Billions of dollars in the hole, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has never the less managed to give top executives illegally high salary and compensation packages that should outrage American taxpayers.
It was just a few weeks ago that the USPS made headlines for its record $5.2 billion loss in the last quarter of the fiscal year, bringing total losses for 2011 to an astounding $11.6 billion. To illustrate the agency’s rapid rate of decline, during the same last-quarter period in 2010 the USPS reported a loss of $3.1 billion.
Yet top executives at the devastated agency are making a killing and violating a law that caps Postal Service employee compensation in the process. Known as the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the measure says employees cannot be paid more than $199,700 for calendar year 2011 with some “exceptions” allowing the amount to go as high as $230,700 for “bonuses or other awards” and $276,840 for “critical positions.”
It turns out that at least three USPS officers made more than the legal compensation limit for their respective work category, according to the agency’s inspector general. In a report made public this month, the Postal Service watchdog reveals that one of the officers, identified as the president of digital solutions, made a whopping $306,250 last year. This exceeds even the “critical position” cap set by the federal law.
Another employee, who was supposed to cap out at $199,700 because he/she didn’t meet any of the exception criteria, made $230,700 last year, according to the USPS Inspector General. A third agency officer, who also failed to qualify for the elevated salary, made $203,861 last year thanks to a $20,000 “incentive payment.”
Adding insult to injury, two former USPS officials will soon collect monstrous “deferred executive retention bonuses.” Former Postmaster General John Potter, currently president of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority, will rake in $786,301 and former Chief Information Officer Ross Philo will get $642,999.
The USPS is well known for its financial scandals. Last summer, in the midst of an $8.3 billion deficit, the agency was exposed for blowing $400,000 on professional sports tickets, booze and fancy meals. The items were purchased by USPS managers and employees with special charge cards issued to U.S. government agencies. Previous to that, two separate audits found similar wrongdoing at the struggling federal agency which has been in serious financial debt for years.
Crippled by an $8.3 billion deficit, the U.S. Postal Service may soon need a taxpayer bailout yet the federal agency blew hundreds of thousands of dollars on professional sports tickets, booze and fancy meals.The items were purchased by USPS managers and employees with special charge cards issued to U.S.government agencies. More than 3 million federal workers nationwide have the cards and they charge around$30 billion annually, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.Despite its monstrous financial troubles, the USPS is known to rack up big-time expenses as if it were a major corporation with lucrative profits. In fiscal year 2010 the agency charged more than $239 million on the government-issued plastic, according to federal auditors.This week the USPS Inspector General revealed that agency policy was violated in at least $400,000 worth of charges that were not properly authorized or justified. Among the items purchased were expensive season tickets to professional basketball, football and baseball games, gift cards, beer, wine and unjustified “business meals.”In its report the IG points out that it’s the third “focusing on purchases that could negatively impact the Postal Service’s public image and brand.” Two previous audits found similar wrongdoing and investigators seem to think the problem will magically get solved.A 2009 IG report determined that USPS employees were continuing to make “imprudent an unnecessary purchases during a time of severe economic uncertainty in the postal service. “ In 2008 investigators said cardholders didn’t verify charges, made purchases from unauthorized vendors and failed to follow proper procedures when making purchases.All this while the agency suffers through a dire financial crisis that’s been years in the making. The chief of the USPS recently said it’s facing at least $8 billion in losses for the second consecutive year. One U.S.congressman is calling on fellow lawmakers to “establish a mechanism to prevent the sort of poor management and fiscal irresponsibility that has beset the USPS’s transition into the digital age.”