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A bureau is a type of desk with a cover, usually with compartments above the writing surface for holding stationery supplies. Bureau is also the word for a department of a public business or the group of people who work in such a department.
I searched all over the room for the letter I'd received from Mr. Hannigan before I remembered I'd left it in the bureau drawer after reading it yesterday.
While trying to get permission to hold our concert in the park on July 4th, it seemed like I talked to every local government employee with no luck until I found someone at the bureau of public works who helped me.
A bureaucracy is a form of government in which the people who are making decisions are appointed rather than elected, so that they are outside of public accountability for their actions. This is usually seen as an overly complicated system. A bureaucrat is an official in a bureaucracy.
We applied for a licence to start our own radio station, but it goes through so many departments and so many different people have to approve it that I don't think we'll ever get approved. The bureaucracy is unbelievable!

We were trying to settle my father's estate after he died, but the laws were very complicated regarding the land he had left to us. We spoke to an endless series of bureaucrats and made very little progress.

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