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OIG criticizes USPS advertising oversight, alleges “misuse of position”, “questionable bonuses”

uspsoigThe postal service’s Inspector General has released a report calling on the agency to do a better job managing its advertising budget. The report also accuses an unnamed USPS official of “misuse of position” for leaking a draft of the report to the service’s outside advertising contractor.

According to the OIG:

The Postal Service was not adequately monitoring its two largest advertising contracts, which threatened the
effectiveness and integrity of its advertising program. Specifically, the Postal Service:

  • Did not clearly define or understand the roles and responsibilities of the primary team members for its major
    advertising contractors, who were paid $10 million in fiscal year 2011.
  • Paid $631,712 in questionable bonuses to these two contractors in fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
  • Did not sufficiently track or allocate certain advertising costs.
  • Did not comply with internal controls for certifying and retaining advertising invoices.

The OIG also says it found “abuse of position” by an unnamed USPS official. The identity of the official as well as the specifics of the abuse are blacked out, but the report goes on to state: “We also found that the contents of our informal draft report were improperly released to officials outside of the Postal Service who were connected to the major contractor.”

In all, the OIG found about $7 million in “questioned” costs: “We are reporting $2.3 million in improperly certified invoices, $4 million in non-core labor costs, and the performance bonuses of $631,712 as questioned costs.”