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After realizing they had reached a crisis, the Postal Service reached out to the Boston Consulting Group, consisting of practicing analysts, ‘Developmentalists’, and analytic theorists, who predicted mail volume to remain flat in the next decade, and to expect a 37 percent drop in First-Class mail in 2011.
This class of mail is the Postal Service’s most profitable. Raising the rates on First-Class mail is capped, and cannot be raised faster than the inflation rate. The only recourse is for the Postal Service to use what is called an “exigent” rate increase when it faces substantial deficits, and “will be used in moderation,” according to Postmaster General John Potter while addressing a group of industry executives earlier this year.
Service to consumers would suffer if mail was delivered only five days a week, and the Postal Service would also see a decrease in mail volume of about 2 percent but the savings could be as much as $2 billion annually as projected by the Postal Regulatory Commission, its regulator.
However, taking a closer look at management of the processing and distribution facilities may reveal a means of savings not being considered. Potentially, millions of dollars are being lost due to negligence within these postal facilities.
The James C Brown Jr processing and distribution facility in Las Vegas, NV, has experienced huge losses due to negligence by the maintenance management department without any consequence. Employees are rarely fired or laid off at the Postal Service unless they are caught stealing. In these instances, it is a federal investigation, and can result in arrest and incarceration.
Waste and mismanagement at the Postal Service is tolerated and unskilled employees are promoted rather than fired, as would be the case if they worked for a privately owned company. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress, which should be looking more closely at the cost of the operations at their local facilities for waste and abuse. Several instances of waste by the maintenance management department at the main postal facility in Las Vegas, NV were uncovered.
Avoidable occurrences have resulted in undue expense. One case where the maintenance manager was instructed to remove an unused mail conveyor, instead removed and destroyed a custom-made belt that was in regular use, resulting in the loss of an estimated $150,000 postal asset.
Due to untrained or unskilled maintenance employees, a recent water main break caused undue expense when no one in the maintenance department could locate the shut off valve. Earlier, a water pipe broke, and repairs were done near that section, but efforts stopped short of inspecting adjacent pipes resulting in this major break, flooding plant operations causing undisclosed damage.
Further investigation has revealed that due to improper grounding, a recent lightning strike to the facility caused damage to the electrical motors and controllers that open the employee’s entrance gate. Consequently, all employees must now share the one operating gate normally utilized only by postal vehicles, and employees must maneuver past active docks servicing tractor-trailers, resulting in unnecessary danger to employees. No sense of urgency by the maintenance management department to repair this damage reflects negligence by this department.
Moving outside the facility you will see a tree in the front of the facility that is much larger than the other trees because near the larger tree, there has been a leaking water value that has been leaking for several years.
Las Vegas, NV has a moratorium for homeowners and businesses that they can only water their lawns on scheduled days due to the scarcity of water in the Colorado River basin. Yet this postal facility wastes water on a daily basis due to negligence on the part of the maintenance management department.
The Office of the Inspector General Investigates allegations of potential fraud, waste, or abuse of Government Accounting Office property and violations of rules and laws, however, many instances are not reported by the local postal facilities.