Postal Service Spent $717 Million on Unauthorized Overtime Pay

Monday, April 09, 2012
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) allowed its employees to earn more than $700 million in unauthorized overtime over the past two years. Postal workers received overtime without approval from supervisors totaling $294 million in 2010 and $423 million in 2011, according to a report by the Postal Service’s inspector general.
 
Management accepted most of the criticism, including the finding that “some city letter carriers clocked in before their scheduled tour of duty resulting in significant unauthorized overtime workhours.”
 
However, the postal managers objected to some of the report’s recommendations. For example, the inspector general argued that “preventing employees from clocking in before and clocking out after their assigned workhours is more cost efficient than detecting unauthorized workhours after they occur,” and suggested “an automated solution.” Management rejected automation as a solution to the problem.
 
The news comes as the Postal Service continues to lose money ($5.1 billion last year), and lawmakers consider solutions for overhauling how the agency should operate.
 
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, a bill being considered by Congress could save the government $2 billion a year over the next decade. The biggest money-saving proposals are eliminating Saturday delivery (about $2.4 billion annually) and returning pre-funded retirement surpluses to the Postal Service ($10.9 billion).
 
Mail level in 2011 was the lowest it has been since 1992.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
 
To Learn More:
Postal Service Racks Up Big Bill For Unauthorized Overtime (by Amanda Palleschi, Government Executive)
Unauthorized Overtime Usage in Field Operations: Audit Report (Postal Service Inspector General) (pdf)
House Postal Bill Would Save Billions, CBO Says (by Kellie Lunney, Government Executive)

H.R. 2309 Postal Reform Act of 2011: Cost Estimate (Contressional Budget office) (pdf) 

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