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 Editorial: Heads Should Fly…NOW!!!

UPDATE: The Inspector General’s report is available HERE.

Though we are yet to obtain a hard copy of the Inspector General’s report that will be released within the next two hours that details how the Census Bureau went massively over budget during the address canvassing phase of the decennial census, we believe that Census Bureau employees should be held accountable. Without making false accusations,  here is a list of names of people who, according to the positions they hold at the Census Bureau , should be held accountable and punishedmeaning demoted or fired – for this waste (in order of culpability from worst offenders to more moderate offenders…):








And while these deputies and senior Census Bureau employees are responsible for their actions, they answer directly to three men: Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Thomas Mesenbourg, and Associate Director For Communications Steve Jost, who are in that order, the three top dogs so to speak at the Census Bureau. Perhaps the man who is most to blame for the widespread failures is Mr. Mesenbourg, who served as Acting Director of the Census Bureau for more than a year before Dr. Groves was installed in office. Mesenbourg continues to oversee an agency filled with miserable and inexcusable performance results, yet he has done little to enact change. Nonetheless, neither Dr. Groves nor Steve Jost should be let slide for these actions. While both of them consistently discuss looking toward the future, they can’t seem to take responsibility for cleaning up the mess that was present at the Census Bureau when they arrived. To play on Shakespeare’s words, “There’s Something Rotten In Suitland!”

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15 Responses to “MyTwoCensus Editorial: Heads Should Fly…NOW!!!”

  1. Kristine Says:

    Heads Should Fly….The Census is to date, under budget!! Oh My!! Yes, this one operation was over budget….but it is the basis for the rest of the Census. Don’t you think its worth doing right? The Census is the largest outreach effort undertaken and there a decade in bewteen each census. There are a ton of new employees to train (and these are temporary employees, so they leave for real work when it comes available). I think you are searching for things to be up set about. I know there are things that are less than perfect…but really this hardly warrents mass layoffs. Its not like they were caught stealing…just underestimating the time and miles it would take to find every. single. house. in. America.

  2. Techy Says:

    I have to agree with this. What govt. program hasn’t been over budget on certain items?
    While people shouldn’t be fired, I do believe that it would be good if there was a more efficient process in place to streamline the costs. As I stated in another article, there are several costs which could have been prevented.

  3. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Kristine – You clearly don’t work in Suitland. The Census Bureau took a BILLION dollars from the stimulus package. That should more than compensate for any budgetary issues. And I’m sorry, but unemployment is the highest it’s been in a very long time, so people aren’t running away from their 2010 Census jobs so fast. The retention rates for employees during 2010 Census operations are the highest they’ve ever been. I’m not talking about mass layoffs, I’m talking about firing bad managers. If this was a private corporation that went 25% over-budget, the management would be canned in an instant. The federal government should be held to similar standards – Stephen

  4. GB Says:

    Come on, Stephen. You should know that career civil servants can’t just be “canned in an instant.” Be realistic here.

  5. charlie Says:

    how did you come up with this list of heads to “fly”?

    It’s obvious from your cut and pasted “analysis” of the IG report (see later posts), and your understanding of the purpose of the $1B stimulus funding (provided by congress mainly for partnership and outreach), that you’re naive and don’t understand what you’re reporting…I’m wondering how you determined these folks are the responsible parties…

    i hope everyone reading this blog understands you’re a hack and doesn’t take your “journalism” seriously. unfortunately i’m sure the teabag party idiots will probably viralize your “report” and these people will be harassed by palinites. posting these people’s names is totally uncalled for.

  6. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Charlie, those were just some facts and figures taken DIRECTLY from the report. They didn’t claim to be anything else. Call me a hack if you like, but I came up with the list in a most comprehensive way: By talking to multiple employees at the Census Bureau in off the record conversations to determine who was responsible for these failures. If that is what you consider to be hack journalism, so be it. – SRM

    PS – You also have no knowledge of the problems that plagued the Census Bureau through the 2000s. Do some research about the problems during those years and then get back to me.

  7. SRL Says:

    Interesting that an “investigative journalist” should miss such an obvious statement from the IG report…..

    “Problems such as these can be expected for any major field operation. In relation to the final cost
    of Address Canvassing, the cost of these inefficiencies was relatively low.”

    …….in the course of your cutting & pasting.

    As for your “talking to multiple employees” at the Census Bureau, the names you posted can all be found quite easily on the Census Bureau’s very open and public website.

    So much for your unbiased and non-partisan reporting.

  8. SRL Says:


  9. FactChecker Says:

    Actually, it’s doubtful that private industry would fire anybody in a similar situation. They likely would have given them huge bonuses and incentive pay to stay with the company so they could layoff a bunch of employees in the name of saving the company.

    There was an exec in my neck of the woods that was fired though….he received a multi-million dollar bonus PLUS $500,000 per your for the rest of his life! Wish I could find a job that would “let my head fly” like they did his!

  10. Paul Says:

    If you have a dui in the last ten years forget about being hired.These guys really missed the boat.

  11. Paul Says:

    Dont waste your time with the census burea.All they will do is jack you around.

  12. Paul Says:

    If you want a job,go to Texas W might be hiring.God knows he really screwed this country up.

  13. recruiting in circles Says:

    I am currently a Recruiting Assistant with the Census Bureau, since Dec 09. Although in the very beginning of training, our group of 10 RA trainees gave our AMR the exact location of where we each live so that we would be scheduled to work near our homes, we are continually scheduled at test sites far from home. On Friday, I was scheduled to work at a site 13 miles from my home. The co-worker also assigned to my site, however, drove by another site within walking distance of his home on his way to our site 30 miles away, and another RA was scheduled there & had to drive right by our site to get to there, which was probably 30 miles from his home too. We are evaluated on the number of miles we claim in relation to the number of applicants we test. We were also assigned specific areas in which to recruit, same thing – almost like they go out of their way to schedule us far from home so that our numbers will look low. Nor do we have any control over how many applicants show up to the test site to which we are scheduled, since the recruiting areas we work in are always in a different area than where we are assigned for recruiting. They can manipulate the schedule to make sure the “numbers” go to whoever they want (maybe giving them too much credit there though, I think we’re doing good to actually get a schedule each week, probably not manipulating, just zero scheduling skills).

    Last week, we were told that if we weren’t testing, we should be out recruiting in certain areas and that they phones better start ringing. We learned from applicants that when they called to schedule their tests, the office was telling people that we are no longer testing in their zip code. I asked the clerk who told me that “recruiting is a priority” on Friday why they wanted me to hand out brochures and tell people to call just so that he could tell them that we aren’t testing anymore, and he answered “I’m a little confused by all of this”.

    I also worked in the spring as a QC Lister during Address Canvassing – same crap then, too, only compounded by worthless equipment :) If I told you everything that goes on with my job each day you wouldn’t even believe me! Thanks for letting me vent ;)

  14. Suitlandman Says:

    Post again, please, Recruiting In Circles.

  15. frustrated Says:

    The bigger scandal is the apparent absolute refusal of management in the Census Bureau to acknowledge the waste uncovered by the auditors and ignore the causes.
    I was involved in Address Canvassing and observed the waste with too many people trained and too much driving demanded.

    I thought when I saw the news reports on the audit that surely things would change, but they haven’t.

    Foolishly I went back as a GQS and was directed to hire many more people than the workload required. During GQAV, a seven week project, the work was completed in less than 3 weeks with the number of people hired. For GQE I was directed to request 3 times as many people as the workload would require. And the demand for unnecessary driving was still prevalent.

    Having trained people with no work to do is only part of the story. The excessive paperwork is generated for each hire and clerks must be hired and trained to process that paperwork.
    But that is still only part of the story. If one of the trained people wants to move to a new position they cannot be simply transferred. They must resign and be rehired with new paperwork generated and processed.

    And that is still only part of the story. The ways that money is being wasted are too numerous to mention and they would never be condoned in a private business.

    I finally became so frustrated with the waste and maltreatment of most employees (they were I was told be multiple levels of supervision “just temporary employees”) that I resigned.