WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Postal Service pays 100 percent of health insurance premiums for 835 of its top employees, an expensive perk that occurs at no other federal agency, Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, confirmed Friday.
The additional information comes one day after Senator Collins released the findings of three investigations of the Postal Service (USPS) by the Postal Inspector General (IG), which she had requested to determine whether the agency could realize additional efficiencies and cost savings in three areas: employee benefits, purchasing policies, and the area and district field office structure.
Upon further questioning of the IG’s office on Friday, Senator Collins learned that as of June 4, 2010, the USPS was paying 100 percent of health benefit premiums for 835 employees. The perk covers employees in the following categories: Postal Career Executives, Executive & Administrative, Other Executives levels, Postal Regulatory Commission, and Office of Inspector General Directors. She also confirmed that no other federal agency pays 100 percent of employee health insurance premiums.
“It is unbelievable to me that the Postal Service – awash in red ink and asking for huge postal rate hikes, service reductions and relief from its financial obligations – is paying the full health care premiums for its top executives,” said Senator Collins, whose committee has oversight jurisdiction of the Postal Service.
The findings of the audits released yesterday illustrated stunning evidence of contract mismanagement, ethical lapses, financial waste, and excessive executive perks that cost the Postal Service more than $800 million a year in unnecessary costs.
Among the disturbing deficiencies uncovered by the IG are that:
· the USPS awarded 359 contracts to former Postal Service executives without competition. In three cases that the IG examined most closely, the former employees were hired at nearly twice their former pay to advise new executives, a practice which the IG found raised serious ethical concerns and hurts employee morale;
·the Postal Service pays 100 percent of its senior executives’ health benefits, a perk that is not provided to comparable employees in any federal agency;
·postal employees participate in many of the same health insurance and life insurance programs as federal employees, yet the Postal Services pays a greater share of the premiums;
·the Postal Service’s contract management did not protect the USPS from waste, fraud, and abuse;
·the Postal Service could not even identify how many contracts were awarded without competition, and the IG found that 35 percent of the no-bid contracts lacked justification; and
·significant savings could be achieved by consolidating the USPS’s area and district field offices.
The IG’s reports are linked below:
Employee benefits: http://www.uspsoig.gov/FOIA_files/HR-MA-10-001.pdf
Purchasing policies: http://www.uspsoig.gov/FOIA_files/CA-AR-10-005.pdf
Area and district field office structure: http://www.uspsoig.gov/FOIA_files/FF-AR-10-224.pdf