The Office of Inspector General is tasked with ensuring efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the U.S. Postal Service. We also have the distinct mission of helping to maintain confidence in the mail and postal system, as well as to improve the Postal Service's bottom line. We use audits and investigations to help protect the integrity of the Postal Service. Our Semiannual Report to Congress presents a snapshot of the work we did to fulfill our mission for the six-month period ending September 30, 2018. Our dynamic report format provides readers with easy access to facts and information, as well as succinct summaries of the work by area. Links are provided to the full reports featured in this report, as well as to the appendices.
A MESSAGE FROM THE ACTING INSPECTOR GENERAL
The Postal Service is in the midst of a challenging journey. Mail volume has been declining since 2007, and pressures from lost revenue have been mounting. Retiree health care and pension expenses are significant, and workers’ compensation liabilities remain a big issue to be addressed, both operationally and financially. And finally, the mail infrastructure has increasingly become a target of those wishing to abuse it to distribute illicit narcotics.
Even in the midst of these difficulties, the mail continues to move in a consistent and predictable manner around the country. Each day, over 493 million mailpieces are delivered across the country to 159 million delivery points (146 million residential and 13 million business) — totaling over $70 billion in annual revenue. Employees work tirelessly to ensure the parcels that we are all increasingly dependent upon are timely transported to our homes and offices. The infrastructure that is in place to make these deliveries happen is massive and expensive, yet very durable, even when under strain.
The changing mail mix from letters to parcels is increasingly impacting the relationships the Postal Service has built with its customers and partners. Larger things of value require increased vehicle size, bigger and different machines, increased security, and stronger business partnerships with tougher negotiations in this fiercely competitive marketplace. Strategic thought and planning regarding this mail mix shift and the accompanying financial challenges is key to ongoing operations and continued long-term viability.
It is into this challenging environment that the Postal Regulatory Commission issued its rate review proposal to address the financial stability of the Postal Service, and upon which the President’s task force on the United States Postal Service conducted its recent review. It is also into this environment that two new Postal Service Governors have arrived and taken their place to lead this iconic institution.
Here at the Office of Inspector General, our audit work, research reports, and investigative cases provide critical data to influence the changes that will be necessary in the next few years to ensure the viability of the nation’s Postal Service. Change is challenging, but it is critical to the future of the Postal Service, and we embrace it and look forward to further exploration of how our work can integrate with and inform this evolution.
In fulfilling our role to ensure efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the United States Postal system, we are submitting this report pursuant to the Inspector General Act, in order to outline our work and activities for the six-month period of April 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018. During this period, we issued 95 audit reports, management advisories, data analysis memorandums, and white papers, and the Postal Service accepted 75 percent of our recommendations. We completed 1,578 investigations that led to 400 arrests and nearly $72.8 million in fines, restitutions, and recoveries, $37.2 million of which was turned over to the Postal Service.