October 15, 2009
The Honorable Paul Hodes
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Attention: Sarah Levin
Dear Mr. Hodes:
We received your May 21 letter on behalf of the New Hampshire branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). They alleged manipulation of the Time and Attendance Collection System (TACS) by management at the Milford Post Office, Manchester South Station, and Manchester West Station. Specifically, they alleged postal management altered electronic timecards to avoid paying NALC carriers overtime and to falsify the reporting of work hour usage at these facilities.
As background, TACS is the timekeeping system used by the Postal Service to record employees’ work time and to ensure proper payment. TACS also manages budgeted work hours for each facility. Employees are assigned an individual identification card, bearing a magnetic stripe encoded with their personal information. Employees use their cards at an Electronic Badge Reader (EBR). The employees enter the type of clock ring and operation number, if applicable, and then slide their cards through the EBR. This produces a record of the date, time, type of clock ring, and the operation number to TACS.
Every week, postal managers reconcile and download TACS data to the Accounting Service Center (ASC) in Minnesota, which collates this information and uses it to generate employee paychecks. Managers have manual access to the TACS in order to approve overtime and correct timekeeping errors before the information is downloaded to the ASC. Manual access to TACS is individually password protected. When a postal manager makes a manual change, TACS records the nature of the change, the date, time, and the Employee Identification Number of the person making the change.
We conducted an investigation, which included interviews and a review of records and documents. We concluded that management at the Milford Post Office made manual entries to change employees’ clock rings for the period of December 14, 2002, through December 19, 2008. These changes resulted in the removal of straight time, overtime, night differential, and penalty overtime causing, employees to be underpaid. Additionally, we found an apparent flaw in the way that TACS handles hours worked by clerks who also perform carrier work for part of their day. This flaw causes an unintentional loss of pay to employees. We forwarded our findings to postal management for action they deem appropriate.
We concluded that manual entries to change employees’ clock rings were made by management to TACS at the Manchester South Station for the period of December 22, 2007, through June 26, 2009, and at the Manchester West Station for the period of December 23, 2006, through June 26, 2009. These changes resulted in the removal of night differential and overtime causing employees to be underpaid. We forwarded our findings to postal management for action they deem appropriate.
After we began our investigation, we widened our scope to include two other nearby locations, specifically the Somersworth Post Office and the Salem Post Office. Our investigation concluded that at the Somersworth Post Office for the period of the December 22, 2007, through June 12, 2009, and at the Salem Post Office for the period December 22, 2007, through July 1, 2009, manual entries were made to TACS. Management changed employees Move clock rings from one operation number to another, which caused work hours to be posted to operations employees apparently did not perform. These changes resulted in misstatements of budgeted work hour activity at the facilities. These findings were also forwarded to postal management for action.
If you or your staff have any questions related to your inquiry, please contact Betsy Cuthbertson in our Congressional Response unit at (703) 248-2270.
Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations