When your priorities include maintaining the security of the mail, you need to ensure that not just your employees, but also your contractors can be trusted. After all, the Postal Service engages thousands of contractors to help its workforce move the mail in various ways. One of which is handling mail at its Surface Transfer Centers (STC).

The Postal Service operates 13 STCs across the country, seven of which are managed solely by suppliers who employed more than 1,000 contractor personnel as of April 2021. USPS oversees STC operations, including the security clearance process, which is intended to prevent ineligible or unsuitable applicants from having access to the mail, Postal Service assets, and facilities.

So how good of a job is the Postal Service doing on reviewing and granting security clearances? As we note in our recent audit report, the answer is as complex as the security clearance process. The Postal Inspection Service reviews requests for clearances and determines whether they should be granted. But the STC supplier is responsible for conducting certain background investigation steps and submitting all findings. And the supplier is responsible for requesting the clearance before any of its personnel gain access to the mail.

We reviewed the clearance process for 169 randomly selected STC contractor personnel and found that in 130 cases — 77 percent — the full process wasn’t followed. USPS management didn’t always ensure that suppliers completed a security clearance before personnel were allowed to handle the mail. And, in other cases, the Postal Inspection Service had to complete security clearance steps the suppliers are responsible for, resulting in USPS incurring additional costs. Bottom line: the safety and security of USPS and other STC contractor personnel, as well as the mail and Postal Service information, could be at risk.

The good news is we made three recommendations to strengthen the security clearance process, and we’re confident USPS management’s plans for action in response will address the issues we identified.

Have you ever undergone a background check for work? What was the experience like?

Comments (5)

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  • anon

    I hope to see this matter resolved promptly Thank you in advance

    Oct 20, 2021
  • anon

    I love this sentence: “And, in other cases, the Postal Inspection Service had to complete security clearance steps the suppliers are responsible for, resulting in USPS incurring additional costs.” Yet, in your botched investigation of CDS Supplier Costs you say the USPS has to pay suppliers extra trips because they can’t fit mail and parcels on a first trip. However, Suppliers are supposed to have a business plan on file covering the peak Holiday season and misc. extra trips. The supplier is responsible for moving the mail at no additional cost to the Postal Service.

    Oct 19, 2021
  • anon

    Dear Sir I am so happy that finally The Postal Service has finally taken the initiative to do background checks on their employees because I made the number of complaints for mail that I have not received mail going to the wrong address where I had to actually go to the address to receive my mail which is very dangerous in this day and time you don’t know what people will do when you go to their house to ask for your mail for something that was supposed to come to my home went to another home thank you Postal Service for a family checking out the people you hire

    Oct 19, 2021
  • anon

    State refund for Missouri employment tax

    Oct 18, 2021
  • anon

    You make it difficult to leave a comment when the whole point of your email was to ensure us of the safety of the handling of mail and the security. The security which is or is not happening. What is it that one is supposed to make a comment about?

    Oct 18, 2021