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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.'"

 
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  • (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.