A whistleblower from western Iowa reported allegations of very expensive mistakes being made within the U.S. Postal Service, prompting a government probe. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he talked with the whistleblower personally, then asked for an Inspector General’s investigation of how a contract was awarded for maintaining and changing the locks on P.O. boxes in post offices across the region.
“The contract was not awarded in accordance with Postal Service policies and procedures and it did not develop a purchase plan or conduct a price analysis before awarding the contract,” Grassley says, “and possibly $18-million was spent that didn’t need to be spent at a time when the Postal Service is bleeding billions of dollars.”
The investigation found the whistleblower was right, Grassley says, and he calls it a “good example of why whistleblowers who identify waste, fraud and abuse deserve a Rose Garden ceremony.” Grassley says every federal agency that serves the public needs an independent watchdog to review issues of concern. “I thanked the whistleblower for coming forward,” Grassley says. “Hopefully, this will put the Postal Service on the alert to follow their own rules and regulations.”
It’s still unclear if one or more people are responsible for the problem and Grassley isn’t sure if there will be charges filed or firings because of the case. “The Postal Service is kind of independent,” Grassley says. “They probably have some opportunity to have heads roll. I’ve always said, unless heads don’t roll, you aren’t going to change anything. I’m going to have to make further inquiries and follow up.”
The $18 million contract for the post office box work is with Diebold Incorporated. The inspector general’s report concluded the Postal Service overestimated the annual cost savings by $6.8 million per year and awarded the contract based on the inflated cost.