Govt. Employees Work In a Mine Pushing Inefficient Paper
Matt | On 24, Mar 2014
Talk about government waste at its worst….
I came across an article in The Washington Post on Monday that highlighted a very weird, but sadly believable, aspect of our federal government. There are actual workers — a few hundred of them — that process federal employees’ retirement benefits in an old LIMESTONE MINE in Boyers, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. Most of the process is done by hand, on paper, and in the exact same way it was done in 1977.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. At this point, I will just fight the air in frustration.
The processing system is so antiquated that when employees lose files in the cave everyone gets an email asking them to search their desks AT THE SAME TIME to find the missing paperwork. The government’s solution to the technology problem after several failed attempts to modernize it has been to just hire 40 more people to do the work.
Not all of the process is on paper. Some of it is computerized, but then it’s switched over to paper and requires mind-boggling phone calls, which hold up the processing time. In the end, the retiree’s benefits become an electronic record — but only after a 61-day average waiting period, according to the Post.
The work and the environment are both stressful. They cannot have a cafeteria in the cave because open flames are not allowed in mines. There are obviously no windows in the mine. One employee who was desperate to leave took a new job detonating explosives just to leave the cave. I wish I was making up this stuff.
Read The Washington Post’s article in full for yourself here. It is jaw-dropping!