The Office of Inspector General is tasked with ensuring efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the U.S. Postal Service. We also have the distinct mission of helping to maintain confidence in the mail and postal system, as well as to improve the Postal Service's bottom line. We use audits and investigations to help protect the integrity of the Postal Service. Our Semiannual Report to Congress presents a snapshot of the work we did to fulfill our mission for the six-month period ending September 30, 2022. Our dynamic report format provides readers with easy access to facts and information, as well as succinct summaries of the work by area. Links are provided to the full reports featured in this report, as well as to the appendices.
A MESSAGE FROM THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
As the fiscal year comes to an end, I look back with pride on our efforts to provide oversight of the Postal Service across the country. While this role was always important, it becomes increasingly so as the Postal Service makes significant changes to its processing and delivery network as part of its 10-year Delivering for America Plan.
Last winter, we stood up a new audit team — the Field Operations Review Team — to conduct quick facility reviews in specific areas of the country with service challenges. This work allows us to get a full understanding of service issues that span both delivery and processing. Over the past six months, this new team completed and published reports covering six different geographic locations.
Another way we fulfill our oversight mission across the nation is by keeping Congress informed of postal issues. This past September, we participated in our third Congressional field hearing of the year. The first two — held last winter in Chicago and Baltimore — were focused mainly on service disruptions. The latest hearing, held in Philadelphia, focused on mail theft as well. I am so proud we could provide Congress with valuable information.
Our Office of Investigations has offices across the nation. A big part of their workload is looking into suspected mail theft by postal employees. Over the last six months, they have increased their focus on the uptick in the theft of arrow keys — the keys postal employees use to open blue collection boxes and neighborhood delivery box units. To address this issue, we have initiated “Operation Secure Arrow,” a multifaceted effort to identify and investigate employees involved in the theft and mishandling of arrow keys.
This Semiannual Report to Congress, submitted pursuant to the Inspector General Act, outlines our work and activities for the six-month period ending September 30, 2022. During this period, we issued 93 audit reports, management advisories, and white papers, and the Postal Service accepted 94 percent of our recommendations. We completed 1,677 investigations that led to 403 arrests and nearly $108 million in fines, restitutions and recoveries, more than $22.6 million of which was returned to the Postal Service.
As we move forward into the next fiscal year, we have many audits and investigations planned across the nation. We will also remain agile, to ensure we provide oversight as needed as the Postal Service rolls out structural changes to its mail processing and delivery networks. My employees and their dedication to their work continue to impress me. I am excited about what the new year will bring.