The Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944 mandates that federal government agencies give eligible veterans preference for custodian positions. Consequently, the U.S. Postal Service has designated four custodian positions for eligible veteran applicants: building maintenance custodian, custodian laborer, custodian, and laborer custodian.

The veterans’ preference requirement only applies to external hiring. The Postal Service’s Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC) and district personnel oversee hiring. The HRSSC creates job postings and publications, verifies entitlement to veterans’ preference claims, and conducts background checks and drug tests. District personnel identify hiring needs, conduct interviews, make final selections, and approve requests for reasonable accommodations.

In fiscal year (FY) 2015, 18 percent (113,000 of 625,113) of Postal Service employees were veterans. In December 2016, 1,580 veterans were employed in the Hawkeye District.

This report responds to a request from Congressman David Young of Iowa related to the Postal Service’s hiring of veterans for custodian positions in Des Moines. The congressman also expressed concerns about whether the Postal Service was providing disabled veterans with reasonable accommodations to perform custodian duties.

Our objective was to determine whether the Postal Service complied with its policies and federal laws related to hiring preference-eligible veterans and reasonable accommodation requests for custodian positions in Des Moines. We also assessed whether the Postal Service complied with veterans’ preference requirements when considering applicants, retained a list of veteran applicants when trying to fill open custodian positions, and eliminated job classifications reserved for disabled veterans. The scope period includes FYs 2015 and 2016.

What the OIG Found

The Postal Service complied with applicable postal policies and federal law in hiring applicants for custodian positions and managing reasonable accommodation requests in Des Moines.

In FYs 2015 and 2016, the Postal Service hired 25 applicants as non-career custodians from 11 external announcements. Of the 25 hirees, three were preference-eligible veterans.

Policy states that once all veterans’ preference applicants are vetted and either deemed unqualified or extended a job offer, the Postal Service can consider non-veteran applicants.

Of the 11 preference-eligible veterans who applied:

  • Three accepted job offers. 
  • Two declined job offers.
  • Five did not pass the written exam.
  • One was deemed non-responsive for not replying to emails from Human Resources.

The Postal Service is not required by law or policy to retain a list of veteran applicants outside the hiring process. However, the Postal Service does maintain an in-service register, which allows career employees to sign up and be considered for open custodian positions. The in-service register is applicable only to internal announcements.

The Postal Service also did not eliminate any job classifications reserved for disabled veterans or inappropriately manage reasonable accommodation requests from disabled veterans in FY 2015 or 2016. The Hawkeye District’s Reasonable Accommodation Committee approved 20 requests for reasonable accommodations, including three for veterans. But, no requests came from veterans currently employed as custodians.

Management hired preference-eligible veterans in Des Moines in accordance with applicable laws, policies, and procedures; therefore, we are not making any recommendations at this time.

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Comments (7)

  • anon

    Des Moines Post Office now top heavy of none veterans as custodian/labors. Jobs meant for disabled vets. Now who is right.

    Dec 03, 2017
  • anon

    What a bunch of lies,The Post Office by federal law are to hire veteran preference first. I as an disabled vet was put on a list outside,not within.How shamefull you people are!!!!!!How many are you vets? How are veterans suppose to fight for this country,when they get crapped on?

    May 16, 2017
  • anon

    Hi Mark, Thanks for the message. The best way for us to look into this is by filing a complaint with the OIG Hotline by clicking on the red button at the top of this page which reads "report fraud, waste, and abuse".

    May 17, 2017
  • anon

    These custodian /laborer jobs have been for disabled veterans for years,if a veterans is injured in combat has restricted limitations this is a job for them. Why does Union have a list within full of non veterans take these jobs from vets,The Post office needs to enforce veterans preference. I would like to add that we will be in wars for years. What does it hurt Post Office to stand up for these young veterans. Post Office needs to do a better job of letting veterans employment service & VA Hospital to post these positions custodian/laboer jobs with veterans preference. Ive see them posted years ago at VA hospitals. we need to take care of our veterans. Iam sure this mess is going on nationwide at all Post Offices. Funny they renamed Des Moines Post office Iraq & Afganistan veterans Post Office. My Thoughts. lets do whats right for our vets.

    Mar 31, 2017
  • anon

    Ree is an American hero but

    Mar 14, 2017
  • anon

    Support the principle of change or transformation in new generation. Support our future generation and to our children. Support the moral value. Support the changing politics style. Support peace process to all nations. Support the United Nation policies. Support the Good Education. Support the poor Countries. Support our economy to make good.

    Mar 09, 2017
  • anon would be nice to work with the postal service.. As an Audit Custodian Worker.. Can a Custodian be considered for employment seasonally

    Mar 08, 2017