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.

MyTwoCensus Investigation and Editorial: Census Bureau Employee Murdered!

As was reported here and across the news media yesterday by the Associated Press, Bill Sparkman, a Census Bureau field worker in Kentucky, was murdered on September 12 with the word “fed” scrawled into his chest. Unfortunately, the MyTwoCensus team can’t be in rural Kentucky at this time to investigate this matter on the ground, but that doesn’t mean that we are not using all available resources to determine what happened.

10 Questions that MyTwoCensus Hopes To Answer ASAP

10. If Bill Sparkman’s body was found on September 12, why did it take 11 days for this story to come to the media’s attention?

9. Why was it the Associated Press that broke the story rather than local news sources? (Did the police and FBI fail to report this incident to the press?)

8. Why was Bill Sparkman working alone?

7. If the Harris Corp. Handheld Computers (HHCs) functioned properly, is there a GPS record of his last known wherabouts? (Is it possible to mine data from Bill Sparkman’s handheld computer and the Census Bureau’s data network to determine Mr. Sparkman’s duties on the day he was murdered?)

6. Noting that this incident took place in a rural area, would such an incident have occurred if Sprint, the network that the Census Bureau contracted to handle telecommunications, functioned properly in rural areas, allowing Bill Sparkman to call for help when he was in trouble?

5. How did Sparkman’s body make its way to the forest? If his vehicle was nearby at the time of his death, why couldn’t he escape?

4. Where were Mr. Sparkman’s supervisors when he didn’t complete his tasks on time?

3. Did the Kentucky State Police and FBI fail to properly investigate this incident?

2. Is there a violent movement brewing in America against Census Bureau employees or was this an isolated incident? (Were any threats made against Census Bureau employees prior to this incident? If so, were ALL EMPLOYEES warned of possible dangers?)

1. Who committed this horrific act?

Today, the Louisville Courier-Journal provided some updates on the story that could be of interest:

Police said the area has a history of drug trouble, including methamphetamine trafficking and marijuana growing in its forested valleys between steep hills and ridges.

“That part of the county, it has its ups and downs. We’ll get a lot of complaints of drug activity,” said Manchester Police Chief Jeff Culver.

He added that officers last month rounded up 40 drug suspects, mostly dealers, and made several more arrests in subsequent days.

Dee Davis, president of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg, said Clay County is impoverished and has a “pretty wild history of a black market economy, a drug economy.”

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27 Responses to “MyTwoCensus Investigation and Editorial: Census Bureau Employee Murdered!”

  1. TR Says:

    Based on the articles stating Sparkman has worked for the Census since 2003 and that he had a laptop (not handheld), my guess is he worked on one of the other projects (like ACS), not the decennial count.

    So #7 is a moot point since it’s not likely he had a handheld since they were only used for Address Canvassing, which is now finished. (The only decennial employees with laptops were Field Operations Supervisors during Address Canvassing. FOSes have a purely supervisory role; they do not collect any census data themselves.)

    And even if that data were available, the Census Bureau could not release it to the FBI or local police due to Title 13 of the US Code. Census data cannot be shared with anyone, including other government authorities. However, if he is working on a survey other than the decennial census, that would be governed by other sections of the USC, not Title 13, and the data protection requirements may be different. But I think it’s likely that the Census Bureau and its employees are severely handcuffed as to what data they can release and to whom they can release them.

    For example, if a census employee walked into a house and witnessed a crime (say, domestic violence or a large quantity of drugs), he could not report that to the police due to Title 13. This is why the Census Bureau generally does not hire police officers or employees of other government agencies. (There’s actually a question asking this on the application.)

    As to #8, census field employees generally work alone. However, they’re told that they should *not* enter any area they think is unsafe. In that situation something can be arranged, such as having another employee accompany them.

    Besides 6-7 and to a lesser extent 8, these are good questions, though I suspect the supervisors were suspicious since supervisors were suspicious since, at least on the decennial side, employees meet with their supervisors daily.

  2. Anonymous CL Atlanta Says:

    Regarding 9 and 10, local news had the story (albeit without the Census angle) on September 14.

  3. CL Says:

    TR’s summary is mostly correct. Based on the information released both by law enforcement and the Census Bureau, Mr. Sparkman was a Field Representative working on ongoing surveys and not the Decennial Census.

    Most Census surveys are conducted under the authority of Title 13. A few surveys, however, are conducted under the authority of Title 15. These include surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey where the complete data set including names and addresses are shared with the sponsoring agency. Again this data may only be released to the sponsoring agency for the purpose of providing statistical summaries of the data. Under no circumstances may any data be released to any other government agency or law enforcement. His Census Bureau laptop would contain the list of addresses and it would be easy to determine which address was the last one he visited. Unfortunately, that information cannot be released to law enforcement.

    Field Representatives do not meet in person with their Senior Field Representatives on a regular. Generally, Senior Field Representatives keep in touch with their Field Representatives by phone, but depending on the survey deadlines, this may be as little as once a week. His Survey Supervisor in Charlotte as well as his Senior Field Representative would be able to track the last time he connected to the server via modem to transmit completed work and pick up any new assignments. Generally Survey Supervisors and Senior Field Representatives expect Field Representatives to dial in to the servers daily, but it is likely that no one was concerned until 3 or 4 days had passed – especially since the deadlines are at the end of the month for a majority of surveys.

  4. FactChecker Says:

    Regarding items #9 and 10: A quick check of Google Turns up the ClayCoNews website which had an article on the topic on Sept 15 and that was an update. Not sure what math you are using but that’s not 11 days?

    Regarding #8: Although he was employed by the Census Bureau, did they ever say he was working at the time?

    Regarding #3: I’d says that a couple weeks after the death is way too early to suggest they FBI failed to investigate it properly.

    In every other event such as this that occurs in American, isn’t it normal for the law enforcement agencies investigate and not disclose information that might harm the case?

    Lighten up!

  5. CL Says:

    FactChecker –

    He apparently had his laptop in his car and an identification badge was taped onto his face according to one article, so it is likely that he was working. Though some Field Representatives may carry their Census Bureau materials with them even if they are not “working” in case they get a call from one of their respondents.

  6. My Two Census » Blog Archive » UPDATE: MyTwoCensus Investigation Into The Murder Of Census Employee Bill Sparkman Says:

    [...] has obtained some additional details on this case that are featured below. However, many questions still need to be answered in this case. Though this area of rural Kentucky is rife with meth-addicts and a rampant drug [...]

  7. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    To our readers:

    Thanks so much for your insight! You are a very well informed group of individuals and have really helped clarify a significant amount of information.

    Best regards,

    Stephen

  8. FactChecker Says:

    CL, you hit on the exact point I was trying to make regarding whether he was working or not. If the reports are true, it would appear the perp knew he was a federal employee and he reportedly had work related items in his vehicle but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was working at the time of his death.

    There is a huge rush by this website and others to sensationalize this tragedy by suggesting some huge cover up or a national threat. Let the law enforcement community conduct their investigation and deal justice to the dirt bag(s) responsible for this horrific crime.

  9. Anonymous CL Says:

    FYI, the Census Bureau did distribute memos about this incident to all current employees when it hit the news last week.

  10. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Do you have a copy of the memo? If so, send it over! Thanks!

  11. Anonymous CL Says:

    Here’s the text of the memo, that went to everyone in my Regional Census Center area (several states), and presumably all the other dozen RCCs sent out the same kind of thing in their areas.

    ———–
    Statement for xxxx RCC Field Staff

    Some of you may have heard about the death of a Census Bureau Field Representative in Eastern Kentucky. We want to emphasize that assaults and violent acts against our field staff are extremely rare occurrences, and this act should not have any implications for the safety of field staff outside of this small geographic area.

    Your personal safety is of the utmost importance to the Census Bureau. Part of the training you have received focused on personal safety. The intent has been to help you develop “street smarts” that will help you recognize an unsafe situation and avoid or retreat from it.

    If you are ever approached by any news media about this, or any topic concerning the Census Bureau, you are not allowed to make any statements. All inquiries from the media should be referred to xxxx (RCC). In addition, you should inform your supervisor if you are ever approached by a member of the media.

    In summary, your safety is our utmost concern. Stay alert to your surroundings at all times and take appropriate actions to ensure your safety on the job.
    ———–

  12. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Thanks Anonymous CL!

  13. pleb Says:

    It’s time to stop kissing CB ass, and admit they don’t train their staff on how to deal with reluctant respondents. A woman was killed near here last census by a pack of dogs. CB staff don’t seem to remember that one, but locals sure do! CB needs to stop wasting money on bullshit like HHC’s and train their people how to survive out there.

  14. Census Worker Found Hanged - Killed by Libertarian Hysteria ? - Politics.ie Says:

    [...] Worker Found Hanged – Killed by Libertarian Hysteria ? My Two Census Blog Archive MyTwoCensus Investigation and Editorial: Census Bureau Employee Murdered! The discovery of the decomposed body of a census worker, tied up with ducktape, has been found in [...]

  15. FR 007 Says:

    I am an FR for the permanent Census Bureau like Bill Sparkman. It’s been 6 weeks since his body was found, why hasn’t there been any more information? All very odd and disconcerting for someone who does field work for the census bureau in rural areas.

    Safety training consists of be careful, follow your gut and don’t get into any unsafe situations. Our safety is of the utmost importance to the bureau, right behind get the interview.

    This is without a doubt the oddest job. My immediate supervisor says one must be certifiably nutz to do this. My biggest complaints aren’t about the respondents (90+% of them are great)but the bureaucracy of working at the very bottom of the government totem pole.

  16. Anonymous CL Says:

    Good post, FR 007. The only ‘news’ on this is that a week ago, the authorities finally confirmed some of what we’d already known:

    —-

    Oct 28, 2009: AP – Coroner: Census worker died at tree in Ky. forest

    A part-time census taker died at the tree in a Kentucky forest where his body was found with a rope around his neck and the word “fed” scrawled on his chest, officials said Wednesday.
    The naked body of Bill Sparkman, 51, was found hanging from the tree yet in contact with the ground in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest on Sept. 12. Authorities had previously not said whether Sparkman died there or elsewhere and then taken to the secluded area near a family cemetery in rural southeast Kentucky.
    Clay County Coroner Jim Trosper and state medical examiner executive director Mike Wilder confirmed the death location to The Associated Press, but gave no other details.
    Authorities have kept a tight lid on the investigation into the death of the teacher and part-time census worker. They have confirmed asphyxiation caused his death, but Wilder said a manner of death still couldn’t be determined until the investigation is complete.

    Capt. Lisa M. Rudzinski, commander of the state police post in London, said Tuesday that investigators were making progress and expected some resolution in a matter of weeks rather than months.
    Census officials have suspended door-to-door work in the county until the investigation is complete.

    —-

    Oct 28, 2009: UPI – Census worker’s death still a mystery

    Authorities are making considerable progress in their investigation of the death of part-time U.S. Census worker Bill Sparkman, Kentucky state police say.
    Capt. Lisa M. Rudzinski, commander of the London, Ky., post, says there will be a resolution in the case probably within weeks, not months, the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal reports.
    “We’re much closer than we were,” Rudzinski said Tuesday. “I think we are toward the end.”
    She said investigators are currently awaiting the results of forensic tests from the state crime lab.
    Sparkman, 51, was found gagged and tied to a tree last month near a remote Clay County cemetery.
    He was naked and the word “fed” had been scrawled on his chest.
    Police have not categorized his death as a homicide, suicide or accident.
    “The mere fact that we have not made a determination after such a time lapse is unusual but not something that’s never happened,” Rudzinski said.

    —-

  17. AnotherFR Says:

    First, the ACS survey is “congressionally mandated”. The respondent is required by law to participate. A refusal is TECHNICALLY subject to fine. However, good luck finding ONE occasion where the CB has ever actually made USE of that on any respondent. Respondents know this. They take advantage of it. They tell us “I don’t care. Send me the fine.” You’d think that would be that. But it isn’t. If one FR doesn’t get ahold of the respondent, they just send another. Maybe it’ll be a female, next time. Maybe it’ll be someone who matches your race, next time. As for the original FR who wasn’t able to get that interview, it gets held against him or her…

    “Type-A’s”. Those are interviews that were not completed for reasons of refusal. They are considered the fault of the FR and are not forgiven and they are held against the FR. You are to avoid them at all costs. They are NOT acceptable.

    The FR’s are instructed to use every method possible to find the respondent (411, e911, Post Office, Property Appraiser’s web site, Tax Collector’s web site, “Fast Data”, interviews with neighbors, interviews with managers, interviews with other people, etc.). If you find the respondent and the respondent tells you to your face to leave them alone and that they don’t want to participate, if you ACCEPT that, you have to write it off as a Type-A and it goes against your record and your statistics. Get too many people who refuse, and you can be written up, reprimanded, fired. Supervisors get all over you. They put it into your file. They send you notices that you’re then supposed to sign.

    For this reason, Census Bureau workers tend to be seen by the world like pestering, stalking Bible toters who won’t leave you alone. Yes. (These are my words, not the Census Bureau’s.) “Why can’t you people just let it GO?” some respondents ask. This makes the Census worker feel VERY guilty because the FR knows that this is a request to leave them alone, but the GOVERNMENT won’t accept that. If he takes that plight from the respondent back to his SFR/LFR, or to the Regional Office, he’s going to be asked if he’s REFUSING to complete the case. This is not fair. I once had a respondent whose notes contained line after line of telephone operators calling him over and over even AFTER he’d told them REPEATEDLY that he would SEND IN the form, but that he was going through a really tough time right now. His mother was dying of cancer, and she was in Hospice and having to take care of her and her matters. I can tell you from personal experience that this is a particularly sensitive and distressing time and there is a lot that you’re having to deal with. I complained to my supervisors about the apparent treatment that this poor man was getting and I got “So, ehhh, chew are eh REFUSING to do the case? Is dat it?” We’re not here to cause personal pain and sifffering to respondents, and I felt that the constant badgering of this man during this very personal and horrific time in his life was NOT necessary. The man SAID that he intended to complete the survey; he just wanted TIME. I got rebuked for it when I brought the man’s plea back to my supervisors.

    In answer to the other FR’s statement…yes. The CB DOES seem more interested in just getting the points, than in listening to the respondents, sometimes. In this case, they were completely willing to harass the man even during a painful period until he caved. They assigned it to another FR, regardless. They did the interview anyway. I found that out from the other FR. Meanwhile, that case was actually held against me.

    You should know these other things, too:

    As I said, if you are asked to complete the ACS survey, it is Congressionally mandated. That means it’s required by law. You HAVE to do it. One in maybe 2000 people will ever see a Census employee for anything OTHER than the decennial census. If you are approached by someone in the CB, know that the information they are trying to collect is being collected because it will HELP your government (maybe even your local area) in some way. Maybe it’s a scientific survey, designed to ask questions never asked before which could help find some answers to some disease or addiction of some sort. Maybe it’ll help obtain grants to improve a neighborhood. Maybe it’ll help the DOT determine where road improvements are needed. Maybe it’ll help improve political boundaries. Maybe it’ll ask cost of living questions that can’t be had any other way except to get out there and hoof it, but they are necessary to know, or the country couldn’t function. You want to move to another part of the country with a better cost of living ratio? How are you going to know this information? How are you going to obtain it? Do you think it’s obtained from insurance company data or something? Oh please! It comes from the Census Bureau. You can’t MOVE without using information that was obtained and provided by the Census Bureau. The information you provide is NOT shared with anyone else before your name, address, telephone number, and ALL Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is STRIPPED from that survey before it’s handed to the end agency, whoevver that might be. If the data tends to point to you within a ten block radius, the Census Bureau will deliberately SKEW that information so that you CAN’T be identified within a ten block radius. A Census worker is there because he’s REQUIRED to be there by law. He’s backed up by Congress. He’s doing a JOB. Don’t get on his case. We’re not asked to do much for our country. We’re not currently being FORCED to join the military, or to do anything else for our government (barring being in punishment for a crime you commited).

    But understand…the Census worker is doing his JOB. He’s AUTHORIZED to be there…BY LAW. He’s even authorized to BYPASS “no trespassing” signs AS MANY TIMES AS IS NECESSARY to get that first face-to-face with you. I don’t care HOW angry you are, you are NOT allowed to threaten the Census worker. You are NOT allowed to imply possible harm to the employee. You are NOT allowed to sick your DOGS on the employee. You are NOT allowed to hold a GUN to the federally-authorized official employee of the United Stated Department of Commerce. The employee is AUTHORIZED to be there. That is that. Period. And the FIRST thing a Census worker is REQUIRED to do is to immediately remove himself from your presence and property once threatened, and to 1) call the local police and file a report FIRST, and THEN 2) call the Census Bureau and notify them of what happened. If you threaten a United States government employee, you can go to jail. These are FEDERAL laws we’re talking about…not piddly local CITY ordinances with puny fines and penalties.

    That being said, I recently had dogs sicked on me. I reported it. The local sheriff’s office took A MONTH AND A HALF to act. A MONTH AND A HALF! The respondent in the meantime came up with an excuse and got off. Reaction from the Census Bureau…nonexistent, even though reported to my superiors. Police don’t seem to take threats to government workers seriously, it would seem. I’ve had people meet me at their front gates with rifles in their arms. Not necessarilly an infraction, but borderline threat to someone like me, who is out there alone. I’ve had people threaten to call the police and tell them that I’m trespassing. That’s not technically correct with a government worker who has been authorized by CONGRESS to be there. It’s in fact, his job, and he has EVERY right to be there. In my personal experience, whenever I’ve complained to the Census Bureau about such things (which DO rarely happen, but they happen nonetheless), their attitude has been one of “Oh, REALLY? Huh. Well…BE CAREFUL.” And that’s pretty much been it. No investigations. No charges filed. Nothing put to paper. Nothing filed, even. The emphasis is more on getting the damned interview, with WORDS to justify themselves that they warned the employee to be careful so as to take them off the hook if something dreadful happens. But, if they don’t get the interview it’s their fault; and I suspect…if I got shot, it would be MY fault too because they told me to be careful. Catch-22/double-jeopardy.

    Everything to the Census Bureau is statistics. Each Regional Office wants the highest completion stats compared to the next RO. Every RO wants the top scores. They’re not willing to accept Type-A’s, and they hold it against you and blame it on you and put it on your record if you can’t get the respondent to cooperate. Each time you go back, you get those particular respondents angrier. A lot of them are backwoods, country rednecks. They don’t want to tell you twice not to come back. PRAY you don’t show up when one of those back woods people is DRUNK. Your SUPERVISORS don’t want to tell you twice to get the interview, or you’ll be written up, rebuked, whatever.

    What do you do? QUIT? In THIS economy? This job pays pretty well for the hours. About twice as much as minimum wage. You’re also reimbursed at the government rate for mileage. That’s about just below 60-cents, right now, I think. It’s hard to find jobs right now. :( With this one, if you spend three hours out there, and drive 100 miles, You just made something akin to $42 for the hours, and $50 for the miles. That’s $92 for three hours worth of work, much of it sitting in your car. As well, the negatives aside, I DO like meeting new people, and I DO enjoy being sent all sorts of places that I didn’t even know existed in my own and surrounding areas. And I’m being PAID for it. QUIT?!!! Are you NUTS?

    Bottom line is…

    The CB is full of it when it implies that FR’s don’t get hit with weird stuff. They’re seriously playing that one down and one day it’s going to come back to bite them in the buttocks. Every FR who has been out there long enough can tell you a MULTITUDE of stories about the things people have said, the things people have done, and even about the LENGTHS that people will go through to AVOID the Census worker.

    I’ll close on that final note. There are people out there who will actually spend the equivalent of FULL-TIME HOURS attempting to ignore and hide from the Census worker. In most cases, the ACS questions will take LESS than thirty minutes for most respondents. If you’re the ONLY resident of the dwelling…LESS than ten minutes. Yet, people will force you to have to come back TIME and again, calling TIME and again, not answering messages left on their machines, pretending they’re not home when they ARE (peeking through blinds, through curtains, forgetting they left the light on inside behind them), turning the radio or TV off AFTER you’ve already knocked, etc. But if you stop to think about it, if you’d just DO the darned interview, it would be OVER and you’d likely never see the Census worker AGAIN! (sigh)

    My complaints all aside, I stand by what the Census Bureau is TRYING to do. I DO believe in it. It’s there for the good of the country. It’s there to try to HELP us. We’re NOT out there SHARING our information with other government agenciies. We’re NOT spying on you. We’re NOT SELLING your personal information to commercial entities so they can SPAM you. We really DON’T own little flying saucers and we’re not here to ABDUCT you. We’re NOT Big Brother. We’re NOT secretly working for the INS,, the IRS, the CIA… We’re NOT here to deport you, or to TELL on you.

    In Colorado there was a case where the FBI attempted to gain access to the responses one respondent had made to a Census survey, trying to nab him for tax fraud. Long story short, the Judge basically told the FBI to stick it, that the Census Bureau had a “promise” to it’s respondents to keep their personal information and their responses “confidential”. The Judge upheld that if the Census turned respondents responses over to every agency that requested it on demand, then the Census Bureau would never be able to be trusted, no one would cooperate with them, and it would impede their ability to collect information. The judge ruled that in order to preserve their trustworthiness, the Census Bureau had a RIGHT to withhold the information from the FBI and to IGNORE the subpoenas for the information.

    Just cooperate. DO the darned survey and we’ll be gone. And STOP threatening us. We’re here to HELP your country; and YOU should be, too.

    (Obvious disclaimer: These words are obviously my own and do not necessarilly reflect the opinions of the DoC or the Bureau of the Census.)

  18. AnotherFR Says:

    An additional comment…

    Someone above stated:

    “For example, if a census employee walked into a house and witnessed a crime (say, domestic violence or a large quantity of drugs), he could not report that to the police due to Title 13.”

    I have to differ on that one. We are obligated to keep certain things that we witness private, and I HAVE been told this over and over in training sessions and refreshers. HOWEVER, we are NOT obligated to keep quiet instances of domestic violence or things like that where real physical harm is coming to another human being. I think that was just a random thought someone had which was MEANT to be used as an example but which was a wrong choice of words. The Census Bureau does not support physical abuse and we cannot be held to keep secret things like THAT. That’s rediculous. The reverse is true. ABUSE situations we are obligated to report. What a better way to destroy the reputation of the entire Bureau than by suggesting that we’re co-perpetrators of that sort of serious crime. Violence, murder, etc., is NOT protected by Title 13.

    I HAVE been told, however (repeatedly in fact), that if we were to enter a home where people were smoking POT…YES…we are NOT obligated to report that to the police. I believe the adminition was always this: If you think it’s safe, you can. And you are not required to answer any questions relating to the fact that they were smoking or not. When I myself asked what might happen if I got high from the incidental SMOKE while performing the interview, there was haziness. HOWEVER, in my personal opinion, if the Census Bureau okay’d your entry into an abode where people were using drugs in order to get the interview completed, and you became affected INCIDENTALLY, you could not be held liable because the CENSUS BUREAU suggested to you that entry was okay.

    …MIND YOU, it won’t stop some cop from taking you in. It probably won’t keep you from jail time of SOME sort while you get it all sorted out with lawyers, the cops, and the Census Bureau. In my personal opinion, anyone who DARES such a thing is a nutcase to PUT himself or herself into such a situation. BUT, if any Census supervisor gets ON you for not entering while they were smoking, or holds it against you…THAT’S a lawsuit. They can get into a lot of legal trouble for attempting to force you into a potentially dangerous situation and then holding it against you for refusing to enter. I doubt they’d do that to anyone. It’s also REALLY bad publicity they just would not be able to reasonably explain away. Although, I’ve known some real nutcases leaders in my time, too.

    I’ve always wondered about that little bit of training, myself. I’ve wondered, “Do these guys REALLY know what they’re talking about? or are they GUESSING, and PRETENDING that they know what they’re talking about? If I actually entered some premesis, and they were smoking, and cops came, and I got carted away……..would the Census Bureau back me UP, or DENY they ever said such a thing in training?” I’ve always held that stuff like that is just WAY too freaky and vague a subject for my tastes, and it’s better to just avoid such a situation entirely. don’t even THINK about entering such a place. If they’re doing drugs you have no idea whether or not they’re of their right minds and ANYTHING could happen and it’s just my SNEAKY suspicion that the Census Bureau would back AWAY from any responsibility for what happens to you and iin fact turn right around and blame YOU for being irresponsible, and then FIRE you…even though they were the ones who SUGGESTED that it would be okay in the first place. See?

    Just don’t even THINK about it. Don’t do it.

  19. AnotherFR Says:

    If I had to bottom line the above…

    QUOTE ME A PARAGRAPH FROM THE ACTUAL UNITED STATES CODE that says that I’m protected from revealing that information when asked, or from doing an interview while people smoke, and I might CONSIDER entering an abode where people are toking. But don’t REQUIRE me to. :)

  20. Anonymous CL Says:

    Yeah, there’s definitely some grey areas re safety, refusals, etc that the bureau tries to avoid consistently clarifying.

    “You’re also reimbursed at the government rate for mileage. That’s about just below 60-cents, right now, I think.”
    It is 55 cents for 2009. (The 2010 rate hasn’t been announced yet.)

  21. FR 007 Says:

    I agree entirely with AnotherFR except I wouldn’t hesitate to interview a toker. I’ve always found them to be pacifists and the nicest people. Smokers I have more of a problem with!

    Type As, the bane of our existence, are a statistical nightmare. I frequently do follow up after another FR has totally freaked out a woman with persistent calls and window peeking. I show up in my white haired woman disguise, let her vent and get the interview. My SFR followed up on one of my type As and the woman told him she didn’t like me and would have never done the interview with me. She hated me on first sight and it only got worse with each visit I was required to make. I get the A punishment and there was nothing I could have done to change the scenario.

    Because the Census Bureau is all about statistics, I’ve always presumed they were keeping the stats accurately on my performance reports. Not so, several months ago I was checking the monthly report of my stats just to have the cheap thrill of seeing 100% and there was 88%. They had charged me two type As that I didn’t have. Now I very carefully check everything to the best of my ability. I’m a bit stat challenged.

    To be a RO Survey Supervisor you must have a degree in statistics. No people skills are obviously required. Many of the supervisors I’ve worked under as well as the office clerks seem to have NO concept of what a FR deals with in their job. I’m fortunate to have a great SFR. SFRs serve as a buffer between the RO and the foot soldiers of the Census Bureau.

    All this ranting aside, I do like my job a lot. Like AnonymousFR I believe in the work I’m doing for the Census Bureau. I love driving around a beautiful county, meeting a cross section of humanity, making my own hours, and having a job in tough times. I just wish there was more respect from the top of the totem pole for life on the bottom.

  22. anonymous Says:

    I am a Kentucky native and I can tell you that the state police here is a dirty organization, that would ignore evidence for money. So, their “investigation” can not be relied upon to settle this case. Also it’s too convienent to blame drugs, and lead everyone astray from the fact that a federal employee was hanged!

  23. COURTNEY OLSON Says:

    YOU ARE RIGHT ON THE MARK, THE AREA MANAGERS AND STAFF AT THE ELCO HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE IN THE FIELD. ALL THEY LOOK AT ARE THE NUMBERS WHEN WE ARE GIVEN AN ASSIGNMENT THEY HAVE DEADLINES THAT ARE NOT REALISTIC, THEY TELL US FOUR WEEKS AND THAN THEY WANT IT DONE IN TWO WEEKS THEY HIRE AND TRAIN MORE PEOPLE THAN WHAT THEY NEED JUST TO MAKE THE STATS FOR THE PRESIDENT FOR EMPLOYEED PEOPLE LOOK GOOD. WHY TRAIN PEROPLE THEY DO NOT NEED, IT COSTS LOTS TO TRAVEL, TRAIN PEOPLE THAN WORK THEM FOR A WEEK OR SOMETIMES NOT AT ALL. SECURITY CHECKS ALL SO NEED TO BE DONE EACH TIME AN EMPLOYEE IS CALLED FOR A NEW POSITION EVEN IF THEY HAVE WORKED A PREVIOUS PROGRAM, COME ON IF SOMEONE GETS IN TROUBLE IN A MONTH THAN THEY SHOULD PROBABLY NEVER BEEN HIRED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  24. Owen-Bob Says:

    You are seriously wrong and putting out FALSE information if any of you claim that Census Workers may trespass on people’s property. If a property is marked ‘No Trespass’ you can be ordered off of it, and depending on the state that it takes place in, arrested if found on the property. I live in Texas and I have the Texas Purple Paint markings as per the Texas Purple Law. Plus No-Trespassing signs posted. Even the local Sheriff is not allowed (without a warrant) nor will come on my property if I don’t give them express permission. Anybody trespassing on my property, especially up near or around my home is fair game for any of my five dogs too. Don’t want to get bitten or chewed up really bad? Then OBEY THE LAW and stay OFF of people’s land that is marked No-Trespassing! It’s that simple! A lowly Census Worker is NOT more powerful than a Sheriff, they are just hourly workers hired on a temporary basis. John Q. Nobodys. This Census Workers do not have special rights or privileges to break laws that even the Sheriffs and other law-enforcement have to obey.

    Here is a link to specific verbiage that ALL government officials without specific warrants have to obey with regards to trespassing.

    http://www.narlo.org/images/sign.jpg

    I defy any of you to post ANY laws that can over ride our US Constitution – USC Title 13! You can’t! Because either you are seriously misinformed or lying out your butts!

    STAY OFF OF MY LAND OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES! You stupid Census means nothing to me! I am a sovereign citizen of the Great State of Texas and I am not obligated to follow blatantly unconstitutional law. Nor is any citizen!

  25. Joe Mama Says:

    From http://www.lawguru.com/legal-questions/maryland-general-civil-litigation/trespass-census-employee-potential-civil-616488276/a

    Re: Trespass by US Census Employee

    You have a right to sue the federal government for the wrongful acts of its employees under the Federal Tort Claims Act. However, before such a suit can be brought, you must first file an administration claim with the Justice Dept within 180 days of the incident. You have to give the govt time to accept or deny your claim, but in any event suit must be filed within 2 years. The case is heard in a federal court by a judge rather than a jury. These cases can be complicated and you should seek the services of a personal injury attorney to represent you.

    Robert Sher

    Wagshal and Sher

    5530 Wisconsin Ave-Suite 1200

  26. pspknine Says:

    Owen-Bob, you are a mental midget. That sign that you link leads to is real nice and all and, I guess if you have an IQ of less than 20 it might mean something to you, but other than that, your sign carries absolutely no weight.

    Your sign refers to sections 241 and 248 of the US Criminal Code for justification. Did you think to just check on those section for even a second? Oh, wait a minute. That would require some semblence of intelligence so I guess my question sort of answered itself.

    Ok, since I cannot expect you to actually check, I’ll let you know that the two sections that are referred to on your sign have absolutely nothing to do with protecting private property from trespassers except in the case of an abortion clinic. Now Bob, section 248 states that anyone blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic can be arrested, so, if you have an abortion clinic on your property and a census worker is there to block your entrance, well then you might be able to get them in trouble.

    Section 241 indicates that if two persons conspire to injure or threaten another person, that they can be arrested. It interestingly also indicates that if two or more persons go upon a highway or on the premises of another in disguise that they too could be arrested. So, if two or more sensus workers show up at your house in disguise, then section 241 would be the one to mention to the FBI when they arrive to investigate.

    Neither section has anything to do with trespassing on the property of a private person. Neither section indicates that you can loose the dogs if someone does trespass and you cannot simply decide that a census worker is a threat and shoot them without just cause. You sign, or violating your sign is not just cause.

    Rest assured wee one that if I show up on your property to complete your census and you sick 5 dogs on me you will be short five dogs before you know it. We are allowed to protect ourselves and there is nothing saying that we cannot be armed except when we are on deferal property. Also know that any attempt at violence would be met with greater violence.

    It is your call idiot.

  27. What sort of person do you have to be to work for IRS or CB? Says:

    Thanks for the link, JoeMama. Ours turned our doorknob and tried to come in (my child was watching), plus she harassed my child even after being told we weren’t home. If my dogs are out in an area marked “Beware of Dogs”, wouldn’t any reasonable person be an idiot to trespass?

    “Just answer the questions.” We answered the initial question by mail and phone, and are still getting visits. Who has the original info? Why wasn’t it entered? As for the intrusive questions that jeopardize my personal safety (what time do you leave for work?) or the safety of my children, not happening unless someone will personally guarantee me that the info won’t be misused, found on an appropriated laptop, accidentally posted, etc. Guarantee me by accepting financial and other consequences that a rapist won’t show up 30 minutes after I’ve left to visit my teen daughter, or that my identity won’t be stolen, and I’d be a lot more compliant.

    Thanks for the info about what happens. How many times are they authorized to come back? I thought I read three.