U.S. Postal Service management reported a shortage at a remotely managed post office (RMPO) located in Lacona, IA, on August 17, 2016. The reported shortage was $4,658, or 93 percent of the office’s total authorized limit for cash and stamp stock.
An RMPO offers part-time window service hours and is staffed by Postal Service employees who operate from a single drawer accountability (SDA). An SDA comprises stamp stock, cash, and money orders specifically assigned to the office.
An administrative postmaster who oversees the office is responsible for managing the stamp stock limits. Employees are responsible for accurately reporting daily financial transactions. The objective of this audit was to review internal controls to reduce the risk of cash and stamp stock shortages at the Lacona, IA, Post Office.
What the OIG Found
Internal controls to reduce the risk of cash and stamp stock shortages at the Lacona, IA, Post Office needed improvement, specifically:
- From July 2015 to August 2016, the unit maintained cash and stamp stock in excess of its $5,000 maximum allowed limit.
- Sales and service associates (SSA) did not always record the cash retained by the unit on the daily financial reports and maintain financial documents as required.
The acting administrative postmaster was not aware of the office’s stock limit and did not monitor its balance to verify whether dispensing stock shipments would result in exceeding the maximum allowed stock limit. Further, SSAs were instructed, during training, not to record cash retained. Lastly, the administrative postmaster stated document maintenance was not always the primary focus of SSAs who were constantly rotated in and out of the office.
If controls over cash and stamp stock are not followed, there is an increased risk the financial records could be misstated and theft could occur without detection.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management monitor this office’s cash and stamp stock limit. We also recommended management reiterate the policy for financial reporting and documentation maintenance to all employees and verify the requirements are followed.