Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 23 2014, @01:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the welcome-to-the-1980s-again dept.

el_oscuro writes:

"In a bizarre twist to the usual failed government IT projects, the Washington Post reports:

Deep in an underground mine in Boyers, Pa., amid 28,000 file cabinets, government workers process the retirement files of federal employees. On paper. By hand. In 2014. This is one of the weirdest workplaces in the U.S. government both for where it is and for what it does. Here, inside the caverns of an old Pennsylvania limestone mine, there are 600 employees of the Office of Personnel Management. Their task is nothing top-secret. It is to process the retirement papers of the government's own workers. But that system has a spectacular flaw. It still must be done entirely by hand, and almost entirely on paper.

'The need for automation was clear in 1981,' said James W. Morrison Jr., who oversaw the retirement-processing system under President Ronald Reagan. In a telephone interview this year, Morrison recalled his horror upon learning that the system was all run on paper: 'After a year, I thought, God, my reputation will be ruined if we don't fix this.'"

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bucc5062 on Sunday March 23 2014, @01:25PM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Sunday March 23 2014, @01:25PM (#19931)

    " Congress has made the federal retirement rules extremely complex. The center’s workers must verify and key in information that answers a huge range of questions: What were the retiree’s three years of highest salary? Was the retiree a firefighter? A military veteran? A cafeteria worker at the U.S. Capitol? What about part-time service?"

    Can you imagine congress, the ones who bark all the time about government waste, actually reviewing these rules, making the process more efficient so that a good system could be put into place? Hell no. Congress serves Congress, the rest be damned.

    Later in the article it talked about contractors. Why always contractors? Why cannot the government just friggin hire its own people to analyze, write, debug, test and implement a system. Lately nothing good has come from government contract work in the IT world. We the the People hire clerks, agents, and all sorts of specialists to perform government tasks. Why should IT be so different. At least (in part) there could be more accountability.

    The more things change, the more they look the same
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +3  
       Interesting=2, Informative=1, Total=3
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bigjimslade on Sunday March 23 2014, @03:39PM

    by bigjimslade (212) on Sunday March 23 2014, @03:39PM (#19940)

    ever work in govt or for govt people? having them 'manage' contractors is way way more efficient than having govt people actually doing the work. i mean, can you imagine govt workers doing IT work, and reporting to govt managers, too?

    i know of one govt IT person that was ordered to sit in his office (with pay) and not touch the computer for six months. it was to satisfy the bosses bosses boss that he was doing valuable work. when things blew up later, he was then allowed to touch a computer again.


    Remember, Tuesday is Soylent Green Day
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23 2014, @05:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23 2014, @05:59PM (#19958)

    The center’s workers

    WTF already. Obviously Slashcode has trouble copy-pasting from some character encodings.

    But really? Do people really just shovel in the copy-pasta and hit the [PUBLISH TO THE WORLD] without previewing first? Or is there a Slashbug that makes this garbage look right in preview, and only fuck up after posting?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @12:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @12:22PM (#20173)

    Why always contractors? Why cannot the government just friggin hire its own people to analyze, write, debug, test and implement a system.

    Contractors reduce the Federal Payroll, which is one of the major measures of "Big Government." Seems like this started under Reagan - privatizing major functions of government, often by hiring back its own employees as contractors. The contractors, of course, cost twice as much and often have a management and profit layer on top of that, but it still reduces the Federal Payroll. Contractors also lack institutional memory and any sense of commitment to service or mission. You can argue that privatization reduces future pension costs, although with the transition to defined-contribution "TSP," the feds are already doing a good job of reducing pension liability.

    Give a congressperson a benchmark for Bad Thing, and they will find all manner of bad policies to reduce that benchmark.