The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, as amended, requires annual audits of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial statements. To comply with the law, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors adopted policies and procedures that require annual audits of officers’ travel and representation expenses.
Postal Service officers shape the strategic direction of the agency by setting goals, targets, and indicators within the framework established by the Board of Governors. The Postal Service has classified these positions as Postal Career Executive Service, and they include the Postmaster General, deputy postmaster general, and all vice presidents. The Board of Governors has authorized 50 officer positions.
Our objective was to determine whether travel and representation expense reimbursements Postal Service officers requested during fiscal year 2016 were properly supported and complied with postal policies and procedures. During fiscal year 2016, these officers filed 1,006 travel reimbursement requests totaling about $948,000. We reviewed 69 requests, totaling about $165,000.
What the OIG Found
Postal Service officers generally complied with travel and representation expense policies and procedures. However, we identified three issues for management’s attention. Specifically:
- Officers did not obtain preapproval for travel deviations.
- Travel card coordinators did not properly review credit card balance refunds.
- Corporate Accounting did not review the Sloan Fellows Program participant’s electronic travel reimbursement requests before payment. In addition, there were no procedures to ensure the participant refunded the rental security deposit.
When policies and procedures are not followed, there is an increased risk the Postal Service will pay excessive or unauthorized officers’ travel expenses.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management enforce or revise travel reimbursement requirements when officers deviate from travel policies and ensure these claims are properly approved. We also recommended management implement controls to ensure:
- Credit card balance refunds are timely reviewed.
- Sloan Fellows Program participants are placed in the eTravel officer group before any program expenses are incurred, particularly during employee transitions.
- Sloan Fellows Program participant security deposits are reimbursed as required.