15-page audit outlines alleged issues with two Houston-area post offices

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
15-page audit uncovers management issues at 2 Houston post offices
Misplaced mail, misclassified parcels, and unlocked postal vehicles are just some of the findings uncovered by an audit of two west Houston post offices.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A recent audit on the two Houston post offices found delayed mail, inaccurate reporting of mail conditions, improper scanning of packages and inbound mail trucks, and improper safeguarding of assets.

After hearing concerns from her constituents, U.S. Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher asked for an investigation on two Houston post offices to see if processes within are effective.

Two teams of three people were on-site on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 reviewing operations. Since then, a 15-page audit report was released in December with the findings.

SEE ALSO: Rep. Lizzie Fletcher calling on USPS to investigate mail theft, other issues in her district

Teams found more than 6,200 pieces of delayed mail at the Ashford West Station and about 2,800 at the Westbury Station. The report notes that it was not properly reported to management.

They also found that scans of mail and packages were not taking place at the right time or they were being inaccurately scanned. A member of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said the inaccuracies did not give upper management an accurate picture of how things were going. It also led customers to believe that their mail and packages were lost or stolen.

While on-site, the teams found 15 packages that were scanned as "delivered" but were not sent.

When it comes to security, auditors noted that 68 of the 118 postal vehicles between the two stations were left unlocked on the postal property and a few of them had undelivered mail inside.

Five of the keys that unlock the blue mailboxes around town and cluster mailboxes in neighborhoods and apartment complexes could not be found at the Westbury Station. Congresswoman Fletcher was not available for comment on the findings in the report.

A member of the OIG said these two stations were not the worst they had, but they also were not the best. The issues discovered during the audit were not a reflection of short-staffing, according to a member of the OIG.

Management shortfalls were listed in the report as to why many of the issues have arisen. Auditors recommended management come up with and implement plans to address the problems.

USPS responded to the OIG saying they agreed with the recommendations and plan to meet them by the end of 2021.

The OIG said they will not close the files on these post offices until they receive proper documentation that their plans were made.

Not mentioned in the report, but frustrating for the Westbury community, is the closed lobby of the post office. It has been closed since a fire broke out on May 31.

Customers were lined up outside the station on Monday, doing their transactions through a side door of the building, where they have been doing business for the last six months.

A spokeswoman for USPS said work is ongoing at the Westbury Post Office, but they did not have a date on when it might reopen.

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