InvestigatorsMatter for Mallory


Audit of Baltimore-area post offices uncovers 1M pieces of delayed mail, inaccurate reporting, improper scanning

Baltimore 2nd in nation for missing mail requests
Posted at 10:17 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 06:46:52-05

BALTIMORE — The United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General has uncovered delivery and service issues at nine Baltimore-area post offices including delayed mail, inaccurate reporting of mail conditions, and improper scanning.

The audit was requested by Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger and Kweisi Mfume after they received a high number of constituent complaints about mail delivery. Several customers said they were missing paychecks or life-saving prescriptions.

The post offices evaluated included Dundalk, Clifton East End, Druid, Essex, Carroll, Parkville, Rosedale, Middle River, and Loch Raven.

RELATED: Congressman calls for Inspector General audit into mail delays at Baltimore County post offices

To determine the extent of service performance issues in the Baltimore region, auditors analyzed service performance scores for seven products from October 4, 2019,
through July 2, 2021, for the entire former Baltimore District.

According to the report, four products never met their service target in any of the 92 weeks reviewed.

In addition, since October 2019, missing mail inquiries for the Baltimore region has been above the national average. Baltimore ranked second among other major metropolitan areas for the highest number of missing mail requests with more than three times the national average of 8.5 inquiries per 1,000 delivery points.

The OIG had three main findings — there was delayed mail at each of the nine post offices they reviewed, management did not accurately report delayed mail, and employees improperly scanned 172 of 409 (42 percent) packages sampled at the nine post offices.

During the auditors site visits from June 22-24, 2021, they found about 972,457 pieces of delayed mail, the majority of which was made up of letters and flats. They found very few delayed packages. Management and carriers stated that there was an emphasis on getting all packages delivered each day. However, management had only reported 200,817 pieces of delayed mail, which represents about 21 percent of the nearly 1 million delayed pieces of mail.

SEE ALSO: Parkville post office at center of latest mail complaints; USPS Inspector General investigating the issues

According to management, the main cause of the delayed mail was a lack of available staff. Specifically, a significant number of carriers took authorized COVID-19 leave during March and April 2021.

Auditors found that management could reduce delayed mail by improving hiring and retention procedures, training availability, and the use of diagnostic tools and specifically found that the Baltimore Post Office did not maintain enough carriers to ensure timely mail delivery.

On Tuesday, Ruppersberger and Mfume joined Senator Chris Van Hollen outside the Dundalk Post Office urging postal leadership to heed the Inspector General's recommendations.

“Our constituents deserve regular, quality mail service just like those living in other parts of the country and even the state,” said the trio of lawmakers. “We want to thank the audit team for heeding our request and conducting a thorough review and arming us with data-driven recommendations that will, hopefully, finally deliver results to our constituents and their customers."

The three lawmakers said they expect some corrections to be made as early as this month.

"We encourage USPS leadership to take these recommendations seriously and look forward to reviewing corrective plans later this month.”

The full report including the Inspector General's findings and recommended fixes can be read below.