, the Northeast Area did not save in the other cost category, building and plant equipment. In fact, the Northeast Area had the lowest workhour performance in this category for all seven USPS areas. The area used 12 percent more workhours than planned.

We found managers did not fully understand the maintenance optimization initiative, its goals, or how to achieve savings and noted that a lack of communication between Headquarters Network Operations and the Northeast Area was a key reason. Local management needs better knowledge and understanding of the maintenance optimization initiative. We also found that personnel were sometimes incorrectly assigned to building and plant equipment duties, which drove up workhours unnecessarily.

What have your experiences been in dealing with maintenance issues at your facility? What do you attribute any problems to? Do you see opportunities to optimize maintenance expenditures?

Comments (3)

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  • anon

    That's funny. Planned maintenance inquires for a group that is CURRENTLY attempting to formalise "run till burn" rules into SOP. Houston FMO's Bruce Williams deleted ALL PM's under directive from Area. That was before the Bush Great Recession.

    Jun 08, 2018
  • anon

    there is poor communication between the maintainance dept and the field offices. they come in unannounced and unprepared whent here is a repair call. if they coordinated better with the offices they may save hours ( duplicate work orders, head of installation not there to purchase necessary items...) also we wait for things to really break instead of having an good preventive maintainace plan. we pay twice if not more to repair something that could have been done correctly the first time.

    Jun 02, 2018
  • anon

    You should learn how to do your own job before you start pushing blame on to others. An USPS A.O. is responsible for their own repairs. The PM is responsible for the physical plant (ELM). USPS credit card is issued to every AO for expenses as well as emergencies. Instead PM's & POOM's will refuse responsibility to push work/expenses on to FMO/District/Area. Anyone but themselves. Facilities (FMO) responses are limited for whatever maintenance position is available. Houston district has 8 AMT's for about 440 sites. Millions of square footage WITHOUT counting exteriors. Electrician, painter, Carpenter, plumber, laborer, maintenance mechanic, electronic technician, locksmith etc etc jobs are now unposted & abandoned by management design. Go order a letter carrier to scrub the toliets & see the response you'll get. You question why maintenance arrives without parts. THAT'S YOUR JOB!!! Order & PAY for whatever is required to keep up your own facility. Our district has congressional investigations on uncut lawns. AO's can't even cut their own grass! USPS had AO's with 2 hours daily of contractor cleaning because PM's are to weak to fight system for proper staffing. That would be sad enough if there wheren't AO with ZERO custodial hours. However it gets cleaned. WHATEVER. I've seen postal facilities with leaking toilets that for YEARS had federal employees tracking raw sewage around buildings, on employees & oviously on to the mail. EColi, Hiv, hepatitis, blood , sewage FOR years!!!! All because PM's (in some cases consecutive) refused to pay for a replacement $5 wax ring. Employees could have thrown in 25 cents apiece for part. Employees could have called OSHA. Employees could have filed a union grievance. Instead you blame the maintenance man. Why aren't you complaining about your PM? About all those that accepted responsibility for making sure repairs are made? Because you are part of the problem. What part of this systematic failure do you own up?

    Jun 14, 2018

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