Audit: Major waste of resources at Atlanta postal distribution center

by: Scott MacFarlane Updated:

ATLANTA - The U.S. Postal Service is under additional budgetary scrutiny in Washington, and dozens of Georgia post offices are at risk of being shut down.

Channel 2's Washington Bureau Reporter Scott MacFarlane discovered a major Atlanta postal operation is being investigated for wasting money and manpower.

The Atlanta Distribution Center is being ordered to improve its operations because a recent probe found workers being inefficient and ineffective in shuttling mail through the system.

Internal investigators with the Postal Service told MacFarlane thousands of "man hours" are being squandered at the facility each year as workers fail to efficiently load and unload packages.

MacFarlane found there's added frustration because the Atlanta Distribution Center was built and designed specifically to increase efficiency.

The huge Postal Service facility sits along James Jackson Parkway. It's a hulking, 24/7 operation.

It's one of only a handful of its kind nationwide; a so-called "network distribution center."

The facility is a hub for business mail, and it's designed to increase efficiency and save money, the Postal Service said.

According to an internal Postal Service audit obtained by MacFarlane, the efficiency center is wasting money and workers' time.

Mail trucks can be seen languishing in the yard; drivers not efficiently moving the trailers.

According to investigators, "drivers performed more truck moves and expended more driver work hours than necessary."

More than 8,000 hours of worker time and nearly $500,000 have been wasted, the investigation found.

The internal investigators even snapped a photo of a trailer sitting in the yard.

"I hope they send out their agents from other offices to check other facilities to make sure this isn't an agencywide problem and not just Atlanta-oriented," Leslie Paige with Citizens Against Government Waste, said.

In part, she said, because the post office is broke and facing collapse.

At least six Atlanta post offices are facing closure, plus dozens more statewide.

MacFarlane spoke with several sources trying to diagnose why there are slowdowns at the Atlanta hub.

He was told the big trucks are supposed to be "live loaded." That means the trucks are brought immediately to the dock door upon entering, filled with mail and then immediately brought out.

Local managers told investigators they don't have the space to do so and that trying to do so could derail such a large,24/7 operation.

Officials told MacFarlane there are more than 600 workers employed at the Postal Service network distribution center in Atlanta.

Local managers told the feds they will try to cut back some of the waste and some of the worker hours they use there.