The USPS Office Of Inspector General issued an Audit Report over “Allegations of Inaccurate Time and Attendance Records”
Here is why the report was conducted and some excerpts of what the OIG found:
This report presents the results of our audit of allegations of inaccurate time and attendance records (Project Number 10YG017HR000). Our objective was to assess whether the U.S. Postal Service has adequate controls to ensure the accuracy of employees’ workhours. We are conducting this audit as a result of a congressional request and other inquiries we received regarding postal locations in Salem, OR; Dover, NH; Kansas City, MO; Gahanna, OH; and Gastonia, NC. This audit addresses financial and operational risks. See Appendix A for additional information about this audit.
The Postal Service OIG received a congressional request from an Oregon Congressman on behalf of his constituent, the vice president of the Salem Associated Postal Workers Union Local 604. The union vice president alleged that the same or similar revelations produced by investigations in Manchester, NH, are also happening in Oakland, CA, and Salem, OR, and that the problem is widespread and systemic within the Postal Service. He requested the OIG audit of time and attendance procedures in Salem, OR to determine if workers are being paid incorrectly due to supervisors manipulating timecards, built-in flaws in TACS, or the fact that TACS was not administered properly.
We interviewed the union vice president during the audit and he stated that there were two concerns: recording of employees’ out-of-schedule time and adherence to employees’ bid schedules. In addition, there was a congressional request from the president of the New Hampshire NALC Local 44 alleging that supervisors were improperly deleting time from carriers, improperly moving codes, and deleting “no lunch” designations. The union president estimated there were approximately 30 violations found during the last year (2009) at the Dover, NH branch.
We received additional congressional requests from a Missouri Senator on behalf of her constituent, the president of the Kansas City NALC Branch 30 and an Ohio Senator on behalf of his constituent, a Postal Service employee. In Kansas City, there were concerns that various post offices in the Kansas City area were changing employees’ clock rings and changing office and street time to training and carrier miscellaneous duties. In Ohio, an employee was concerned about harassment and retribution as a result of a grievance alleging manipulation of employee time.
In 2009, the OIG Office of Investigations (OI) received information from New Hampshire Congresspersons and the NALC regarding alleged time and attendance fraud by Postal Service managers at three post offices and two stations in New Hampshire. OI investigations disclosed instances where either a postmaster or supervisor made entries into TACS which apparently deprived employees of paid time or failure to maintain proper documentation for disallowance of employee time.
Supervisors not Completing PS Form 1017-A
In Gastonia, NC; Dover, NH; and Gahanna, OH, we found that supervisors did not complete PS Forms 1017-A as required. In addition, there was no requirement for employees to sign the form, indicating that they have been notified of disallowed time. At the Gastonia and Dover locations, the managers stated that completing PS Form 1017-A was not a priority. At the Gahanna location, the manager stated that supervisors forgot to print out the forms. Postal Service Handbook F-214 states that PS Form 1017-A serves as a permanent and cumulative record of disallowed time. The supervisor must prepare a PS Form 1017-A when disallowing employee time. Because supervisors did not complete the required documentation, we were not able to determine with certainty the reasons for disallowed time. At the Dover, NH Main Post Office (MPO) employees were awarded overtime, penalty overtime, and punitive damages because supervisors did not maintain PS Forms 1017-A. See Appendix B for our detailed analysis of this topic.
Deletion of Clock Rings by Supervisors
In Gastonia NC; Dover, NH; and Parkville, MO, controls over deletion of employee clock rings need improvement. We noted that employee clock rings were deleted to conform to Delivery Operations Information Systems DOIS reports or established hour limits for operation codes 769 and 241.7 In addition, supervisors deleted any employee time over the 5-minute leeway part- and full-time regular employees are allowed. Some supervisors stated they deleted the rings because they were incorrect. In other cases, a manager stated that she adjusted the clock rings to conform to expectations and some supervisors did not provide reasons for the deletions. Handbook F-21 states that “If an employee works in an “overtime” status by exceeding the scheduled tour hours by more than 5 minutes, they are paid for their actual clock time, unless the time is disallowed.” When management does not follow policies and procedures over time and attendance the Postal Service has an increased risk for grievances. In addition, in some cases the Postal Service may have incorrectly paid employees paid. See Appendix B for our detailed analysis of this topic.
Management controls over time and attendance at the locations included in our audit were not adequate to ensure employees’ workhours were reported accurately. As a
result, we could not determine with certainty the reasons supervisors altered employee time and attendance records. Specifically, we found that Postal Service supervisors did not complete the required Postal Service (PS) Form 1017-A, Time Disallowance Record, or PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence, from the Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS)1. We also found questionable deletions of clock rings by supervisors in the Dover, NH; Gastonia, NC; and Parkville, MO Post Offices. In addition, supervisors did not follow procedures for documenting employees’ out-of-schedule changes in TACS. Furthermore, we found supervisors at the Parkville, MO Post Office improperly charged safety talks and informational meetings to operation code 782, Training.
We recommend the vice president, Controller:
1. Establish and implement controls in the Time and Attendance Collection System to document supervisors’ justification of changes to employees’ time.
We recommend the vice president, Delivery and Post Office Operations:
2. Issue supplemental guidance emphasizing the importance of completing Postal Service Form 1017-A, Time Disallowance Record, and PS Form 3971, Request for or Notification of Absence.
3. Establish a review and approval process to ensure time disallowances are appropriate and documented as required.
4. Establish periodic monitoring of clock ring deletions to ensure employee workhours are recorded accurately.
Related link: Congressman To USPS OIG: New Documents Show Wage Theft In New Hampshire Post Offices Continues. Other links