October 13, 2011 — The GAO is simply wrong in denying the overpayment, and in doing so it differs with the USPS, the Office of Inspector General (of the Postal Service), the Postal Regulatory Commission, two independent actuaries, and legislators from both parties and both chambers of Congress who’ve addressed the issue in current legislation.
It’s absurd to claim that the money owed the Postal Service would not solve its financial problems by asserting that they result from changes in consumer mail use and a business model weakness — given that over the past four fiscal years, despite the recession, mail delivery netted a $611 million operational profit. The crushing burden of pre-funding retiree health benefits that caused 100 percent of the USPS’s reported losses between 2007 and 2010 could be relieved by a fair allocation of CSRS benefits.
And saying that transferring the money would result in an increased liability is like a restaurant telling a consumer who was overcharged that refunding the overcharge would require taking the money from someone else’s account. An overpayment needs to be refunded, period.
Moreover, it’s ironic that the GAO and OPM are focused on soaking the USPS when the non-postal federal government, which includes the Congress and the GAO has funded less than 50 percent of its CSRS pensions compared to more than 95 percent for the USPS despite the OPM’s use of grossly unfair allocation methods.
As we wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders last week, the GAO’s views are nothing new. The key issue for Congress should be fairness for the Postal Service, its employees and the $1.3 trillion mailing industry. NALC will not give up fighting for pension fairness.
Fredric V. Rolando