Personnel Management Practices and Leasing Office Space, Postal Service Mountaineer District and Charleston, W. Va. Post Office

GGD-81-35: Published: Dec 19, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 1980.

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GAO reviewed certain matters at Postal Service facilities in St. Albans, West Virginia, and Charleston, West Virginia, involving: (1) the time it took the Postal Service to handle appeals of two dismissal actions; (2) the selection of employees for vacant positions; (3) the use of temporary duty assignments; and (4) the move of the District Office from Charleston to St. Albans.

Concerning the dismissal actions, no time limits are established for actions which must be taken on appeals by Postal Service management, although expected or normal times are set out as guidelines. The two employees were without pay for 90 days, which does not seem consistent with the spirit implied by the Service's manual. However, GAO was told that 90 days is a typical time period for these types of cases, and the Regional Postmaster General believed that the two cases were handled properly in accordance with postal regulations. In filling vacant positions, vacancies should be appropriately announced, applicants' qualifications should be considered by a review panel, and selections should be made from a list of best qualified candidates prepared by a review panel. In this case, a review panel was not convened, and the competitive selection process was not used. Although the appointment involved did not violate selection procedures, GAO believes that such situations should be avoided whenever possible because of adverse effects on employee morale. GAO found that there is extensive use of temporary duty assignments to fill permanent positions. These assignments are made for employee development purposes which may justify the required costs, but the number of people involved and the length of the assignments raise some doubt about whether employee development objectives are being accomplished in the most economical manner. Concerning the District Office move, GAO found that the Charleston office was too small, necessitating the move to St. Albans.

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