My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Employee Blasts Census Bureau Deficiencies

With permission from the author  (who has requested anonymity), we are posting the following analysis of the multitude of problems facing the 2010 Census:

2010 Census = Government Waste

For years, as a student and grant writer I have worked with United States Census data. Despite its shortcomings, I had always considered the U.S. Census one of the good actions of American government. For all of the corruption and oppression America commits at home and abroad, the U.S. Census has been one of the things I have had a fair amount of faith in. That is until I got involved on the data collection end of things. The experience I had is enough to turn you into a Republican.

Due to my familiarity with and interest in the U.S. Census I decided to answer the call for temporary Census workers. I replied to an ad, took a test, and got a job. Though not without shortcomings, this process went smooth enough. Once I entered the four-day training “designed” to teach me how to conduct address canvassing operations I realized that the U.S. Census is truly an example of government waste. People toss around the notion that government waste happens all of the time without any real first hand information. It’s just one of those uninformed, folk things people do. In the case of the U.S. Census, though, I can state confidently that it is unorganized at best, and I am being kind when I use a qualifier by saying that it ‘teeters on being corrupt.’

Ineptitude and Government Waste at its Finest

A big part of the problem with the execution of the on-the-ground phases of the U.S. Census is that the people hired to conduct them have no real interest in or knowledge of things like surveys, statistics, geography, urban planning, and related areas. 2010 U.S. Census corruptionTemporary workers are recruited on the basis of a job that provides good pay and is somewhat more interesting than working in retail. All sorts of people apply, but it is hardly the case that the people doing the hiring are looking for individuals with relevant experience or knowledge. The folks who conduct training and run things may have never heard of the Census prior to seeing an ad for a position with the Census Bureau.

The point of the address canvassing that is presently underway is to literally record each and every structure in the United States where people live or could live. The intent is to record every mailing address and every structure where someone might live to ensure that all households in the United States receive a Census form in 2010. Of course, this is an impossible task and the government is rightly criticized for even trying to do this every ten years (as opposed to merely drawing a sample), but that’s another story for another hub. Training is supposed to teach how this is done by defining terms (i.e., what is a housing unit?) and detailing protocol. The problem is that so much is left to an individual’s judgement. The process is portrayed as an objective one, yet it is clear that it has never been empirically tested and if it has its shortcomings were roundly ignored.

So many questions came up and were basically put up to debate. “Crew leaders” debated amongst one another as to what the proper answer was or how to handle a specific situation. The instructions that followed could not have been more subjective and surely varied widely from location to location. A case in point involved how to tell the difference between single-family and multi-family units. The area I worked in is the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. This is probably one of the most heavily populated places in the country. We were told that if we came upon a building and the units were ‘stacked’ we would automatically classify it as ‘multi-unit.’ There are several grave problems with this.

First, how do you know if you are unable to gain access to a residence or talk to an occupant if a unit is stacked or side-by-side? You don’t. And since we were repeatedly told to “figure it out” without requiring further assistance, we made judgement calls on the ground. Those calls are surely being made still as canvassing is ongoing.

Second, duplexes are common in Hollywood. Many are located in affluent neighborhoods. If a two-unit building has dwellings situated side-by-side, each unit is considered as separate single-family units according to the way my crew went about things. But if they were stacked, they would be considered multi-unit. This is absurd and inaccurate to anyone who has been in urban planning 101. But the real impact is that in some affluent Hollywood neighborhoods multi-unit buildings are being over-counted. This could impact how crucial funding is allocated to cities and neighborhoods as communities with more multi-unit buildings are generally considered needier than those with a greater number of single-family units.

The Worst is Yet to Come

I can come up with other issues similar to the one above. At the end of the day, I guess they are up for debate. But what follows is government corruption at its absolute worst.

Each address canvasser in the area my crew worked was given several census blocks to canvass. We needed, initially, to meet a quota of 160 addresses canvassed in an eight-hour day. It became clear early on that this was way too easy. Budget money was allocated for two months worth of work and with the high number of large apartment buildings being worked in Hollywood- and the general high density of the area- 160 addresses could be completed in less than half a day’s work. This posed a problem. At that rate we were on pace to finish the work much sooner than planned, thus leaving money on the table. The solution? Here is where the corruption comes in.

We were told to drop that number down to 120, but we were told to continue working an eight hour day. Wink, wink… nudge, nudge. Essentially we were being told… say you worked eight hours, complete 120 addresses so that we can use up all of the money budgeted to our crew for wages. Most of us worked an hour or two, maybe three… said we worked eight while most of the day we were hardly conducting Census business. I could not believe we were being instructed to do this. I have no reason to believe that this practice was not being duplicated throughout Los Angeles. And I am somewhat confident that it is probably happening across the country. This means that thousands- and likely millions- of taxpayer dollars are literally being wasted. It stings even more considering the economic times we are living through.

This might have made for a dry hub. I am not sure that anyone will even care, but I had to share. I think this ought to be of major national concern. President Obama… are you listening?

In a future hub, I will discuss the Census — and its other inherent problems — further.

Note: This article does not represent the opinions of, Stephen Robert Morse or Evan Goldin. The views expressed are those of the author. That said, MyTwoCensus welcomes written, video, photographic, and multimedia contributions from any individual with a 2010 Census-related story to tell.

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76 Responses to “Employee Blasts Census Bureau Deficiencies”

  1. BB Says:

    We were never told to cut down our numbers. The 160 would have been an average which considered rural areas as well and they take much longer to do. Whoever told you to cut down the numbers was wrong and was just trying to keep you working longer. The goal was to get this done as fast as possible.

  2. Anonymous CL Says:

    As a crew leader in another part of the country, I can report a similar problem with respect to the operation running faster than expected. However, our local and regional management took a totally different approach to the problem, one that appears to have brought us in under budget as well as early.

    At the end of our first week, we were advised to slow down our work. However, we were advised to actually cut hours and assignments. There was no winking or nudging here So I assigned 25 hours of work instead of 40 for the week and advised my employees that they wouldn’t be receiving another assignment that week, but production rate was still being monitored, so they couldn’t just stretch out the work.

    This did, in fact, cut wages paid by about 20%. The savings would have been greater but for two things. First, crew leader meetings, travel to and from the work site, and time on the phone with tech support still consume paid time and don’t vary proportionally to case count. Second, I scheduled additional training in areas where I saw room for improvement. This gave employees a bit more pay in the short run (people have mortgage payments to make) and kept our quality high as assignments became more complicated.

    The next week, we were told to bring production and hours worked back up and complete the operation quickly while maintaining quality. So I began assigning more work, getting the largest assignment areas broken up into smaller pieces in order to keep everyone in the field. We wrapped up the 10-week operation in just under 6 weeks, and most people still worked less than full time.

    In other words, the overcompensation problem is more an ELCO- or RCC-specific issue than a national one, but it’s definitely something that HQ should look at.

    As for the canvassing procedures, they’re intended to maximize initial coverage because this is the first operation in a long series. As I understand it, subsequent steps will be taken to curb overcount during mailback and nonreponse followup, and coverage measurement.

  3. anonymous Says:

    Precisely. You are exactly right. We were told to slow down so that we could work longer. People were promised when recruited and hired eight weeks of work. Because of hideous planning and forecasting, likely emanating from the very top, this promise could never be kept. Therefore, we were first told to slow down and they said it flat out — you are slowing down to preserve your work and collect as many paychecks as you can. It got to a point, though, where they had to start letting people go because we just moved through the work way too quickly.

    I understand what you are saying, that 160 is an average which considers rural areas. The problem is that given the amount spent on the Census and the importance of the endeavor (and getting it right) one would hope that in conceiving the procedure for this the federal government would have been more precise. They should be aware of the differences in building density between large cities and rural areas and how this would impact canvassing.

    They should have also had a BETTER plan in place to distinguish between single family and multi-unit dwellings. This is a big deal! This is data that we were collecting as enumerators and it gets used by people who look at Census data to find support for non-profits and such. But so many issues like this were treated subjectively by crew leaders and the like who really had no previous formal training in urban planning or research methods or related disciplines from what I can tell.

    The whole operation is a sham, unfortunately. It is sad. It should be a national outrage really. Because conducting this sort of operation, in theory, is well-intentioned. But it is broken to begin with (going for a population count and not a sample is absurd). One would hope that given the inherent weaknesses, the protocol for the things mentioned above (time promised for work, # of addresses, multi v. single, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.) would have been clearly defined and strongly tested before starting the actual work and botching it royally.

    I only know a very tiny bit of what went on. It’s what I saw. It’s what I heard. With my own ears and eyes. It was demoralizing enough. I did not try to find out more. But I can only imagine how many other similar situations have occurred in LA and elsewhere… and are still occurring.

  4. anonymous Says:

    anonymous CL – your group obviously handled it as it should have been handled. Ours did not and it was not only a waste, but a three-ring circus in the process. Like I said, I can only wonder where else these types of things occurred.

  5. anonymous Says:

    And just one more quick thing to add – it cannot be understated, as the former Times staffer noted in her blog, how people were promised a certain number of weeks worth of work only to receive far less. I know people who turned down other opportunities to work for the Census only to be cut prematurely. That is a problem from the very top… people who budgeted resources poorly because they did not account for differences based, basically, on population/building density.

    The people at the top are to blame, really, for putting local and regional managers in some tough spots. Spots they were ill-equipped to deal with.

  6. Former CL Says:

    Anonymous CL, you ran a good operation, and it looks like you were allowed to. We weren’t. As the work ran out, we were told to work faster and faster, and anybody who didn’t do 40 hours a week was questioned as a slacker. This was all so our ELCO could finish early, making our regional manager look good. As for accuracy, well, who cares?

  7. BB Says:

    Having been a CL in the 2000 census and from what I see now it shows that whenever one group finishes before another group, they will be sent to “help out” groups that are still working. This will happen in the enumeration process as well. I was sent to help with AdCan this time and the resentment toward me for that was very obvious. In 2000, they bused in a group from another state to finish up our enumeration work. This caused many hard feelings, but FYI, they don’t care. Don’t count on spending the money until you have worked the hours. I agree that it’s a very tacky way to run things, but that’s the way it is.

  8. Lister Says:

    It definitely has been a let down as far as the lack of work. My crew only worked 2 and 1/2 weeks. We were never given quotas or asked to slow down. We were told that accuracy and productivity were very important. I had heard in NC they were telling workers to slow down, but didn’t believe it. Now I do, and know why. I can’t imagine how many people were counting on 6- 10 weeks worth of work.

  9. Lisa Says:

    We were never told to slow down. Quite the opposite. We were under a lot of pressure to finish as quickly as possible.

    However, despite the disparate regional details, one thing seems clear: Those in charge of designing the operation–the permanent, national-level Census employees who supposedly spent years planning this operation–did a poor job. The GAO has reported on some of their failures, such as the disaster that was the HHC contracting and design process. Furthermore, field reports unanimously suggest that the planners did not adequately assess the impact of HHCs on productivity. The training materials were horrible: disorganized, error-ridden and poorly written. (Who got the contract to put the training materials together?)Then there were the hiring processes, the production timetables, the patronage, the poor communication with workers who were led to expect much more work than they were give … It just goes on and on.

    I don’t agree with all this poster’s complaints. (For example, the multi-unit/single-family debate: It could be that those distinctions were made during the canvassing process to assist with mapping, not for data collection on housing types that will affect funding down the line.) But the overall picture of an operation rife with waste and inefficiency certainly fits the impression I gained during my 2-month stint.

  10. Anna Lemma Says:

    Whether by design or incompetence, our ELCO masters for North Boston misled us from the start. Newspaper ads offered lister positions, w/o stating terms of service, but after we took qualifying exams we were told over the phone and in person to expect 6 to 8 weeks of work averaging 20 hours per week.

    We then were trained (with pay) for 40 hours, which would make sense in the “real” world only if we worked for some multiple of that.

    Yet within a week of starting canvassing, and after numerous problems with the HHC, we were told we were “behind”, that if we didn’t complete more AA’s faster, they would be given to someone else. (Apparently there were other workers sitting on their thumbs waiting to be assigned — which would only mean ELCO had hired way too many people from the start, or had given different marching orders to different, more favored (ACORN?) groups).

    Despite our group achieving a good 50% higher than the 20 units/hour quota, we were all sh*t-canned after we had worked about 50 hours per person over about 2 1/2 weeks.

    Does THAT make any frickin sense in the real world? Nahhhhhh. But in bizarro government world, it’s not their money, so who cares?

    In my humble opinion, a strong case can be made that the ELCO leaders for North Boston were reckless with the truth when they hired us, and engaged in what would arguably be manifestly unfair labor practices if taken against SEIU-protected government employees.

    It’s either that, or one can make the case that its shocking, full-frontal, boggles-the-mind incompetence.

    Take yer pick.

    BOTTOM LINE: we were treated worse than if we were a bunch of illegals hanging out next to a Wal-Mart looking for day labor — by an Obama administration that claims it is for the “little guy”.

  11. Anna Lemma Says:

    “For all of the corruption and oppression America commits at home and abroad,”

    Oh. I wanted to tell the “student and gran writer” who wrote this to go fuck himself.

    Perhaps he can study somewhere else, and write grants for a more compassionate and less opressive government.

    GODDAMN your pimply ass!!

  12. BB Says:

    The top guys who were planning this quit a couple of years ago when the HHC fiasco was discovered. Their replacements are trying to clean up the mess they left behind.

    I don’t know why, but it is SOP to hire way more people than they need for the decennial work. With the economy the way it is, there is a much larger pool of workers to choose from so not as many turn out to be flakes. I’m not agreeing with the way things are done at all, but just saying this is the way it is and has been. Obama can’t be blamed for this.

  13. anonymous in Detroit Says:

    We had the opposite situation. We were hired for 8-10 weeks worth of work and then pressured to work faster and faster…and when asked about the actual quality, our concerns were ignored.

    Two and 1/2 weeks of supposed “quality checking” later, we are all out of a job!!!

  14. anonymous in Detroit Says:

    Anna-I just read what you wrote and that is the same situation here. We were lied to..if this was a regular business, we could file a claim with the Better Business Bureau

  15. Anonymous CL Says:

    Unfortunately, a heck of a lot of regular businesses are misleading about their jobs too, and get away with it scot-free. This should be unusual but it isn’t.

  16. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    IIRC, the recruiting scripts say “approximately” X hours and Y weeks. Moreover, the employment agreement provides that census workers “may be released . . . before the not-to-exceed date if work or funds are no longer available” and that “the number of hours can vary depending upon the assignment.” It’s infuriating, but the Bureau’s lawyers have this one covered.

    (FWIW, I commented on this post as “Anonymous CL” on May 7th. There are too darn many of us commenting here, so I’ve added an extremely vague geographic descriptor.)

  17. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    I have been working Quality Control. Listers, I’m the one checking your work! I am concerned about the integrity of the QC operation with the hurry, hurry, hurry mentality! Listers are told to skip things because the QC people will find what they missed. However, unless the aa fails the QC check, chances are we won’t find what the listers missed!

    This is how things work: I am given an aa that somebody else has worked. The HCC tells me where to start – which block, and which address. I start at that address. Is that address correctly categorized? Is the map spot in the right place, or is it in the middle of the street? After I do a certain number, the aa either passes or fails DQC. If it passes, I check all of the deletes in the area, and then I’m done. If there is a house that I then find that isn’t on the list, I cannot add it. If there is a street that I find, or an entire development, that isn’t on the list, I cannot add it. If the aa was done by several different people of different capabilities, I will never know. Perhaps the block that I started on was done perfectly, and the area passes. Is there another block in the aa that is all screwed up? I’ll never know. Even if those deletes are all screwed up, and I reject every last one of them, that doesn’t undo that “pass” status so that I can check other addresses! We have absolutely no way to override that “pass”.

    So we have learned how to intentionally “fail” an area. Why? Because that’s the only way to find out if something is screwed up in another block. Sometimes it’s really hard to get an area to fail. Perhaps that first block is just fine. The second block is just fine. The third block is just fine, and I wonder why I failed this aa. Then I get to the very last block, and find that an entire cul-de-sac is missing. Or a mobile home park is all jammed into one block, with half of the units missing, when in reality it is spread out over 3 blocks. This is why I suspect that multiple people are working AC in areas. In which case the statistical probabilities on which the pass/fail are determined are invalid.

    (So please don’t feel bad if you’re doing good work but your area is failed! I don’t know who did the AC on that block! With what I’ve seen, I have to check everything!)

    So our team has taken more of a “quality” attitude, and what happens? Our CL gets called on the carpet because we’re not going fast enough, and gets more people assigned from other regions to take our work! So, how many addresses across the USA are going to be missed?

    Then, do we start talking about getting locked out of the hhc?? How much time do I waste sitting there trying to get into the stupid thing because there is no backup system to get into it?? By golly, if I’m in the field and ready to do census work, or even at home and ready to do census work, and I’m locked out of my hhc, I’m on the time clock. I won’t even start talking about how slow they are, or how you have to go through the entire address procedure in order to change Street to Way or Avenue. How much money did they spend on these things for just one portion of the overall operation?? Technology can do wonders when it works right and is fast and can be applied to multiple operations! Or it can be wasteful if it doesn’t work right, is slow, and will be scrapped after one operation.

  18. Anonymous CL Says:

    Oh boy, those lockouts from the fingerprint reader being in a finicky mood were tedious. Definitely should’ve had better fingerprint readers and/or allowed a secure password as an alternate login.

  19. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    QC Anywhere USA, I replied to your comment on another post before coming here. I’m glad to hear that there are other people who care about quality and dismayed to hear that it’s getting them in trouble. I keep discovering how lucky I was to have people above me who gave me the time to check my people’s work and clean up AAs on occasion.

    At the same time, it’s frustrating—for both QC and production—that you have to deliberately fail blocks/AAs in order to check them fully. I do hope that your AMFO knows what’s happening because production listers who are doing good work can end up in a lot of trouble otherwise. (In my ELCO, production listers with a substantial number of entries on the QC Failure Report were retrained, but if their next AA failed, they were terminated.)

    As for the HHCs, the original plan was to use them for multiple operations; several years of mismanagement made that impossible. The authentication was fingerprint-only because a password, even as a backup, can (1) be obtained illicitly through social engineering and (2) can lead to as much wasted time as a lockout if the password is forgotten and needs to be reset. We didn’t have a lot of fingerprint problems, perhaps because we had relatively consistent climate and because we figured out that a little lotion goes a long way to raise the profile of a print.

    Speed and reliability are definitely issues, though. I spent far too many hours dealing with RCC Automation (and waiting for calls to be returned), all on the clock. (Fortunately I could usually find other work to do while waiting; one of the benefits of being a CL is that not all the work depends on the HHC.) I think the biggest problems were buggy software and inadequate RAM, both of which, thankfully, are fixable.

  20. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    Thanks, Anon. CL Atlanta. It certainly is a difficult situation. Just last week my CL discouraged me from adding an address (that, in retrospect, I should have added), because it would have caused the aa to fail. (I was tired, and this particular block itself was very confusing. I really wanted to go home and resume the next day, that’s what I was trying to get ok on. That aa really needed to be checked completely because street signs were generally nonexistent, I couldn’t tell where one street (and number system) ended and the next one began, and there was a new development that wasn’t completely mapped. Yet despite a couple of rejected MS’s it passed.) Yet even the ones that don’t look like they’re going to yield much in the way of missed addresses, should be fairly clean, invariably turn up at least one address or street error that was missed by the lister.

    I feel bad that the listers can get into trouble, or be terminated, if too many of their aa’s fail. The problem is that these aa’s cannot be effectively reviewed without that failure, and that’s a system problem, not a lister problem.

    Next question: has anybody done anything about the “address loading” delay? Isn’t that annoying? At first it was only when I had done a search and turned the search feature off; now it appears randomly.

    Next question yet: is anybody from the Inspector General’s office reading these posts to get an idea of the problems that are being experienced? (And, hopefully, *not* deciding that it would be a good idea to find out who is doing the posts and fire the lot of us??) My main message to them would be: there are aa’s that need to be rechecked. From my experience, I’d recommend rechecking every single aa that was passed in QC. It doesn’t mean that we have to redo the listers’ work; far from it. Go down the list: I see a house with an address; is that address on my list? Check. Does my list say it is what I see? Looks more like a manufactured home, let’s fix that. Is the mapspot reasonably close to the house? Check.

    OK, I have a few more hours to work today. Let’s see if the hhc is going to let me in today or not…are the sun and moon and stars in the proper alignment? Maybe some incense? An incantation or two? Ah, verification 1 failed…found finger…frozen…waiting…it let me in! Maybe I can work today!

  21. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    QC Anywhere USA, I agree with you that it’s a system problem; that’s why I mentioned keeping the AMFO in the loop. It may take more time to review the details of a deliberately failed block on a QC Failure Report (on the ELCO computers, not the HHCs), but it can be done and would pay off in the end. Fifty “added new address” entries in a block with 70 initial LQs should raise a red flag where six “recollected map spot” entries wouldn’t.

    I can offer no answers regarding the “address list loading” delay. My listers and I originally experienced it when we had blocks above a certain size (I think about 500-600 addresses), but as the operation went on, it started to occur more and more frequently and with smaller and smaller blocks. My best guess is that it’s because of memory fragmentation on the SD card, but that’s purely a guess.

  22. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    I would like to say “thank you” to the team that is hosting this forum. I think this is good to have a place where we can all share thoughts and experiences, and learn from each other. Regardless of whether this entire project comes off without major problems, hopefully those who are in the policy-making roles can take our comments and learn from them.

    I also am appreciative of the fact that I was selected for the QC team. Despite the problems with the hhc, and the issues with passing vs failing an aa, I have enjoyed the basic work, along with a regular paycheck for the time being. The OLQ portion is coming up soon, and I hope to be selected for that as well.

    I also appreciate our CL. I think that our CL has done a good job of distributing areas fairly, and has sheltered us as best as possible from the pressures from those above the CL. Our CL has been honest and forthright regarding work expectations, and has seen that we get as much work as possible.

  23. Anonymous CL Says:

    Anonymous CL Atlanta: The various government agencies that reported on the Census 2010 inadequate planning/etc had noted ahead of time that blocks/AAs above a certain size were excessively slow in the not-very-well-written-by-slapdash-contractors HHC software. The only possible ‘workarounds’ (aside from major software fixes) were to either work out smaller block divisions, or provide laptops to some listers, that handle the larger blocks better. (Laptops are used by field reps for the ongoing smaller Census Bureau surveys.) But they didn’t bother with implementing either workaround.

  24. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    Anonymous CL: They sort of implemented the latter workaround by having listers refer “large blocks” (over 1000 addresses in the D-675, but possibly something else in the field) up the chain to be worked separately. Unfortunately, the excessive slowness started well below 1000 addresses.

  25. Anonymous CL Says:

    Ah, thanks, I hadn’t remembered what size the slowness was expected to start at. I guess even that estimate was overly favorable. ;-)

  26. Deepest Darkest Iowa Says:

    After training, I worked as a QC Lister for 81.5 hours over 24 days. Because the territory was largely rural, I drove 1125 miles, much of it at 20 mph in 2nd gear. I told my Crew Leader that one AA was 35 miles away and consisted of two small-town blocks–at most a 15-minute hike to see 12 addresses. What about the rest of the town with 2000 population? I thought I needed another AA in the same direction to justify the trip. He said not to worry about wasted miles at 55 cents each. The Bureau wanted AAs closed fast. Despite the free spending on mileage, I could not be reimbursed for a $2.50 car wash when my wheels were out of balance and the steering wheel was vibrating owing to accumulated gravel-road mud. Cheapness combined with waste was the paradigm.

    The statistical basis for QC “acceptance” of an Assignment Area is non-existent. How can an AA with 300 address be accepted after a one-percent sample comfirmation? It takes a minimum of 10 data points to calculate a Standard Deviation, the statistical basis for a “confidence interval.” The only time I got beyond the Start Block for anything other than Delete confirmatino was when it consisted of only one or two addresses. Then I could look at only one additional block.

    Statistical flaw on the flip side is equally apparent. I had one AA fail on the basis of one missed address and one fresh deletion. It took me 10 hours to recanvass the area, most of which was spent waiting for the HHC to digest my screen taps. Beyond the first two, the number of other errors out of 300 addresses was zero. I could have relooked the entire AA in half the time if I did not have to work each address on the HHC. AA pass and fail standards are equally rediculous, and the HHCs are painfully slow. The biggest loophole in the system is the inability to add an address after QC acceptance.

    At one point a closed AA “bounced back” to my hand-held. I could neither work it nor close it. My Crew Leader called this a “boomerang” and said that a computer patch was on the way. Never saw a patch. The AA could not be reassigned to another lister because all my data would be lost. So it was still locked on my HHC when I turned it in.

    It seems that the story that the Bureau hired too many listers for too few hours is the same everywhere. According to one supervisor, the labor requirements were estimated on the basis of a “poorly executed” dress rehearsal and the belief that “there would not be enough HHCs to go around” so everyone given one would have to work 320 hours. Guess not.

    I’m told there are “stacks” of D-225 forms with problems detailed in the state headquarters, but most will be tossed because no one knows what to do about them.

    These problems are not the basic reasons that GAO has judged the Census outcome to be “high risk.”

  27. anonymous Says:

    I am a crew leader with very bizarre experiences with the census in the Northeast.

    I was first assigned a very small crew that was one-third of the normal crew size: just 8 people for almost 14,000 addresses. We had enough work to keep the small crew busy for a full 7 weeks, and I managed assignments so that we could focus on quality and finish by the target date of the second week of June. As of the midddle of last week, we were around 63% complete.

    On Wednesday night, May 14, my supervisor left me a voice mail message stating that we had to finish the entire area by noon on Friday May 22. This gave us six working days to do almost 40% of our assignment. We were prohibited from working weekends or overtime.

    ELCO assigned more listers to my area to help. These listers were unfamiliar with my area and had round trips of over 90 miles per day to travel to my area. I also did not know the quality of their work.

    I created a new schedule of closing a certain number of AA’s a day and OK’d this with my supervisor. I was meeting these approved deadlines when I got a call from the ELCO that I needed to close at least one AA within the next hour or they would “send me 100 listers from another county.” An odd threat, but I managed to close an AA that hour, and exceeded my goal for the day by one AA.

    We closed all the AA’s by today, one day before the deadline, and I believe that my capable listers did the best job they could.

    However, the arbitrary time limits imposed must have caused mistakes that could have easily been avoided. The new time limits also imposed higher costs: The “imported” listers were unfamiliar with the area and had huge reimbursable travel expenses. No reason was ever given for the speeded up time frame that caused greater errors and more expense.

    At the end of this difficult week, my crew was rewarded with a bizarre slap in the face by management. I had scheduled a final short meeting for next Tuesday, the day after the long Memorial Day weekend, so that the listers could turn in their handhelds, sign termination paperwork, and perhaps share a cup of coffee and some doughnuts to celebrate a job done.

    I was told at 4:00 on Thursday afternoon that the census would not pay for employees to attend the Tuesday meeting. Furthermore, the ELCO threatened that if I did not collect all the handhelds before the weekend, they would “call the police” and “have them go after the listers to get the handhelds back.”

    I had visions of the FBI ramming down the door of the library where one of my listers — a 70ish, slender, white-haired lady– works part-time, and then confiscating her contraband HHC, and leading her away in handcuffs.

    I don’t know if my experience is simply incredibly bad management or something more sinister then that (My area supports a different political party than the rest of the state). I have certainly learned a lot about how not to treat employees.

  28. Anon Says:

    Does anyone know if the Regional Directors get big bonuses for getting things done early? It sure seems that way.

  29. Anonymous CL Says:

    Re: anonymous post of May 21st, 2009 at 11:54pm

    My comment at should provide some clarification on this.

    In the event this had to be resorted to, it wouldn’t have meant any arrest if the lister(s) then promptly handed it over to the police; just a matter of having a more ‘authoritative’ person able to retrieve an HHC who could arrest if a lister refuses to cooperate.

    They want things turned in within one business day, preferring the same business day unless the resignation/dismissal/end-of-work happens too late in the current day. A more relaxed ‘last day’ as you had planned would have been nice, but since the work was supposed to be complete by noon Friday, that left a half-day in which the ELCO people apparently figured you could go ahead and get the HHCs and paperwork turned in, instead of leaving them out there unnecessarily for another four days’ time because of the holiday weekend.

  30. QC ? Says:

    Yes-Yes to all
    *I was instructed to allow all mapspots to pass reguardless of distance.
    *I was told to overlook descrepencies some large & small
    *I was told many lies
    *I was instructed to let an AA set idle for an undetermined amt of time

    It was almost like people were job scared and willing to lie to save it. Shortly after traing, the main focus was quantity and definitely not quality.

  31. QC ? Says:

    To Anonymous with the bizarre experience,
    I was in QC in the middle-south-eastern region. This and similar circumstances took place in this area too. For some reason management decided to abandon all plans, work ethic and standards to intimidate and meet new deadlines.

  32. SCFP Says:

    I also recently ‘finished’ a stint as a USCB listing enumerator – in Massachusetts – and I can offer that my experience was very, very, very similar to that of MANY responders above; about the only significant difference was that those on the team of which I was a part, got an “extra” week out of the deal [1 week of training & 3 weeks of full-time work] before we exhausted all of the ‘blocks’ in our district. We too, were ‘pressured’ to work as fast as we could (while being accurate, of course . . .); I too was able to verify up to 30 addresses per hour – under the proper conditions, as this was mostly walking through neighborhoods of houses, rather than apartment complexes – and I think that most of my ‘teammates’ were in the same range as well. All of my teammates were also ‘disappointed’ [I'm being VERY kind here . . . pi$$ed-off would be MUCH closer to the truth] at the short duration of our employment, as we ALL had been told to expect about an “8 week hitch” during our testing & screening for the job(s). There were several folks in my group whom had worked on 1 or 2 previous Census efforts (1990 & 2000, I believe) and these people vouched to the fact that on these previous occasions the length of actual employment had indeed been 9 or 10 weeks.

    I personally feel that, although I truly can say that I ‘enjoyed’ this experience, I believe that “we got $crewed” by the USCB on this deal. I feel that a large part of this ‘pressure’ was to make the FOS (and those above him/her) look ‘good’ as to just how efficient their “teams” were (at working themselves “out of a job”).

  33. mystry Says:

    Please help me!! I am dieing in Indiana with the ‘Sense-less’ Bureau. I didn’t have time to read all comments yet, but… about disorganized, wasteful, and inefficient. I’m embarrassed sometimes to be working for them. The lady at our local Workone I think is hiding from me she’s so sick of us ‘promoting jobs’ that aren’t even there. Oh, I’m currently being used as a Recruiting Ass. I will have to write more later. Thanks to the person who made this site possible.

  34. Midwest Anon Says:

    Wow so much good reading! I was a lister. I am glad to know it was not just our area having issues with the way things were ran. I was one of the sort of lucky ones. It took us 5 full weeks and a couple days to get ours done. (6 wks with training!) We had some part time workers and lots of rural and some of those roads ‘to nowhere’ were pretty rocky, long, steep and winding. I drove sometimes 3 mi. roundtrip at 10mph out a private drive to find a cabin or just a darn barn. (replaced my brake shoes, rotors and pads once!) Most days I put on 50-100 miles not counting my drive from home to start point.

    “making our regional manager look good”.. Just like most management I have worked for. They get extra credit for how hard their workers work even though they just work at a desk. I asked my CL if those at ELCO would get bonuses for pushing us to get done quick. I suppose not but they probably get to work alot longer than I did and I won’t get any promotion I bet!

    My CL wanted to have a get together meeting also at one point and was approved at first and then refused later because of the push to hurry and get done. It would have been a good chance to hash over issues as a group instead of phone calls or emails that weren’t returned. Geez we only asked for mileage pay and an hour.

    One thing (amongst many) that didn’t make sense to me was using AA’s to judge how we were doing as a team. We got assigned numerous small ones in the first couple weeks to make our numbers look better cuz we supposedly were starting out too slow. Then we had mostly large ones left at the end. Couldn’t they base it on the number of addresses? They knew that some AA’s had alot more addresses than others. Sometimes we had to add alot of addresses due to new subdivisions.

    I hated the fear of QC finding something and given only 2 strikes and we were out. Luckily just about all our bad ones were found to be errors on the QC’s part. Whew!

    I want to be in on the next (2020) map making and training book making/editing. There was no excuse for the index being off about 5 or more pages from where the info really was. There is software that will find the page numbers for you after you enter the word in the Index formatting software. And those blocks!! Aye yi yi! I can’t believe how many times I had to back track because I had a block that bordered a county line or river and no shorter way to next block than to backtrack. Had a few circle driveways in a farm yard and they were considered a census block! What a waste of time that was, if I didn’t look ahead at all my blocks! If I had taken credit for all the time spent figuring out the most efficient route for my day, I could have worked 2 more weeks!

  35. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    Greetings and welcome to the new folks!

    Mystry, are they still recruiting for the AC portion of the census?? That would be amazing considering that we’re all done!

    Midwest Anon, please see my previous posts regarding failing AA’s. I feel bad that perhaps listers were fired because of failed AA’s, but the way the entire system was set up, if I passed an AA and then subsequently found an address, or an entire development, that was not listed, I *could not* add that/those new addresses. So I learned (likely not soon enough) to intentionally fail an AA so I could make sure that everything was in there. In the really huge blocks with all sorts of dead-end roads, that was the *only* way to really do QC because of their complexity. Invariably I found something, not necessarily in the pre-determined “start” block, but it might have been one or two missed addresses or an entire cul-de-sac or a new development complete with streets and houses along with new construction. I tried to pass it “up the food chain” that this was the only way I could do true QC, but there was fear (see other postings) that there would be repercussions if it were to become known that this was happening.

    It is too bad that this entire procedure was not thought out enough to account for the different possibilities without reflecting poorly on one set of workers. Or perhaps this is the government’s standard operating procedure – and we’re only seeing a glimpse of what is a larger ongoing problem that the “ins” (not us!) accept as normal.

    Regarding nonsensical blocks and AA’s – I found a lot of those as well. I had a mobile home park that had two spaces in their own AA separate from the rest of the park, so *all* of the rest of that mobile home park had to be deleted from that AA. (Since we could not go and “select all” and “delete all”, we had to do them *one at a time*, even on delete verification. Having a “select all” feature would have saved a tremendous amount of time!) I had “islands” of addresses in the middle of a huge AA that were their own little AA. I found streets on the hhc map that have never been there, and streets that went through but had barricades in the middle but I could not just draw a little barricade on the map I had to try to delete it and then add the street back in sections if it would let me do that but that was the one where the block division on the hhc was shown in the middle of the farmers field fence so I could not add that street back in after deleting it because the hhc said it was “not in the block”, so I could delete it but not add it back in, go figure.

  36. TexasEnumerator Says:

    We started training on March 30th and some of my crew worked until May 22nd. Our CL and CLA took their jobs seriously and did a great job. My experience with the HHC is that is was a pretty accurate and relatively dependable device (GPS was extremely accurate and the Help Desk was always available). I worked in suburban as well as extremely rural areas and enjoyed every minute of it … except when I realized I was standing in a nest of snakes. The opportunity to meet so many people with such diverse backgrounds living in so many different types of housing was eye-opening and the adventures … chased by peacocks, pit bulls and pigs … outside and on the road throughout Spring in Texas (wild flowers, farms, puppies, kittens, baby squirrels … were endless. I would do it again in a heartbeat … lost 9 pounds, made good pay, got some great exercise. My fellow crew members were educated and interesting and they had many adventures as well. We did accurate and timely work and, although we did feel some pressure, it was reasonable considering that we were being paid to do the work (and the “fun” was lagniappe! While some may have been disappointed in the job, I am not one of them and applaud the Texas ELCO and Regional Office for their leadership. I know that my county was accurately Address Canvassed and I am pretty certain that all the counties under our ELCO was done properly as well.

  37. TexasEnumerator Says:

    Apologies for typos in above post. I was eager to get some positive remarks on this site and failed to QC my remarks!

  38. Anonymous CL Says:

    Re: QC Anywhere USA: “streets that went through but had barricades in the middle but I could not just draw a little barricade on the map I had to try to delete it and then add the street back in sections if it would let me do that”

    I think there was a ‘split street’ tool to accomplish that with less hassle, fwiw.

  39. Midwest Anon Says:

    QC Anywhere USA… thanks for the explanation on failing them. When the CL contacted me about one he wasn’t even sure what exactly the problem was. They gave a poor explanation and so all we could figure out after talking to homeowner was that the fire number signs had been taken down to mow at some point and either the QC or I didn’t have them to use. (No one home the first time I was there) I don’t think any of our group was fired but the threat was there. Scary!

  40. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    As the founder and editor of MyTwoCensus, I would just like to thank our thousands of readers for your comments, commentary, and continued support. Though this is obviously a niche blog, MyTwoCensus has already conducted some great investigations in our short history. We rely heavily on our wonderful readers to give us tips that can lead us to new investigations. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in helping MyTwoCensus in any way! We are always looking for contributors to help us diversify what information we can offer the public. Also, we would love feedback sent to us about what features of this site you enjoy and what features of this site could be improved.

    Many thanks,

    Stephen Robert Morse

  41. mystry Says:

    QC, etc…
    I am only recruiting for 6 management positions they say. I am only allowed to work 5 hours a day promoting ONLY, not testing. They send someone up from ELCO to test (another brilliant idea). The town I live in is not that big, and I’m running out of people/agencies to talk to. Plus, I have a hard time believing they don’t have enough applicants for these jobs. I tested 100′s of people from Dec/08-Mar/09 as an RA. Now, they pulled me off listing to recruit more. Not to mention ELCO has lost entire applicant files, so how would they know 1/2 the time who’s tested?! The phone tree system for testing is/was so screwed up that people rarely got correct testing time/location information. ELCO says that ‘testing has been extended to 6/19 in my area’. I expect to be laid off again real soon, and to be quite honest, people are starting to not like us anyway so I’m glad. Isn’t that horrible?

    To Stephen M.:

    Not that this census is going to get any better, but what can we do as empoyees/ex-employees to improve any of this business with the census now or in the future?

    I have been interested in talking to our Congressman Baron Hill about some of these issues, especially the recruiting process. It would be great to get a group of people together on to have more impact. Our Congressman has an ‘open door’ policy here, and like I said this is a small town, some of our listers may even know Baron Hill on a personal level.

    I’ll be checking back later.

  42. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    To Mystry:

    I would recommend that you keep close track of the problems that you experience and detail them with as much evidence as possible. If you would like MyTwoCensus to compile your claims, we would be happy to help.


  43. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    Was anybody else out there told that they would likely be working in the “Other Living Quarters” phase of this project, only to be told later that those workers have “already been selected” and they’re ELCO workers who are being down-sized so they aren’t out of a job? (What about the rest of us who also need those paychecks?) So they’re going to pay those ELCO workers to go around the state and do this work, driving the longer distances, rather than paying the local people to do it?

  44. TexasEnumerator Says:

    I was told that OLQ would be next for us, but was just told that ELCO is working the OLQ instead. We were always told that “those who worked full-time, were not terminated for cause, did not resign early and completed all our assignments would be the first called for subsequent phases”. I also feel that the local people (especially those who just did Address Canvassing) are more qualified to do the OLQ and would cost less (i.e. the mileage to drive from the ELCO to the local areas).

  45. mystry Says:

    I tried to document a lot of issues that came up with ELCO, so notes are on my calender. I especially noted things earlier this year because directives became so chaotic it made me crazy. If you feel it would be relevant to log them with this website, or what are suggesting Stephen?

    What I have learned is,…. ‘this is not a real job’ so don’t have any expectations of ANY long term employment. Keep looking for a real job. What I think is a bit sleazy about the whole deal, at least in my area, was that they led people to believe that ‘if they did a good job (which they really don’t care about), they would be given another assignment to keep them employed’. Well, that may or may not happen, so just don’t count on it.

    Another ‘newsflash’….we are not unique. This BS has been going on for god knows how many decades.

  46. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    So now we are being told that we *will* have jobs this fall for the “big one”. Maybe I am naive, or perhaps most of my previous employment has been with organizations that I could trust to keep their word. What’s wrong with this picture, that my first experience with an employer that I could *not* trust to keep their word, nor to watch out for our interests (both as employees and as residents within the region where we were working), has been with the US Government?? When I had a safety issue arise within the context of doing my job, despite all of the admonitions during training to call 911 or the sheriff or whatever if we encountered a problem, I was told not to raise a fuss, or if I wanted to file a police report to do so on my own time?? Hello??

  47. anon Says:

    TX & QC anywhere- Yes, I heard the same assurances about OLQ and am still hearing it. Do I believe it? HA! The timeline to start training for OLQ has gone from mid June to now July. After reading your comments (thanks so much for the insight) I’m incline to believe I’ve been lied to AGAIN and will receive the same news eventually.

    It’s disgraceful that the upper ups couldn’t have been upfront and honest. Why not say- Hey, its a 3-4 week job and we might call you back next year. No one in our team thought this was a permanent job, but they sure led you on, the job(s) could last thru fall 2010. Phases was the buzz word.

  48. CLA, RA from 2000 Says:

    Waste? Talk about waste! But it’s simply not news. Back in 2000 I worked in June 2000 as a recutiing assistant. We regularly were required to fill 40 hrs per week running around getting lots of mileage doing advertising, speaking to groups, etc. to promote the Census hiring and then we’d establish and have regular testing sites where poor hapless souls would come in each week and take the Census hiring test all the while all of the Census work had actually completed operations. I have absolutley no idea why I was hired as arecruiter at the end of the operations… No one was ever hired from any of the 60 or so tests that I was giving out for 2 months. What was THAT all about? I didn’t know. I just collected a paycheck… In retrospect now that I’m older, I regret doing that…. Oh, and I got to ake home boxful after boxful of Census 2000 pencils which I still have in my desk to sharpen and use 10 years later and rolls of Census posters which my kids have used for painting projects for the last 10 years as well. All imprinted Census 2000 so couldn’t be used for 2010, huh???

  49. ex-ELCO employee Says:

    Let me just clear something up here:

    The ELCO employees are ALL in the same situation you are. Even the managers. ALL direction comes from the RCC. Many clerks were laid off with 2 days notice. Everybody else got a week. We all knew it was coming, but no one, not even the managers, knew when. The rest of the ELCO will be cut back to a skeleton crew. The managers will stay. Half the OOSes will be laid off. Almost all of the clerks will be laid off. What we were told is that there are massive budget overruns, despite the fact that the operation ended a month earlier than expected. Additionally, these layoffs are done with no consideration of performance, only tenure and department. ELCO employees are never formally evaluated. The only way something goes on record about your performance is if you break the rules and are written up.

    My experience in the ELCO is that most of the managers are extremely competent, and wish they had more leeway to actually manage. However, they have no authority to make anything resembling a policy decision. All of that comes from the RCC (maybe even higher up the chain). All the managers really can do is decide how best to implement the policies (which basically amounts to deciding how to organize your files) and pass feedback up the chain. (We were told we couldn’t even move office equipment or furniture without permission from the RCC.)

    As far as the next phase, hiring for GQV does not begin until 7/27, and that is just for one supervisory position. Listers won’t be hired until mid-August. The staffing needs for this are way less than AC. From the numbers I heard thrown around, they only need about 20% as many listers.

  50. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    With what I’ve seen, I have to wonder if one hand of this whole organization (over the heads of all of us) knows what the other hand is doing! I’ve heard so much misinformation one way or the other that I don’t know what to believe anymore! I appreciate the “inside information” posted by the (now former) ELCO “insiders”. So perhaps there’s still hope for us who were promised work in the next phase. We’ll see.

  51. Anonymous CL Says:

    ex-ELCO employee: Thanks, that confirms my suspicions… I had originally planned to try to get a management job at my area’s future non-early LCO, but decided against it after my research showed how difficult it seemed it would be to actually ‘get things done’ decently (with little control over who the staff would be or how they would do things, little or no latitude to fix or improve anything, etc), and didn’t want to risk unfairly ending up in the line of blame fire. It seems that the local managers and staff don’t even get to set up a newly opening local office themselves, it’s done by people traveling from the regional office (or subcontractors thereof?).

  52. Lee Lewis Says:

    In Southeast Georgia, we where treated like sh-t… I was a CL.
    Time was cut short. People from south Flordia was brought up to do our work, and we were bullied by them. Legally, thats a hostile work place.
    My workers were threaten with the law, about HHC’s. So if I knewn then, what I know now. I wouldn’t have picked up one HHC, and let the law do it. The Census, and Managment is a Joke, and Thief of taxpayer money. I say we all advertise for people to NOT fill out the forms for Census, and just what a piece of political bullshit it really is. WHERE IS OUR LEADERS IN THIS COUNTRY???? ARE THEY GETTING KICKBACKS TO…??

  53. Anonymous CL Says:

    The census is not being handled as well as it ideally should, but we as a nation have to do what we can with what we’ve got. It is very important for people to fill out the census forms, as this data is needed for many purposes that affect everyone’s quality of life.

  54. AZ TSS Says:

    ex-ELCO employee is almost right the directions we get do come out of the RCC but they are not the issuing authority. That distinction believe it or not comes from Washington. Your right about one hand not knowing what the other hand is doing when it comes to anything being done right. You want to know who to blame find the idiot who signed the BEST EFFORT contract with Harris. In the I.T/help desk area we got screwed from the word go. We were told everything is hands off we fix nothing without permission from the great masters at harris. Who by the way got to decide what their best effort was not us, there is no form of punishment for them in our great well thought out contract. I want the fudge nugget who signed that contract whipped and made to work off the massive debt he created. Let us not forget our great training, we were supposed to get what was titled Just in time training. What we got was three weeks to a month late training if that. This whole census is a joke and Acorn is an even bigger joke. Now lets talk about racism and money you want to know where the money is going just look at the great native American people. I watched the times to mileages they got to turn in can someone tell me where I can buy a car that cover 350 mile in 3.5 hours and never get a ticket cause I can use one. We at the office where told not to question the D-308′s or E-308′s that came in from the reservation no matter how f’ed up they where. They got approved lets look ,y favorite one this lady from the reservation was claiming 76 hours a week yet was getting less done then anyone else hmmmm. Yes she got paid remember no questions asked due to her heritage. Less we forget if you maintain an address on the rez you don’t have to pay taxes EVER. I know I would love to get the 2000.00 a week she was making. My recommendation is simple do not let a census worker near your home or property of any kind. The federal government has NO right to GPS mark your home, trailer, or tent tell them to go now or be arrested for trespassing. Your vital information is not safe any clerk working in the LCO can access your personal information with just a few clicks of the mouse and yes it is very easy to print it out and take it from the office. I don’t know about you folks but that worries me.

  55. Census makes no Sense Says:

    unlucky elco, Lee Lewis, I too am aware of the underhanded take-over of the Savannah ELCO. I am also aware of the hostile and intimidating atmosphere that the Florida Crew brought into the Savannah workplace.

    I’m not a highly educated individual, but I know when something isn’t right.

    I saw with my own eyes as the LCOM walked around stone faced, and tight lipped while this N—-l S—–s, the replacement AMQA barked orders at everyone. Since when does an AMQA waltz into an office and have seniority over an LCOM?

    Office personnel looked like deer caught in headlights. I know of one office personnel that went ahead and asked them to lay her off for fear of being fired, slandered, and not being able to draw unemployment.

    I worked closely with the original AMQA and I know the only thing she was guilty of was trying to do her job with the limited means made available to her. She didn’t even have an adequate employee pool to pull QC Listers from, want to know why? Because Atlanta pulled the plug on the recruiting phase six-weeks early in this area. Testing didn’t even make it into some counties. Why? That’s what I want to know. Best I could gather right from the start is that it was all about which ELCO could come in first, first for what? What was the prize for being #1 in the region?

    I’ll tell you what I think, not what I know. I think there are some people out there that are getting kick backs. If x-amount of money is allotted for each phase, and the phase is cut short, what happens to the rest of the money? Two phases have now been cut short, Recruiting and Address Canvasing, where did the rest of the money go? Oh I know, it must have went to FedEx.

    We are nothing but a bunch of poor slobs who stood up there and took an oath that obviously has no meaning what so ever. What’s really sickening is that most of us felt a type of pride stepping into the fields we stepped into. And for what? It’s all just a freaking joke like every other aspect of the government.

    A few suits get richer while the Bermuda shorts gang stands in the unemployment line…again.

    Fooled me once, shame on you, fooled me twice, shame on me. They won’t fool me a third time.
    # Census makes no Sense Census makes no Sense Says:
    June 17th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Oh, how could I forget. The whole lot of them need to be investigated. And to think they want personal information from me with their little door to door interviews and little surveys that are going to be showing up in my mail-box? I don’t think so.

    If they can’t be honest enough to get an accurate count of the USA population, they sure don’t have any business with any of my personal information.

    This was posted in the wrong place earlier so I cut and pasted it in here. It’s nice to have a place to vent.

  56. anon Says:

    Sorry but its just not true that marking something as a multi-unit structure vs. a single-unit structure would make any difference when it came to apportionment or funding. If you mark the individual apartment units in the HHC as separate addresses (i.e. “Apt 1″, Apt 2″, etc.) then each apartment will still get mailed a form. Yes there will only be one GPS point, but that does not mean that each address will not be worked separately. If something is listed as a separate address in the address it will be mailed to and then will be eligible for NRFU. In what way will this affect apportionment or funding?

    This comment of yours in itself tells me that you don’t really have much knowledge of how the Census Address list works, even though this was your job.

  57. Ex-IT Says:

    I would agree with AZ TSS on the Harris issues (I could do a looonnng post about the defects in that contract). Training has been too little, too late.

    As for the ACORN partnership, this seems to become a rather absurd bit of unnecessary paranoid drama, but it’s a favorite boogy-man organization in some political circles:

    It’s already getting dangerous enough enumerating in “Black Helicopter County” to make me wonder if undercounting that demographic might be a good thing.

    And as for risks to PII, I can get better map spotting with Google Earth. Walmart and telemarketers in Bangalore already know way more about me that the Census Bureau ever will – and neither are worried about Title 13 penalties when they share our personal data.

  58. Anonymous CL Says:

    Bravo again, Ex-IT!

  59. Ex-QC Anywhere USA Says:

    My son sent me this link:

    What a joke!!

    BTW, would anybody who actually gets a call to interview for or be hired for the OLQ phase of the census, please post it on here? That’s the only way we’ll have a clue as to when things start ramping up for the next phase and if any of us have a chance to work it. We can’t believe anything that we are told from officialdom.

  60. JerryNJ Says:

    I was recently called to be an OLQ enumerator in NJ. Training begins in Mid September. I was a crew leader assistant previously. They said it would go for 3-4 weeks and that it will be a smaller operation. Maybe it means it will be offered to CL and CLAs first?

  61. Ex Lister Says:

    Talk about nepotism. The Local Census Dept. AMFO requests an office clerk be hired and then narrows the search paramaters to his own residence and (surprise) his son gets hired. Now they have 2 incomes in the same household right through the entire 2010 census operations.

    This is out of a local pool of over 20,000 applicants in South Florida for the one position.

    I was told to call some one in Atlanta.

  62. Clairebuoyant Says:

    The worst part about the Current Census operation is rampant Cronyism in hiring. My first training class had crew leaders who could not read instructions (word for word) from the Teaching manual (reading from the manual is a requirement for teaching the course). These people who were our supervisors had 3rd grade Education reading level. Yet through cronyism (or is that protectionism?), these people were continually promoted in the each successive phase to help the second stage supervisor remain stable and inplace. Frequent partner handwashing is required because the entire management structure is not based on the best managers, just the best manager who will keep their mouth shut and ignore irregualrites performed by their superiors. The Census operation is the best case AGAINST a Government-run healthcare program and I am a reform advocate.

  63. kathy Says:

    I worked as an RC..recruiting clerk in a Northeast office. My training was more about private information privacy than anything else. I liked my job but within a week I was pulled into administration. I was asked what I thought of that. It was not a promotion and did not pay any more than the RC position. I liked my RC supervisor and my work as an RC. I told them I was happy to stay in recruiting. They moved me anyway. I then told them I would not be interested in staying beyond my 8 week assignment and they were wasting their time training me in Admin. They still made me stay in Admin.
    I was working auditing cert folders. Those are folders used to hire people. I inadvertantly came upon a folder with a close relative’s name in it and written next to it was “unsuitable per LCOM manager”. This person worked previously for the census as a crew leader and did an excellent job. His work ethic and experience is well known to me and all the others he worked with for 33years before he retired.. This was obviously a personal comment and not a professional one next to my relative’s name.
    I was disrepected and mistreated by the vindictive and unqualified manager in my LCOM and so was my relative. And there is no recourse. I resigned immediately and walked out of the job. I have reported the manager to her district director. She is not liked or respected in her position and she is leading her well qualified and hard working crew into failure. Just last week she fired a high up manager for no apparent (to the rest of us there) reason. That manager trained me and she really did know her stuff and did a great job.
    This organization is cut throat and does not respect or recognized excellent employees, and yet they expect all employees to recruit new ones!! Hey, I am a retired RN. If I am going to get crapped on, I will go back into nursing and at least get paid well for it.

  64. Anonymous NE Tri-state area Says:

    As LCOM here in the tri-state area of the NE, I cannot begin to echo many of the sentiments that I have read so far from Crew leaders, listers etc. The “cronie-ism” (excuse the grammer LOL ) favoritism, incompetence and lack of professionalism from Regional Director on down is bordering on absurd here in the NE. Wasteful spending, EEO issues, lack of cohesion, total lack of direction are just some of the problems we encounter here….condescending remarks from the ARCM , along with Area Managers that are without polish and knowledge create mistrust and confusion in the LCO’s. meetings are without structure, OT is dolled out in record amounts , training is absurdly inadequate and hiring is strictly done to meet “numbers”…..”Regional Technicians” are grossly overpaid, and have no professionalism nor guidance…also holding their own agendas when dealing with LCO staff… much more to discuss in future postings….

  65. anonymous cl in tx Says:

    I’m working in Texas and it has been a real crap shoot. I have been told not to report overtime hours or to put it on the next week. They are still hiring here but we’re told there’s no more work. My boss is a complete witch who never has a good word for me even though I have jumped through every hoop she has.

  66. Anonymous NE Tri-state area Says:

    To anonymous in tex……..that O/T “policy” that you mention is running rampant here in the NE. To stay within budget, that is not only recommended but condoned by upper management.Work the O/T, but don’t report it.. The upper management in the NE not only lacks professionalism, but common sense…so I understand and sympathize with your thoughts……

  67. Anonymous NE Tri-state area Says:

    The “hiring” process is underway for the non-response phase of the Census operation……..two words “Look out” Training staged in backrooms of churches, synagogues, libraries etc….Crew Leaders woefully unprepared for training. People selected through hiring who can’t read, speak or write…. the nightmare continues. Regional Management that has no clue what their managers are about, nor lack the professionalism to do so….to be continued

  68. Anonymous NE Tri-state area Says:

    NEWS FLASH !!!! The “non-response” operation of the Census is delayed in the NE because of incompetence……amazing that the upper management still have jobs…smacks of “crony-ism” again at it’s best…. to be continued

  69. Anonymous Says:

    Incopetence abounding in my area. I am a crew leader, I feel “woefully unprepared” myself. And I am being forced to act like a slave driver in order to keep my job. I can’t get a clear answer on anything. I can honestly say I am hating almost every minute of it.

  70. bubba Says:

    I’m an enumerator from Western WA. I keep seeing a pattern of promises of 8 weeks employment then the plug is pulled after 2 1/2 to 3 weeks at most. Then another crew is hired who work 2 weeks and so on and so on. It seems this is just a trick to get the unemployment numbers out of the gutter and make the current Administration look good.

    Btw I have friends who worked the Census in 2000 and they actually worked 8 weeks

  71. Anonymous NE Tri-state area Says:

    Anonymous……I agree that woefully unprepared describes it. And not just the Crew Leader position….through FOS and management. There is such a panic here in the NY area that it’s becoming frightful. LCO’s are being driven to exhaustion, and the culpability doesn’t extend to Upper Management.

  72. Anonymous MA metro Says:

    I was hired to be an enumerator and having never worked for the government I was appalled by the incompetence, inefficiency and set-up for corruption throughout the Census enumeration system.
    The training was a joke. The guidebooks were retreads from ten years ago. The forms were a) designed to be optically scanned or b) were carbon papered. This is technology from more than ten years ago.

    Everything that could be imagined to make the process more inefficient was embraced. The procedures for assigning blocks and addresses are changed daily.

    The organization was so incompetent that we had a supervisor who berated the Crew Leader (who ever came up with that label?) in front of the training class more than once. He was rude and offensive in his behavior. (Though very stylish and sexy with his dreads and bedroom eyes.)

    Incentives for corruption are built into the system, by hidden quotas that allow docking pay for hours worked absent x number of completed questionnaires.

    All of these inefficiencies, incompetencies, and corruption are designed by those in the system to make themselves look good up above. It’s called “suck up, piss down.”

    And so for anyone who’s concerned about the government running health care, all I can say is, Be Very Afraid.

  73. Anonymous Says:

    SOOO glad to find you all!!! What an incredible waste of money!! Right from the interview, to the test, to the training, to the door knocking!!! Not only that, we are yelled at!!!! Corruption is rampant ever where. We were told that it is now required that you work 20 hours a week, even if you have a full time job. I only took the job to work 10 hours to save for a vacation (I HAVE a FT job). They have been rude…just MEAN!!! I have saved all e-mails that I have received to show how rude, unprofessional, bordering on breaking employment laws. When I told them I was in the HR profession, they backed off. Someone has to get this straightened out – I can tell you they told us that we were all bordering on being fired, so we better shape up and you should be worried about being fired from the government (it will stay on your record the rest of your life). If I couldn’t work a night, I had to give a reason why, and if it wasn’t good enough, I would be written up. SOME BODY DO SOMETHING!!! Is this really OUR government?????

  74. anonymous Says:

    We have been told that if a house appears to be vacant, three visits
    with one in the evening is not good enough. Now we must visit again on the weekend also. It is no longer a goal to get it done as quickly as possible. It is now obviously being prolonged. The higher ups are constantly telling us new reasons to get written up or fired. If you work over 40 hours your fired, If you work less than 20 hours you are fired.
    We all had to sign a new single item policy document for a similar threat very recently. All the workers and leaders are thinking about quitting. Each worker has agreed to work up to a certain date in mid June or July. None of us will agree to work past the date of our employment, and I will never ever work for the Census again. Advise everyone to fill out and return your Census because you cannot imagine what crap the Census workers go through when you don’t. It is unbelievable.

  75. PEGGY Says:

    I was fired from my position as an FOS after “blowing the whistle” and complaining about all the crap I had to do, and all the waste and mismanagement I was witnessing. Then the LOCAL police came to my house and dragged me out in my underwear and threatened to impound my car if I did not open it and return the AA binders immediately to the AMFO and some other flunky that the LCO hired to be a “liason” between the field and the office. Meanwhile, the LCO had no idea where most of the binders were yet stood there and coerced the police to do their dirty work, because they were wearing census badges. I am going to complain to the FBI, the papers and the department of commerce, but I wonder what good it will do since the census bureau apparently has carte blanche to do whatever it pleases.

  76. Tom Cahill Says:

    Are you saying the police were wearing Census Badges? Someone needs to look into this. They were not sworn, and as we know, law enforcement personnel can not work at the Census. This not only violates Commerce Laws, but Labor law, and constitutional law. (illegal search and seizure)

    “I was fired from my position as an FOS after “blowing the whistle” and complaining about all the crap I had to do, and all the waste and mismanagement I was witnessing. Then the LOCAL police came to my house and dragged me out in my underwear and threatened to impound my car if I did not open it and return the AA binders immediately to the AMFO and some other flunky that the LCO hired to be a “liaison” between the field and the office. Meanwhile, the LCO had no idea where most of the binders were yet stood there and coerced the police to do their dirty work, because they were wearing census badges. I am going to complain to the FBI, the papers and the department of commerce, but I wonder what good it will do since the census bureau apparently has carte blanche to do whatever it pleases.”