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.

Rumor: Washington DC 2010 Census employees fired for ripping up 15,000 2010 Census forms

Just got this tip from a credible source, but at this point it is only rumor. If you have more details, please get in touch.

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18 Responses to “Rumor: Washington DC 2010 Census employees fired for ripping up 15,000 2010 Census forms”

  1. Walt Yogati Says:

    Since you’ve tagged this post “arrested,” can we assume that your source told you the employees were arrested for something?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Nah. He is just trying to get you guys to do his work for him again. apparently he still can’t use Skype to make phone calls.

    What tags will he add when it turns out to be false? oops, mybad, triggerfinger

  3. anonymous Says:

    Finally, the truth is emerging! I believe this is happening in many LCOs across the U.S. My own Census return was a “no response” even though I mailed it back the day after receiving it. The public has spoken to us about their forms. They mailed their forms in and still NRFU Enumerators, Quality Control, Re-Interviewers are knocking on their doors time and time again. YES, I BELIEVE UNETHICAL INDIVIDUALS WORKING FOR THE CENSUS CAN AND WILL TRASH MAILED IN FORMS AND COMPLETED EQ FORMS.

  4. anonymous Says:

    There are many Census employees who wanted to work more than 2 hours per week – they were not given the opportunity. Yet, unethical favorites are allowed to remain employed and siphon taxpayer money. I pay taxes, too. Simply scandalous, hiding info from employees and the public. Decent, hard-working people wanted to work temporarily …..

  5. anonymous Says:

    When I think about it … I just get P*^%#ed off! :(

  6. Buzz Lightyear Says:

    We had a couple of enumerators who lost completed EQs from their black binders.

  7. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    i removed the “arrest” tags as this is only rumor…presumably if anyone did this, they would be arrested.

  8. Enumerate this Says:

    Setting these allegations aside, can anyone out there -definitively- tell me (a lowly enumerator) what happens to forms that are mailed in but arrive after a deadline of some sort? At the same time, let me explain how I understand things work. Anyone with better knowledge please correct me.

    1. The Census Bureau mailed forms to every household. Those that were returned by a certain date were recorded as complete.

    2. But NRFU binder production had to begin eventually. My binder was produced April 24, for example. So if a household in my AA returned its form but the form was not recorded by April 24 (tardy respondent, delayed in the mail, backlog of processing, whatever) a label is kicked out for the household and it’s put on my list of households to enumerate.

    3. The binder doesn’t get to me until May 22, by which time the household’s original census form has arrived at the processing center. But the census has no way of telling me this, and I have no way of verifying the respondent’s claim on his front step that he already mailed it in.

    4. I have to enumerate him again, even though a completed form is allegedly sitting in some processing center. So there are now two completed EQs for this guy.

    In short: It would make sense to destroy a late-arriving mailed form if the system shows that an enumerator has already completed an NRFU EQ for that address. And there are surely tens of thousands of such forms piled up somewhere.

    Without knowing the details of the claim in the post it’s impossible to say. Considering that no one at the census takes a shit without permission, it seems unlikely that a few rogue characters are up to no good.

  9. GS-x Says:

    It makes no sense to destroy forms.
    With computers, the Census Bureau can determine if more than one form was sent in and count only one.
    Hard to believe, especially for those who know about PBOCS, but really much simpler to implement than PBOCS.

  10. California FOS Says:

    Enumerate this: If your binder was printed April 24 but you didn’t get it until May 22, then the LCO clerks should have gone through the binder at least once in that period and removed the so-called “LMRs” (for Late Mailback Return). They would have pulled the labeled EQs out of the envelope and lined out the corresponding addresses on the address listing pages, often with the letters “LMR” written in the last column on the right. The LCOs received a number of LMR reports between the initial binder preparation and the time all the binders were sent out to the field.

    I would presume that all the mailback questionnaires would get scanned, as would all the EQs we are filling out. If you inspect the Case ID numbers on the mailback questionnaires (located on the address label near the bar code) and compare them to the Case ID numbers in your binder or on your labeled EQs for the same address, you’ll find that they are the same (except for the “32″ at the beginning of the NRFU labeled EQ case number). So theoretically, the system is able to detect that the same case has been scanned in twice, and then someone can go and select the most complete questionnaire to keep and (electronically) delete the other.

    Our LCO has told us that if we accept completed mailback questionnaires from respondents, we can ask their permission to open the envelope and then simply transcribe the information from the MBQ to the EQ. In those cases we do shred the MBQ because it’s pretty pointless to scan the exact same data off two different forms, or to send the mailback questionnaire to Phoenix in one envelope and FedEx the EQ to the same place in Phoenix in a separate box. ;-)

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks California.

  12. Enumerate this Says:

    Agree. Thanks to California FOS for the detailed explanation. I enjoy this site but it’s about one percent fact and 99 percent invective. Your post was Friday’s one percent.

    My binders had a few “strikethru” pencil lines, but not many. And they spent weeks and weeks in my CL’s garage after they left the local office.

    I’d hope/speculate that a feature of HHCs was going to be instant updating — if a tardy questionnaire is scanned into the system on May 25, for example, that information is transmitted to my HHC when it syncs up at 3 a.m. and the corresponding is deleted from my NRFU list.

  13. j. c. Says:

    Enumerate this, we print the binders, take out the lmr’s and then they’re ready to ship…

    And then Pbocs when down so we had to print out a copy of the binder labels on paper and mark them off before we sent them out to the field. Tat was for the first set of binder’s. The odds i think?

    So, for the next set we were ready to take out the lmr’s, all we needed was the list to pull them, except we couldn’t print the list as Pbocs was down again.

    Well that was the clerks eye view on this.

    What’s driving us clerks nuts are the people who have returned forms blank! And the enumerators signed off on them! What the heck’s with that?

  14. Enumerate this Says:

    @j.c.: Thanks for the clerk’s view. It’s too bad the census is so “stovepiped.” It makes the intelligence community look like a model of interagency cooperation. How great would it be if, once a week, enumerators, CLs, CLAs, FOSes and clerks could get together for beers, drop ranks and hash things out?

    Almost as good would be a weekly bull session with counterparts in other CLDs or even neighboring local office areas. CLs in the NYC area, for example, could get together once a week in an informal setting to trade war stories and bounce ideas off each other.

    A boy can dream….

  15. California FOS Says:

    I like the weekly bull session idea. I do enjoy a good working relationship with a lot of different folks in our LCO, from the LCOM to the admin clerks, and there’s a small group of us who have “bull sessions” over coffee and cigarettes in the parking lot whenever I drop by the LCO for my daily paperwork shuffle, but that’s mostly because I’ve been around since last March and have been a CLA for address canvassing, an admin clerk, an RA, and now a FOS for NRFU. So I’m a familiar face to all the LCO managers and office employees, and I can get away with stuff like wandering into the office, walking up to the admin OOS or the AMA, and saying, “Hey, one of my people thinks they were shorted on yesterday’s paycheck. Can you pull their pay stub for me?” And they’ll stop what they’re doing and take 30 seconds to run the DAPPS report and print it out for me because they know it will be quicker and easier for all concerned than giving me the “official” line of “Well, they need to wait until they get their stub in the mail and then they need to call us on the phone and blah blah blah blah blah.”

    But on the other side of the coin, since I worked in admin and processed D-308s for a month, I know what’s important when it comes to getting those done right, and I physically look at every … single … 308 … that my FOSD generates. (My CLs don’t take anything to the LCO, they bring it all to me at my house. The admin people joke that they wouldn’t recognize any of my CLs if they were walking down the street, because they’ve never seen any of them.) I don’t turn in crap, even if I get crap from my people, because I make damn sure it’s fixed before I let anyone at the LCO see it. It makes for some long hours for me, and I’ve turned in a 308 for myself for every single day since the beginning of NRFU enumerator training (and we won’t even talk about the number of hours on those 308s vs. reality), but I’m one of those people who isn’t going to do a job at all if I’m not going to do it right. I have looked at every single 308, EQ, and InfoComm that my enumerators have filled out. Doesn’t mean I actually read every answer to every question for every person enumerated, but I look at the front and the back of the EQ, make sure the pop counts match (you’d be surprised how many times there are 4 people on the front of the form but only 3 on the back), and make sure that the “S” questions on the front match the “A-C” questions on the back, and there’s something written in R1 and R3. I suspect, from the volume of “office reject” EQs piling up in some of the other mailboxes (but not in my own; I get back maybe 3 a day, usually for not filling in the name of the Indian tribe in question 6), that not all the FOS’s out there are doing this, and it’s probably more than what is technically in our job requirements, but it just seems like if the American taxpayers are paying me just shy of $1,000 a week to SUPERVISE about 100 people who are supposed to be out there counting every man, woman and child in my FOSD, that I should make a good-faith effort at making sure that’s what those 100 people are really doing, and not leave it up to clerks making half my salary and dealing with dysfunctional computer systems, conflicting directives from RCC, and all sorts of other office BS to also have to catch my people’s mistakes because I’m too lazy to do my job and supervise.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying, a little bit of teamwork and a little bit of personal accountability (vs. the buck-passing and back-stabbing that seem to be so common in so many of these LCOs and RCCs I’m reading about) go a long way toward getting the job done. Whatever your job is, take it seriously, and give it the old college try, and take responsibility for your mistakes and your screw-ups, because we ALL have them and nobody worth their salt is going to give you a hard time for owning up to your own mistakes rather than passing the blame onto the folks under you or over there in some other department or whatever.

    I’m lucky to have an AMFO and an LCOM who seem to share that philosophy and for the most part, keep us pretty well shielded from the BS that may or may not be coming down from the RCC. Some of you have some real jerks for bosses and you have my sympathies. If you’re in a position to supervise others, do your best to keep all that crap away from your subordinates, and they will thank you for it no matter what happens. Just remember, the job is temporary … we’re all going to be fired sometime in the next couple months. Might as well make the best of it while it lasts. :-)

  16. Jo Says:

    Thanks, California FOS. You sound like my FOS (I’m a Crew Leader). He double checks almost everything that we submit. I rarely get anything back now; I also check and double check, but we’re all dealing with huge amounts of paperwork…. Our FOSD had 8000 NRFU EQ’s altogether… and it’s easy for even competent, careful people to miss stuff here and there. I look at everything my enums and CLA’s submit; I rewrite Info Comm’s and notes if something isn’t clear, and I still miss stuff. We never got huge piles of returns back from the office, but over the last couple of weeks, our return rate has decreased so that it is close to zero.

    Our FOS does seem to have a good relationship with several key people in the office and so far it has helped make our job much easier.

  17. Jo Says:

    Oops… about the Late Mail Returns: Most of the LMR’s were pulled by the time we got our binders in late April/early May; the last LMR report I got was dated mid-May, and I only had 2-3 EQ’s to pull based on that report. We still had many respondents who insisted that they had mailed in their forms but their cases did not pop up on the Late Mail Report. I don’t know if there are any LMR’s still sitting somewhere.

  18. unraveled Says:

    that’s brilliant. I wonder if its intentional…more tactics to create jobs and retain them. Think about it, the worst recession (depression)since FDR and these clowns will do anything to stay employed, tossing out thousands of perfectly good forms wouldn’t surprise me considering past behavior. How else does one stretch a budget to exhaustion and create busy work? Or it could be more of the blind leading the blind…