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: Are Census Bureau officials getting bonuses based on performance?

This came in through our submission form:

I would sure like to see a story on who in the census office are getting bonuses and for what.

Out of the Matteson Office 2526 we have been given deadline dates by the LCOM John Mathis such as one a week ago, then one today, etc.  In a meeting with the LCOM, someone from the RCC Chicago office, brought up these dates John seemed to change his mind on the dates.  Someone else then asked if anyone is getting bonuses for completing early.  The RCC guy said “Who said we are getting bonuses?”

I think any bonuses if they exist for finishing early are only going to cause more bad census data as we are rushed to meet dates that are falsely imposed.  The website says this part of the operation should end in early July.

So can you find out what bonuses are offered to census management and for what?  Then we can start writing our congress people to abolish them.  The only bonus I think should be for getting a complete and accurate count of all people and where they lived on April 1st.

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29 Responses to “Daily Sound Off: Are Census Bureau officials getting bonuses based on performance?”

  1. Laney Says:

    Snort. I highly doubt anyone is getting a bonus.

  2. anonymous Says:

    Not right now.

    They are working on the “good ole boy” system. Each “buddy” will help each other get permanent Census Bureau, Partnership, other Federal jobs, and outside jobs.

  3. anonymous Says:


  4. anonymous Says:

    Condolences to the family of Baltimore CL Spencer Williams shot and killed while dropping off a co-worker on June 7, 2010 (Twitter).

  5. NarfooSnafoo Says:

    Pffft! The only bonus CLs at my area would get for highest performance is one Census cap.

  6. anonymouse Says:

    ever since my participation in Address Canvassing a year ago, I have heard persistent rumors of bonuses to ‘finish first’ or early — and would very much like to know the real scoop on this!

    brooklyn, nyc

  7. Senseless Says:

    I was told that the only bonuses were for assistant managers and above.

  8. SenselessCensus Says:

    Well if the AM’s and up are getting bonuses for finishing early it sure seems like a bad system. The would be crawling up our butts to get done ASAP by setting unrealistic deadlines that aren’t July like this phase is scheduled to run to. We in turn would make more errors and rush to try and meet them. In the end the American people lose and the managers get a bonus. (wait a minute this seems like what is happening in my LCO.)

    I wonder if we can file a Freedom of Information Act to get this info from the Census.

  9. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    If they ever responded to my freedom of information at requests i would throw a party…there has been very little transparency in the obama administraton.

  10. Motown Region Says:

    From my experience, the bonuses are there. I got a small bonus but it was obviously less than what the production, quality, and recruiting managers received, based on the manner the in which it was presented to me. I don’t have a problem with a bonus being small or not getting one at all. I do have one when the bigger bonuses given were based on completion of Address Canvassing, which now appears to be all but a failure now that we are about to embark on an unscheduled operation called Address Canvassing Delete Check which will essentially go back and redo what enumerators were paid to do last year. Production did the work, Quality Assurance checked it, and 2 layers of CCM went in behind them and validated it. Now we’re going pay to send thousands of workers out in the field do a chunk of AC again.

    I watched the spikes last year in overtime, and the shifting of employees from LCO to LCO with huge additional costs in mileage. The managers that made these decisions are the ones that got the biggest bonuses. Can I look back at this and say they earned them? HELL NO!

    My question is: Should the managers who received bonuses for their
    efforts in Address Canvassing be required to return them? I think so.

  11. anonymous Says:

    Motown Region, you’ve got it right. The “favored” managers will re-do the Address Canvassing again.

  12. Anon Says:

    I’ve heard the regional directors get bonuses based on when they finish but I don’t know how far down the line that people get them.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    “If they ever responded to my freedom of information at requests i would throw a party…there has been very little transparency in the obama administraton.”

    @SRM – double edge sword…you could release your grant application to the readers of this site as requested a while ago. You did accept $25,000 from a conservative republican organization to put up this website, didn’t you?

  14. Michael Cook Says:

    There is no Census Bureau policy to pay bonuses for completing 2010 enumeration work early. In fact, our temporary door to door staff are not even eligible for bonuses or cash awards under federal pay regulations. As for managers, as of early June only 104 of our roughly 2,964 local census office management staff have received cash awards for an average of just $175 each. Regional Directors are career Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and are not eligible for bonuses. The fact that we are ahead of schedule for the 2010 Census is due mainly to the cooperation of the American public and the quality of our 2010 workforce.

  15. anonymous2010 Says:

    Michael Cook states that “The fact that we are ahead of schedule for the 2010 Census is due mainly to the cooperation of the American public and the quality of our 2010 workforce.”
    The fact that we are ahead of schedule for the 2010 Census is due to the fact that the quality of the data was sacrificed for the push for numbers.
    Sad and a betrayal of the American people.

  16. TXlcom Says:

    HEY!!! Where the freakin toast is MY bonus?????

  17. beanie Says:

    I even heard last week from my CL that there was talk about the possibility of overtime pay for enumerators so they could wrap up work faster (in order to meet the 100% of completed EQs by last Friday). Well, that didn’t end up happening, but I was shocked to even hear a mention of it.

    In other news, I have felt so pressured to get things done on time when the LCO has no idea what they’re doing. They send us such mixed messages about procedures (write an INFO COMM citing a refusal for EQs where respondants have answered S1-S5, R1-R3 but refused to disclose any other info, while other times they’ve considered it a complete EQ… just one example). If they don’t know what they’re doing in the LCO, how are we supposed to know either… especially when what they tell us contradicts the manual?! All the B.S. is just trickling right on down.

  18. anonymous Says:

    Anonymous 6/15 – 1:15 pm: At least we have a forum to vent and learn about our Census work! Thank you Stephen and My Two Census Journalists. Congratulations to Stephen for winning your grant and creating this Census site. :)

  19. Anonymous Says:

    @Anonymous 6/15 2:55pm – Why won’t he post the paper then?

    SRM – cut out the personal stuff from the paper and submit it for us to review! We just want to understand!

  20. anonymous Says:

    Anonymous 6/15 at 7:53 pm: Applications for grants, scholarships, research funding is private information.

  21. Concerned enumerator Says:

    Dear Mr Cook,
    Could you explain why the LCO’s and RCC are pushing so hard to complete this phase then? We have about 100 left in our FOS to complete but we just got word today to make one last ditch effort to finish them and that’s it. We even told them on some we could try again tomorrow morning to talk with the building managers but they wanted them all tonight. Why are they pushing us so hard if there is no bonus to be made? What’s more important to the Census.. Quality?? or finishing early??

    Thanks in advance for your answer and assistance.

  22. insidescoop Says:

    Concerned enumerator… Don’t you know it’s a game. It’s a contest of which region is the best. Reports are sent out every day to compare each region to the other regions, each LCO to the other LCOs. No one wants to finish last or even in the bottom 50%. The push is to finish at the top, and not just the top 50%, but the top 1%. If an LCO is at the bottom, then they end up having “visitors” in their office telling them what they’re doing wrong and changing procedures that were documented just to catch up with everyone else. Quality is not the issue… Winning the race is.

  23. Ex-IT Says:

    This Assistant Manager has never heard anything about bonuses – certainly not at my level. And I doubt the LCOMS are getting any. If it is happening it would probably be at a much higher level. The motivation, at least from the Area Managers on down has been that if you don’t meet or exceed the deadlines and production goals (which are always moved up), you get demoted or fired.

    All stick, no carrot.

  24. insidescoop Says:

    @Ex-IT, I know for a fact that the AMA in the LCO I worked for got a bonus. Probably the AMT didn’t get one or maybe your LCO didn’t meet the goal to get one, but there are bonuses given at the Assistant Manager level.

  25. Crotalus Says:

    Don’t know anything about a bonus, but I do know that practically every day, our LCOM has been telling us which place our LCO is in (currently 40th out of 51) and how we need to “step up our game” so that our standings improve. I was under the impression that the name of the game was to do the job and do it right, but apparently it’s a contest to see which district can get done first. Oh well, we’ll just keep plugging along, as I’d rather see the job done right no matter how long it takes. But then, I have a work ethic.

  26. Bob Says:

    The Census is not awarding Bonuses to anyone for anything. Anyone who says differently is accepting rumor for fact or flat out not telling the truth

  27. Insider Says:

    Bob is doing one thing right now – he’s lying. I KNOW bonuses are being given to selected BC-27 employees. One in our LCO got one last month.

  28. NRFU Clerk Says:

    My office is currently second-to-last in our region, and you know what? The LCOM & AMFO are the only ones who care. We’re still ahead of the original production schedule by several percentage points (94% done today compared to 90.5% expected done) so we’re pretty proud of our work, and while we put up with our AMFO no one takes her seriously. We’ve even had regional techs request to be transfered to other LCOs cause they can’t work with her or our LCOM (example: she just told an FOS today that it doesn’t matter if her crew fills out the address pages in the binders correctly or even completely, that it’ll just get taken care of by someone else sometime in another place where she, the AMFO, doesn’t have to worry about it). We finally got a former AMFO from another part of the city who actually has procedural answers for us, so maybe we’ll start getting our numbers right for once in the past month-and-a-half.

  29. gladdich Says:

    And we’re still out enumerating on the night of 6/27 at 10:30pm, while some of our CLs run around like chickens with our heads cut off looking through the office for binders that PBocs is showing as incomplete, even though they were checked in weeks ago. As I stopped to tie my shoe outside the LCOM’s office, I VERY DISTINCTLY heard her talking to someone at about 8:30pm about 9/1 being her “unemployment” date and any bonuses would be worked toward diligently. So while I don’t know about anyone actually receiving bonuses, the potential for them seems to be being bandied about.