The Spectacle Blog

Greed is Good at the USPS

By on 9.27.10 | 10:00AM

Remember this the next time you're buying stamps at the post office. An audit of the U.S. Postal Service has found that top mail executives left employment there and then returned a few months later as "knowledge transfer" contractors, racking up hefty fees. The Washington Times reports:

"These contracts were put in place, even though highly experienced postal executives filled the positions vacated by the former executives," the inspector general's office concluded in a report, which was ordered by two senators amid a procurement scandal involving the agency's former top marketing officer.

One former vice president retired in May and within two months received a $260,000 no-bid "knowledge transfer" contract for the postal executive who assumed his old job, the report found.

Overall, the inspector general's office found 17 no-bid contracts awarded to former postal executives within a year of their retirement dates ranging from October 2006 to September 2009.

Citing three of the contracts, the report found the rate was $75 an hour for one former executive and $160 an hour for two others. The fees were between $6 and $72 an hour higher than the hourly rate the executives made at the Postal Service, according to the report.

Such contracting practices raise serious ethics concerns, the inspector general's office warned in the report: "It appears unethical to hire back former executives at nearly twice their former pay to advise new executives who were placed in their position based on their expertise and years of Postal Service experience.

I think it's safe to eliminate the "appears" unethical part.

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