There is a mine in Pennsylvania where federal employees process retirement data manually and on paper – moving paperwork from desk to desk without capturing it on computers!
The weirdest workplace of the U.S. Government has to be the caverns of an old Pennsylvania limestone mine which was turned into offices for the Office of Personnel Management. Here 600 employees work 20 stories deep underneath the Pennsylvania countryside.
It is not only the location that is weird, but the method they use to do their job is most astounding!
The federal employees in the caverns process retirement paperwork of other federal employees – manually and on paper!
Yes, you read it correctly. The data is not punched into a computer, but is manually processed and kept in manila files!
This is done by retrieving records from filing cabinets and then moving it through the system from desk to desk and from cavern to cavern, following five steps in this snail pace process that is just as slow today in this age of computer technology, than it was in 1977!
This process is not done underground because it is top secret. The only reason these offices are in an old mine is because it was the only space the government could find that was large enough to accommodate the 28,000 file cabinets in one space!
During the past 30 years more than $100 million was spent in an effort to automate the old-fashioned process and make it run at the speed of computers, but for some unknown reason this did not work and the mine, its workers and its paperwork are still stuck in the distant past.