Bad publicity caused by employees misusing agency travel cards is the last thing the U.S. Postal Service wants, according to the agency's inspector general.

It is "important to reduce the risk of credit card delinquencies or negative publicity when employees use their travel card for personal reasons," the IG said in a recent report.

But the USPS officials responsible for preventing such misuse are missing thousands of dollars employees get with the cards for their personal use.

Although the travel card coordinators in the Southern Area of the Postal Service — which spans the entire Gulf Coast and other states in the south — often did their job, the IG found 211 instances that totaled more than $53,000 of inappropriate cash withdrawals between April 2012 and March of this year.

Of another 554 "high risk cash advances" studied, the IG found that the cash advances withdrawn by 53 different employees were "unrelated to official travel or in excess of the amount allowed by Postal Service Policy."

One-hundred fifty-three cash advances were not related to official travel, and eight were taken more than five days prior to the work trip. In addition, 50 advances were taken greater than the allowed limit of $50 a day or $350 a week.

The cash advances totaled 14 percent of all taken during the 12-month period. The report did not describe how the employees withdrawing the money spent it.

The IG said Postal Service officials began addressing the issue earlier this year, so no further recommendations were made.