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.

Must-Read: New York’s 2010 Census nightmare

The following report comes from a Census Bureau official whose identity has been confirmed but will remain anonymous as she is a current Census Bureau employee:

The five boroughs of New York City and its diversified population of eight million have long eluded demographers and census employees in producing an accurate count. Having worked in three censuses now and living in New York for almost my entire adult life I notice that the socioeconomic spectrum of New Yorkers has widened, making the poor poorer and the rich richer. In the last ten years there is an influx of immigrants; some legal some illegal. It makes what was once a one family home in Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx a two or even three family home. These people are living in converted basements or the second story of the houses some legal some illegal. On the other end of the spectrum, luxury rentals and condominiums have become even more exclusive with price tags in the millions of dollars. In both cases the immigrants and residents of these upscale housing units and their exclusive real estate management companies have ignored repeated attempts by phone or mail to allow enumeration.  Even in the face of a fine, the management companies are adamant about their policy and would willingly pay the fine rather than to allow enumerators to count their residents. The problem is the Census’ Bureau’s threat of a fine is merely used as a scare tactic. When a real estate mogul calls their bluff the actual fine like many other Census Bureau promises is empty.

As native New Yorkers we anticipated these problems. And sitting through four days of verbatim training where someone read through a book, we knew that it wasn’t as simple as the script made it to be to persuade these respondents about the importance of the census and their participation. As a group we brainstormed and created techniques through trial and error to get those who were non-responsive to fill out our questionnaires. Some of these tactics included: sending another enumerator of a different race or creed after several visits with no contact; leaving blank enumerator questionnaires under their door allowing them the privacy of completing it in their own home. One of us even went as far as sending well dressed suits or female fashion models to coerce participation. But all this takes time and money. All of which with 15 billion price tag the Census Bureau doesn’t have.

With inaccurate workload estimation models and front loading the Census Bureau overrecruited, overhired on many operations in preparation for the final major operation: non-response followup. One of the major costs was the paper based operational control system PBOCS which has been the subject of intense scrutiny by media, Congress and employees because of its inability to check out, check out and ship questionnaires and generate management reports. The managers who are monitoring productivity and costs are trained to believe if the reports don’t show it’s done then it isn’t done. With only erroneous reports to rely on, headquarters and regional offices are using a take no prisoners do whatever it takes attitude to pressure temporary employees to complete the task. PBOCS also moves assignment areas fooling LCO managers and field staff into thinking they have more or less work than they have. And ultimately this may have long term geography problems when the Census is completed and used for congressional redistricting.

Since PBOCS doesn’t work correctly and fails to handle the workload, The Census Bureau runs on a more is better attitude. The solution is hire more employees for manually counting and reviewing enumerator questionnaires when they should have slowed enumerator production. Local Census offices have gone from a simple 9am-5:30pm operation to running three shifts 24 hours a day seven days a week with triple to quadruple what their staffing authorizations originally allowed. This compounded the bottleneck, increased the backlog of questionnaires waiting to be checked in and slowed the re -interview and quality assurance phase. There is overwhelming suspicion of data falsification and false proxies but by the time this is figured out the operation will end and the enumerators already released for lack of work.

Now what was originally touted as the most accurate decennial count ever has quickly turned into a race to meet production goals and wrap up the operation as quickly as possible with procedural changes.  We have enumerators, telephone clerks in the LCO, and enumerators from other LCOs taking interviews ignoring the fact that PBOCS will only let you check it in under an enumerator and that if data falsification is happening it will be difficult to find the culprit. What were originally any six personal and telephone visits is now three visits go to a proxy. What used to be try to get the household member because he knows his own name, sex, age, DOB, Hispanic origin and race and whether he rents or owns has become going to a proxy on a first visit and sometimes writing don’t know on most if not all of those questions. Sadly this actually passes the office review portion and nothing in the enumerator procedures disallows that. If a respondent refuses and a proxy is able to give any of the information no matter how knowledgeable he/she is that doesn’t constitute marking it as a refusal, skewing the accuracy of the data.

The incentives of career census employees at RCC and headquarters are in contradiction with each enumerator who wants our city to be accurately counted. The career census employees’ evaluation of performance is purely based on numbers how many cases are completed with little regard to the demography or difficulty of enumerating the population. Their expectation is that the enumeration of traditionally undercounted minorities of Bedford Stuyvesant be just as quick as the white, upper middle class of Upper West Side of Manhattan. The very same agency whose motto has always been the leading source of data about the nation’s people and economy has become a competition between area managers and local census offices.

The leadership in the local census offices isn’t the strongest either. Those who made hiring decisions in New York RCC had every chance to hire the best managers but instead resorted to nepotism to make decisions. When it was clear these decisions were poor the career census employees terminated LCO managers’ employment to cover it up. But then found another disappointing replacement. In an attempt to bring operations up to speed the Census Bureau flew in managers from Denver into Manhattan and headquarters to Staten Island.

The goal is for enumerators to get as many cases in and clerks process work as quickly as possible doing whatever it takes to get the job done, otherwise there will be a formal written reprimand and termination of their employment. It is the chest beating, gorilla apelike attitude of the managers that will ultimately be the demise of New York City.

Lester Farthing, the Regional Director and his managers of the New York Regional Census Center have no intention of an accurate count in the five boroughs. Instead their goal is to appease headquarters, finish as quickly as possible so that the career census employees will be viewed as productive team players who are not questioning the possible inaccuracy of this count. As one of our area managers will say “it’s a hot mess.” I only hope the mayor of our great city Michael Bloomberg, city census coordinator Stacey Cumberbatch, politicians and congressmen are reading this letter and will intervene because ultimately it is the city that will suffer for the next ten years. They were quick to make public announcements touting the importance of participating in the census by returning the forms. But have yet to do anything to persuade non cooperative households and real estate management companies to allow enumerators in to complete their job. The sad reality is that it may be too little too late.

With the way the census works can any of us ever trust census data again?

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60 Responses to “Must-Read: New York’s 2010 Census nightmare”

  1. ntsc Says:

    First learn to write English at above an 8th grade level.

  2. TXlcom Says:

    ntsc…just had to be a bitch boy.

  3. anonymous Says:

    Yes, I believe it.

    For those of you who question whether these stories are true or not, too bad. There are problems with LCOs and RCCs across the U.S. – individuals do not come to this website and make stories up about their experiences.

  4. nerfoo Says:

    I know that I can trust the census data in my area, because I was out there getting it myself. And, I like to think that other proud, civic-minded, temporary enumerators in other CLDs across the country feel the same as I do. Sure, it’s some much needed cash right now – but, this job is more than that for many of us. It’s a chance to participate in something bigger, something important for our community and for our country.

    I know that, in our CLD, there’s no way we could turn in a proxy on a first visit. I’ve got some EQ’s where I’ve left 5 NV’s so far, tried talking to neighbors but didn’t get a knowledgeable answer & I’m still knocking. We’re trying to not turn in any RE’s or NC’s. That’s our directive from our FOS, anyway.

    I’ve got two that I’m reluctantly turning in today. 5 NV’s left over the past month. Finally talked to neighbor on Sat (after leaving NV’s again, just in case they decide to call). Neighbor had been in neighborhood for decades – said the people in the houses had been there for a few years, too. He didn’t have the names of all of the people in the house, but was pretty sure on the counts, anyway. I still spent all day yesterday hoping that they’d call so that I could get complete info on their EQ’s. I even drove by their homes, again, to see if I could catch anyone there…

    I had asked the proxy about another house across the street & he was willing to hazard a guess for me, but he said that it would only be a guess. I thanked him, but told him that I’d just keep trying other ways until I could find out for sure. Sure enough, the next day (when I was driving by to check the other proxied ones on the block), that family was at home!

    I don’t doubt that some people in the census are lazy, pressured or just don’t care about the integrity of the work they do.

    We’re not all like that, though.

  5. Allure Nobell Says:

    After working as an NRFU enumerator (my assignment is mercifully over), I no longer trust the census as representing accurate information; and the rules we were told to bend to get information translated into stalking for the government. I’ll never do it again.

  6. anonymous Says:

    Definitely the bar for acceptable field work was lowered as NRFU progressed. We initially kicked back unidentified proxies or early refusals back to the field for more work. We knew management productivity reports in PBOCs were not reliable so the office review was the only backstop for credible enumeration. Even though we finally caught up on backlog, we were told last week that the only criteria for check-in was a Pop Count on the form. Why the rush to close NRFU? Is it to save money to make up for the waste on the HHC fiasco, or is it because everyone is sick and tired of the “government haters” they encounter in the field?

  7. Cluelessin3242 Says:

    WOW… it can’t be a coincidence that so much about what this memo talks about sounds familiar to what I’m seeing in the Torrance LCO (3242), in California! Especially when it comes to management. I don’t know under what rock they found the LCOM (local census office manager), but this guy couldn’t manage his way out of paper sack.

  8. Jax Enumerator Says:

    If an apartment won’t let you in, can’t you get federal law enforcement to make them let you in?

  9. Enumerate this Says:

    @Jax Enumerator: Absolutely. During training, you should have been provided with the number of your local FBI field office. Give them a call and they will send two armed agents to meet you at the apartment. Depending on the situation, they may also bring a firearm for you and have you “get their backs.” This should have been covered in your NO FEAR training certification, which you should have signed and returned to your CL.

    If the local FBI field office is short-handed, they may “deputize” you over the phone. You are then able to legally use force to make entry. You are also able to, in turn, “deputize” friends and relatives to help out. They may bring whatever weapons they deem consistent with the mission. But even though they may now use deadly force get the EQ completed, they may -not- hear any PII. So send them from the room after they have neutralized all threats but before you begin the questionnaire.

  10. donius Says:

    About time the truth came out about the NY offices, it’s one big perpetual nightmare.

  11. pranita veeria Says:

    @ donius….and the nightmare starts with NYC ARCM Cenac…maybe the poorest excuse of “management” in the country

  12. lagirl Says:

    As an enumerator, I have to say thanks for publishing this story. It again highlights the discrepencies between the PR arm of the census bureau and the world of real-life enumerators.

    We were trained to get accurate information, but the reality is, the LCO just wants the forms done, fast-faster-fastest. Some enumerators use the internet. Some make stuff up. The office doesn’t want to know where you get it or how you get it, just turn in the damn EQ.

    Where are the politicians, city managers, state officials. Isn’t anyone else covering this story?

  13. Maiasaura Says:

    Enumerate this — are you joking or are you just mean-spirited? The “No Fear” is a whistle blower protection and anti-discrimination bag o’ crap put in by Bush. It has nothing to with calling the FBI for backup, being deputized or forcing people to comply with census-taking at gun point.

    Maiasaura

  14. MotleyCrewLeader Says:

    Its funny and sad the mismangement that trickles down on a daily basis in our district. On a daily basis rules of law change. Yesterdays decrees are meaningless as new rules on “documentation” change. At present many crew leaders can not close out their districts because most active cases have been turned in. What is left is NVs and or refusals. We were instructed by regional managers that we are to erase the last Visit histories and try 2 more times. many times this is submitted only to be returned to be told to try again. Same story but different region. Whole districts have been fired or resighned because of the BS. People have been told that their efforts are not good enough not because they didnt bust their ass but because they didnt get the numbers that were desired by management. Cases will only be close if they get a CI.

  15. Debi Says:

    Yep Motley not sure where your from but same-thing here in Buffalo, my CL repeated over & over again how they were threatening to fire. “have no more work for” because of the silent quota. Mgmt being reassigned because of turn out etc.

  16. Anon 23 Says:

    @pranita veeria, ARCM Cenac is the smartest of the management team, she’s overwhelmed but knows her stuff. Her fallback is she’s too friendly with the head of the poorly run Admin

  17. anonymous2010 Says:

    Thank you for your article. I do hope Mayor Bloomberg and other public officials look into this. Your description is accurate. It is terrible that the data for NYC is not going to be accurate. Census forms with errors are getting through because of the pressure to produce. Quality and accuracy have been sacrificed. Crew leaders are supposed to review the Census questionnaires the enumerators submit, but do not do this properly, one reason being that reviewing the questionnaires for errors takes a kind of skill that they may not have, which is different from doing the enumeration itself. There is no further oversight of the questionnaires. While Field Operations Supervisors are skilled enough to find the errors, the office is bypassing them and having office clerks, who have no field experience, make decisions on the accuracy of the questionnaires. Enumerator training is inconsistent, and even with the best training, questions remain as to how to fill out the forms. The result is that error-ridden work is getting through. The cause lies in poor management at the Regional level and at the local level. New Yorkers are being cheated. Please investigate this.

  18. pranita veeria Says:

    @ Anon 23…….What “stuff” are you alluding to? Let’s see…poorly prepared and run conference calls, Crony-ism amongst the management ranks, consistent shifts in policy and procedures on a daily basis, “turn the other way” mentality when it comes to the Area Managers, looking at numbers in NY and comparing them to rural/less density areas of the country and expecting the same results…are you seeing a trend here???

  19. Enumeratah Says:

    @Enumerate this:
    That was amazing. You just made my day. Thank you.
    (Y’know, “The Enumerator” sounds like some Steven Seagal movie.)

  20. Treble Hook Says:

    Sick of the lies……NRFU was supposed to run thru 07/27 now they want us to end 06/21. How can you get an acccurate count when you are rushing it 5 weeks ahead of schedule? Do they care? How about getting a quality accurate count? Isn’t that the most important thing. Proxies are fake and refusals also. People are scared to go into drug infested neighborhoods so they make stuff up. They are forced to send in EQ’s so they make up false pieces. The LCO’s that are nearly done and “ahead” of schedule should be audited immediately. These early closing LCO’s will have their “quick” enumerators go into these slow areas and falsify more refusals and vacants….Get a grip….slow down and be accurate.

  21. Juan Says:

    My “manager” tried that quota crap with me. She was a 45-year-old witch under so much pressure her dyed hair was falling out. The census was making her bald. As the weeks passed, you could see the lines in her face develop and her eyes shift around wildly as she was driven crazy by the pressure. She deserved it.

    She couldn’t make her quota so she laid me off.

    Unemployment is good for 99 weeks. “Don’t throw me into that briar patch, Br’er Bear”

    AMR – kiss my ass hahahahahahah

  22. Hatta Rayga Says:

    there is NO truth to that info regarding calling the FBI to get people to let you in.

    DO NOT TRY IT

  23. Jax Enumerator Says:

    What are the post-NRFU operations and how is one selected for it?

  24. Enumerate this Says:

    @Hatta Rayga: Apparently you’re on the outs with your CL because they didn’t give you the special unpublished FBI direct-dial line reserved for top enumerators. You had to make quota. Sorry.

    Don’t be bitter when you’re sticking your 25th NV in some screen door that doesn’t latch (seriously, if there’s a crime, it’s not having a place to stick a fucking NV without it blowing away) and you see an enumerator on the next block scooting down a zip line from a black helicopter. He’s also got a couple flash-bangs in the tote bag pocket where the HHC was supposed to go.

    Seriously. It was in the NO FEAR training. I bet you signed that shit without even reading it. Check page D-33 of the Enumerator’s Job Aid and you’ll see what I’m talking about….

  25. Minchoww Says:

    As a CL we this census is not going to be accurate or even close. Too much micromanagement and “Quantity vs Quality” issues. This is only done once every 10 yrs so you would think they would want it to work. In my opinion this is only a money maker for somebody.

  26. Now Really Fooked Up Says:

    2010 Census is a complete scam and waste of money. Government employees will be going to jail for various scams when all the facts come out. 2010 Census is economic terrorism.

  27. annonymous Says:

    @Fooked — ‘splain.

    @Jax

    Nonresponse Followup (NRFU)
    NRFU Reinterview
    NRFU Vacant/Delete Check
    Field Verification

    NRFU Vacant/Delete Check

    National workload = 10 – 12 million HUs
    Independent followup – begins within two weeks after NRFU is completed in each LCO
    Workload cases — Addresses classified as vacant or delete during NRFU and cases added since the NRFU universe was initially identified, (non-responding Update/Leave adds, new construction, DSF adds, and LUCA appeals)
    Will be conducted July 24 – August 25, 2010

    Field Verification
    Verifies the existence of respondent provided housing unit “adds” made to the census address inventory during the Be Counted and TQA operations
    Verifies potential duplicate housing units
    National workload = 400,000 HUs
    Conducted 07/23/10 to 08/25/10

    http://www.census.gov/sdc/leithauser.ppt

  28. sg Says:

    This is one of maybe half a dozen write-ups on this site that are actually informative and interesting. The observations about the problems posed by higher- and lower-income neighborhoods are especially worthy of attention. There’s really little the U.S. Census Bureau can do about it. It’s a result of centrifugal social trends, a society fragmenting along class lines.

  29. Ex-IT Says:

    Definitely not unique to NY.

    It is hard to overstate how much the management obsession with production goals and working ahead of published schedules has undermined the accuracy of this Census. It has been unbelievably toxic.

  30. Waiting4Work Says:

    It’s too bad how things panned out in the NYC region. It wasn’t like that at ALL in the 2000 Census. Back then, you had competent, dedicated leadership from top to bottom with only the occasional gaping asshole. This Census is the complete opposite. The stories are all true but may actually be worse. Their needs to be a thorough investigation conducted. I WISH I would have videotaped my training sessions for evidence. There was no regulation against doing it. But the entire NRFU training (all 23 hours of it) amounted to nothing more than a complete laughing stock. And none of us (30 people) from those sessions have enumerated a SINGLE household! And now they bring in people from Denver, putting them up in rooms for 180/night! What a joke!
    This Census is a disgrace to John Q. Public taxpayers everywhere!

  31. Senseless Says:

    Jax Enumerator – next operation is Vacant/Delete Recheck. Some enumerators in my area have already been selected to stay for that operation. Starts mid-July

  32. California FOS Says:

    A little bit of history: In 1790, thanks to this new little document called the “Constitution” that a bunch of guys wearing wigs had created over several weeks cooped up in a stuffy building in Philadelphia, a small army of Deputy U.S. Marshals on horseback galloped across the thirteen united States of America and counted up all the free folks (except the untaxed Indians) and “three-fifths of all other Persons” that they came across.

    Seems like a pretty simple undertaking. I mean, yeah, it was certainly a BIG undertaking, covering millions upon millions of acres of land and all, but conceptually, you put a bunch of dudes on horses, tell them (verbatim, of course), “go forth and enumerate,” and they come back a few months later and tell you what they counted up. I really doubt we had “Address Canvassing” followed by “Group Quarters Advance Visit” followed by “Group Quarters Validation” followed by “Update/Leave” followed by “Mailout/Mailback” followed by “Enumeration of Transitory Locations” followed by “Service-Based Enumeration” followed by “Group Quarters Enumeration” followed by “Nonresponse Followup” followed by “Vacant/Delete Check” followed by God knows what else, back in 1790. (I bet those marshals didn’t even fill out a D-308 every day they trotted along the dusty trails, or hand out a D-1(F) to every free person they came across.)

    Somewhere along the way, perhaps about the time someone came up with the brilliant idea to take this process away from the Marshals Service and give it to a brand-new organization called the Bureau of the Census, or perhaps several decades later, this business of enumerating the American population got a whole lot more complicated. Fast forward to the 2010 Census and we’re awash in crazy acronyms (WHUHE! PBOCS is down again, so let’s put all these EQs through our ASS so we can get them shipped to the NPC!) and incompetent managers (luckily not in my LCO, but evidently widespread across the country) and priorities that change every time the RCC bigwigs change their socks.

    Look, technology is great and all, but let’s use the tools to simplify our work rather than make the work more complicated to accommodate the tools. My wife got a speeding ticket the other day. The cop didn’t have a ticket book. Instead, he had this electronic gizmo that resembled a cross between a Blackberry and a Walmart price scanner. He used it to scan in her driver license, type up the details of the citation, have my wife use the stylus to sign her name on the touchscreen, and then point it at his motorcycle and beam the data to a portable thermal printer that spits out a nice, printed, easy-to-read traffic ticket. Simultaneously, he had beamed the information directly and, presumably, securely to the police department’s server and thence to the Superior Court’s server, where there now exists a case record and a scheduled court appearance for some time in the middle of August.

    So here’s my proposal for Census 2020. Ditch all the operations we have in 2010. Get rid of the mailback questionnaire and the half-dozen warning notices, reminder notices, duplicate questionnaires, tickler postcards, and whatever else that went along with it. Invest in a half-million or so GPS-enabled, wireless handheld devices and corresponding portable thermal printers. Hire a half-million or so enumerators in neighborhoods across America, like we do now. At the same time, for every FOSD, hire one retired or off-duty cop and deputize these people as temporary U.S. Marshals with the authority to enforce the laws of the Census. Starting April 1 (Census Day), send enumerators out to every housing unit in the country, using the Address Canvassing method (canvass every block, stay to the right, move clockwise, etc.). At each housing unit, the enumerator verifies the address against the address list, uses the GPS to map spot the address, knocks on the door. If there’s no answer, the enumerator prints out a Notice of Visit that contains the Case ID number and instructions to either (1) go to a secure Census Web site and complete the questionnaire online, (2) call a toll-free number and complete the questionnaire with a telephone operator, or (3) download a blank questionnaire from the Census Web site, print it out, complete it, and mail it back to the Census Bureau. Or, if the resident does answer the door, the enumerator can complete the questionnaire right there on his handheld device or, if the resident doesn’t want to do that, the enumerator can print out the instructions for the other 3 options.

    If the resident goes online and completes the questionnaire, or calls on the phone and does the questionnaire, or mails in the downloaded questionnaire, then that case is automatically removed from the enumerator’s workload. Otherwise, once the enumerator has finished canvassing the whole AA, he starts revisiting the non-response cases. When enumerators get refusals that they can’t convert, or they’re threatened with assault (or actually assaulted), they send the address to their resident Census Cop. The Census Cop (with a gun and a badge) goes to the address and gives the resident a choice: Answer the enumerator’s questions, or I give you a summons to appear in Federal court. You assaulted my enumerator or threatened to shoot the next Fed that showed up? Fine, you’re under arrest for violating Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 111, and I’m taking you to jail. If you tell me how many people live in this house I MIGHT recommend to the U.S. Attorney that they ask for 7 years instead of 8.

    Bet we could canvass the whole country and get the most accurate count we’ve ever gotten, all in about three months. When did some of these ELCOs open? 2008? Three months at 40 hours a week for 500,000 enumerators averaging $18 an hour, plus $2,000 for each of the handheld gizmos, would add up to $5 billion and change. (And I bet the actual average pay and the actual cost of that many identical devices would be much lower than that.) How much is this Census costing us?

  33. joesephine_palookaskinski Says:

    wow…that is a great idea … responding to the guy above me

  34. Anon 23 Says:

    @California Fos, clearly you’ve given this some thought! Makes sense, you should go for groves job!!!

    @pranita veeria, true, but the NY leadership is terrible at best. We can at least give Cenac credit for writing emails you can read and are for the most part gramatically correct! If the leadership can’t write, they certainly can’t lead!

  35. Cluelessin3242 Says:

    @California FOS – your idea sounds wonderful! Unfortunately it has ABSOLUTELY no chance of ever becoming reality because it makes TOO MUCH sense. No LCO, no bureaucratic morons as LCOM’s, probably no slick advertising campaign, and enforcing federal law — man you have lost your mind.

  36. Anon 23 Says:

    @clueless in 3242….and no excuses about the everchanging rules that clearly show a lack of planning and leadership

  37. Enumerate this Says:

    @California FOS: You just won the afternoon. Good post. Thoughtful. Insightful. If your LCC finds out about it they’ll cut your balls off.

  38. Crew Leader Says:

    One thing I have a real hard time tolerating is “stupid” so…here I go!

    If 2010 Census management is just half as stupid as some of you people (and I believe they are), I wouldn’t be surprised at all about the mess this is.

    I’m referring to those that don’t know that Enumerate This’ comments about the FBI were a complete joke.

    You can fix a lot of things but, you can’t fix stupid.

    Maybe the answer is to, for the next 10 years, have Enumerate This & the FBI come to your house & all other stupid people’s houses, arrest you & put you in prison until the 2020 Census is complete. Come to think of it…we should just create a “Moron Prison System” as a permanent part of our society.

    Imagine…going out in public & meeting only thoughtful, intelligent people with a sharp sense of humor…aaahhhh!!!

  39. EQNV Says:

    I wish 3244 would have given more thought to who was hired as FOSs. Between my FOS and CL, my experience has been one of the worse in the history of my employment. Total thugs. The LCO? Wonderful. Pay on time. Paperwork perfect, etc. The way the CL and FOS have talked to me and others, horrible, just horrible, along with all the accusations.

  40. 9867sea Says:

    While my particular CLD has been pretty good, there are plenty of other local areas where people are being threatened and terminated. In my opinion, this is total BS. Here we are in the worst employment economy of our lifetimes and some people are choosing to play this BS game of going after working class people who are desperate for income.

    We are living in a society where ordinary people are harassed the heck out of for petty little things, while on the other side the Banksters and wall street are given a free pass and billions, if not trillions in bailouts. This same BS has filtered down to some management people in the Census, which has turned into a massive game of CYA, all the while trying to blame someone else for problems below you on the foodchain.

    Fortunately, my CL did a good job not letting this BS reach the enumerators.

  41. Arpad Golgoth Says:

    A guy in CT waved a gun in the census man’s face. He went away.

  42. EQNV Says:

    “A guy in CT waved a gun in the census man’s face. He went away.”

    Did the census man go away or did a guy in Ct go away, as in, to the loony bin?

  43. CL in Hell Says:

    I’m glad/sad to see that the problems in our LCO (Lexington, KY 2815) are not unique. Our LCOM is an unqualified idiot who specializes in making exactly the wrong decisions EVERY TIME. My FOS is a barking dog of a company man. Instead of taking our time to finish NRFU by June 28(the last deadline we got), we are rushing to finish, discarding detail & accuracy along the way.

    By and large, the people on the ground, Enumerators, CLAs, Crew Leaders and FOSs are good workers who want to do it right but we got no support (and often downright obstruction) from on-high. More than once during my (ongoing) tenure with the census I’ve felt like Jimmy McNulty from THE WIRE. Whenever I think of circumventing the LCO’s ever-changing and mostly wrong-headed instructions, I’m reminded of the wisdom from his partner Bunk, “There you go again, giving a f*ck when it ain’t your turn to give a f*ck.”

  44. Enumerate this Says:

    @CL in Hell: Your Bunk/McNulty reference is the funniest thing I’ve ever read here. Well played.

    A postscript: When my CL was talking today about banging on every door today in our brand-new 100+ EQ books that are due Friday, I thought of Bunny Colvin telling his guys to bang every guy on every corner unless they go to Hamsterdam. I can just see all the CLs and FOSes having to attend a weekly COMSTAT meeting at the LCO where they get ripped because AA 11-3324 is down 4 percent compared to a week before….

  45. De Census Man Says:

    I had been a part of GQAV, and quit after a few weeks of super pressure only to hve my FOS talk me out of it. I found out later the FOS quit. In another five days we were done. No work left. I didn’t stick around for GQE but then was hired back for NRFU as an enumerator. I had a great CL, and a good CLA, and I trusted my fellow enumerators; but the constant rule changes, the not being able to turn in an RE when the respondent clearly had loudly refused, and the constantly increasing NVs were just nuts. I quit after my fifth AA, with an apartment manager refusing to co-operate on the last 5 respondents I had left. I’d had enough of the whole mess.

  46. just-answer-da-question Says:

    Im in ohio, NRFU-RI most of the time Im getting to the target address and they have spoken to a census worker 2-4 times. Ive noticed that the info comms or notes are not read, forms not filled out, proxy names missing. And for the love of mike, If someone has refused to answer (in some cases again.) Why send me back to an address that has already proved to be angry and uncooperative? I also dont like the constantly changing policy / rules.

  47. pranita veeria Says:

    true, but the NY leadership is terrible at best. We can at least give Cenac credit for writing emails you can read and are for the most part gramatically correct! If the leadership can’t write, they certainly can’t lead!

    @Anon….my 7 year old niece can write grammatically correct e-mails, but she doesn’t get paid 100K + to “lead” the region….even more sad when you’re a bi-polar idiot who uses crony-ism to the max

  48. CLNOVA Says:

    Has anyone considered that higher ups are looking for the year end awards and bonuses the Government hands out? i.e. – Look at me and the great job I did by getting my region finished so quickly.

  49. unraveled Says:

    Wow. Everything happening in NYC is happening in DC…exactly the SAME! It’s like reading quotes from enumerators here. This operation is a fallacy. The training that managers and supervisors received was something out of a comic book. Really, does anyone even know under what criteria these imbeciles were selected to lead a staff?? I’ve never seen such crony-ism and barstool mentality. Who are they kidding? They have no aptitude for management or organization; they don’t like or care about their subordinates and look for any excuse to fire people – it’s all about self-preservation. This is the worst temp job I’ve had and it’s the federal government? I can assure you that all the most talented and experienced staff jumped ship or are just waiting for their ensuing lay off as the ultimate get-out-of-jail free card. I presume anyone left in the final stage of the “re-enumeration” won’t mind swimming in mediocrity for the sake of a job. If this doesn’t go down as the worst census in history, I’ll be surprised. Most of us thought and hoped that we were providing a valuable civic duty, not to be undermined by opportunistic hacks.

  50. GS-X Says:

    unraveled, You have described Census Bureau headquarters, too.

  51. CLNOVA Says:

    From reading posts here and on other boards it seems the same problems are nationwide. Is this the NEW generation? Is this the future of over beloved nation? Lord knows, I hope not.

  52. ME Says:

    This is completely true. I work in one of the New York offices and haven’t gone to the press for fear of losing my job. I probably will after everything is over. The sketchiness inside the offices here is spectacular.

  53. NC-CL Says:

    My RCC has decided that city and country enumeration should take the same amount of time. We were not as fast as they liked, so they sent a hit FOS and team from the flatland up into the mountains to take over the operation and count the hicks. Good luck with that, I think I hear banjo’s.

  54. Arizona FOS Says:

    I have to laugh at some of the faux outrage from some of the posters here. Of course the Census is a screwed up operation. But what are you comparing it to? Point out another operation that collects the amount of data Census 2010 is collecting that is better.

    Any operation of this size will have many, many examples of waste, mistakes, abuse, etc. Did you know that in the preperation for D-Day during World War II HUNDREDS of military personnel were killed AT ONE TIME during practice operations?

    The majority of Census workers are diligent, professionals. And the majority of those on this board have too much time on their hands and are probably the biggest complainers and pains in the asses of their LCOs.

    It will be a good count

  55. New York Fos Says:

    Ad what is with the sudden demand for 100 per cent completion in the Manhattan offices? Any office that comes up with 100 per cent completion is just peddling bullshit to appease higher ups. There is no 100 per cent completion possible.

  56. Richard J. Verardi Says:

    I just read the article and the postings. I have to agree with everything negative that was posted, and some of the positive comments. The NYRCC is very similar to Nazi Germany under Hitler’s regime, and the dictator is CENAC. A NYRCC manager who knows nothing about how to run an office, but sits up there on her throne and orders, dictates “do this, do this, and 10 minutes later changes it to something else, then 10 minutes later change again.
    I also was a LCOM until recently. If you don’t do what they order, there is always the threat of termination. I really believe that the CENSUS 2010 management from HQ to the RCC’s across the country are not interested in doing the job right and accurate, just doing the job however. Get the numbers however you can and get the operation over with.

  57. Tell it like it is Says:

    Mr. Richard
    Its fair to say that there are some good people at the RCC. I seems Mr. farthing is sleeping at the wheel cause, they are all doing him no good. Termination is not the ultimate price you pay, its the humiliation, threatening tactics and hostile environment they have you work in. I thought the sweat shops were closed down.

  58. Charles Gordon Says:

    Are there any other managers out there that have been terminated or resigned and are still waiting for their annual leave payment? I have been waiting about 3 months.

  59. Dick Tracy Says:

    You have to file a complaint with the Commerce departments Office of the Inspector General and the NYS Attorney General. Incompetence runs rampant in the NY region and is usually rewarded(ironic isn’t it.!).
    Former Census worker.

  60. Dick Tracy Says:

    I gave fair warning to all those responsible. NYRCC is being investigated as we speak.!