Our objective was to determine the accuracy of maintenance employee workhour charges at selected processing facilities in the U.S. Postal Service’s Southern Area.
We conducted site visits and reviewed a sample of workhour charges for fiscal year (FY) 2018 at six mail processing facilities selected based on planned versus actual maintenance workhours. The facilities we visited were the Dallas and North Houston, TX, Ft. Myers and Tampa, FL, and New Orleans, LA, Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DCs); and the Jacksonville, FL, Network Distribution Center (NDC). Management assigns each employee a base operation number which is the operation to which they charge their workhours unless they record a move to another operation.
What the OIG Found
We found that workhour charges for maintenance employees at the selected Southern Area facilities did not accurately reflect the work the employees performed. Specifically, maintenance managers at the six facilities we visited identified incorrect workhour charges to Labor Distribution Code (LDC) 37 - Building and Plant Equipment in FY 2018. In our sample of 205 workhour charges, we found 121 instances (59 percent) where charges were made to the incorrect operation code. We determined that 53 of the 69 employees included in the sample had charged 598 of the 1,132 total workhours in our sample to the incorrect operation code. In addition, 30 employees at the Ft. Myers P&DC charged 4,763 hours to the incorrect operation code.
This occurred because supervisors did not ensure that employees charged their workhours to the operation corresponding to the work they performed. In addition, a manager at one facility stated that staff indicated their supervisors had previously instructed them to use operation code LDC 37. Postal Service policy requires verification of workhour reporting to determine whether employees are clocked into the operation in which they are working. When employees do not attribute workhours to the correct operation code, the Postal Service cannot adequately evaluate performance.
During our audit, the Ft. Myers P&DC maintenance manager took corrective action by transferring mischarged hours to the correct operation code and provided guidance to employees who mischarged their hours. In addition, the Dallas P&DC maintenance manager instructed staff on using the appropriate operation codes.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management establish a plan to ensure maintenance supervisors monitor and correct maintenance employee operation number charges on a regular basis to ensure employees use the correct LDC for the work being performed.