Ongoing Investigation of Revenue Department Mail Center Operations

Audit Date: April 27, 2016
Audit Categories
  • Investigation
Controller: Alan Butkovitz
Audit Tags
  • Finance,
  • Mailroom,
  • Revenue


The City Controller provides additional findings to ongoing investigation

Executive Summary

Why the Controller’s Office Conducted this Investigation

The Controller’s Office developed information that operations in the Mail Center under the Department of Revenue were not efficient, were not providing appropriate services to other City of Philadelphia users of the center and were wasting city resources on unnecessary postage cost and excessive overtime. As a result of this information, an investigation was undertaken to substantiate or refute the information developed.

What the Controller’s Office Found

During the initial stages of the investigation, information was developed that raised serious concerns about the services of the Mail Center. As a result, a preliminary report was issued on February 2, 2016 to immediately address these concerns while the inquiry continued.

During the continuing investigation, the Controller’s Office identified the following:

  • The Revenue Department failed to provide written policies or procedures concerning specific operations of the Mail Center. This contributed to a working environment that had poor oversight and negligible management attention.
  • Management allowed virtually unlimited overtime for Mail Center employees without preapproval or justification, resulting in the City to incur $465,500 in overtime costs over the last three years by only a handful of employees.
  • From 2013 to 2015, overtime costs in the mail Center increased by 27 percent at the same time the amount of mail processed decreased by 11 percent.
  • There was minimal to non-existent security procedures to protect the Mail Center: doors were left unlocked, carts of stamped mail waiting to be picked up were unattended in a hallway where thousands of pedestrians walk every day, and the cleaning staff had unfettered, after-hour access and was observed, on occasion, sleeping in the office areas.

What the Controller’s Office Recommends

The Revenue Commissioner needs to:

  • Continue actions to correct issues identified in our first report to ensure that mail received by the mail center is accounted for, processed and placed in the mail system in a timely manner,
  • Give priority to providing appropriate levels of management and oversight,
  • Comply with current personnel, overtime and payroll policies and procedures,
  • Insure appropriate use of mail sorting to reduce postage costs,
  • Provide sufficient manpower to effectively process the mail and reduce overtime costs; and
  • Implement appropriate security protocols to protect the mail while under Mail Center control.