In Iowa: A Wizard of Odds and Ends

Tom Roller's warehouse is a monument to bureaucratic bumbling. A stroll through it stirs up visions of shattered, best-forgotten programs for the public good, and the rise and fall of federal agencies. Of course Roller doesn't see it that way. He prefers to think of his 12,000-sq.-ft. warehouse on the Iowa state fairground in Des Moines as the U.S. Government's very own garage sale.

Roller operates the warehouse for the surplus property division of Iowa's department of general services for the benefit of some 1,500 public agencies in Iowa. A beneficent act of Congress...

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