Twenty years ago, E.R. was the number one TV show, Macarena topped the pop music charts, and Independence Day (the original) was the highest-grossing movie of the year. A stamp cost 32 cents, and, oh yes, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) was created.
On September 30, 1996, President Clinton signed the amended Inspector General Act of 1978 to establish a separate enforcement and oversight agency for the Postal Service, moving that responsibility to the newly created and fully independent OIG.
Since then, we have worked to fulfill our mission of ensuring efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the Postal Service. The OIG reports to Congress and is under the general supervision of the presidentially appointed governors.
We are not the only agency or government body providing oversight of the Postal Service, and that, at times, can confuse people. For example, the Postal Regulatory Commission makes sure the prices the Postal Service charges for its products comply with the law. And Congress sets the laws that govern the USPS. The Postal Inspection Service is responsible for protecting employees. Our role, however, is to maintain confidence in the postal system and improve the Postal Service's bottom line through independent audits and investigations.
Our auditors and evaluators conduct performance and financial audits of Postal Service programs and operations and assess compliance with laws and regulations. Our special agents assist the Postal Service by protecting the mail and helping to maintain the integrity of postal processes, finances, and personnel. Agents investigate mail theft by employees, injury compensation fraud, embezzlements and financial crimes, contract fraud, computer crimes, internal affairs, narcotics, employee misconduct, and whistleblower reprisals.
Some of our work provides material for this blog, which we thank you for reading regularly (8 years and counting!). And the blog serves as one of our many tools for stakeholder outreach. We also reach out through our Audit Asks webpage, through GovDelivery alerts, via social media, and by attending stakeholder events. This input often leads to audits or investigations, or sometimes simply helps us to better focus our work.
As we celebrate 20 years, we will continue to count on you to send us your comments and insights.