The USPS Office of Inspector General said the Postal Service exceeded planned and penalty overtime by nearly 14 million hours during the 2019 fiscal year and incurred $521.6 million in “questioned costs” as a result.
Forty-two percent of the Postal Service’s 633,108 employees had unauthorized overtime in fiscal 2019.
“Although package volume grew, overtime costs and hours trended upward and consistently exceeded their planned overtime budgets from FY 2014 to FY 2019, despite declining mail volume and increased employee levels,” the watchdog said in a report, dated August 25. “In addition, management did not always effectively manage their unauthorized overtime or ensure they had complete, accurate, and reliable employee payroll workhour data.”
In a response, included in the report, USPS executives said in some cases overtime is necessary to “meet service standard commitments and obligations for mail delivery” and may be less expensive than “straight-time” compensation due to benefits and the flexibility overtime offers.
The Postal Service has ordered restrictions on overtime hours for clerks and carriers.
The report comes as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Republican donor and ally of President Donald Trump, has come under criticism for his communications with the Trump Campaign.
On Wednesday, Rep. Gerry Connolly, chair of the House Oversight and Reform’s subcommittee on government operations, called on DeJoy to clarify testimony he gave that suggested DeJoy was communicating with friends associated with the Trump campaign that President Trump’s attacks on the Postal Service were “not helpful.”
Before joining the Trump administration, DeJoy was on the board of directors at XPO Logistics, a Postal Service contractor, and was approved by ethics officials to hold a $30 million stake in his former company. In June, he divested a large number of Amazon shares but purchased stock options that would allow him to buy new shares in the future below their market price.
The Inspector General is also reportedly reviewing charges that DeJoy is deliberately undermining operations at the Postal Service to sabotage mail-in voting ahead of the election in November.
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