OIG finds problems with handheld scanner deployment

mddThe postal service is spending close to a half billion dollars on new Mobile Delivery Devices (MDD). The Office of Inspector General recently reviewed the programs implementation and found problems:

Background

Mobile Delivery Devices (MDD) are new handheld scanners that allow U.S. Postal Service letter carriers to track package delivery in real-time. Package visibility is essential for the Postal Service to be competitive and also to support package growth.

Between September and December 2014, the Postal Service deployed 75,386 MDDs to letter carriers at a cost of $149 million. It began Phase 2 deployment of 188,000 MDDs in February 2015. Management plans to complete Phase 2 deployment for $349 million in September 2015, for a total deployment of 263,386 MDDs.

Our objective was to assess the deployment plan and functionality of MDDs.

What The OIG Found

We visited 40 sites and interviewed 92 supervisors and 154 letter carriers in the Capital and Northern Virginia districts and found that Phase 1 MDD deployment was adequate and ahead of schedule. However, we found three common functionality issues: screen freezes, laser beam reader freezes, and insufficient battery life. Letter carriers used ineffective or inefficient workarounds, often counter to operating instructions when MDDs did not work as designed. In addition, we found the MDD training program needs improvement and the Critical Parts Center processes eBuy2 and help desk-requested MDDs and accessories without ensuring the parts actually need to be replaced or are not covered by warranties.

Inadequate MDD functionality, training, and spare parts management can cause mail and service delays, which may reduce customer satisfaction and prevent the Postal Service from becoming the shipper of choice. In addition, the MDD program has an added expense of over $255,000 because of purchasing items for spares or replacements that were under warranty.

What The OIG Recommended

We recommended management establish controls to ensure all MDD functionalities are operating, evaluate current MDD training, and establish controls for processing MDD eBuy2 and help desk requests to ensure there is an actual need for replacement and equipment is not under warranty

Video: LLV rolls “several times” in Texas

COLLEGE STATION – According to College Station police, just before noon, officers arrived on scene and found that a US Mail vehicle had been travelling northbound on SH 6.

Witnesses advised that the US Mail vehicle began swerving from side to side and slid into the ditch at the Harvey Rd. exit.

The vehicle rolled several times before coming to rest facing south and just off the roadway. The northbound Harvey Rd. exit was closed for approximately an hour while the accident was investigated and US Mail was recovered.

Non-incapacitating injuries were reported by the driver.

Source: Highway 6 Back Open After Crash Involving Postal Truck

Video: Pecos TX Woman Claims Mailman Won’t Deliver Mail

PECOS, TX –

A Pecos woman is taking action against her mailman and the post office. She claims she hasn’t been receiving her mail for the past week. After reaching out to the Pecos Postmaster, she says she still hasn’t received any help.

“Enough is enough. I want my mail back,” said Anita Dominguez.

She noticed her mail services stopped last Tuesday.

“The mailman says that my mailbox isn’t close enough for him to just reach out and put my mail in,” she said.

KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Dominguez claims the mailman delivers to every other residence in the area, even to those that have mailboxes next to their front doors. In this case, however, he won’t get out of his truck to take a few extra steps to reach her mailbox. A statement issued by Communications Program Specialist from the U.S. Postal Service, Sam Bolen, “mail recipients must have a visible street identification number in a convenient location, which Dominguez has done her best to accommodate to.

Source: Pecos Woman Claims Mailman Won’t Deliver Mail – KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Canada Post stamp celebrates Alice Munro, Nobel Prize-winning writer

OTTAWA – Alice Munro, the recognized master of the exquisitely honed short story and the first Canadian woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, is celebrated on a new stamp that pays homage to elements of her work.

The stamp incorporates a photograph of Munro that was taken by her daughter Sheila, a sample of the author’s handwriting from archival material, and vintage images of Wingham, Ont., the small town in which Munro was born. Many believe that Wingham inspired her fictional town of Jubilee, in which many of her stories are set. The stamp was designed by Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip of Toronto’s HM&E Design.

“Alice Munro is not only one of Canada’s most critically acclaimed writers but also one of the most popular,” says the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. “Her stories have garnered recognition worldwide and this tribute adds to her lifetime of honours.”

“Our stamp program recognizes the achievements of Canadians,” says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “As fans of this prolific author know, Ms. Munro’s literary talent, wisdom and humanity, reflected in her stories over several decades, have earned her recognition that few writers in any language or country attain.”

Alice Munro’s early works found their way into Canadian literary journals and CBC Radio’s Anthology. Her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, was published in 1968. In the mid-1970s, her short stories began appearing regularly in The New Yorker, bringing her a broader, international audience. She has been awarded three Governor-General’s awards in 1968, 1978 and 1986, Giller prizes in 1998 and 2004, and the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in 2009.

When she was presented with her Nobel Prize in 2013, a representative of the Nobel Committee for Literature said, “Reading one of her texts is like watching a cat walk across a laid dinner table. … Alice Munro is often able to say more in 30 pages than an ordinary novelist is capable of in 300.”

The stamp’s release date of July 10 marks Munro’s birthday.

About the stamp

The pressure-sensitive stamp – printed by Colour Innovations Inc. on Tullis Russell paper using lithography in five colours – is available in booklets of 10 and measures 26 mm x 32 mm (vertical), with simulated perforations. The Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Wingham, Ont. To purchase philatelic products, please visit canadapost.ca/shop.

Source: Stamp celebrates Alice Munro, Nobel Prize-winning writer | Canada Post

Video: CCA letter carrier sentenced for dumping mail in Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — A former postal worker was sentenced to five years probation, six months of which will be home confinement. She will also pay a fine of $2,000.

31-year-old Shalita Corley fainted during Wednesday’s sentencing in federal court.

The Portsmouth resident was a city carrier assistant with the postal service from November 3, 2014 through February 6, 2015, when she resigned her position. Court documents shows that a Norfolk resident found two trash bags containing hundreds of pieces of mail that Corley dumped in an overgrown lot near the Lafayette River on February 3.

Source: Letter carrier sentenced for dumping mail in Norfolk

CBO says restoring service standards would cost USPS over $1 billion a year, and doubts it could actually be done

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of restoring USPS service standards to 2012 levels, as called for in a recent amendment approved by the House Committee on Appropriations, would cost “well over $1 billion” in the upcoming fiscal year. The CBO adds that it “doubts the agency could fully comply with the amendment”.

Ironically, the CBO also mentions that it expects USPS to make a profit in the current fiscal year, predicting that the service “will end fiscal year 2016 with net receipts of about $1 billion (on a cash accounting basis)”.

Here’s the summary of the CBO report:

CBO-Anniversary-Logo-WebSite-DisplayFor fiscal year 2016 the amendment would require the United States Postal Service (USPS) to comply with the service standards for first class mail and periodicals that were effective on July 1, 2012. CBO estimated that enacting the Fattah amendment would increase off-budget spending by $300 million in fiscal year 2016.

In July of 2012 the Postal Service changed its delivery service standards and began one of the most comprehensive operational transformations in the agency’s history. Since then USPS has closed about 150 mail processing facilities, about one third of the 460 such facilities that it operated in 2012. The Postal Service has significantly reconfigured its mail delivery network, including modifying employee schedules and redesigning transportation systems. To attempt to comply with the amendment USPS would need to at least partly reverse those changes by adding work hours, reopening facilities that have been closed or sold, and replacing equipment it no longer owns. Because the amendment would be effective only for 2016, we expect the USPS would return in 2017 to its plans to reduce its operational costs.

USPS has estimated that its transformation plan will save the agency about $1.5 billion a year in operating costs. Based on preliminary conversations with USPS, CBO expects that reconfiguring agency operations to fully meet the 2012 delivery standards during fiscal year 2016 would probably cost significantly more than $300 million. However, in CBO’s judgment the USPS does not have sufficient resources to do that, and the agency’s past actions demonstrate that it likely would give continued funding of its daily operations a higher priority than attempting to comply with a new Congressional mandate.

USPS reached its statutory debt limit of $15 billion in 2012, and has no authority to borrow more funds. The Postal Service has severely reduced its capital spending in recent years from nearly $2 billion in 2009 to less than $1 billion in 2014. As a result, the agency plans to ramp up its capital program and devote available funds to upgrading an aging vehicle fleet, purchasing mail processing equipment, and maintaining current facilities.

Because of liquidity constraints in recent years, the Postal Service failed to pay a total of $22.4 billion over the 2011-2014 period for retiree health prepayments that are required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (Public Law 109-435). After making those payments in 2010 and previous years, the agency demonstrated that under financial duress it would prioritize its limited resources to continue its operations and financial viability despite the requirements of current law.

Based on preliminary information from the Postal Service, we expect that it would cost well over $1 billion in 2016 for USPS to attempt to fully comply with the amendment. However, because of operational challenges and the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition, CBO doubts the agency could fully comply with the amendment. CBO currently estimates that the USPS will end fiscal year 2016 with net receipts of about $1 billion (on a cash accounting basis). Of that profit, we estimate the agency could spend about $300 million in 2016 to improve service for delivery of first class mail and periodicals as required by the amendment.

New surface visibility devices coming soon to USPS plants

From USPS News Link:

sv_devices_largestoryUSPS plant employees will soon receive new surface visibility devices that will make it easier for business customers to know the whereabouts of their mail and packages.

The handheld devices will replace existing equipment. The new devices, called SV mobile devices, will be lighter and feature larger screens and improved software.

The devices align with the Postal Service’s efforts to better use technology, improve customers’ experiences and grow its package delivery service.

Surface Visibility enhances scanning of all mail and packages as items move through the postal processing and transportation networks.

“These new SV mobile devices will bring USPS a step closer to achieving full mail and package visibility,” said Enterprise Analytics VP Robert Cintron.

USPS recently tested the devices at the Dulles, VA, P&DC and the Nashua, NH, L&DC.

Employees at both facilities praised the equipment as lightweight and effective. “It made my job a lot easier,” said one.

‘Stakeholders’ Urge Congress To Give USPS Legislative Relief


GrandAlliance_Logo07/14/2015
The APWU is part of a group of 50 postal unions, management associations, and mailers that has asked Congress to help the agency during the current nationwide financial difficulties by giving legislative relief to its retiree health-insurance liability.

In a Nov. 17 letter  to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the group said that the “$900 billion mailing industry, millions of jobs, continued efficient universal postal services, and the long-term survival of the Postal Service are at stake.”

“The 2006 postal reform law required the Postal Service to pay off, over the next ten years, its actuarial unfunded liability for retiree health insurance coverage,” the letter said, while noting that in today’s economic climate, the 10-year payment schedule has become unrealistic.

“The Postal Service has proposed an adjustment to that payment schedule which would preserve the law’s requirement for full funding of retiree health benefits, but lessen the financial demand on the Postal Service for several years,” the joint letter said. “It does not relieve the Postal Service of any existing financial obligation. Employee and retiree benefits are fully protected.”

The letter pointed out that since the Postal Service proposal does not adversely affect the deficit, it is simply a cash-management change, “not a bail out.”

“Swift legislative enactment of the proposal is critical to the Postal Service, its employees, and the mailing industry.”

The letter to Reid and other congressional leaders was signed by representatives of the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association; several management associations; Pitney Bowes, Newsweek, and several other large mailers; and industry groups, including the Magazine Publishers of America and the Newspaper Association of America.

VIDEO: Why missing mail needs to be reported

Mail usually arrives at your home every day, but taking notice of when it doesn’t arrive, is just as important.

Postal Inspectors say they began tracking a criminal duo after investigating complaints from customers who were not receiving their mail.

“When we looked at that, those checks going into this account, matched up with the address and name of the victims of the people that say they had not received mail or the mailbox had been pried open,” said Adam Fascio a U.S. Postal Inspector.

Source: Why missing mail needs to be reported | WINK NEWS

Video: Postal worker, neighbor save the day after lightning sparks house fire

“It was just frightening. It was hard to collect your thoughts, I’ll just tell you like that,” says Spencer.

A lightning bolt crashed into the attic, igniting a fire as Corlis and her husband Ronald were inside.

It happened Saturday as strong thunderstorms rolled through Virginia Beach into the Spencers’ Wesleyan Chase neighborhood.

They say they did not even smell smoke when the fire happened.

Lightning hit, striking sideways into the Spencers’ attic while they were in the back bedroom. They had no idea what was happening until a postal worker knocked on their door telling them their house was on fire.

Source: Postal worker, neighbor save the day after lightning sparks house fire | WTKR.com
Virginia Beach, Va. – Two days later, Corlis Spencer says it’s still difficult to talk about what happened.