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.

Daily Sound Off: The Plight of the Crew Leader

Many readers have suggested that during these NRFU operations MyTwoCensus should provide a place strictly for workers to vent their frustrations, whatever they may be. I will start taking the best e-mail that I receive each day, publish it here, and hopefully readers will also vent a bit in the comments section. Here’s the inaugural e-mail:

In the past week, I have been told that:
1) NRFU is winding down and our CLD’s should wrap everything up by:
a) 5/26
b) 5/28
c) 6/7
d) 6/18
2) That I must complete enumerator progress reports on a daily basis [In the past week, CLs have received 5 different versions w/varying rubrics to track enumerator progress in this new paperwork about paperwork].
3) That my top priority should be:
a) completing/submitting EQ’s
b) completing/submitting binders
c) completing/submitting D-308′s
d) calling new enumerators, only to inform them I have no work for them but they can come to CLD meetings to get their min. hours each week. (I am also required to observe them in the field and then have them share a binder w/one of my regular enumerators, even though remaining EQ’s in my CLD are few and far between.)
4) That my other top priority is to complete various forms of paperwork about completing tasks listed in 3)a-d every day and submit all information to the LCO w/in 24 hours of the date completed.
5) That I am not authorized for overtime, and should delegate more work to my CLA.  Also, that my CLA is not authorized to sign anything that needs to be signed and submitted in order too accomplish task 4).

I also found out that CLs in earlier operations were making $2.00/hr more.

Although I realize that I am “guaranteed” up to 40 hours each week, I make $1.50 more than my enumerators and am expected to take on a level of agita that almost makes unemployment more attractive than a weekly paycheck.

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32 Responses to “Daily Sound Off: The Plight of the Crew Leader”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    All of the above are correct.

  2. WT Says:

    > Also, that my CLA is not authorized to sign anything that needs to be signed and submitted in order too accomplish task 4.

    This is false. CLAs may sign off on binders, field observations, and questionnaires.

    If you look at D-942 (NRFU) Crew Leader Assistant Job Aid, page 1-2, the only tasks CLAs may never perform are signing payroll and appointing/terminating enumerators.

    With proper use of CLAs, crew leaders should not typically need to go over 40 hours per week.

  3. Plight of the Crew Leader Says:

    WT, you are technically correct.

    However, we are not given a means to question the wisdon of directives that come down the chain of command from [the acronym for the FOS's supervisor (I can easily look it up in the manual, but I believe that my actual recollection is more accurately reflects the extent to which we are isolated from - and therefore cannot question - the powers that be)].

  4. Plight of the Crew Leader Says:

    sorry – meant to say “recollection more accurately reflects”

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Some people think we are stalking them. They are tired of census workers coming to their homes repeatedly.

  6. Maiasaura Says:

    Dear Mr/Ms WT:


    Best wishes,

  7. Typical Government Says:

    Sounds like a lot of the same “do-this, no do-that, now here’s this too” from the “managers” at the office that have never done field work either. I’d be curious to know the GENERAL geographic area you’re at. Call mine “Northern Illinois”.

  8. Fran Says:

    Amen! The “inaugural crew leader” has it absolutely, 100% correct!

  9. Cleaner Says:

    Sounds the same across the board.

    We just got our big push for productivity. Our LCO refused to give us more than half our AAs for nearly 3 weeks. Now they’re wondering why we aren’t more than 60% done. Our CLD is twice the size of any other under our LCO.
    On the use of CLAs, we have two, both of which are working 40 hrs a week just to cover our EQs and Refusal visits.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Some CL and CLA in our LCO not turning in completed EQ and D308 on a daily basis.

  11. California FOS Says:

    Anonymous, if they’d answer the questions the first time, we would never have to go back a second time. Some folks just don’t get that. ;-)

  12. ck Says:

    Kansas City

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Paychecks still not received or shorted hours and mileage.

  14. Hatta Rayga Says:

    It is very interesting toread complaints here. I also work fo rthe census.

    I am older. I have worked for a major city school district as well as another large one on outskirts of of sam ecity.

    I am used to different agendsa and deadlines changing. The important thing is to make a clear decision, stay calm, keep good records and commmunicate briefly and with good conscience.
    Things change – this is a large operation. We are workign with many people an dconstantly changing information- because of the numbers of people working!

    Get it folks! We are working! Many of us are from the avenues of not working recently – sad state of affairs- and inthat state of unemployment we have in soem cases for gotten that a job is a job an d inthe course of doing that job oine is expected to solve problems; to use good judgment and to understand and accept that change is a part of the employment scene.

    I am not against census workers and 2cents. I am one of you. I do, however, feel that sem negative criticism is simply normal criticism which can be directed to many employers. Look at Homeland Security, large city governemnt,..some restaurants, sadly, some hospitals – all large groups which employ many and whose daily charge requires balancing many variables.

  15. Samantha Jackson Says:

    WT, when a CL has a tiny crew (between 5 and 8 enumerators), the CL may not be able to spare the CLA to perform administrative tasks. The CLA is needed to enumerate in order for the crew to reach goals. This means that most of the administrative work falls to the CL. In fact, some crews are so small that the crew can only spare one enumerator to be a CLA. Add to that, no daily meetings with FOS necessitating CL travel to a distant LCO to turn in work. Now throw in new directive requiring the CL (no CLA’s allowed) to follow up on every refusal personally and you have a CL who cannot possibly get everything done in 40 hours let alone 45 hours when you include the pool hours. Remember too that not every CLD is urban. There’s a big difference in travel time in rural CLDs.

    You throw out a blanket statement without knowing the real world some CL’s are working in. Yes, in a perfect world, each CL would have a complete crew and two working CLA’s. In a perfect world each CL would have a daily meeting with their FOS. In a perfect world enumerators wouldn’t have 2 or 3 other jobs and/or school. In a perfect world CL’s would receive reports from the LCO instead of having to hand generate them, doing the work of a computer because PBOCS isn’t performing.

    You refer to the manual. Perhaps that CL’s LCO or RCC has changed up the rules and will not allow CLAs to sign off on those documents anymore. So much of what we learned, so much of what is in the manual no longer applies. Procedures often change faster than a CL can keep up with. What you told the Enumerators yesterday just got changed today. Wait a day and it will be changed again on someone’s whim, it seems. Yes, yes, I know all about flexibility but just because someone has a thought does not mean that the thought is worthy of instant implementation in direct conflict with procedures that are “in the manual.”

    Work harder, work faster, get more EQ’s in. No excuses! Do with your crew of 5 what another CL with a crew of 15 can accomplish. No excuses, just get it done. By the way, that Enumerator’s numbers are too high. Why are they completing so many per hour? That must mean falsification of data. Better meet your goals by tonight or else.

  16. My Two Census » Blog Archive » Daily Sound Off: The Chicago Enumerator Says:

    [...] today’s Daily Sound Off: May 26, [...]

  17. mollysydney Says:

    It doesn’t matter what the handbook says if your FSO and CL are telling you something else and threatening your job if you don’t jump to what they say, no matter how much it doesn’t make sense.
    It has been very confusing, led by CL’s with no management or supervisory skills and poor communication (written and verbal) ability.
    And no one cares – certainly not the Census Bureau. They just want a job done. So what is the point of this website? You can’t change anything.

  18. anonymous Says:

    hmmm…good point mollysydney…just good for venting I guess

  19. MotleyCrewLeader Says:

    This website is also good for those working the census who thought they were alone in the insanity.

  20. Senseless Says:

    Well said Motley Crew Leader!!! That is exactly why we are here. I really believed that it was just my LCO until I spent time in the RCC and found out that the insanity is there too. Now I know it is everywhere and must be coming from the very top. Misery loves company.

  21. Temporary CB employee Says:

    And what is even more insane is that, from what I have been told, this type of organization (or lack thereof) is rather normal for US governmental agencies. It’s only when us outsiders come in for a brief period of time that we get a glimpse of how things are run, and it’s a real eye opener. It would be comical except that it’s our tax dollars that are paying for it! That’s downright scary!

  22. To Infinity and Beyond Says:

    I agree with the last several comments. The insanity is across the board.

  23. My Two Census » Blog Archive » Daily Sound Off: The real problems with payroll Says:

    [...] today’s Daily Sound Off: I work for the payroll department in my LCO.  I wanted to explain some things about how Census [...]

  24. dedstick Says:

    I have been browsing this site for several weeks and have found it humorous, insightful, silly and sad but usually quite informative.

  25. My Two Census » Page not found Says:

    [...] Daily Sound Off: The Plight of the Crew Leader May 26th, 2010 24 Comments [...]

  26. Eye B A Counting Noses Says:

    Don’t you just love it when they look out the window but don’t answer the door!

  27. Frustrated Says:

    I was the fastest worker in our group (I’m very anal, friendly and honest)and had the best results with RE’s so they told me don’t take any more work we are going to move you to an area that needs help….Here I sit a week later with no work….
    and BTW Samantha anyone can check my work…fast and efficient does not mean dishonest.
    All around me I see the other workers turning in 1-2 EQs and claiming 8 plus hours, they sit on them and work 1-2 days a week.

  28. Pablo S. Says:

    Hatta Rayga … you got it right!!! And many of the changes that some people are complaining about were actually implemented to assist with other problems that others were encountering!!!
    Some people like to complain, or simply can’t be happy if they have to work.

  29. anonymous Says:

    My CL and CLA quit today because they did not want to work Memorial Day Weekend. We found out at today’s crew meeting – they never showed up. A different CL collected our D308s, completed EQs, etc.

  30. Carol Bellows Says:

    I’m a Crew Leader too… and I can commiserate with other CLs who have the same problems. Still, I HAVE A JOB!!!!!! in a high unemployment area, I HAVE A JOB which I haven’t had for two years. And I feel like my hard work is being rewarded unlike any other profit driven, private sector job that I’ve had. Thank you, Federal Government, for employing me and giving me the chance to once again participate in this economy. It’s been a long time.

  31. CL joe Says:

    People talking about referring to census manuals and census policies that are reflected in those manuals . Well in my FOS those manuals were thrown away about 1 week before we threw out the constitional rights of people. We are told to harass and harange reluctant respondants to get information Refusals are NOT being accepted , There is no such thing as a refusal at my LCO. We have been told that we are to continue to knock on a refusing respondants door up to and untill a gun is pointed in our face.As a crew leader I am on a daily basis tols production production production or else. We have a hard FOS due to many factors but mention of any of this is termed as excuses and wont be accepted. I average more than 60 hours a week and only see that rising as pickings are slimmer and production goals are increasing.

  32. Lou Says:

    Are crew leaders and or assistants supposed to come to the enumerator and collect 308′s and EQ’s and how many EQ’s per hour are expected in your area.