Assessment of Mail Center Operations


Audit Date: February 2, 2016

Audit Categories

  • Investigation
Controller: Alan Butkovitz

Audit Tags

  • Finance,
  • Mailroom,
  • Revenue

Description


Controller’s Investigators Find Mismanagement in the City’s Mail Center


Executive Summary


Why the Controller’s Office Conducted this Assessment

The Controller’s Office developed information that there was mismanagement and inefficient operations in the City of Philadelphia’s Mail Distribution Center (Mail Center). This government facility is under the management of the Department of Revenue, as it is responsible for processing all notices, fines, tax bills, parking violations and other city-related correspondence to Philadelphians and those doing business with Philadelphia.

The Controller’s investigators conducted on-site inspections where documents, distribution data, and employee time sheets from the facility were photographed in order to conduct an assessment of the operations within the Mailroom. The last on-site inspection was completed with the cooperation of the new Revenue Commissioner.

What the Controller’s Office Found

While the inquiry is still ongoing and in the initial stages of a full analysis, information developed to date have raised serious concerns about the services of the Mail Center. It appears mail is being processed in a manner that is not timely, placing recipients at risk of additional fines and penalties, loss of driving privileges, vehicle impoundment and even warrants for their arrest and being jailed.

Specific findings have included the following:
• A Municipal Court Traffic Division payment notice with a due date of Dec. 4, 2015 was found in the Mail Center on Dec. 3, 2015. The date of the notice was Nov. 20, 15.
• A Municipal Court notice for a litter fine with a due date of Dec. 14, 2015 was found in the Mail Center on Dec. 16, 2015. The date of the notice was Dec. 4, 2015.
• A subpoena dated Nov. 17, 2015 for an individual to appear in court on Dec. 3, 2015 was found on a machine in the Mail Center on the same date as the court date.
• A Water Bill that was supposed to be paid on Dec. 4, 2015 was found a day before its due date. In addition, hundreds of similar letters were stacked in the Mail Center.

What the Controller’s Office Recommends

Due to the issues and concerns uncovered to date, it was deemed necessary to bring the preliminary findings to the attention of Revenue Department leadership to immediately correct these issues while the rest of the inquiry proceeded. The Controller’s Office recommends the Revenue Commissioner take immediate action to 1). Ensure that mail received by the Mail Center is processed and placed in the mail system in a timely manner; 2). Provide appropriate levels of management and oversight to manage the basic functions of the facility; and 3). Cooperate fully in a joint effort
with the Controller’s Office in analyzing the operations of the Mail Center with the goal of improving operations.