• on Nov 15th, 2010 in OIG | 14 comments
    Pushing the Envelope was launched in the late Fall of 2008. Since then, we have posted 118 topics (including this one) and received more than 3,800 comments from our readers. Topics covering issues of interest to Postal Service employees generated the greatest response. Our top five, by views, include the following: 1)Silly Rules 2)OIG wants to know how you feel about sick leave 3)Nationwide Wage Uniformity 4)Brainstorm Ideas part 2 (allowed people to choose the best idea) 5)Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service However, all topics, even less popular ones, have helped to generate a great deal of discussion with the following topics generating the most debate and the most comments: 1)Brainstorm Ideas to Help the Postal Service 2)The Great Debate 3)Silly Rules 4)Does the Postal Service Need to Re-examine Its Delivery Service Standards? This feedback has generated strong debate on the blog and sometimes in the greater postal community. In fact, two recent audits from the OIG’s office, “Postal Service Area and District Office Field Structure” and “Stations and Branches Optimization and Consolidation Initiative,” incorporate reader comments from their related blogs. The Postal Service continues to evolve to meet its current challenges, and fiscal year 2011 could be a very significant year for postal issues. Pushing the Envelope will be there to ask questions, generate ideas, and keep on pushing that envelope. As we emerge from our terrible twos into our third year, the contributors and editors hope you will continue to respond. We’d like to hear your views on what you want from this blog. What do you like? What would you like us to change? What topics should we cover next? Let us know what you think and keep commenting! This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).
  • on Oct 18th, 2010 in OIG | 20 comments
    Have you ever wanted to contribute to or help develop the issues within an OIG audit? Or have you read an audit report and thought ‘I wish I had the opportunity to share my perspective and additional information with the auditors’? With the addition of the Audit Projects section to our website, now you can provide feedback while the audit is being conducted. The Audit Projects section allows you to review the overview of an audit, contribute information, and send documents during this crucial planning phase. In essence, you become an audit team member for the project! During this planning phase, the audit team learns about the subject, collects a broad range of data, contacts key experts and stakeholders, and develops the specific objectives of the audit. This is the phase when the audit team decides on the breadth and depth of the topic in the report. Input from stakeholders like you helps to ensure the audit report provides useful and relevant data and analyses, and contains relevant and realistic recommendations. To review our current audits in progress, go to our Audit Project Pages and select an audit. There you will find the overview of the audit, along with any current comments. If you would like to know when new audit projects begin, follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook. How do you feel about the OIG allowing the public to comment on audits? Please share your thoughts below and we invite you to visit the Audit Projects section of our website and comment on individual audit projects. This topic is hosted by the OIG's Field Financial-East audit team.
  • on Apr 26th, 2010 in OIG | 195 comments
    The debate about the Postal Service’s future is heating up and Pushing the Envelope is interested in your views. Last week the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security held a hearing on the Future of the Postal Service. The week before there was a hearing in the House on the Postal Service’s financial crisis and future viability, and on April 12, the Government Accountability Office issued a report laying out the strategies and options to maintain the Postal Service’s viability. Some of the strategies under discussion include: • Ending Saturday delivery. • Reducing the size of the workforce. • Making postal employees pay the same share of health and life insurance premiums that other federal employees pay. • Generating revenue through new products. • Allowing the Postal Service more pricing freedom. • Restructuring the Postal Service’s network of mail processing facilities. • Moving retail services from Post Offices to alternative access options. One item that is generating a great deal of discussion is whether the large payments the Postal Service must make for retiree health benefits should be restructured. One option is to give back some of the excess pension funding and allow the Postal Service to use these funds for other purposes. In January, the Office of Inspector General for the Postal Service issued a report that found the Postal Service had been overcharged $75 billion for its pension obligations from 1971 to 2009 because of an inequitable method of calculating the size of those obligations. Adding to this inequity is the fact that the Postal Service is currently required to fund 100 percent of its retiree health and pension obligations. Very few in private industry do this, and the rest of the federal government’s pension funding level is only 41 percent. In addition, the OIG believes that the forecast of the Postal Service’s future retiree health care costs is too high. Fixing these issues could save the Postal Service $7 billion a year. What do you think? Which strategies will be most useful to the Postal Service? Should the mix of strategies include cutting delivery service?
     
    This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).

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