City controller: Improper procedures, overtime fraud at Mail Center

The city controller says his third investigative report of the Philadelphia Mail Center, issued Tuesday, found "tens of thousands of pieces of mail that were not being processed on time and improper mailing sorting procedures that were costing the city an extra $1.5 million annually. It was also discovered that overtime paid to employees in the Mail Center increased by 27 percent at the same time the volume of mail decreased by 10 percent."

Earlier, by performing video surveillance and examining time records over an eight-week period, Controller Alan Butkovitz "found almost 300 hours valued at $10,000 were considered overpayments for overtime that was not performed. This was conspired by the Mail Center's Supervisor and the Administrative Officer, who both knowingly certified the overtime for themselves and other Mail Center employees."

His office released a video showing incidents on three days last December.

According to Butkovitz, "The supervisor alone certified almost 111 hours of his own time when he was not at the work site, costing in excess of $3,800. In addition, the supervisor certified 169 hours of overtime for 10 Mail Center employees, costing in excess of $5,000."

He explained that sometimes, the supervisor arrived late but recorded his overtime as if he was on time. And other times, he would leave work early or wasn't even in the Mail Center during the time recorded on his overtime sheet.

"The supervisor's time sheets were a complete farce when we compared them to our video surveillance," Butkovitz said. "This was fraud, and it should never be tolerated … The supervisor was paid $46,708 in overtime in 2015 - almost double his salary."

Butkovitz recommended the revenue commissioner, who oversees the Mail Center, recover the paid unearned overtime. Already, overtime has been reduced and video cameras have been installed.

The City Controller's investigation was sent to the District Attorney's Office for any other possible action.

Click here for a review of the audit.