BALTIMORE (WJZ) – A recent audit found that a U.S. Postal Service center in Baltimore is processing millions of fewer pieces of mail than it did last year, even though business hours and overtime have increased significantly. tell.
The audit was initiated by the USPS Office of the Inspector General in response to scrutiny from members of the Maryland Delegation — Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger and Kweisi Mfume, along with Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen — who who expressed concern about lost mail and delayed delivery.
Lawmakers said the audit found that faulty equipment and a lack of management at the Fayette Street facility were among the factors that led to the drop in productivity.
“This audit confirms what we have heard for months from voters and seen on paper in an earlier OIG audit published last month,” the lawmakers said. said the legislator. “Chronic mismanagement, constant vacancies, and failing equipment are contributing to an unacceptable mail service that is frustrating our voters and even financial difficulty.”
The Postal Service said it had taken steps to address issues at the Baltimore facility, including downsizing holiday staffing and establishing standards for assessing employee readiness and delivery errors. row.
The auditors reviewed activities at the facility from August 2020 to this past July. They found that workers processed about 1.67 billion messages during that period, or about 70 million fewer messages than the previous year. Meanwhile, working hours increased by 14.6% and overtime hours increased by 43.5%.
In addition, the audit found that employee readiness was 65%, well below the agency’s target of 95%.
The auditors determined that the lack of managers led to inadequate oversight, which contributed to reduced productivity, a problem made worse by the hiring ban imposed by the Postmaster General. Louis DeJoy imposed from August 2020 to May 2021.
They also found that employees had moved mail from floor to floor because the mail machine on the premises had been out of service since March 2019. As a result, employees had to spend an extra two hours a day transferring them. mail, resulting in additional delays. .
In addition, the audit found that more than a third of trips from the facility were late or extra trips.
The auditors issued a series of recommendations aimed at fixing those problems, which are expected to be implemented by the end of January.
In response to questions from lawmakers, the USPS said it has hired 2,245 employees in Maryland since late August, it opened a new mail delivery training academy for the Baltimore area, and it added two more. new package sorting facility and six additional delivery facilities in Maryland. , Among other things.
Lawmakers welcomed those measures but said more work had to be done.
“We expect the increase in staff and the activation of additional mailing facilities will lead to a significant improvement after the poor service many have experienced over the past year,” the lawmakers said. ‘ said the legislator. “That said, the Post Office still has a lot of work ahead of it to implement recommendations from the Inspector General and to ensure timely delivery of Marylanders mail.”
https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2021/12/22/usps-vows-to-make-changes-after-audit-uncovers-issues-at-baltimore-facility/ USPS vows to make changes after audit uncovers problems at Baltimore facility – CBS Baltimore