USPS OIG: Employee Issues at the Dickinson, North Dakota, Post Office

August 14, 2018

Objective

This report responds to a request from Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota about employee issues at the Dickinson Post Office. In response to that request, our objectives were to determine whether the U.S. Postal Service complied with employee payment requirements and assess employee engagement and staffing levels at the Dickinson, ND, Post Office.

The Dickinson Post Office is in the Bakken Region of North Dakota. In calendar year (CY) 2006, the region’s oil boom began, peaking in CY 2012. During the oil boom, the region experienced increased employment opportunities, which subsequently contributed to the Postal Service’s challenge of attracting and retaining employees.

In February 2014, the Postal Service entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) to assist in attracting and retaining rural carriers.

What the OIG Found

The Postal Service did not comply with employee payment requirements at the Dickinson Post Office; employee feedback indicated employee engagement was low; and the post office is currently at full complement although it has faced challenges attracting and retaining both management and bargaining employees in the past. Specifically, we determined:

  • Four of seven (or 57 percent) rural carriers were placed in an incorrect pay status. These carriers received letters of demand and invoices for salary overpayments totaling $23,767.
  • Six of 20 (or 30 percent) career rural carriers, who were eligible for a 90-day and/or one-year bonus prescribed in the Postal Service’s MOU with the NRLCA, did not receive their bonuses totaling $5,000.
  • One employee was not reimbursed for official travel expenses submitted for 10 travel vouchers totaling about $1,920 for work conducted in support of another Dakotas District post office.
  • There is a perception of an unsupportive work environment, no employee recognition, and a lack of communication at the Dickinson Post Office. This may be an indication of low employee engagement, which is a contributor to low employee morale.

These conditions occurred because:

  • Human Resources Shared Services Center processing specialists were unaware rural carriers should have been paid from one of four rate schedule code tables. Specialists also indicated they used an incorrect pay step within the rate schedule code table.
  • District Human Resources did not have a formal process to timely identify carrier eligibility for bonuses.
  • The postmaster did not have access to the Electronic Travel Voucher system and did not forward the employee’s travel voucher to the designated travel coordinator for processing.
  • There was an apparent disconnect between Dickinson Post Office management and lack of subsequent actions, and employee concerns and issues.

The Dickinson Post Office had a challenge attracting and retaining employees and subsequently developed a plan to address the rapid changes in population growth and employee turnover. However, due to actions taken by the Dickinson Post Office and the Dakotas District, as of April 2018, there were 40 employees at the Dickinson Post Office — three more than its authorized career complement of 37.

If management does not take appropriate action to ensure that they properly compensate and inform employees, there could be a negative impact on employee engagement, morale, and complement at the Dickinson Post Office.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management provide refresher training to Human Resources Shared Services Center processing specialists responsible for processing pay activities on Postal Service Form 50, Notification of Personnel Action, for the Memorandum of Understanding at select Bakken Region facilities, to include verifying employee pay statuses; and implement and communicate a process to timely identify and pay rural carriers.

We also recommended management grant Electronic Travel Voucher system access to the postmaster or designee at the Dickinson Post Office or implement controls to monitor and track reimbursements due when employees submit travel vouchers manually; and develop a strategy, to include management training, to increase employee engagement at the Dickinson Post Office.

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USPS Awards General Dynamics $467 Million Contract

Posted on August 6, 2018 by postal
United States Postal Service Awards General Dynamics Technical Support Services Contract  GDIT to support the operation, maintenance, enhancement and sustainment of Postal Service applications.

FAIRFAX, Va., Aug. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — General Dynamics Information Technology has been awarded a contract for Enterprise Information Technology Program (EITP) Technical Support Services (TSS) by the United States Postal Service. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract includes a base period of three years, with four additional one-year option periods; with an estimated ceiling value of $467 million.  “As a partner since 1983, we are excited to continue supporting the Postal Service’s mission,” said Senior Vice President Paul Nedzbala, head of GDIT’s Federal Civilian Division. “Every day our innovative solutions create a bridge between the customer’s needs and the latest technology and services. From updating aging hardware and software to implementing new strategies, GDIT is accelerating innovations to help make the Postal Service’s IT goals a reality.”  Under this IDIQ, GDIT will provide resources, expertise and technology to deliver next-generation IT services, components and products. These solutions will help the Postal Service achieve improvements in customer service, performance and productivity. GDIT will also provide the professional, technical and end-to-end support services required for Postal Service applications; support and assist in developing strategies for the next generation of IT products; and develop and implement engineering improvements for operating and administrative processes.

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Wyoming mail hauler stole almost $2 million from Postal Service

August 8, 2018

TOULON — A Wyoming man who owns a trucking business stole almost $2 million from the U.S. Postal Service by falsely claiming for 12 years to be paying for workers-compensation insurance, prosecutors allege.

Keith A. Ratcliff, 53, appeared in court Tuesday on an unsealed five-count Stark County grand jury indictment alleging three counts of theft by deception and one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud. He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

As president and owner of Wyoming-based Ratcliff Enterprises Inc., Ratcliff is alleged to have requested and received reimbursement for the purchase of workers-comp insurance for the company’s employees from July 1, 2005, through Nov. 18, 2017, under the terms of a Postal Service contract that involved hauling mail between Peoria and various locations in western Illinois.

Under the contracts, the Postal Service paid directly or reimbursed Ratcliff Enterprises for most expenses, and the company entered into 128 contracts worth a total of more than $27 million during the 12-year period, according to a news release from Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Office.

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US Postal Service Suspends Mail Delivery On Sacramento Street Due To Fleas

SACRAMENTO (CBS) – The US Postal Service has suspended mail delivery indefinitely on one Sacramento street due to a flea infestation.

Sherri Byrd lives in one of the dozens of affected homes on Thornhill Drive. She said she’s angry.

“I can’t pay my bills, I can’t get a hold of any of my mail,” she said. “I just think it’s ridiculous.”

Byrd filed a formal complaint with the Postal Service. Others on her block are equally miffed by the flea fears.

Robert Daikai says he’s always maintained his yard with insect killer.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of it,” said Daikai.

The Postal Service sent a letter to residents Friday explaining they would have to pick up mail at the Kiefer Boulevard post office for now.

In fact, mail delivery stopped more than a week ago.

The letter reads a postal worker and a manager were bitten by fleas on the block several times.

It continues, “We have contacted the County about this situation and have determined it to be unsafe for our letter carrier to continue making deliveries in this area.”

A Sacramento County spokesperson said they had not heard about the problem.

A spokesperson for the Postal Service said they would be contacting the District Supervisor’s office Monday.

“They go through rain, snow, sleet, dogs, everything but fleas,” said Byrd.

This isn’t the first time fleas have stopped the mail. A neighborhood in Camden, just had their service suspended for 3 weeks while the city worked out the bugs.

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