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.

Census Director Robert M. Groves Lies: The Census Bureau’s software, IT, and computer problems are NOT fixed

Earlier this week, Dr. Robert M. Groves told NextGov that the Census Bureau’s infamous computer problems with the paper-based operations control system (PBOCS) software were fixed. He even went so far as to have a memo, obtained by MyTwoCensus, sent by his underlings to Census Bureau officials throughout the country, relaying this information:

Attention: Regional Director, Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Census Manager for IT, and Lead Support Coordinators/Representatives.

Update: The technical team is ready to implement the fix for performance issues.  In order to do so, the system will be brought down at 6:45 PM ET.  All users need to log off prior to this time and remain out of the system until further notice.  This process should take approximately two hour and once the system is available, there will be a staggered log-in.  DOTS will send out another message regarding when PBOCS will be available and the staggered log-in schedule.


From:

TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support 2010/BOC

To:

TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support 2010/BOC@BOC

Cc:

Alan J Berlinger/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Annetta Clark Smith/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Arnold A Jackson/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Barbara M LoPresti/TMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Brian E McGrath/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Bridgette M Hendricks/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Chad G Nelson/TMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Curtis L Broadway/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, dcurtner@harris.com, Decennial IT Support List, Dennis W Stoudt/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, dmays@harris.com, Dsouzav@GAO.GOV, DSPO PBO MGMT List, Ellen W Cafarella/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, fdca_pbams@ics-nett.com, FLD 2010 Regional Offices List, FLD Deputy Regional Directors List, FLD Regional Directors, Gail A Leithauser/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Hilda S Dimmock/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Jacque M Biles/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Janet R Cummings/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, jlawrenc@harris.com, K Evan Moffett/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Karen C Field/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Louis R Avenilla/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Lucia J Chavez/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Marilia A Matos/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Maryann M Chapin/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Michael T Thieme/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, mtrocki@OIG.DOC.GOV, Pamela D Mosley/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Robert M Groves/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, SJackson@OIG.DOC.GOV, Tammi Michelle Archer/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, TicehurstJ@gao.gov, TMO DOTS 2010 Staff List, Viola L Lewis Willis/AMSD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Wayne Dustin/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC

Date:

05/13/2010 05:10 PM

Subject:

UPDATE INFORMATION – PBOCS Performance Issues, 5:00 PM ET, 5/13

Sent by:

Rebecca St Martin

Attention: Regional Director, Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Census Manager for IT, and Lead Support Coordinators/Representatives.

Update: The technical team is still testing the fix for the performance issues.  They hope to have the system available sometime tonight however at this point we do not have a more specific time frame.  DOTS will send out another update at 7:00 PM ET.

If you have any questions/concerns regarding this message, please respond to only DOTS 2010.  Please do not reply to all.

TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support (DOTS) 2010
Phone: 301-763-2010


From:

TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support 2010

To:

Decennial IT Support List, FLD Regional Directors, FLD Deputy Regional Directors List

Cc:

TMO DOTS 2010 Staff List, FLD 2010 Regional Offices List, Barbara M LoPresti/TMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Gail A Leithauser/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Janet R Cummings/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Karen C Field/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Louis R Avenilla/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Viola L Lewis Willis/AMSD/HQ/BOC@BOC, DSPO PBO MGMT List, fdca_pbams@ics-nett.com, Hilda S Dimmock/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, SJackson@OIG.DOC.GOV, Pamela D Mosley/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Michael T Thieme/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Wayne Dustin/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Curtis L Broadway/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Dennis W Stoudt/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Maryann M Chapin/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Alan J Berlinger/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, dmays@harris.com, dcurtner@harris.com, jlawrenc@harris.com, TicehurstJ@gao.gov, K Evan Moffett/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, mtrocki@OIG.DOC.GOV, Dsouzav@GAO.GOV, Lucia J Chavez/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Marilia A Matos/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Ellen W Cafarella/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Annetta Clark Smith/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Bridgette M Hendricks/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Tammi Michelle Archer/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Jacque M Biles/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Brian E McGrath/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Arnold A Jackson/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Robert M Groves/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC

Date:

05/13/2010 04:01 PM

Subject:

UPDATE: INFORMATION – PBOCS Performance Issues, 4:00 PM ET, 5/13

Sent by:

Chad G Nelson

Attention: Regional Director, Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Census Manager for IT, and Lead Support Coordinators/Representatives.

Information: The fix for the performance issues currently be experienced is still being tested.  We remain with 6 regions on the system and 6 blocked.  DOTS will send out another update at 5:00 PM ET.

If you have any questions/concerns regarding this message, please respond to only DOTS 2010.  Please do not reply to all.

TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support (DOTS) 2010
Phone: 301-763-2010

To: Decennial IT Support List, FLD Regional Directors, FLD Deputy Regional Directors List
From: TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support 2010
Sent by: Chad G Nelson/TMO/HQ/BOC
Date: 05/13/2010 02:15PM
cc: TMO DOTS 2010 Staff List, FLD 2010 Regional Offices List, Barbara M LoPresti/TMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Gail A Leithauser/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Janet R Cummings/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Karen C Field/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Louis R Avenilla/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Viola L Lewis Willis/AMSD/HQ/BOC@BOC, DSPO PBO MGMT List, fdca_pbams@ics-nett.com, Hilda S Dimmock/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, SJackson@OIG.DOC.GOV, Pamela D Mosley/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Michael T Thieme/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Wayne Dustin/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Curtis L Broadway/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Dennis W Stoudt/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Maryann M Chapin/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Alan J Berlinger/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, dmays@harris.com, dcurtner@harris.com, jlawrenc@harris.com, TicehurstJ@gao.gov, K Evan Moffett/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, mtrocki@OIG.DOC.GOV, Dsouzav@GAO.GOV, Lucia J Chavez/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Marilia A Matos/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Ellen W Cafarella/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Annetta Clark Smith/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Bridgette M Hendricks/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Tammi Michelle Archer/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Jacque M Biles/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Brian E McGrath/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Arnold A Jackson/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Robert M Groves/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC
Subject: UPDATE INFORMATION – PBOCS Staggered Log-in. Currently Suspended.


Attention:
Regional Director, Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Census Manager for IT, and Lead Support Coordinators/Representatives.


Information:
Due to log-in issues caused by the number of users trying to come onto the system right now, the staggered log-ins have been suspended.  The six remaining RCCs will not be allowed to log-in until the current backlog has declined.  DOTS will send out a message when the remaining RCCs can log-in.

The remaining RCCs are:

2499 = Detroit

2599 = Chicago

2699 = KC

3199 = Denver

2799 = Seattle

3299 = Los Angeles

If you have any questions/concerns regarding this message, please respond to only DOTS 2010.  Please do not reply to all.


TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support (DOTS) 2010
Phone: 301-763-2010

To: Decennial IT Support List, FLD Regional Directors, FLD Deputy Regional Directors List
From: TMO Decennial Operations Technical Support 2010
Sent by: John Matt Barron/TMO/HQ/BOC
Date: 05/12/2010 09:00PM
cc: TMO DOTS 2010 Staff List, FLD 2010 Regional Offices List, Brian Monaghan/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Barbara M LoPresti/TMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Gail A Leithauser/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Janet R Cummings/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Karen C Field/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Louis R Avenilla/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Viola L Lewis Willis/AMSD/HQ/BOC@BOC, DSPO PBO MGMT List, fdca_pbams@ics-nett.com, Hilda S Dimmock/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, SJackson@OIG.DOC.GOV, Pamela D Mosley/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Michael T Thieme/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Wayne Dustin/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Curtis L Broadway/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Dennis W Stoudt/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, Maryann M Chapin/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Alan J Berlinger/DSCMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, dmays@harris.com, Douglas A Curtner/TMO/HQ/BOC@BOC, jlawrenc@harris.com, Mark Emory Markovic/LTSO/HQ/BOC@BOC, dacmo.ticcb@census.gov, mtrocki@OIG.DOC.GOV, K Evan Moffett/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Lucia J Chavez/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Annetta Clark Smith/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Marilia A Matos/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Ellen W Cafarella/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Bridgette M Hendricks/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Tammi Michelle Archer/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, DACMO TI-CCB Voting List, Brian E McGrath/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC, Arnold A Jackson/DMD/HQ/BOC@BOC, David P Katzoff/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Frank C Sonsini/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Michael Edward Haas/FLD/HQ/BOC@BOC, Robert M Groves/DIR/HQ/BOC@BOC
Subject: UNEXPECTED OUTAGE – PBOCS

Attention:
Regional Director, Deputy Regional Director, Assistant Regional Census Manager for IT, and Lead Support Coordinators/Representatives.

Problem:
PBOCS is experiencing intermittent network issues.  Tech teams are investigating.  DOTS will provide an update when more information becomes available.


If you have any questions/concerns regarding this message, please respond to only DOTS 2010.  Please do not reply to all.


Decennial Operations Technical Support (DOTS) 2010
Phone: 301-763-2010

Unfortunately, this information is completely false. Though the actual software problems may have been fixed on the surface, a variety of problems remain. First, only a limited number of employees per Local Census Office (LCO) can use the software. Second, when the Western, Central, and Eastern regions of the continental US are all working on the computer system, it overloads and crashes. These problems have been reported in the days since Dr. Groves and the spin department at the Census Bureau, led by Steve Jost and Stephen Buckner, tried to make it seem like all is hunky-dory. Here’s yet another tale of mismanagement, IT failure, and general disgrace from a Census Bureau employee in Florida whose anonymity is protected:

The computer systems are not fixed. In fact, the office clerks were told to log off of there computers at 10:30 am to make repairs today (5/13/2010). I have received calls this week about employees not receiving their pay as well. If you ask me, this whole operation is completely ridiculous. The way that the office workers have to look things up in the computer is way too taxing. For example, in order to look up where someone has been scheduled to go to training, they must look them up in the system by name to find the employee ID number, then take the ID number and enter it into another area to get another number, then that number is referenced on a paper list and then finally they can look up the training site with that number. Now, this is not just isolated to looking up training sites. It is like this with nearly anything that they need to do with the Census system. While I am no computer tech, I am pretty sure that these systems could be integrated to store the information in a much more efficient way. One of the Regional Technicians (RT), which is basically a Regional manager with a fancy name, has come up with what she believes to be a brilliant idea. She is requiring all the employees to wear bright orange vests (the ones that are given to crossing guards) so that she can walk into the building and know who is using the computers. The stupidity of it all!

On mothers day, the LCOM did not have the census office up and fully running, as people were at home with there Mom and wife’s that day. Well, needless to say, the LCOM caught and earful from one other the big wigs out of the Regional office for this. The LCOM was called many names including being called incompetent. Mind you this LCOM is a wonderful women and does everything that she could possibly do to keep the office moving smoothly. In fact, our office was ahead of all of the other offices in our district in terms of enumerating the households.

They expect the office employees to go above and beyond in completing the work, which I have taken upon myself to do regardless. I have been tasked with completing a job and I will do so till the end. However, overtime is not something that is taken lightly. It has to go through an approval process before you can be granted permission. There have been countless times where I have been stuck on a phone or helping someone with a problem that they waited until 5 minutes till 5 to come in and take care of. In these cases I have gone anywhere up to 15 minutes over time, but do not claim it. The reason that I have not claimed it is because the day that I started, they informed us that NO overtime is authorized without prior written notification from our management. We were told that would could claim it and we would get paid for it, but we could expect to be fired right afterward. So as you could probably understand, I would rather have the weekly paycheck that have the 1/4 hour pay and be out of a job.

I could tell you countless problems that occur with the Census, so many that I deal with everyday that I cannot even recall the problems because they are so common to me at this point. Needless to say, you would think that they could have the bugs worked out when they have 10 years in between to get it right. What they should do is as the people that work in the LCO’s about the problems that they encountered during the operations to get a better idea, as we are the ones that experience it, they just hear about it in the Regional office. However, they will never do that. They will just keep coming up with stupid ideas like wearing the orange vest to see who is working on the computer system that has problems everyday and keep blaming us and asking us why the work is not done on time when the system is down, and yes, they blame us. Here’s looking at 2020!

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48 Responses to “Census Director Robert M. Groves Lies: The Census Bureau’s software, IT, and computer problems are NOT fixed”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    CORRECT! Computer glitches continue every day, no paycheck deposited this week, no binders until next week, …. “YOU LIE, YOU LIE!!!”

  2. LCO-AM Says:

    The system is not fixed, PBOCS is a POS.

  3. AnonLCOM Says:

    The PBOCS system and all it’s incredebly stupid problems and silly solutions is the biggest smear of sh*t across the foreheads of all the upper Census management and IT department. I hope they wear it well. “YOUR” tax dollars at work!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Just received my pay stub in the mail. Net pay = $0.00! Called my bank, no direct deposit made so far. “BIG FAT LIARS!”

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Our crew was told today that we may be finished with NRFU in 1 or 2 weeks.

  6. IhatePBOCS Says:

    PBOCS down almost all day. NO emails with an ETA on fix. DAPPS as I previously posted as working….well it crashed today as well.

  7. Census CL Says:

    Another story? Quality of data coming in is crap. Quality Assurance system (MARCS) is delayed and not scheduled to come online until May 21. Think it will work smoothly?

  8. Tired of PBOCS Says:

    We have failed around 10 -12% of eq’s coming in. And I don’t think MARCS will work any better than PBOCS is.

  9. Embarressed Says:

    As I reported on the 13th we entirely scrubbed the LCO break room and had a talent show while waiting for PBOCS. Today our Star Trekathon was interrupted 30 minutes before quitting time because…. like Frankenstein’s monster… “IT’S ALIVE!!!!” Let’s see how long the nightmare lasts.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    What’s wrong with this picture? Our crew was told that we may have only 1 or weeks left of NRFU. No binders until next week. Three training classes start Monday for Replacement Enumerators.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    We heard about LCO office staff bringing in “pot luck” and eating all day.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Our crew just heard that everyone will get a bonus who stays until the end of NRFU – including Enumerators.

  13. Jay Says:

    Interesting site. Just found it. We have been almost beaten by our rcc to keep imputing returns into pboc, insisting that they have the names of the 10 people who are working and wanting to know why all available computers aren’t used. However, if all computers are used, then there isn’t any for DAPPS, which must process over 1500 308s every day (and not only does our staff do a good job, they know the priority). However, given all that, since 8 yesterday morning, our PBOC has only been up for about 6 hours in 36. This morning we were told to disregard the 10 people, only put 5 on.
    The pressure from somewhere to the regional office must be terrible because they then turn around and go after the lco, demanding all sorts of insane hourly reports, minute by minute updates, etc. I wonder at what point this all will collapse. This has become something out of a Monty Python skit. After all, it’s not like they’ve had 220 years to get this organized or anything. The only good thing at this point is that while this system is frozen, we are still on the payroll. Eventually we’ll get our money.

  14. Tired of PBOCS Says:

    I just found out from a co-worker to be expecting RCC reps in local LCO’s to place the blame on LCM’s and possible on the spot firing’s has anyone else heard anything like this? Jay’s comments are right on we experienced much of the same. Yesterday we had maybe 5 hours good time, NONE today. Today was log on 5 and watch them all stay locked up until it went down, very little imputing was done today. As for pay issues we have very little of those.

  15. ACL Dave Says:

    Tired of PBOCS – Re: “We have failed around 10 -12% of eq’s coming in.”

    What are the most common reasons for failing the EQs?

  16. LCO-AM Says:

    Bonus money for all those that stay though NFRU?

    We’ve not heard that one.

    Any idea how much money that will be ???

    We also heard that RCC people will be visiting the LCO’s and asking the AMFO’s to cover, in detail, the NRFU proceedures. Interesting commnent about them coming in to find someone to blame.

    When I was first hired, last year, our LCOM told me that the count did not really matter and that we would all be blamed for a poor count, and to not take it personally.

    No matter how the count comes out, it will be disputed and changed.

    That was last year, before any of this started. I did not believe him, now I am starting too.

  17. Anonymous NE Says:

    Yes the RCC will be coming to LCO’s and pointing fingers… and the shame of it is that the people from the RCC’s have no clue as to what to look for. It has created an environment of fear, intimidation, demoralizing returns and workers working OT and not being paid for. In the NY area, it starts from the ARCM and down…..

  18. Tired of PBOCS Says:

    ACL Dave most common problems are incomplete EQ’s. And I found out this today that there are NO bonus’s given to any LCO managers, don’t know about RCC level.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, we have heard it all. No direct deposit by today. My crew will finish NRFU by this Wednesday, May 19. LCO has printed and distributed all binders.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Just read an article posted today about the Florida Keys. Inflated 97.5% return rate was questioned by county officials. Residents called their officials and stated that NV notices were placed on their doors, however, no census worker returned. Also, many residents called in to say they were not counted. Census enumerators will be sent out this weekend to recount the area.

  21. BB Says:

    We had 25 people in our afternoon shift yesterday assigend to processing incoming eqs — maximum 5 people allowed on pbocs. giant backlog of incoming EQs and everyone just sitting there falling asleep.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    I just read an article appearing today about the Florida Keys. There was a 97.5% return rate that was questionable. Residents stated that NV notices were placed on their doors and no census workers every returned. Also, many residents called to say they had not been counted. Census enumerators will recount this weekend.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    I believe you, BB.

  24. Jay Says:

    I wonder if one of the major reasons they are pushing for all binders to be back in is that there is a concern that people may hold them until they get all their back pay.

  25. HermHollerith Says:

    I’m not sure Groves is lying, more likely he is being lied to and does not know it.
    Maybe PBOCS cannot be fixed so the PBOCS developers or PBOCS tech support or World Class consultants lie to Census managers, tell them it’s fixed.
    Clueless Census managers tell their bosses that PBOCS has been fixed and so it goes all the way up to Groves.

    Remember all those people who told us back in 2009 that we needed a social scientist to be Director of the Census Bureau. How wrong they were.

  26. ACL Dave Says:

    Tired of PBOCS – Thanks for the info. That’s a pretty sad failure rate, considering how easy it is to do properly. The most common mistake I’ve found when checking EQs is letters and numbers written improperly.

  27. Anonymous NE Says:

    That Florida Keys “scenario” sounds a lot like GQV and GQAV operations here in New York which, when in operation, we were INSTRUCTED by upper management and RT’s alike to close out AA’s so we can get the numbers in ahead of time….this was supported by upper management and Area Managers alike, which then reflected on the chaos that is happening here now in the New York area for NRFU…..Area Managers here in the 5 five boroughs are only here to collect checks…..

  28. mandy_Reeves Says:

    well there certainly is a glitch. I have had people tell me that they sent their forms in the day they got them. Yet they appear on my list and on my EQ’s.

    I think there are like 3 AA binders left. All filled with the shitty vacant apartments where I was first assigned to. And the shitty land lord who will not answer anyones question about which places are vacant, so we could use her for the proxy.

  29. anon Says:

    so much for catching up on the pending….still only 2 users per LCO allowed in PBOCS….Thanks Director Groves! Way to stay on top of things.

  30. anon Says:

    And the memo re:”….the fix for performance issues…” the system was brought down to implement “the fix” at a time when it was actually working. Director Groves, it has not worked since. They say bring in the crews to work the weekend and catch up – then only allow 2 users to access PBOCS for the entire LCO….I’m thinking seriously about filing a lawsuit for mental anguish & undue stress – the lack of humane treatment from upper management brought on by the mere selfishness of the permanent employees of the Census Bureau.

    I can’t forget the fact that the people in charge of writing & dispersing the training manuals had spent more time on manuals for operations & positions that would come after current ones thus putting undue stress on LCO peons(sp?)to get people trained at the last minute if at all. I don’t understand the fact that they pay office employees less but stress them out more than the field people? They should pay office people enough so that they won’t have people leave to go to the field. wasting processing time & cleaning up messes caused by the new people that didn’t get trained adequately if at all.
    COMMON SENSE PEOPLE!! should use your big pay checks to buy some (common sense)

  31. AxionJaxon Says:

    You don’t really know anything about software & programmers, do you?

    “Fix” in software terms doesn’t mean “fixed” in every day usage — it means they’re attempting a patch to get over some problem or glitch. You’re either very ignorant, or purposely mischaracterizing things to simply be snarky.

    Groves has never said PBOCS is “fixed” and you can’t cite any quote from him that does so, at least, none that don’t come directly from the spirit world via Rep. Bachman.

    Get a grip, get a clue.

  32. Anonymous NE Says:

    “Get a grip…get a clue” Simple question….you’re enumerating the country, and for all the money allocated you would think a system would be done right the FIRST time, and ONLY time for an operation of this size..

    ANON…correct..the stress and undue pressure put on the LCO’s is enormous…and uncaring by upper management. Incompetence, especially here in the NY area runs rampant. ARCM, Area Managers are totally without professionalism, and lack the intelligence to manage effectively. When all that is looked at is the NUMBER each day they come in kinda speaks volumes on their management skills.

  33. AxionJaxon Says:

    Maybe I should have said “take a literacy test.”

    The system is broke, & it’s a terrible situation.

    but Groves never said the process and system he inherited was “fixed” like this blogger keeps harping on —

    while there’s a lot of good stuff here, this blogger also seems to take anything he can to dump on the Census, simply take statements and misconstrue them for his larger political purpose. Doesn’t matter if it’s true, just if it heaps abuse on the Census and, by extension, all Census workers, who are jsut silly Government workers after all, in the Conservative view.

    BTW, who funds this blogger anyway? What is The Phillips Foundation? Its founder, Robert Novak, outed a CIA agent in support of the greater glory of Bush and the Iraq War, if that gives you a clue where this guy is coming from.

  34. Hike Says:

    For AxionJaxon,

    Do u work for the Census? and is it in a supervisory capacity? Because your glib surface reading of this post reminds me soooo much of what I see at the Census.

    Yes, Groves did say that “the agency has fixed glitches” … see http://www.mytwocensus.com/2010/05/12/nextgov-census-director-robert-m-groves-says-computer-problems-are-fixed/

    The email obtained – which btw is ONE DAY after the news piece about the fixed glitches – states that “the fix for performance issues” is ready for implementation – it does imply that after the two hours when the system is unavailable, PBOCS will be fixed.

    Of course, that is NOT the case and ALL the problems are not fixed. And it is REMOTE that all the problems will even be fixed by Dec. 31, 2010. Well, C’est la vie.

    The best to hope for is that the system does not get any worse. I would be satisfied with that because as we all know – fixes can lead to even more problems esp. when it concerns IT.

    I really do hope that there is a Congressional hearing re: PBOCS. For the money, the system really is a POS.

  35. BB Says:

    I don’t care who funds this, I am way to the left myself. But am absolutely astounded at the lack of competence, the disorganization and waste I have seen in my four weeks with my LCO.

    What I am reading here is an accurate reflection of the problems.

  36. Ex-IT Says:

    Where to start? on one hand, we get emails telling us that PBOCS has huge transaction backlogs and to limit users (today the limit was TWO!. Meanwhile, LCOMs are getting emails telling them that PBOCS is being under-utilized and LCOs should put more users on(duh – hardly anybody can log in successfully because it is crashing badly). LCOMs, under pressure from regional and area managers and RT commissars tell the AMs and OOS’s to put every available computer to work checking in questionnaires. Doesn’t take long for the whole system to melt down. We’ve seen this pattern several times. Most of the problems with PBOCS doesn’t really seem to be software logic bugs, but from traffic overload.

    And then there is the repeated pattern of over-hiring for the field. This not only creates shorter than advertised employment, but is creating a huge backlog of questionnaires in the LCOs – especially when PBOCS is down for hours to entire days. The huge backlog of questionnaires not checked creates additional problems by making the reports that PBOCS generates useless (when they can even get them to work). Since the raw numbers and production goals are the only thing management really looks at, LCOs are forced to spend huge amounts of overtime redundantly entering data into backup databases so that LCOMs can provide numbers to their Area Managers multiple times per day.

  37. Allison Crowley Says:

    Former RCCemp:
    Good luck with that bonus money…you’ll be lucky to get your pay up to date by the end of the year.

    You’re right they’ll be in the LCOs looking for someone to blame, because CLEARLY it’s not the fault of the Bureau that the software sucks, the procedures blow, and the consultants they hired (Harris) have pulled the fast one.

    I am SOOOO glad I got a real job.

  38. Vedderhead Says:

    RCC personel just packed into the elevator. “We won’t tell them we’re coming”. We’ll just call once we’re close. They had Boots on. Adios!

  39. Erik Says:

    I work in the Freehold, NJ LCO and PBOCS is barely up. We have such a backlog, its not even funny

  40. twobitsworht Says:

    First, keep in mind, PBOCS has nothing to do with getting paid. Second, PBOCS has nothing to do with the work getting done in the field. PBOCS only purpose in life is to give HQ and RCC a way of tracking completion of the work. It really has no other purpose. The work can be done with out this system. The actual data will be generated from the OCR scans of the EQs. Using it or talking about it is pointless.

  41. techy Says:

    “in the field. PBOCS only purpose in life is to give HQ and RCC a way of tracking completion of the work. It really has no other purpose”

    It also serves as the Reinterview mechanism. Either way, RCC management basically lives or dies by the reports generated by PBOCS as stated before, which causes undue pressure even though they KNOW the system is borked.

    I had solution that may have helped speed things up and aided in office scheduling efficency, but due to RCC politics it’s being ignored.

  42. twobitsworth Says:

    Techy,

    Right, I forgot about RI, but we could randomly seclect RI manually as well as PBOCS does it.

    IF management (if you can call it that) would TRUST the numbers we manually calculate everyday, they wouldn’t need PBOCS. The work will still get done, but the pavlovian dogs need their reports to keep the pressure on in what could be a relatively low stress operation if it were not for the constant micro management.

  43. techy Says:

    twobits: This is very true. Unfortunatly the RCC makes it even worse, micromanaging when they’re generally hundreds of miles away from the actual LCO

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  45. just a cog Says:

    As a former employee in the for-profit section, as a tax-payer, and as a citizen, I am concerned that PBOCs was released without adequate bug testing and bug-reporting processes. The NRFU operations have been crippled by PBOCs. The result is petty in-fighting and blame games among middle managers, and confused part-time employees. Some of the part-time employees held senior positions in industry and are familiar with intranet systems such as PBOCs. Some part-time employees are bewildered by what’s going on around them and losing faith in the Census and in government. There is poor communication, the rules change from shift to shift and manager to manager, and employees feel scared that they will be blamed for making a decision, even though there are no clear guidelines.

  46. Super Sleuth Says:

    To chime in on this a bit, we’ve found in MaRCS it’s helpful to have .pdfs made of all the Address Listing pages stored to the virtual drive, so that we don’t have to use the allotted PBOCS slots every time a MaRCS case doesn’t have an Address. We’ve done the UE Listing Pages, we estimate for 140,000 NRFU cases it would take about 4hrs40min of labor hours and a PBOCS slot to complete the .pdfs.

    Hope that helps, a little.

  47. just a cog Says:

    Why doesn’t the census forget about PBOCS, which might be vaporware, and send the NRFU forms to an outside contractor to process. “Quality control” of the NRFU forms is almost done.

    The Census Bureau has a focus group of 600,000 part-time workers to give them feedback on improving operations for the next time. Some of them have considerable experience in running successful businesses and could provide useful feedback on troubleshooting computers, applying customer service principles to Census protocols, and creating accountability systems.

    So many smart part-time workers want to do a good job and came into this job proud to be part of the Census. I wonder if the permanent employees realize that their actions and communications have a huge effect on how we view government.

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