USPS OIG Blog: Keep it Clean… and Safe

We hear a lot about the U.S. Postal Service’s brand. And rightfully so. The brand is among its most precious assets.

The post office lobby is certainly a lens through which the customer views the brand. A post office lobby is the principal business office of the Postal Service and often the only close-up look at postal operations that many customers get. Its appearance directly affects the Postal Service’s public image.

On that front, we have determined the Postal Service has work to do. We are midway through a series of audit reports on conditions of retail facilities in all seven areas, and we’re finding appearance problems as well as potential safety and security issues in many retail facilities throughout the country.

To date, we have released reports on the conditions in facilities in the Capital Metro Area, Great Lakes Area, and Northeast Area. In all three areas we found appearance problems, roof and lighting issues, security concerns, and safety issues for employees and customers.

We found some deficient conditions in leased facilities were partly due to landlords failing to perform or adequately complete requested repairs. In other cases, management didn’t address deficiencies due to budget constraints. Also, local management didn’t always give high priority to cleaning, general maintenance, or repairs, nor to concerns for health, safety, and security. Local customer complaints were not logged, and posters about safety and security were not always displayed.

How did things get this way? In general, because of competing priorities and local management’s failure to focus on cleaning, general maintenance, and repairs. In addition, employees of one district office did not use a safety checklist as required and no district office conducted facility security checks. Management didn’t address other deficiencies due to budget constraints or the lessor’s refusal to perform requested repairs.

Our reports recommend actions to improve not only the appearance of retail facilities, but also their safety and security. We recommended better coordination among Facilities personnel, managers, and lessors to timely resolve repair issues. We noted that making these improvements would boost USPS’s image and customer satisfaction, and improve employee morale.

We’re almost finished with the retail condition assessments in all regions, and once we’re done, we will move on to plant assessments. We welcome your feedback. What have you seen at your local facility?

Source: USPS Office of Inspector General

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