Background

U.S. Postal Service network distribution centers (NDC) are partof a national system of 21 highly mechanized and automated mail processing facilities with a transportation network dedicated to handling and moving Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and other mail classes.

On March 24, 2015, Senator Charles Grassley requested the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) review complaints regarding Des Moines, IA, NDC processing and transportation operations. Our objective was to determine the validity of the 13 complaints concerning mail processing and transportation issues.

What The OIG Found

We reviewed 13 complaints and found four were substantiated.

Specifically, we found:

  • Employees were not always properly handling damaged mail.
  • Employees were not always timely notifying customers about their damaged mail.
  • Employees were not properly restraining trailer loads of mail.
  • The NDC’s physical timecard controls did not exist.

In addition, we found three complaints were partially substantiated. Specifically:

  • Some employees did not have documented training records for scanning mail.
  • Employees did not always properly color code mail to ensure correct processing order.
  • More than one supervisor per tour authorized overtime but not all supervisors were trained.

The remaining six complaints were not substantiated.

Those complaints were:

  • Employees were generally working unauthorized overtime.
  • Employees were making overpayments to a Mail Transport Equipment Service Center contractor.
  • A mail consolidation contractor was not properly notifying NDC management when mail was returned to the center.
  • Internal controls were inadequate to ensure all mail was dispatched.
  • Forklifts and pallet jacks were not used properly.
  • Employees were assigned to duties for which they were not trained and on-the-job trainers do not provide training.

Highlights

We reviewed 13 complaints and found four were substantiated. In addition, we found three complaints were partially substantiated.

The remaining six complaints were not substantiated.

What The OIG Recommended

We recommended the vice president, Western Area, instruct the manager, Des Moines NDC, to ensure damaged mail is processed according to the national standard operating procedure and require employees to timely notify customers when contents are separated from the packaging. We also recommended the vice president, Western Area, instruct the manager, Des Moines NDC, to require employees to restrain trailer loads about every 10 feet, ensure that timecards are secured, and provide and document training to employees with scanning responsibilities. Lastly, we recommended the vice president, Western Area, instruct the manager,

Des Moines NDC, to ensure the national standard operating procedure for color coding is followed and ensure supervisors approving overtime are trained to use the Time and Attendance Control System.

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Comments (9)

  • anon

    Thank you for your comments to our 2015 Des Moines Network Distribution Center Audit Report. Though our work on this specific audit report has ended and we have closed the comment section on this page, the Office of Inspector General is continuously conducting reviews of lost and delayed mail. Please visit our home page to view our most recent work. Also, we ask you to please visit the “Contact Us” page on this website for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service. Thank you again, OIG Audit Team.

    Feb 14, 2018
  • anon

    My package was said to have arrived at your facility on 1/18/18 and has been in transit ever since. I've tried to fill out a lost package form through USPS but have had no luck. Can you please check if you have this in the facility somewhere?

    Feb 13, 2018
  • anon

    My package arrived at this facility, supposedly, on 1/14/18. I believe it was there much earlier since it was shipped on 1/6. These are the available scans now, please note it has been, again supposedly, scanned at exactly the same time for 3 days, 1/15, 1/16 and 1/17. EXACTLY THE SAME TIME. No further scans have been provided. INSPECTOR GENERAL --DO SOMETHING! There is either extreme corruption or extreme incompetence or both at this center. In Transit to Destination 2018-01-17, 12:21:00, On its way to MIDVALE, UT 84047 In Transit to Destination 2018-01-16, 12:21:00, On its way to MIDVALE, UT 84047 In Transit to Destination 2018-01-15, 12:21:00, On its way to MIDVALE, UT 84047 Arrived at USPS Regional Origin Facility 2018-01-14, 02:21:00, DES MOINES IA NETWORK DISTRIBUTION CENTER

    Jan 20, 2018
  • anon

    I am so tired of this place! Psysically scanned my package on Nov. 30, since then package hasn't updated, has said in transit to destination for the past 3 days! Today, hasn't updated. Local post office has no idea where package is, cannot get a hold of anyone at center. Better conduct an internal investigation at this facility! Obviously, a whole bunch of wrong doing going on there!

    Dec 04, 2017
  • anon

    They should get rid of everyone at this distribution center!! Who actually does what they are supposed to here?? Why is this center rampant with complaints? There is a scam going on internally, i am sure. People not getting their medicines, etc! NO management would put up with this unless they are part of the problem!! I had a box of children's books that went to this facility and then it said on it way to my city. Never has a tracking number said that before. I worked as an rca for po. You get in major trouble if packages (all) are not scanned in and out of each facility until it is delivered at proper location. It is very sad these people don't take their jobs seriously. Sometimes things are shipped that aren't expensive but have a priceless sentimental value!! SHAME ON YOU WORKERS AT DE MOINE, IA FACILITY!!!

    Oct 20, 2017
  • anon

    I have been dealing with the suppose supervisor for ankeny, ia. A cashiers check in the amount of 3,000 was mailed to me with a date to reach me. That money was to assist with a funeral. Andy at ankeny was very rude unhelpful and didnt care where my package was. This is horrible service and then no consideration for the situion at hand. Now i understand why people act how they act a do what they do. And then those people are wrong when they act out.

    Oct 02, 2017
  • anon

    Des moines distribution center lost my item they said. My mailing labels was cut off the package sent back to me . And I was told the item is lost. I have insurance on item and never received a penny of it back or the item..

    Sep 01, 2017
  • anon

    I sent a pkg out 7/17 and it arrived in Des Moines 7/20 it has not moved since then according to tracking. I've read of multiple issues with that place. What is going on there? Its waaay past ridiculous for it to be there that long!

    Jul 31, 2017
  • anon

    My issue with the Post Office in Des Moine Iowa is that when I send a friend of mine special cards for birthday etc she does not get them. It started out that she would receive them at least 2 to 3 weeks later and now she does not even get them. I sent her a birthday card towards the end of June and her birthday was July 9th and until this day she has not received it. I have sent a special gift in the card and now it is lost some where or I have no idea what could have happened to it. But I did notice that the mail was getting later and later when she would receive it and now she does not even get it. This is unbelievable because she has a dad who she is taking care of and has cancer and also a 6yr old boy who will be starting 1st grade and she works in a hospital so my husband and I try to help as much as we can. But now this is very disturbing that she is not getting any mail from us. My husband is also a Viet Nam Vet and retired from the Secret Service in 1994 and he cannot believe what is happening with the Post Office in Iowa. He worked for the Post Office in NJ for 4yrs and finally got on the Secret Service and he has never heard of anything like this. I just want to know why is this happening and why is she not getting her mail but I did google the Des Moines Post Office and there have been complaints galore about not getting their bills or anything. Her aunt is a Dr. and sent her a birthday card and it was sent back to her saying it was the wrong address and it wasn't. She sent it out again and still she has not received her card. I cannot believe this. I am praying that the pkg we sent her yesterday will show up where she lives. It is suppose to arrive I believe Monday or Tuesday. My husband paid over $9 to send it out. Is this ever going to be taken care of or what is going on with the Post Offices in Des Moines Iowa? Does anyone care and going to fix this problem? I live in Florida and both of us are retired but I have been friends with her for over 15yrs and she moved to Iowa. We touched base again and now I have this problem sending her a card for her or her son. It never gets there. It is just terrible that she still has not received the card. It is one thing to email or text or call but when you want to send a special card that has a monetary value and suddenly it does not show up is horrible. Is anyone looking into this problem especially since I read that there are big issues going on with the Post Office. I am not a tweeter fan, or face book fan. I just email or text or use the phone. If you cannot help who can I get in touch with that will help? At least let me know what is going on and why she is not receiving our mail on time or not getting it at all? Thanking you for Your Time Marie White The Villages, Florida

    Jul 16, 2016