Cite huge annual deficit, conflict of interest concerns
WASHINGTON – Citing concern about its huge annual deficits, Senators Susan Collins, R-Me., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., today sent a letter to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Inspector General, asking for a review of the service’s procurement policies and regulations.
Senator Collins is Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Senator McCaskill is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight.
Their concern stems from three contracts that USPS awarded as sole-source contracts. “Not only did these contracts, totaling more than $1.3 million, lack sufficient competition, but also they were awarded to individuals or entities that appear to have had prior business relationships with the senior official responsible for the program and oversight of the contract,” the Jan. 14, 2010 letter from the Senators said.
“In light of its dismal financial situation, USPS must employ policies and regulations to ensure the best value from its contracts. Reports of several recent contract awards have led us to question USPS’s procurement policies and regulations. We are writing to request that your office review USPS’s contracting practices, policies, and regulations.”
The letter said that the Postal Service functions as a quasi-governmental entity, which, “coupled with its current financial crisis, demands that it conduct business in a manner beyond reproach, avoiding unauthorized preferential treatment for any contractor. Conflicts of interest must be avoided, and USPS must take steps to prevent activities that present even the appearance of impropriety.”
The letter noted concern that the current policies and regulations governing USPS contracts may “not go far enough in protecting USPS’s interests. Therefore, we request that you conduct a review of USPS’s procurement policies and regulations in order to maximize competition and ensure the best value for its contracts.”