OIG Says USPS Relocation Rules Were Not Violated In Purchase Of Employee’s Million Dollar Home

The OIG responds to a request by Senator Charles Grassley, Ranking Member of Committee on Finance (PDF) to evaluate USPS’ relocation benefits program.

Based on review of the documentation associated with this relocation action, as well as controlling regulatory authority, the Office of Investigations did not substantiate the allegation that relocation rules were violated. U.S. Postal Service Handbook F-15 Part 3, Relocation, issued March 2002 and in effect at the time of the relocation in question, addresses relocation benefits for non-bargaining employees. This policy provided no ,limit on the purchase price the Postal Service could be obligated to pay.

While Postal Service relocation benefits are generally comparable to other federal and private sector companies, the benefits it provides to relocating employees are very costly to the Postal Service. In calendar year 2008, the Postal Service spent $73 million for relocations that occurred during this time period were exorbitant. IN one instance, the Postal Service paid over $1.9 million to relocate a vehicle maintenance program analyst interstate. The majority of this cost came from a $1.7 million loss on the sale of this employee’s home. IN another instance, as cited by the national media and in your letter, the Postal Service paid $1.2 million to purchase and employee’s home though its real estate management firm. The home is currently under contract for $950,000, which will result in a Postal Service loss of $250,000 on the home sale.