The agency in charge of overseeing the US Postal Service went on the defensive this week after receiving harsh criticism for the role it plays. The USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a post explaining its mission and its accomplishments in what appeared to be a response to an attack by bankers.
The controversy stemmed from a recommendation by the OIG that the USPS expand its current services in the financial space, noting that the USPS had sold 97 million money orders with a face value of $21 billion in fiscal year 2014. It called postal money orders “the most widely used type of alternative financial service in the United States.
In response, the Independent Community Bankers of America said, “The OIG’s office should cease playing the role of business consultant to USPS and instead focus on evaluating and improving USPS’ existing programs – which is the traditional role of an Inspector General.”
Interestingly the USPS wasn’t enthusiastic about the OIG’s suggestion that it expand banking services either. It called the OIG report “misleading and incomplete,” according to the Contra Costa Times, which quoted a USPS June 3rd statement that said its “core function” was delivery, not banking.
In its June 8th post, the OIG wrote, “Our mission is to help maintain confidence in the postal system and improve the Postal Service’s bottom line through independent audits, investigations, and research.”
And, it wrote, “Our efforts focused on identifying ways to make the Postal Service more efficient, reduce its strategic and financial risk, and lower its cost of doing business.”
In its spring Semiannual Report to Congress, the OIG reported that it issued 74 audit reports, management advisories, and white papers in the 6-month period covered by the report. “We completed 1,955 investigations that led to 370 arrests and nearly $1.4 billion in fines, restitutions, and recoveries, $10.7 million of which was turned over to the Postal Service,” it said.