Chaos at Eastern Washington Census Office
From the Tri-Cities Herald in Washington state (which was my local newspaper when I worked the grape harvest at Pacific Rim winery):
4 census managers announce resignations
By Kristi Pihl, Herald staff writer
Most of the managers at the Kennewick census office quit last week, but the interim manager said the vacancies shouldn’t affect completing the local 2010 Census.
Ford Carlberg, interim local census office manager, said the office had four resignations last week. He said he couldn’t discuss it further because it is a personnel issue.
However, he said, the local office is on schedule with the 2010 Census.
Dave Donaldson of Finley, who was an assistant manager at the Kennewick office, said he, two other assistant managers and the office manager quit last week.
Donaldson, who was in law enforcement for 22 years, said he has been a supervisor before and had never experienced the lack of support and concern for employees that he did with the regional census center in Bothel.
Donaldson said he enjoyed working with the other employees at the Kennewick office, and felt like they were doing a good job. But the local office would be given last-minute changes to procedures, sometimes without enough time to implement them, he said.
The regional census center was concerned about the numbers but not about quality and doing the job right, Donaldson said.
Donaldson said he hopes the local census work isn’t negatively affected by the resignations.
Carlberg said the census has a practice of training others in the office to take up tasks if someone is unable to continue. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau has regional technicians, including Carlberg, who are trained to fill in at needed positions.
Now that the deadline to return the census forms by mail has passed, officials are set to begin follow-up work in the region on May 1 with about 1,200 employees, also called enumerators, Carlberg said.
Currently, the office is hiring and training those enumerators, he said. Training likely will be during the weeks of May 3 and May 10 as the office gets a better idea of what will be needed.
“We don’t know yet what the specific workload will be,” Carlberg said.
The mail-in response rates provide an estimate, but the official data from the national processing center won’t be available until the end of the week, Carlberg said.
Benton County has a preliminary participation rate of 73 percent as of Monday with the cities of Kennewick at 70 percent, Richland at 75 percent and West Richland at 76 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In Franklin County, the participation rate was 71 percent as of Monday. Pasco had a participation rate of 71 percent, which already is 2 percent more than the overall 2000 Census participation rate for the city.
The Kennewick office staff is dedicated, Carlberg said. “We will get the number right,” he said
Read more: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2010/04/20/983127/4-census-managers-announce-resignations.html#ixzz0liuodnsx