Why is it so hard to fix Phoenix?

Is it really so complicated to implement a payroll system for a large organization like the federal public service? After months of inexplicable glitches and gaffes, not to mention tens of millions of dollars, there are still public servants not getting paid enough, others too much and some not at all. I’ve heard stories in the past week of people who were given advances and then ordered to repay them, even though the government still hadn’t caught up on missing back pay. Someone else was warned that a slight change in a payroll deduction could lead to her not being paid at all.

The only sure thing about Phoenix seems to be the mounting cost. There doesn’t seem to be any issue with processing the cheques to the supplier responsible for this mess. At what point would it make sense to simply scrap the system and start over? Or just go back to whatever was being used before. Whatever the flaws of that system, at least people got paid. Here’s another idea: tell the contractor responsible for Phoenix that until every single public servant gets paid properly, they won’t get paid at all.

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