Senator Wants Report on USPS Financial Management

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Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has asked the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service for reports on how the USPS manages its money in light of the upcoming rate increase.


In a letter to the inspector general's office dated May 31, Grassley, R-IA, said he was concerned about the postal service's policy of giving some executives a relocation allowance of up to $25,000 without requiring receipts to show how the money was spent.


According to Grassley, USPS executives receive the allowance even if they move only a few miles. He called the practice "unnecessarily generous" and said the postal service needed to watch its finances given its financial troubles and rising rates.


"At a time when the financial footing and operational structure of the United States Postal Service are being questioned and postal rates are increasing, it is essential that the USPS effectively ensure that it incurs only costs essential to effective operations," he wrote.


Grassley wrote that he wanted the inspector general to determine whether cost savings realized by the postal service are being factored appropriately into the ratemaking process. The USPS has proposed rate increases of about 5.4 percent across the board to take effect next year.


Grassley also asked for copies of audit reports compiled by the inspector general's office on data systems used by the USPS to determine cost and revenue figures, which are then used in the ratemaking process. The audits would be required by pending legislation and are not yet completed, but Grassley said he wants to see them when they are finished.


USPS spokesman Jim Quirk declined comment on Grassley's criticism of the relocation allowance policy. However, he said the USPS welcomed any review of its finances.


"We're confident it will show that the postal service's finances are well managed," Quirk said.


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