The Postal Service delivers the fail, audit shows

When it comes to incompetence, losing money and union muscle-flexing, the U.S. Postal Service always delivers.

A recently released audit by the USPS Office of Inspector General shows Postal Service officials failed to follow proper procedures and wildly overestimated potential savings when it awarded a contract for mailbox maintenance in 18 states to Diebold, Inc., in 2011.

The audit was done at the request of Iowa’s Sen. Charles Grassley, after Grassley was contacted by Ankeny postal worker Kirk Gardino. Gardino, whose job doing mailbox maintenance was outsourced to Diebold under the contract, was convinced outsourcing the work couldn’t possibly provide the savings the Postal Service claimed it would.

Gardino was right.

The IG determined the Postal Service had overestimated yearly savings by $6.8 million.

According to the report, the contracting officer for maintenance operations for the Postal Service’s Western Area, which encompasses all the states west of the Mississippi except California, Texas, Oklahoma and Hawaii, took bids on the work without conducting any analysis to determine what mailbox maintenance for the area should cost. The officer simply accepted Diebold’s bid as “fair and reasonable” after deciding Diebold was the only bidder that had “the technical capacity to do the work for the entire Western Area.”

How he concluded the amount the contract would save the Postal Service is unclear.

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