Background

U.S. Postal Service management reported stock shortages at a remotely managed post office in [redacted] in June 2016 and November 2016. The reported shortages were $1,706, or 34 percent, and $1,051, or 21 percent, respectively, of the office’s total authorized limit of $5,000 for cash and stamp stock.

A remotely managed post office offers part-time window service hours and is staffed by Postal Service employees who operate from a Single Drawer Accountability. Stamp stock, cash, and money orders specifically assigned to the office comprise Single Drawer Accountability.

A postmaster who oversees the office is responsible for setting and managing the stamp stock limits. Employees are responsible for accurately reporting daily financial transactions.

The objective for this audit was to review internal controls to reduce the risk of stamp stock and cash shortages at the [redacted] Post Office.

What the OIG Found

Internal controls to reduce stamp stock and cash shortages at the [redacted] Post Office needed improvement.

The sales and services associate did not always record financial transactions such as cash retained, refunds, and postage stamps sales. The associate was unable to explain why she did not always record all financial transactions. Further, she requested guidance from the postmaster, but the postmaster was not aware of the requirements.

In addition, prior to our arrival on January 18, 2017, the postmaster conducted a stamp stock and cash count on January 12, 2017, that identified an overage of $0.32. However, our review of the count records showed 10 books of stamps valued at $47 were not included in the count. On January 19, 2017, we conducted an independent count and identified an overage of stamps and cash valued at $100.

If controls over cash and stamp stock are not followed, there is an increased risk that financial records could be misstated and theft could occur without detection.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management provide refresher training on financial reporting to employees at the office and require the postmaster to review and verify all financial reports from this office.

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Comments (2)

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  • anon

    My mail is being put in other people's boxes through incompetence or stupidity. Even with the wrong zip codes! A package was even given to the wrong neighbor! I lost $35 on that. The local Postmaster refuses to call me back, or let me know which house got my package of cellphone cords! I have canvassed the neighborhood and no one knows anything about my missing package. We've lived at this address on the cul-de-sac since 1972 so I'm not a stranger! Our usual mailman Richard, is great, the substitutes don't know how to get in out of the rain! Some of them come back and deliver twice because they find mail they forgot the first time, and we get other neighbor's mail, too, from WAY ACROSS TOWN,

    Apr 07, 2017
  • anon

    Used to be you could count a draw randomly and without notice. Now it is every quarter. I've never seen or heard of an unannounced count of draw or stamps in recent years. The accountability has lacked. Understandably I would venture to say that everyone that has worked a drawer at one time or the other has had some form of shortage or overage. Sometimes there is an explanation and the paperwork was just not handled correctly. Often times the attempt to fix the error just makes it worse. Help desk (accounting) is often a 30-60 minute wait to get help. The easier option is to just ignore the fix it appears. And even when you do report a problem higher up that problem can be pushed under the rug. I know of an error that put clerk over $70 in drawer. The fix didn't fix, clerk documented what steps were taken to correct. Several weeks passed with no assistance from postmaster. So clerk placed in sealed envelope, date stamped and placed in safe and advised postmaster where the money was located.. The money has been in the safe for five months! One could ask why not report it, since postmaster is not dealing with the extra cash. Shortages and overages do not have a one solution fix. Only solution that I know that works is accountability. You have to hold people accountable.

    Mar 27, 2017