One week after his warning that the U.S. Postal Service needs legislative reform to fix everything from financial woes to floundering employee morale, David Williams is stepping down from his post as the USPS inspector general.
Williams’ departure was a voluntary decision, an OIG spokeswoman said, and Deputy Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb would be serving in the role until a permanent successor is named.
Williams took over as the agency’s second inspector general in 2003.
“Together we went from troubled place back in 2003 to good place and from good to best and from best to next generation and beyond,” Williams said in an internal letter obtained by Federal News Radio. “I have always been lucky to be in good organizations, but you are clearly the best I’ve encountered. You have created an organization that doesn’t get old with use, but rather adapts and grows stronger when it is stressed and pounded on. You have become more than a set of structures and monuments. You are many sets of footprints into a future of promise and unending challenge.”
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Williams testified Jan. 21 before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee about the threat of missing the opportunity for postal reform legislation.
“In some ways, we’re already beginning to see casualties from that legislation not having been passed,” Williams said. “The vehicles that we’re planning for the future are probably not exactly the vehicles we would have. The build down, which has caused some disruption, we hope temporarily, was partially caused because it had to be rushed. There wasn’t enough money to have a coherent, gentle glide. And I would say morale. The time to pass legislation has passed, and we’re beginning now to unscrew lightbulbs from the tree.”
The Postal Service has reported $54.5 billion in losses since 2007. It attributed much of its financial situation to a legal requirement to prepay retirees’ health care.
USPS recorded its ninth consecutive billion dollar loss — $5.1 billion — in 2015.
The Postal Service did earn an operating profit for the second straight year. It brought in $1.2 billion in controllable income last year, down slightly from the $1.4 billion it made in 2014. Postal Service revenue increased by 1.6 percent over the last fiscal year, reaching $68.9 billion in 2015.
Citizens Against Government Waste Vice President for Policy and Communications Leslie Paige said her agency’s hope is that Williams’ successor is someone who “really understands the fiscal challenges and is willing to focus on taking care of the Postal Service’s operations right now.”
“There’s a lot of questions here that need to be answered, a lot of very challenging mountains to climb,” Paige added. “You need a viable partner both on the [Postal Service] Board of Governors and in the inspector general’s office, to help to craft the path forward.”
Williams previously served as the deputy assistant administrator for aviation operations at the Transportation Security Administration. He’s also served as inspector general for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Social Security Administration, the Treasury Department and for Tax Administration within the Department of Treasury.