Sinkhole of Bureaucracy
March 23, 2014 8:45 AM Subscribe
The US Office of Personnel Management's Retirement Operations Center is housed about 230 feet below the surface inside the caverns of an old limestone mine.
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The trucks full of paperwork come every day, turning off a country road north of Pittsburgh and descending through a gateway into the earth. Underground, they stop at a metal door decorated with an American flag.
Behind the door, a room opens up as big as a supermarket, full of five-drawer file cabinets and people in business casual. 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.
First in series examining the failures at the treat of troubled federal systems.