WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service spent $142,311 to move one executive 10 miles and $105,817 to move another one 30 miles, even though both continued to report to work at the agency's L'Enfant Plaza headquarters here.
The ''relocation benefit'' usually goes to executives given new duty assignments that require a household move of at least 50 miles. But in these two cases the Postal Service approved exceptions to the rule. Besides paying moving expenses, the decision allowed the two executives to pocket $25,000 each as a ''miscellaneous allowance.''
Judy de Torok, a postal spokeswoman, said the benefit was approved after the two independently negotiated ''what they could'' when offered promotions in 1998.
''In both cases, it was asked for and granted, quite frankly, because we're in a hot, competitive job market. It is very difficult to keep talented, experienced people, and this was a benefit extended to both of them, so that they would consider accepting the additional duties and responsibilities of their new, expanded jobs,'' de Torok said.
The Postal Service executives are M. Richard Porras, the chief financial officer and executive vice president, and John H. Ward, controller and vice president for finance. Both were promoted to their current jobs in 1998.
The disclosure that Porras and Ward got exceptions and received money for household moves comes at a time when the Postal Service is facing an economic crunch and increasing competition from the private sector. Officials have announced the agency must cut $4 billion over the next four years to avoid red ink. The agency also has filed a rate case, which it will spend the next few months defending before an independent commission, calling for a one-cent increase in the price of a first-class stamp.
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