USPS OIG Unable To Determine Why Postal Supervisors Deleted Employees Timeclock Rings

April 13, 2011 by
Filed under: oig, postal, postal news, usps 

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.

Conclusion
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.

Full report

Related link: Congressman To USPS OIG: New Documents Show Wage Theft In New Hampshire Post Offices Continues. Other links

USPS Audit Report On Allegations of Deleted Time Clock Rings

Comments

14 Comments on USPS OIG Unable To Determine Why Postal Supervisors Deleted Employees Timeclock Rings

  1. SteveO on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 9:22 am
  2. Even when mgmt has the ability to fix the numbers they prove their inability to manage. They fixed the numbers across the country and it’s been reported they spent 1.8 billion dollars over what they figured in overtime. The POOMS who are forcing the lower level managers to be “creative” would be a good place to start! Give their responsibilities back to the Postmaster’s and let them make the “Big” decisions!

  3. C.J Wayda on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 9:24 am
  4. This has been going on across the country for years. This was discovered in Wilkes-Barre and Kingston, Pa offices and is still going on. Why weren’t these so called managers disciplined, removed or prosecuted for theft? Being this is a national issue, it cannot be assumed that all the supervisors doing this got the idea on their own, and any investigator worth their salt would follow the trail up the levels of management and find the common denominator where the instructions came from. But then again, as Mary Anne Gibbons admitted, there is one standard for workers, and one for management.

  5. Pat O' Rourke on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 9:40 am
  6. A famous line from the movie “Casablanca”,when an illegal casino was found in Rick’s club, was uttered by the police chief, who said “I am shocked! Do you hear me ? Shocked!” This has been going on for years.The U.S.P.S. has a corporate culture to mislead with numbers,whether it be production numbers or accurately reported time and pay statistics! This begs the question,”Where is the Postal Inspection Service?” They have no problem placing crisp dollar bills on the floor( used to be twenty dollar bills, but there is a recession on and they too are short of cash!) and crouch behind empty equipment like evil garden gnomes waiting to hone there fine skills of entrapment! In the mean time supervisors violate the law daily in some facilities with impunity! There primary mission is supposed to be revenue protection but they demonstrate a lack of commitment to policing management! If they won’t do their jobs, do we need them?

  7. Don on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 10:19 am
  8. This is why the OIG is a big waste. Deleting clock rings and cheating employees out of pay is criminal. Instead of proscecuting the offenders the OIG comes up with more blah blah blah. And that’s why this practice will not change.

  9. steward on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 12:23 pm
  10. OIG doesn’t know why? Hasn’t heard of supervisors making their numbers, eg. budget, any way they can?

    Non-payment of Out-of-Schedule Overtime premium is going to explode with NTFT duty assignments. Isn’t that NIFTY?

  11. Jim on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 1:38 pm
  12. My fellow postal employees and I laugh, because most of us have seen this and have known about this for some time. This isn’t even half, nor the worst of what managers and supervisors have been doing lately which pushes the boundaries of ethics. The hoops and questionable methods supervisors resort to in order to meet numbers from a computer, would surprise most onlookers. . The problem is that the computer is operating with faulty data, based on fudged numbers and undercounted mail. I have to question whether OIG is really interested in discovering the truth, or if they are just circling the wagons like upper management always does. Congress needs to tear the roof off of the USPS and let some light in. The parties involved have been allowed to police themselves and operate without oversite for far too long. They’ve had years to work together to build these little bunkers that no one ever dares to look closely at. They are interesetd first and foremost in protecting the cushy, comfortable and lucrative lifestyles they’ve built and don’t care a whiff for how that affects the company.

  13. WTF on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 3:55 pm
  14. In Freehold NJ always punch in training for sevice talks…..carriers and clerks………….And Cliff is saying the Postal Service will never load up the clerk craft with 30 hour jobs…..DUUUUUHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. WTF? on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 5:54 pm
  16. Its as plain as the nose on your face. We work for an evil corporation. Is it any surprise they do evil things and lie about it when caught? OIG says they can’t pin blame because of shoddy record keeping. Isn’t that convenient.

  17. wolfgang on Wed, 13th Apr 2011 11:53 pm
  18. manipulate the numbers- get a larger bonus. What else is there to figure out. Come on OIG,

  19. Rhonda on Fri, 15th Apr 2011 9:32 am
  20. There is another very common timekeeping scandal going on that rarely gets mentioned, but after working in several small offices, I have learned that the practice is probably widespread. In my current office I am sometimes called upon to do the timecard entry at weeks end (we do not have ETC). As a clerk I am not allowed to input my own time, because GOD FORBID, I might fudge the numbers! So I have to fax the district office ETC site my time card so someone THERE can input the numbers. Likewise I have to manually enter other craft employee work hours. But LO AND BEHOLD I do not have to enter any hours for the POSTMASTER because the system AUTOMATICALLY enters 40 hours for him! So if he was gone on annual leave for 2 days, I have to go in and manually change it to 16 hours of annual leave and 24 hours of work! Keep in mind it is OKAY for the POSTMASTER to enter his own hours, but not for me as a clerk to enter my own hours! Since there is no one on site overseeing the Postmaster, imagine how EASY is is for him to accrue that 400 hours of annual leave that can be carried over yearly, and what a nice ADDED BONUS it will be upon retirement – many THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS just for one Postmaster!!! I accidentally stumbled upon this practice once when I had to file a grievance for a Postmaster shorting me hours and I saw the office printout showing all work hours for that pay period. I saw where he had only used 40 hours of leave but KNEW he had actually been gone 2 weeks and SHOULD HAVE USED 80 HOURS OF LEAVE!! I phoned the OIG on that one, and they got back to me with “it’s a management issue to be addressed by your Postmaster’s manager.” Needless to say, the Postmaster’s boss never did anything, because this particular Postmaster had a big HOOPLA party upon his retirement (40 years of “service”), received much praise, and CASHED IN with all his “UNUSED” annual leave!!! Postal Management fraud and corruption seems to be STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE!!!

  21. Barabus on Mon, 18th Apr 2011 6:53 pm
  22. Numbers game; clock rings changed: moved from office time to training time as this reduces offices time that is used to determine percent to standard which measures office eficiency.

  23. Barabus on Mon, 18th Apr 2011 7:00 pm
  24. Manuvering hours to produce desired nunmbers is nothing new for the rat pack :super effective upward mobile manager IN MAKING NUMBERS FOR PFP.
    Honesty is far behind whatever tactic is used to create the right numbers.

  25. Lin on Mon, 18th Apr 2011 7:10 pm
  26. Comment 1 STEVE O
    You gave the correct answer : the POOMs are the cause and effect of many existing practices that need attention. The Postmaster is a POOM puppet that can moved or replaced at the whim of the POOM. CAN MAKEM OR BREAKEM.
    ;

  27. Terry on Tue, 26th Apr 2011 9:18 pm
  28. A THEIF IS A THEIF GAHANNA OHIO STA. COLLECTIONS