Objective

First-line supervisors play a critical role in any organization and influence productivity, quality, and employee morale. In the U.S. Postal Service, first-line supervisors significantly contribute to accomplishing Postal Service goals, including ensuring customers receive quality service and their mail and parcels on time and in good condition. For the purposes of our work, we focused on customer service, distribution, maintenance, and transportation operations supervisors located in retail and Postal Service processing facilities.

During fiscal year (FY) 2018, the Postal Service had 18,433 permanent first-line supervisors —13,049 in retail facilities and 5,384 in mail processing facilities. In addition, 4,394 employees acted as first-line supervisors detailed for a limited period to perform supervisory duties and responsibilities.

Generally, supervisor positions are filled internally by qualified career employees through assignment, reassignment, and/or promotion. When career vacancies cannot be filled internally, external hiring may be authorized.

Our objective was to assess whether the Postal Service is effectively hiring and retaining first-line supervisors. We reviewed recruitment and retention initiatives to determine if they met their intended purpose. Additionally, we evaluated a statistical sample of 246 first-line supervisor vacancies from FYs 2016 to 2018 to determine whether the Postal Service filled first-line supervisor vacancies timely and whether first-line supervisors met qualifications outlined in job announcements.

Our fieldwork was completed before the President of the United States issued the national emergency declaration concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19) on March 13, 2020. The results of this audit do not reflect any process and/or operational changes that may have occurred as a result of the pandemic.

Findings

The Postal Service effectively retained first-line supervisors, as its nationwide average attrition rate remained at 1 percent for the three-year period from FYs 2016 to 2018. Current recruitment and retention initiatives also met their intended purpose based on participant survey results. However, despite the low attrition rates for first-line supervisors from FYs 2016 to 2018, first-line supervisors were the least engaged of all employee categories in the Postal Service during the same time period.

Also, the Postal Service did not fill first-line supervisor vacancies timely and hiring officials did not complete and maintain supporting documentation for first-line supervisor positions. The Postal Service had an informal goal to fill first-line supervisor vacancies within 60 days. Despite this goal, 217 of 246 vacancies (88 percent) were open for over 60 days, ranging from 61 to 286 days.

Additionally, Postal Service hiring officials did not complete and maintain required supporting documentation for 168 of 246 first-line supervisor positions (68 percent). Incomplete and missing documentation included items such as signed and dated requirements matrices that determine whether potential hires met qualification requirements. As a result, we could not determine whether these supervisors met the qualifications outlined in vacancy announcements.

These issues occurred because the Postal Service did not establish and implement sufficient controls to ensure hiring officials completed hiring activities in a timely manner and ensure district and facility officials completed and maintained hiring documentation as required.

When first-line supervisor vacancies are not filled timely, there is an increased risk of those staff shortages negatively affecting operations, overtime usage, and the workload of other supervisors and employees.

Because the Postal Service could not provide the required supporting documentation for the selection of some of the first-line supervisors, we identified $16.4 million in unsupported questioned costs related to the pay increase for promotion to first-line supervisor.

Recommendations

We recommended management establish and implement sufficient controls to ensure hiring officials complete their hiring activities in a timely manner and an oversight mechanism to ensure district and facility officials prepare and maintain hiring documentation as required.

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Comments (15)

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  • anon

    Supervisors are the reason you have no retention at the P.O. I have worked at 2 locations. My experience is no supervision. The carriers decide who they like and harass , bully, taunt and insult until they walk out. The supervisors do nothing to stop this behavior. They actually listen to the carriers and assist in the process. I trained a new employee , she had real potential the next day she quit, said she had never been so depressed in all of her life. As the the P.O. funds I have a good one. I worked at a distribution center for 3 yrs. finally awarded a carrier position and moved to another P.O. The career employee ask me to bid out as soon as a route opened. I replied I was o.k. with my route and was not going to bid out. # months of the entire P.O. taunting, bulling insulting lying right to your face. Then the real issues started. These supervisors and managers contacted my customers to watch me as I delivered. I had a good repour with my customers, then all of a sudden I noticed none came out to see me, instead they can out to watch me. My route was being delivered by another person. So they were paying me for my route Then paying a RCA to carry part. Then They would have 5 to 6 vehicles follow me daily on my route. Mind you the route is 42 mile route. So they paid 2 postal employees and 5 to 6 others to follow me for 2 months. Never a write up nor any corrective measures. Now this is one tiny little P.O. but if this is policy for all, look at the losses. They better get grant so they can continue pissing off the monies. This is fact, I have the pictures and documents. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE DIDNT WANT YOU NEXT TO THEM. WHAT A GLOROUS PLACE TO WORK. Another look at the work place RCA's being harassed to the point they quit so the others can reach career at a faster pace. WOW

    Jun 25, 2020
  • anon

    I wish the postal service would actually hire more supervisors who have carried mail before. my immediate supervisor came up through the 'custodian ranks' according to my union. she has been targeting me for the last 3 or 4 months. in 22 years I have never encountered a supervisor who doesn't really now what delivering mail mens. No 33 minute line items. It's a damn shame when some one like her lies so much. she appears to lie, slander me and commit liable( in my opinion) hoping the new postmaster genereal reads this page.i would love to hae a talk with him.this harrassemen ,targeting bullying of me by my immediate supervisor, forces me to have to suffer through a hostile work environment almost every day.this is gettig real old. possibly an EEO will need to be filed. either that or a lawsuit, and or OSHA complaint.I don't know how an employee can get written up for having an FMLA absence and condition. her ongoing harrassement hopefully will be dealt with by higher ups as local management doesn't seem to care.

    Jun 23, 2020
  • anon

    Hello. Thank you for your comment. We recommend filing an online complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at https://www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint

    Jun 25, 2020
  • anon

    I have tried to become a 204-B so that I can become a supervisor and I know for a fact that in my District they do not choose by experience. They do put cca's in these positions and keep them there to justify them being put right into the supervisor position when it does get posted. They have no proper training and they immediately start to act as if they have carried mail or know about the routes, when they know nothing. They sit at the computer to be partially trained and then they are told to run the floor in the morning. they have no idea who knows what or who's who for that matter. Its a joke and then they wonder why they are losing money because everyone is out after 6 trying to help the new cca's that are carrying mail with little to no training. The supervisors just assign and say go. Don't bother to call they are not answering because of the shortage of experienced supervisors. USPS should be ashamed of themselves and the way they choose who gets promoted. LIke said previously its family, friends and favorites that get these positions with no knowledge of what they are doing.

    May 28, 2020
  • anon

    I have ask to 204B but the reason they are not letting me is because they cannot justify paying overtime to my coworker to do so. I have been at the USPS for 25 years. I am being penalized because I am a MOS clerk.

    Apr 17, 2020
  • anon

    Out of what city

    May 22, 2020
  • anon

    Nepotism Nepotism Nepotism. This is done to hide all the nepotism hires and promotions. The Post Office is killing itself with all the clueless family and friends of mgmt. And they all cover for each other to get away with it.

    Apr 17, 2020
  • anon

    Hello OIG. I’ve recently heard some disturbing information about this site. Are our responses on this site tracked by our IPO addresses? Are our responses then sent to our local Managers and PM’s? Several coworkers believe that after posting on here, that they were harassed, even though they did not use their real names.

    Apr 17, 2020
  • anon

    If we believe a comment posted here needs to be referred to our Hotline for further action, we never include IP addresses, only the content of the comment – and an email address, if you included it. If you post anonymously, you remain anonymous. We strongly suggest though, if you do have a complaint you do not post it here, but file a Hotline complaint instead. When you do file a Hotline complaint with us, identifying information will be included only if you waive your right to confidentiality. If you believe you are experiencing retaliation as a result of reporting information to the OIG, please file a Whistleblower complaint on this website. For information about whistleblower retaliation, visit our FAQ page at https://www.uspsoig.gov/whistleblower-retaliation-faq

    Apr 17, 2020
  • anon

    "Additionally, Postal Service hiring officials did not complete and maintain required supporting documentation for 168 of 246 first-line supervisor positions (68 percent)." *** This isn't exclusive to just supervisory positions. I'd hazard to guess from my own anecdotal experience that at least that same percentage of selections for any EAS position are done on arbitrary terms not related to meeting the qualifications of the applicant. Most frequently that they have worked with and/or are utilizing some form of cronyism in the hiring process. One can see it in any district and/or function, people completely unqualified being given detail opportunities in what will become a vacant position over those interested and more qualified. Then using that short term detail as a reason to select the person later when the position is posted. It becomes a systematic method to justify selecting the person that is wanted while reducing risk of seeming biased, because it doesn't matter whether that person completely failed at fulfilling the requirements while detailed in the position the majority of the time either. I don't know how one really stops it from happening or proves it systematically in an audit format, but I can say that part of the level of engagement with the negative attitudes people develop directly stems from witnessing these scenarios occur again and again while being 'stuck' in a supervisor position where you're considered 'too valuable' to be promoted because someone else would mess it up too badly. Frequently it seems like the incentivisation is backwards for doing a good job in supervisor positions. *** You folks don't consider it an issue that the USPS program to fast track filling vacancies is seemingly including to kick down any barrier for someone to join the ranks either? In combination with the cronyism concerns expressed above the USPS is basically saying we don't care to administer any sort of objective measure for qualifications outside the hiring process, get rid of the exam altogether. It literally takes more to become a craft employee at that point than to become an EAS employee (they still take exams). In a proper functioning organization the person expected to oversee and manage an operation I'd suppose would likely have far greater barriers to entry than the folks that the person in the position would be managing. IDK, to me it makes it seem like the mindset is everything is just a number and the USPS is going to see it as a nail right away, going right for the hammer to smack that percentage of vacancies down. Doesn't seem like there is much logic in examining things further done on the part of the director of HR there in DC to consider if maybe there is something very wrong with the structure of the organization he is working for. The other aspect is they'll make supervisors submit the forms in either ecareer or the complement dashboard. If so little time and thought is given to respond to this audit I'm sure none will be given to ever having any meaningful review of those documents when questions come up about whether that person selected should have actually been selected. Convenient, isn't it? The HR director in DC or one of the middlemen between can just state they implemented controls and it is up to someone down the chain to do these things properly/appropriately. Says about the same of where the level of concern is on the organization's part. At least that is what I'm getting from the response.

    Apr 16, 2020
  • anon

    Why would anyone want to become a supervisor when they know their income will stagnate? No contractual raises, step increases or COLA which craft employees receive just for showing up. The majority of first line supervisors have received a raise of 1-2% over the past eight years, and in many years none. Pay for performance is good in theory, but your goals are not given to you until nearly halfway through the Fiscal Year and many of them are not in your control. Added to that are long hours with no OT, schedule and off day changes at the whim of your manager, and paying more for health insurance than craft employees. And as an EAS employee you lack the protection and defense rights provided by a union. Supervisors are berated on a daily basis for not achieving 100% on a desired service measurement or not completing one of the dozens of repetitive reports and checklists. The pressure to comply with arbitrary benchmarks (no overtime Tuesday, all carriers in by 6 pm, box mail up by 9 am) that do not conform with operational reality causes some supervisors to falsify data and risk their jobs. Tele-conferences consume a lot of time when supervisors should be dealing with employees and making sure the mail is processed or delivered promptly. On the tele-conferences supervisors and managers are demeaned and insulted and screamed at for failures at their location. There is no support from Labor Relations when corrective action is requested and their is nothing to motivate better performance from employees they supervise. No experienced employees want to enter supervision. While many of those promoted to management after being a CCA, PSE, or RCA are eager and want to do a good job, their lack of postal experience can create problems. Along with many of those who become EAS employees, they become disillusioned fairly quickly. Many of the current ranks of Supervisors, Managers, and Postmasters are eligible for retirement. USPS may soon have a leadership void that will hamper operations if their are no experienced supervisors to step up.

    Apr 15, 2020
  • anon

    The postal service was To fill It's recruitment requirement for 1st line supervisors Was that it had a Gap In pay between Cca pay And 30 salary of supervisor at $40,000Why wouldn't someone that was a CCA wouldn't become a supervisor Fitness 2 times hey race Guaranteed days off guaranteed hours. The problem with CCA is becoming 1st line supervisors they don't have that experience of over years experience again over the years experience the bring to the supervisor Job

    Apr 15, 2020
  • anon

    I agree. I work at a P&DC. The most inexperienced craft employees seem to be more willing to jump up to EAS because of the huge pay increase they receive. More experienced craft employees have enough years and pay step increases to see that the raise in salary to EAS may not be worth it. Work a little OT, maybe get double Sunday pay, a little night differential... then you easily make more than level 17 EAS without the headache. So we end up with Supervisors that don't know the SOP for many of the positions that they supervise. Then they eventually transfer to an AO and supervise carriers that they know nothing about. I feel like the high level of retention is easily explained. It's the $25,000+ base salary increase over what a new employee receives. So great, we retain front line supervisors. Unfortunately, I think it's to the detriment of the USPS.

    May 03, 2020
  • anon

    Too many offices don’t have the supervisors needed and are constantly filled with 204B who are not trained and since most can only stay 90 Days by the time they are trained it’s time to go back to their craft and train another one. Unreasonable NPA goals keep front line supervisors from getting decent pay raises while their worst employee gets raises something wrong with the system. Bargaining unit employees are getting OIC assignments instead of supervisors who need the experience to move up.

    Apr 15, 2020
  • anon

    I have been reading your reviews and I don’t know what stations you are with and that’s alright but I was reading yours in particular and I saw where you said that most 204bs only stay on the desk for 90 days and then they go back to their assignments, well, out station must be different because the 204b’s we have, have never gone back to their assignments and it’s probably because management covers for them by saying they went back to their assignment to keep them from losing their assignment. Also, I’ve noticed our 204b’s do get paid for overtime because they are also clocking themselves in and out on the clock even when they know they are salaried. Also, our 204b’s don’t go out and check in their carriers because they are too busy staying in the office and staying on the computers all day with some so-called reports that they have to have done. I think I’ve been here too long cause I do see a lot of crazy stuff going on.

    Apr 22, 2020