Postal inspectors, who are investigating delayed and missing mail and allegedly phony daily mail counts, have discovered "a lot" of late, unprocessed mail at the Southwest Philly processing plant, a postal-union president said yesterday.
Gwen Ivey, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 89, said that "inspectors are all over the place," referring to the ongoing audit by the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Postal Service's facility on Lindbergh Boulevard near Island Avenue.
Separately, postal clerks are finding late first-class mail in waste bins and elsewhere, but it's unclear whether the inspectors have seen it, she said, adding that she advised clerks to "bring it to the attention of their supervisors."
If nothing is done, she said, "I'm instructing them to call the inspectors."
Some postal clerks are reluctant to touch the waste mail after a series of Daily News stories that described how first-class mail, business-reply envelopes and other unsorted mail have been found in waste bins before the mail was to be destroyed, according to Ivey.
Yesterday, postal supervisors were observed by employees dumping tubs of mail into waste bins, but a postal worker, who asked to remain anonymous, could not say whether the mail was verified as waste.
Inspectors began auditing the mail over the weekend in response to an Oct. 24 complaint filed by the APWU. The complaint alleged that senior managers allegedly directed clerks to undercount the daily mail volume by millions of pieces each week.
The complaint also described how unsorted mail in tractor-trailers was rerouted to other locations, so that the mail would not be included in the daily mail count.
Also, the color codes on mail bins were changed to make it appear as if the mail was not late, according to the complaint.
The alleged undercounting, a year-long ban on overtime and cutbacks in staff led to hundreds of bins of overflowing mail backing up at the plant prior to the inspectors' arrival, according to Ivey.
The complaint alleged that managers received bonuses that were "fraudulently obtained through a systematic falsification of government reports, diversion of mail and destruction of mail."
Earlier, USPS spokeswoman Cathy Yarosky advised employees to report violations of USPS rules by contacting the OIG hotline at 888-USPS-OIG.
A USPS spokeswoman did not return Daily News calls for comment on the OIG inspectors' findings late yesterday afternoon. *