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Ruppersberger, Mfume, Van Hollen Release Results of Baltimore-Area USPS Audit

Nov 9, 2021
Press Release

(Baltimore, MD)  – Mail service standards in the Baltimore-area are significantly below national averages, according to an audit conducted by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service released today by Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Kweisi Mfume, as well as Senator Chris Van Hollen (all D-MD). The audit contains seven specific recommendations for improvement with target implementation deadlines of either November 19 or November 30 of this month.

The audits of the Dundalk, Essex, Rosedale, Parkville, Middle River, Loch Raven, Clifton East End Statin, Druid Station and Carroll Station post offices were requested by Congressmen Ruppersberger and Mfume in May in response to long-standing and severe complaints from constituents about mail delays, missing mail and other customer service issues. Many customers have gone weeks without receiving mail – including paychecks and even life-saving prescriptions.

Senator Van Hollen has been leading the charge to restore timely mail service as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government – which oversees the USPS OIG and has jurisdiction over USPS appropriations – and chaired a hearing on these issues in July.

“Our constituents deserve regular, quality mail service just like those living in other parts of the country and even the state,” the Members said. “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. We encourage USPS leadership to take these recommendations seriously and look forward to reviewing corrective plans later this month.”

The audit covered the 92 weeks spanning October 4, 2019, until July 2nd of this year. Among its key findings:

  • Of the seven product categories reviewed, including first class mail and packages, four never met their service target. Only one product – Parcel Select – met its service standards more than four times during the audit period;
  • The Baltimore region had the second highest number of missing mail inquiries in the country, with more than three times the national average;
  • Although management blamed delays on staffing shortages exacerbated by COVID-19 leave, issues pre-dated the pandemic;
  • Employee rolls were not updated in a way that enabled management to effectively recruit new hires;
  • Management has not adequately prepared new hires for the physical demands of the job and needs to expand its training capacity;
  • Management is not reporting delayed mail accurately – on some days, local branches weren’t reporting any delayed mail at all;
  • 42 percent of packages sampled were improperly scanned, which means customers can’t track their packages.

Local USPS leadership has responded to the audit, writing to the OIG that the covered branches will have a higher level of executive oversight. Lora McLucas, the newly-named District Manager for Maryland, concurred with the recommendations and said she will be implementing a district-wide training for branch management to address key findings.

A separate, OIG-initiated audit of the USPS Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center downtown is still underway with results expected by the end of the year.