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.

The Smoking Gun Report from the Inspector General’s Office

We urge all of our readers  to take a close look at the Inspector General’s most recent reports about the 2010 Census (located here: Observations and Address Listers’ Reports Provide Serious Indications That Important Address Canvassing Procedures Are Not Being Follow—OIG-19636-01 [PDF] Report). This report details many significant failures of the Census Bureau’s recent address canvassing operations that were brushed aside by Acting Census Director Tom Mesenbourg at today’s 2010 Census hearing in Philadelphia. Here are the major problems discussed in the report:

During address canvassing field observations, we found that some Census listers were not
consistently following the procedures in their instruction manual. In several cases we observed
listers skipping the procedure for knocking on doors. In at least one case a crew leader ignored
portions of the verbatim training and instead instructed listers to omit this procedure. We
received several additional reports from listers who were specifically told by their crew leader to
omit this procedure. Further, we observed listers map-spotting addresses from their cars when
they were instructed to collect a map spot at or near the main entrance of a structure—usually the front door.

Despite instructions to traverse every road in an assignment area, some listers we observed
completely skipped roads in rural areas when they assumed no houses existed on the road.
Address canvassing in rural areas can be difficult as tree cover and other conditions can visually
obscure structures. Road conditions also can pose significant challenges: for example, rough
terrain may necessitate four-wheel-drive vehicles, and some roads may only lead to fields or
barns, or may dead-end at a physical feature such as a river. Nonetheless, canvassing these areas is essential to accurately locate rural living quarters.

OIG staff observed address canvassing in 15 different locales in 5 of the 12 Census regions. We
identified the failure of listers to conform to address listing and map-spotting procedures in 7
different locales representing all 5 regions. We also received independent information on the
same problems for 2 locales not associated with our sample. Although our observations were not conducted on a statistically drawn sample and therefore cannot be considered representative of the entire operation, the widespread nature of the problem is noteworthy.

A number of factors may be contributing to this breakdown in procedures. Skipping procedures
reduces the time it takes to conduct address canvassing. We have received reports from Census
field staff that they are under intense pressure to complete their assignments within a limited
time frame and to minimize or avoid overtime. Some are concerned they may face termination if they miss deadlines or work unauthorized overtime. Production pressure may therefore be one cause for this breakdown, but Census needs to determine why these problems are occurring.

Failure to follow procedures negatively impacts the quality of the address list, map spots, and the subsequent enumeration. Living quarters that are not included on the address list have a greater probability of not receiving a decennial questionnaire and thus not having their residents counted. Address canvassing is the primary means for identifying “hidden” dwellings, such as sheds and makeshift garage apartments, but the likelihood of missing such living quarters increases if the lister does not attempt the required personal contact. Because of smaller populations, missing a single living quarters in a rural area has a greater impact on the quality of final census population counts.

Failure of listers to correctly use the handheld’s GPS capability—a key component of Census’s
nearly $800 million field data collection automation contract—jeopardizes Census’s ability to
ensure that living quarters are recorded within the correct census block. This accuracy is
particularly important for redrawing congressional and state legislative districts.

The Census is depending on its address canvassing quality control operation to identify and correct errors resulting from listers’ not following procedures. We are therefore expanding the number and breadth of our field observations to focus on this quality control operation, particularly in rural areas. Given the problems we have identified, we are concerned that Census has not completed its contingency plan for improving list quality in the event that the results of address canvassing are found to be deficient.

These shortcuts have cost impacts as well. Quality control operations may take longer to
complete and cost more than anticipated since improperly listed addresses that are identified or
deleted must be recanvassed. Inaccurate map spots can increase the time it takes for enumerators to find their assignments during enumeration and nonresponse follow-up operations and add to their chances of getting lost and enumerating the wrong housing unit or group quarters.

Inaccurately located rural living quarters may have a greater cost impact on subsequent census
operations, as locating and driving to these potentially remote units requires greater effort than
doing so in urban or suburban areas.

Note: We have added a new permanent link on the right side of this site that will take you to the Inspector General’s most recent reviews of Census Bureau activities.

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23 Responses to “The Smoking Gun Report from the Inspector General’s Office”

  1. Former CL Says:

    I would urge everybody to contact the Inspector General’s office with more details, even if it’s too late to correct much of this enormous f**kup. This report, while it looks sound, seems to blame listers for skipping certain verification procedures. In fact, we were instructed to skip them. The OIG needs to know that it’s not inadequate training or laziness, but deliberate corner-cutting on the part of higher-ups, that will ultimately lead to an undercount.

  2. palister Says:

    i am a lister, we were somewhat told to skip the knocking on doors, and in certain situations (such as rural long driveways, rain, etc) to map spot from our car estimating where the front door is. personally, we have never been told exactly why we are spotting at the front door, seems like a great waste of time as you can easily assess where the ‘front door’ would be on the map and spot it there. we assume that the directions were for the lower intellegent workers who need great specifics to get the job done with some accuracy. but again, we were pushed an pushed to get the job done at any cost, and now we have all worked ourselves out of a job. we started 4/13 amd were told it would last until the end of june….first week of may…all complete ! i would have slowed down had i know we were working ourselves out of a job. (and NOONE told us to lie about our hours..seems gravely unfair to those of us who actually WORKED those hours )

  3. Census CL Chicago Says:

    We were told all throughout training and many times after, that under no circumstances would overtime be approved. If any overtime was claimed on time sheets (on the computer payroll system) it would lead to dismissal. This besides the fact that during my training and during the training of listers there was very detailed information and procedures when such overtime might be necessary. The training also told me I had a small bank of overtime I was supposed to approve under certain terms. I was told I had to teach these procedures but tell my listers that if they followed them they would be dismissed from their jobs. Also starting on the second day of production we were given a list of enumerators who were not up to the specified production standard. We were told to get these people up to the units/hour standard ASAP or we were to let them go. This type of production information would not show up on my HHC until a week later, it was designed to take a 7 day average. The listers got the message very quickly that speed was more important than accuracy. After all we had the quality control group to catch the mistakes.

  4. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    The no-overtime policy was definitely driven home both in the verbatim training I received and in the training I delivered. In fact, we were told that as CLs, we would be fired for approving unauthorized OT by our listers, even if they put it in as regular hours (thus not attracting our attention when we reviewed payroll). As a result, I checked the E-308C report (summary of hours claimed by the listers) religiously each Wednesday through Friday, both to ensure that I wouldn’t accidentally approve more than 40 hours for a lister and to send out reminders to listers on a pace to exceed 40 hours.

    CLs had 5 pre-approved OT hours a week for themselves “for emergencies.” We all interpreted the accelerated pace of the operation to justify taking those hours every week, and our FOS and AMFO backed us on that. OT was never authorized for listers, not that it mattered much in my CLD because most of my listers were working less than 40 hours a week (they were told they had to work at least 20, and for the most part, they did).

    The first week in the field was essentially an extension of lister training. We got away with this because the CLs worked the small AAs before lister training began, meaning that most of our CLDs were 15% complete before the listers even had their field practice (and field practice quickly doubled that percentage). This kept management happy and gave us a chance to figure out what kind of help the listers needed. Sometimes just reframing a training concept, e.g., turning “Does Not Exist” into “Not In Block,” went a long way. A relatively slow first week paid huge dividends later on.

    I was, it seems, extraordinarily lucky to have a supervisor and manager who accepted a certain level of “low” production along the way. Some of our CLDs required listers to work in teams of two for safety reasons, which halved production rate. Gated communities and HHC failures were common issues as well, and while I made my listers document these in case their production rate was questioned, it didn’t prove to be a problem, perhaps because I was able to keep my CLD’s average production rate higher than that of most of the neighboring districts. (Also, I tried as best I could to manipulate the stats by alternating my best people between time-consuming problem AAs and very easy AAs like apartment complexes that could be map spotted in 30 minutes, with the rest of the units entered at home in very little time.)

    I was also lucky, it seems, to be allowed to care about accuracy. I learned early on to distrust the QC listers after my CLD’s first QC failure turned out to be bogus. Consequently, my CLA and I did our own dependent quality checks and delete verifications (based on what I could glean from the manual about QC), and we cleaned up AAs on occasion. We discussed our findings with the listers every week and made recommendations about how to improve. Sometimes we assigned book work or computer-based training; an hour of self-study was cheaper than the several hours spent bringing in someone in new and getting them oriented.

    Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was blessed with a talented and motivated group of listers. There was no need to threaten or pressure my crew—which was a good thing, as that’s definitely not my style. They learned quickly and worked diligently all the way through the abridged operation, and when we ran out of work, they moved to other crews and earned the esteem of the other CLs. My biggest regret is that we couldn’t keep them working longer.

  5. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    I keep discovering just how fortunate I was.

    The no-overtime policy was definitely driven home both in the verbatim training I received and in the training I delivered. In fact, we were told that as CLs, we would be fired for approving unauthorized OT by our listers, even if they put it in as regular hours (thus not attracting our attention when we reviewed payroll). As a result, I checked the E-308C report (summary of hours claimed by the listers) religiously each Wednesday through Friday, both to ensure that I wouldn’t accidentally approve more than 40 hours for a lister and to send out reminders to listers on a pace to exceed 40 hours.

    CLs had 5 pre-approved OT hours a week for themselves “for emergencies.” We all interpreted the accelerated pace of the operation to justify taking those hours every week, and our FOS and AMFO backed us on that. OT was never authorized for listers, not that it mattered much in my CLD because most of my listers were working less than 40 hours a week (they were told they had to work at least 20, and for the most part, they did).

    The first week in the field was essentially an extension of lister training. We got away with this because the CLs worked the small AAs before lister training began, meaning that most of our CLDs were 15% complete before the listers even had their field practice (which quickly doubled that percentage). This kept management happy and gave us a chance to figure out what kind of help the listers needed. A relatively slow first week paid huge dividends later on.

    We were never told to tell our listers to take shortcuts, and the closest I came was telling the listers to be ready to take the map spot before they knocked. I’m quite sure that some of them didn’t knock on every door out in the field, but I doubt it made a difference given the neighborhoods in which they were working. When my CLA and I spotted listers taking shortcuts (yes, one can tell by looking at the HHC), we called them on it and had no further issues.

    I was, it seems, extraordinarily lucky to have a supervisor and manager who accepted a certain level of “low” production along the way. Some of our CLDs required listers to work in teams of two for safety reasons, which halved production rate. Gated communities and HHC failures were common issues as well, and while I made my listers document these in case their production rate was questioned, it didn’t prove to be a problem, perhaps because I was able to keep my CLD’s average production rate higher than that of most of the neighboring districts. (Also, I tried as best I could to manipulate the stats by alternating my best people between time-consuming problem AAs and very easy AAs like apartment complexes that required a brief interview, 4 map spots, and very quickly marking off the remaining units.)

    I was also lucky, it seems, to be allowed to care about accuracy. I learned early on to distrust the QC listers after my CLD’s first QC failure turned out to be bogus. Consequently, my CLA and I did our own dependent quality checks and delete verifications (based on what I could glean from the manual about QC), and we cleaned up AAs on occasion. We discussed our findings with the listers every week and made recommendations about how to improve. Sometimes we assigned book work or computer-based training. Generally, this approach paid off. By the time we found instances where it didn’t, it was a moot point because we were 100% assigned.

    Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was blessed with a talented and motivated group of listers. There was no need to threaten or pressure my crew—a good thing, as that’s definitely not my style. They learned quickly and worked diligently all the way through the abridged operation, and when we ran out of work, they moved to other crews and earned the esteem of the other CLs. My biggest regret is that we couldn’t keep them working longer.

  6. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    @CensusCLChicago This type of production information would not show up on my HHC until a week later, it was designed to take a 7 day average.

    I found the HHC reports to be mostly useless. All of my listers showed up on the Performance Outlier Report because 18 cases/hour was “low” and 20.2 was “high.” I still have no idea what the accepted miles/case should have been, but my CLD was classified as “urban” despite being mostly suburban with a few rural bits. Even the E-308C was difficult to work with because the totals included payroll submissions that I rejected, creating false highs.

  7. Anonymous CL Says:

    Anonymous CL Atlanta: “the totals included payroll submissions that I rejected, creating false highs.”

    Yes, I noticed the same thing! I reported it to the help desk (and it took several explanation attempts before they understood), but apparently they never passed it on to actually get the software fixed.

  8. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    Regarding failing aa’s: the first one that I failed was inadvertent, it was raining and I was carrying an umbrella, I think that the metal in the spokes of the umbrella messed up the GPS readings, sending them out into the nearby field. But I learned something from that failed aa: by working each address, I was able to account for each and every address in the area, and each and every street. I added in streets that were not on the map, and it was overall a good exercise, and gave me respect for what the listers are doing. I also found a few mistakes which I corrected.

    The second aa that I failed: I was working it as instructed, when I came across half a block of homes that were in the block but were not on the list! When I added them, it threw the aa into RC. Later in that very large block I found an entire new development, complete with streets and houses, that was not on the list! That is when I discovered the value of the recanvass. If that QC had started in any of a number of other parts of that block, it would have passed, and many homes would not have been on the address list.

    So, for the listers who have map spotted from their cars, thank you. It makes that RC easier to achieve. Seriously. As I mentioned in another post yesterday, the only way to find what the listers have missed is by reworking the entire area, and the only way to do that is by failing it. Unfortunately, whoever developed the systems on the HHC’s did not allow for the QC people to add addresses or make any other corrections if the aa passes, and gave us no options to override that “pass” if we find other serious omissions after it passed. Once I get that “DQC failed” message, I no longer care if that MS is at the front door or at the garage or in the middle of the rose bed. My main concern is that the house that I am looking at, as I systematically work that block, is listed on the hhc, properly categorized, and that the MS is not across the road in the farmer’s field.

    How many errors remain in the aa’s that passed QC? That’s the big question that the Inspector General’s Office needs to ask. It is possible that each one of those areas needs to be looked at a second time.

  9. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    QC Anywhere USA, I’m glad to hear from someone on your side who knows what (s)he’s doing. I didn’t realize that when a block passed DQC, all you could do from then on was DV. That’s definitely an issue that both HQ and the OIG ought to consider. Maybe the system ought to randomly select an occasional block for RC rather than DQC; recanvassing is supposedly cost-prohibitive, but given the operating tempo we’ve all experienced, I’m not sure that’s so.

    If you add enough addresses, does the HHC fail the block? If so, would it be possible to work the QC Start address, then drive the block to locate/add the missing addresses until the block fails, then RC from there? (Aside from the blatant disregard of procedure, that is. I wonder whether an RCC might approve such an effort in ELCOs where production is high but review indicates a substantial number of AAs like the ones you described. Probably not.)

    One of the issues I discovered early in production was that some of my listers didn’t completely grasp the concept of “ground to list” and consequently were verifying rather than truly canvassing. I ended up reframing it for them by telling them that the Address List was assembled by people and was therefore fallible, while the ground wasn’t. Judging by my subsequent reviews of their work, the reframing definitely helped.

  10. Jack Carpenter Says:

    I worked for the 2010 Bureau of the Census in April and May 2009. Part of my job was to train people on the Harris hand held computer (made in Taiwan), known in the field as the “trusty G.P.O.S.” or “geographical positioning system”.

    Recently, the 2010 Bureau of the Census purchased 155,000 Harris hand-held GPOS’s for $700 million and hired 140,000 people to collect the latitude and longitude of the 145 million front porches in America.

    The government now has a database with every residential address accurately linked to its exact physical location. And the ability to launch a small robot drone helicopter with a camera (or a canon) to check out how many people live at your house. What if terrorists hack the database or print out the list?

    The census is supposed to count people, not geographically locate house addresses.

    Why not have every person in America walk out into the street at the same time and look up into the sky? The Bureau of Census already uses ridiculous secure laptops with “need to know” high-resolution satellite photos on CD’s. They already have the technology to count faces on aerial photographs.

    In addition to being a threat to national security, the 2010 Bureau of the Census is a massive “make work” project run amok. It would be easier to drive around in a truck and toss out money. Who is responsible for this?

  11. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    CL Atlanta: Yes, adding addresses puts the aa into failure, how many it takes I don’t know, therefore into recanvass status. But that’s assuming that any missing addresses in that area happen to be in the QC start block. After doing that initial “start” address, I’ll drive the entire block (assuming it’s not huge), because then I can go to any address in that block. Prior to that, I can only work that “start” address. Until the area goes into “pass” or “fail”, I cannot access any of the other blocks. If it fails, then I can get into any of the other blocks. If it passes, I can only access blocks with DV’s, and then only those DV addresses, no others. So I drive (or walk) the block, looking for anything that is amiss. I’ll check the mapspots. Do they look like the lister bothered to get out of the car? If not, I’ll work that address. Now the listers are getting better at the MS’s, so it’s becoming harder to find those errors.

    Sometimes these blocks are huge – the only way to really work them (thus finding those missing addresses) without going nutty is by doing them systematically.

    One of the issues of doing the RC that I run into is the resident who objects to another census worker when “somebody was just here a few days ago”. I try to soothe ruffled feathers by explaining that “we’re just doing a check of a certain percentage of addresses to make sure everything is correct in the new computer system”, or “sometimes these GPS readings come out kind of funny, so we just have to check them again”. (Blame the machine!)

    Re. the cost-prohibitive factor on RC – won’t it be just as expensive, or perhaps even more so, if the census address list is found to be not as complete as it could have been, and some group takes the government to court for the omissions?

    I just copied this from the above report: “The Census is depending on its address canvassing quality control operation to identify and correct errors resulting from listers’ not following procedures.” Right now, the only way to do this is by RC, and the only way to assure a RC is to intentionally fail an area, unless you find one that’s really screwed up from the get-go. (Had one of those last week, it didn’t take any creativity at all to get that one to fail.)

    Another technological thing that wasn’t around for the 2000 census: blogs!!

  12. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    QC Anywhere: QC as planned might have been sufficient had production been going “normally.” Instead, it seems as if crews in some places are going at top speed and counting on QC to clean up after them, which is a purpose for which QC wasn’t really intended.

    Because my FOS gave us time to breathe, my approach on the production side was not to depend on QC. My CLA and I field-checked our listers’ work, and I occasionally sent in either my CLA or a trusted lister to clean up an AA before it was marked complete. I hope it paid off in the end; QC didn’t quibble with the work that we did, but that could simply be good luck with QC start points.

    In any case, I don’t completely buy the official line that RC is cost-prohibitive. If production were running on or behind schedule, maybe, but things are moving so quickly that there’s probably enough money in the budget for more QC work, including a certain amount of RC. Then again, if production weren’t moving so quickly, maybe there wouldn’t be so much of a need for RC.

  13. QC Anywhere USA Says:

    So, the hurrier we go, the behinder we get, right?

  14. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    Pretty much, yeah.

  15. Barb S Says:

    In answer to Jack C’s commentary on the uselessness of HHC GPS readings – yeah – they’re pretty intense on us, to get that done – and the GPS needs GLASSES in my rural, hilly area – it’ll have me across the street, out of area, when I’m standing on someone’s front porch. One fella told me I was doing “invasion of privacy” by coming into his yard; I replied that I only wanted to verify address, which is publicly written on his mailbox. He was still very irritated! skeery! – but Yeah WHY DOES the Census Bureau need your GPS spot? I have had that VERY THOUGHT about targeting! However, most places I Map Spotted, would have very VERY little value as a “target”!
    And as for “make work” ? What about getting paid to drive down the same street 2 – 4 times? “work only the right side” routine! Nicely, I’ve gotten paid to drive down some really fun roads two times in my 4WD – roads with NO HOUSES, anywhere on them!
    However – I DO appreciate the work, and the paycheck – otherwise I’d still be among the 14% unemployed in my area!

  16. Anon Says:

    Policies are standard throughout the country which has very different aspects to canvassing. The main reason for the map spot is to make sure the address is included in the correct area. Boundaries are invisible and impossible to ascertain many times, especially in rural areas. Working to the right actually makes sense in many cases. In urban areas where the streets are not lined up just right, or in subdivisions, it’s really easy to get turned around and therefore it’s more likely to miss an address. Also it can be the most efficient way to do it much of the time. Yeah, there are always exceptions, but generally it makes sense.

  17. Anonymous CL Says:

    Barb, even though there weren’t any in that case, somebody could have been living in a ramshackle rural residence not readily visible down one of those rutted roads, so our job was to check juuust in case, to minimize missed people. :-)

  18. 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.

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    Stephen Robert Morse

  19. Spokane 0602, too Says:

    you know, what I found most interesting is that many many many of the points made in the OIG report were EXACTLY what I had complained about to my CL and ultimately to my FOS and guess what? I was immediately removed as CLA and the problems were never addressed. I’d like other readers’ input–do you consider this corruption? You see, I did my initial observations of our enumerators and I found about 3 who were definitely missing LQs on rural roads, not interviewing to get the correct information, being shy about asking about obvious extra LQs. But, know what? I don’t think my CL ever read my obs notes, despite my verbal warnings to him about taking time to look at those specifics obs, he never met with me privately just in large group w/ enumerators and he never paid any attention to my phone conversations or text messages. And the FOS told me directly that he hadn’t read the obs either and the AMFO didn’t and the LCOM said he didn’t. So how exactly was this supposed to get changed? I was conveniently moved from working with these enumerators to another batch that my CL had done initial obs on. And guess what? In that batch I immediately identified one who couldn’t orient herself in her block to save her life, blended info from block to block, and wasn’t canvassing hunting cabins. I also heard a story about my CL canvassing from car with another one–in drect violation of stated policy–and driving some enumerators around in his own car to ‘observe’ them, too, which kinda makes it hard to observe how they orient themselves, in my book. But the majority of our enumerators were top quality people who understood their training and carefully followed everything, unfortunatly even those things that like a lot of you have mentioned were in fact erroneous but handed down from higher-ups. (CL had never done this before and a lot of us had worked extensively back in 2000 and FOS was a 1st time clerk promoted to FOS. They had no field experience and were all vet prefs. My CL couldn’t even find the employee roster in his HHC without my helping him. In training class he hadn’t even had an HHC w/ GPS out in our remote wooded no-cell-service rural areas to experience what the listers would soon experience) Most our enumerators got the necessary census data in top quality and at good speed. The ones who were definitely not doing the job were never given OJT and CL didn’t even look at their maps or work on HHC before telling them to send it off marked complete. I shudder to think what’s been passed on to the next operations. I know a lot of OLQs are going to come up done as Multi units, maybe even commercial non LQs, missed, or just screwed up. My CL I don’t think ever did properly understand OLQ listing. But it’s job security for the supervisors, I think, while they get a gold star beside their names for productivity (going back to do OJT or fixing the problems would have cut their prodution rate, huh? As it was we came in done in only a few weeks’ work, as usual alienating listers who thought they’d be employed longer) and our small rural areas will lose LQs counted in Census 2010 doesn’t matter to them. But, I surely hope my CL is the exception, unless all his doings were in fact instructed by highers ups–mainly FOS to do it that way. He, specifically, was the problem, in my opinion. And I still scratch my had and wonder who exactly observes him to let him get/retain his job. (Anyone who works as a CL or FOS, I’d appreciate the input, I’ve never been CL level or higher and don’t know how that works…) My CL was a man with no scruples who even opened a sealed envelope not addressed to him but to the LOCOM, read it, and decided not to submit it, when it contained info about my OIG complaint and employee grievance! How do I know? He left me a voicemail telling me so! Yet nothing ever happened! No one FOS, AMFO, LCOM ever answered the questions/problems about census data quality. I’d like input if this is typical…

  20. Anonymous CL Says:

    Re: “wonder who exactly observes him to let him get/retain his job. (Anyone who works as a CL or FOS, I’d appreciate the input, I’ve never been CL level or higher and don’t know how that works…)”

    CLs were trained by their area’s FOS, and the FOS is supposed to meet with each of their CLs on a regular basis (several times a week) to see how they’re doing, and the FOS would be the person to do the paperwork on reprimanding/dismissing any CLs if necessary. The FOSes do have a very large territory to cover, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some slack off on such things.

    And particularly considering that your CL seemed to be noticeably poorly trained (who had been trained by the FOS), I’m not surprised that your FOS was lax in other ways too.

  21. Dairyland CL Says:

    Can anyone provide info on the OLQ followup time-frame? I haven’t heard from anyone since June. I was told CL’s would begin about the end of August and Listers about mid-September at that time.

  22. Local Gov Analyst Says:

    To me, it’s not so much the canvass itself, and the many challenges the listers faced, particularly in rural areas, with remote homes, poor GPS reception, etc. The problem is what the Bureau is doing with the results. In my county, they want to reject over 10,000 mostly legitimate housing unit addresses because they could not be “found”. This is going to blow up into a huge problem nationwide. Did listers know that when they skipped over an address and marked it as “not found”, it would mean that the occupants of that household would likely lose their opportunity to be counted?

  23. CensusGeek Says:

    I was an AC lister back in 2009. We we given mixed instructions during AC training. The book said to visit every address and hand residents a form. Hell, I saw it as a chance to do PR work for the Census next year. Maybe it might improve response rates for NRFU.

    But the Crew Leader said to estimate mapspots from the road. Some of us were doing an average of 30-40 mapspots an hours… when the Crew Leader’s own outlier reports said anything over about 22-25 was suspect.

    In the end the Crews that did so finished WAY too early… in about 3 weeks instead of 7-8, and the one Crew Leader District (CLD)that followed the book, looked like they weren’t doing their job. Listers like us who were doing the job wrong were sent in to help finish up work in that CLD.

    It was really scandalous.

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch and who knows what our sloppy work will ultimately cost down the roads… such as in having to hire more NRFU enumerators.