The Organization and Operations of the Postal Inspection Service:

Proposals To Strengthen Independence and Reporting Requirements

T-AFMD-87-11: Published: Apr 30, 1987. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1987.

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GAO discussed its comparison of the Postal Inspection Service and the statutory offices of inspector general (OIG). GAO found that the Inspection Service: (1) is not as independent as OIG; (2) has no legislative or other requirement to report to agency management and Congress on its activities, while OIG report semiannually to Congress on their operations; (3) operates a police force and performs crime prevention, whereas OIG do not perform such activities; (4) classifies all staff performing audit and investigation activities as inspectors, but OIG classify personnel as either auditors or investigators; (5) has more personnel assigned to investigations than audits, but OIG have more auditors than investigators; and (6) allows inspectors to retire at age 50 after 20 years of service, whereas OIG allow investigators, but not auditors, to retire after 20 years of service. GAO believes that Congress may wish to consider actions to strengthen the Inspection Service's actual and perceived independence by either: (1) amending legislation to create a statutory OIG at the Postal Service or to place the appointment authority with the President or the Board of Governors; or (2) encouraging the Postal Service to take administrative action to place the authority for appointment and termination with the Postmaster General or the Board of Governors. GAO also believes that Congress may wish to require the Inspection Service to prepare semiannual and other reports similar to those prepared by OIG by amending legislation: (1) to create a statutory OIG at the Postal Service; or (2) to require semiannual and other reports to Congress.

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