Just about everyone knows that our federal government is – for all intents and purposes – bankrupt, and so is the U.S. Postal Service. Decades of mismanagement, lavish pension plans for retirees and more people using e-mail instead of sending letters were all causes of this entity’s decline.
It seems like some USPS employees didn’t get the memo about the financial condition of their employer. Government employees have access to credit cards when they travel for business. A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed some less-than-frugal uses of credit cards by some these employees when they get out of town.
About a dozen reports of investigations into travel fraud were discovered, and one manager’s conduct was especially outrageous. According to a report by the Inspector General, this unnamed manager withdrew $32,000 to gamble with after she hit the limits on her personal credit cards.
But this dedicated employee didn’t let snow, rain or ethics stop her free-spending ways.
She also used her government card for gas, parking, rental cars and tolls for personal use, and she claimed that a fast-lane transponder “fell into her purse” out of a USPS vehicle.
This manager’s assistant was put in a very awkward position when she was ordered to pick up rental cars for the manager’s personal use. The assistant also told investigators her manager was frequently out of the office, didn’t say where she would be and was difficult to reach when she was out of the office.
The spending on the government card for gambling, rental cars for personal use and other items came to a grand total of $45,000. However, she did pay it back in full by February of 2010.
And on top of all this spending, the manager was paid for 58 days where she was off work or did personal business. This included sick days and dependent care sick days, neither of which she was eligible for.
Another employee used her travel card for $2,400 to gamble at a casino. Initially she told investigators that she got her government travel card confused with one of her personal cards. However, she took back this story and confessed that “she needed the money to go to the casino, and she goes to the casino too much.”
At the time of her interview, she had a $1,300 balance still on the card and paid off the remaining balance by the following week. Justice was served to this spendthrift employee as she was fired for inappropriate travel card use last November.
A North Carolina postmaster claimed $9,400 in mileage for 96 service reviews of various post offices for which she had no records. After interviewing the postmaster and other employees at this location, she finally settled with the USPS paying back $5,000 in false travel charges. Instead of losing her job, she settled for a demotion from Postmaster to Customer Service Supervisor.
These are more examples of out-of-control government spending funded by our tax dollars. The persistent lack of accountability at many levels of government is why public operations will never be as good or efficient as those in the private sector.