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I Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself
By Chuck Mulidore
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently published a white paper titled “First-Line Supervisors in the U.S. Postal Service.” I would encourage all EAS employees to read the report; it’s posted on the NAPS website. I have included some of the report’s pertinent comments and findings below.
The report offers a comprehensive picture of what first-line—or front-line as it’s also referred—supervisors in the Postal Service deal with on a daily basis. While the Postal Service disputed some of the data and baseline information, the OIG refutes the agency’s claims at the end of the white paper, thus making the report a true picture of EAS first-line supervisors’ duties and responsibilities.
From the perspective of the white paper, “In general, a supervisor is responsible for the productivity and actions of a small group of employees. Within the Postal Service, supervisors play a significant role in ensuring that customers receive quality service and that mail and parcels are received on time and in good condition. To drill down further, a first-line supervisor has direct responsibility for ensuring that employees accomplish their work. For this white paper, a first-line supervisor is defined as the first layer of management directly above the craft employee. Postal Service first-line supervisors are at the core of bringing operations together, maintaining financial viability, managing a geographically dispersed workforce and promoting trust of the customers.”
This white paper from the OIG focused strictly on first-line supervisors in customer service, mail processing, maintenance and transportation operations. As of Sept. 28, 2018, “this includes 18,433 permanent supervisors and 4,394 acting supervisors detailed into the position for a limited period to perform supervisory duties and responsibilities. Of these 22,827 first-line supervisors, 72% (16,531 of 22,827) were customer service supervisors who managed customer service and delivery operations, and 28% (6,296 of 22,827) were processing supervisors who managed processing and distribution operations.”
To me it is striking that “From fiscal years 2014 to 2018, the Postal Service averaged over 4,400 detailed employees per year into first-line supervisor roles, which was consistently about 20 percent of the onrolls first-line supervisor complement. Although permanent first-line supervisor positions increased each year, the number of 204B first-line supervisors remained fairly consistent. The consistent usage of the 204B suggests the role provides a significant contribution to the Postal Service in ensuring day-to-day opera-tions remain constant.”
Thus, as NAPS consistently has been telling the Postal Service year after year, the number of 204B hours—averaging 20% of all EAS first-line supervisory positions—indicates the need for these positions to become permanent EAS positions!
While we know as NAPS members that first-line EAS supervisors are critical to the success of the Postal Service, “In FY 2018, the Postal Service’s first-line supervisor workhours made up 3% of the total workhours incurred; however, they managed 76% of the total workhours and 84% of total overtime hours incurred. This translates to the first-line supervisor directly managing over $21.6 billion in incurred workhours and an additional $4.5 billion in total overtime costs in FY 2018.”
Let’s look at that again. EAS firstline supervisors make up 3% of the total workforce in terms of workhours, yet manage 76% of all work-hours, equating to over $26 billion in workhours and overtime costs!
So, forgive me if I continue to be amazed that the Postal Service is so unwilling to properly reward its critical core of first-line EAS supervisors. Instead, senior postal executives cling to their deeply flawed pay-for-performance system that provides neither pay nor performance to those persons who are responsible for moving the mail, as well as all EAS employees who support those efforts on behalf of the American people every single day.
In its closing remarks, the OIG summed it up this way: “In FY 2018, the Postal Service employed a workforce of more than 620,000 people, generated over $70.6 billion in revenue, operated a network of more than 34,000 delivery/retail and processing facilities and managed a fleet of over 232,000 delivery vehicles. At the forefront of managing this workforce was the first-line supervisor.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself!