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.

Did this happen in your office?

This comes from an anonymous tip:

Hi, the FOS told all the CL’s, CLA’s, and enumerators to bring EVERYTHING in this morning.  EVERYTHING.  Even eq’s / binders still in progress.  He said (talking about the LCO managers) “They said turn it all in this morning, they’ll finish the eq’s at the office.”

How are they going to “finish” the eq’s at the office?   They’re going to make stuff up, just like they did last year during mapping.   Fabricate the data, in order to meet the deadlines and make the LCOM and admins “look good”.

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29 Responses to “Did this happen in your office?”

  1. Still counting.. Says:

    In my area this happened also. They did this so the office could count what EQ’s we still had and see if any were missing. The next afternoon we got them all back with a instruction to get them all done by the end of the day. They said we could use any proxy even someone that refused to give us their name and at a minimum get how many people lived there on Apr 1. I am sure we got bad data as we couldn’t try again even in the morning because they wanted them back.

    What I want to know is what was the big rush for?

  2. insidescoop Says:

    Our office was instructed to do this also, although we were not told to complete EQs in the office. For whatever reason, when an LCO gets to 95% with NRFU, they are instructed to do Close-Out. At that point, they have 24 hours to get everything back from the field, then the office has 24 hours to get everything back out to the field.

    Our Area Manager also suggested we go to a third shift at the office, but since PBOCS isn’t available during 3rd shift, I’m not sure what value would be added.

  3. pranita veeria Says:

    Welcome to the NYC area !!!

  4. Blanche Says:

    Yes, they called in all our work on Sunday, June 6th. Then midday Saturday, June 12th, an urgent request — Can you work today? I was given about 40 EQs that had been marked as 99s. All were closed out the same way.
    - All questions marked DK.
    - R1 (respondent’s name): Proxy written in. A few different first names only and all male: Frank, John, Ralph. No address. Last name and phone: REF
    - Enumerators Signature: FOS names

    I have just worked three 10-hour days with different batches of these, spread out over many CLDs. At first I told the people I was interviewing that someone had proxied for them, and they’d say, “We don’t know any Frank.” Then I realized what was going on.

    Our FOSs are good people. I think they just got told to close out all their work in the field with no advance notice. Now they’re making it right. Even our crew leaders are out there banging on doors trying to get the real data.

  5. SNARFU Says:

    Yes, in my LCO, we had the same thing. On Thursday night, we got orders to have everything in on Sunday. Three visits in one day, proxies on the first visit; whatever was needed. Pop 99 with the enumerator as proxy for whatever we couldn’t get. As near as I can tell, it was all so that the LCO could claim everything was done to keep the RCC happy. All the 99′s are coming back, so in a sense they were robbing Peter to pay… uh, Peter.

    Of course, all the first-visit proxies are simply done; the data are simply compromised in those cases.

  6. nerfoo Says:

    We didn’t get that in our CL, but I had turned in my last 4 incompletable EQ’s last week and was told to just sit tight until Vacant/Delete operation.

    The anonymous tipster is just guessing that ‘finish them up in the office’ means ‘make stuff up’. It could just as easily mean ‘finish them up using CLs and FOS’s out in the field (and on the phone getting proxies, doing research, etc)’.

    And, isn’t it awesome that those poorly done 99′s that the commenters are working on were noticed ‘in the office’ and are being turned back out to be worked on, to get the info right? I know that my CL gave me some 99′s a few weeks ago, that had been marked as refusals by other enumerators in my CLD. The CL (perhaps directed by the FOS) decided that maybe another enumerator might be able to get a different result. I did :-) …Well, except for those last 4 EQs, where I just couldn’t get any answer to a door, or any proxy with good info.

    Sending out another enumerator on refusals and 99s, one who the respondents may be more responsive to, or one who may be able to visit at different times of day, is a good way to fully utilize a CLD’s staff to get the job done right.

  7. anonymous Says:

    Same answer as “nerfoo”.

  8. Enumeratrix Says:

    I got a call yesterday morning from someone at the LCO asking me to bring my outstanding EQs down to the office as soon as possible. I called my CL. His answer: “Ignore them.” I’m glad I did; I later heard that people who went down to the LCO to hand in their EQs ended up waiting around for hours for someone to tell them whether they were getting them back after being counted, or what. Waiting around, folks, and being paid for same, and nobody clear on the point of the exercise.

  9. Amanda Says:

    Yesterday we (CLs) were asked to turn in all completed work by 5 PM and then bring back any EQs that were completed last night and ALL incomplete work this morning at 9. We sat around the office for 2+ hours watching the LCOM print out 1172s (I think that’s the number for the report that tells what EQs are unaccounted for in the office) and match up EQs from the CLs to that report. They reprinted EQs for the ones they couldn’t locate at all and sent the nearly 50 CLs, FOSDs, enumerators from another LCO, etc out to gather info on those cases (sometimes sending 1 EQ with a person to complete). My CLD was 100% complete last night, but there were 530ish cases still out from the LCO. I completed the single EQ I was given this morning within 30 mins and returned it to the LCO.

    Wish I’d have had some popcorn this morning sitting in those chairs just waiting and watching. It was definitely a show…of massive chaos!

  10. root beer float Says:

    The waiting around, no planning, wasting taxpayer money and time.

  11. Senseless Says:

    Same here we turned everything in yesterday.

  12. just an enumerator Says:

    What is the rush all about? Each CL, LCO, and RCC is competing to near the front of the line. No one wants to be last or near the bottom. Many CL and up dragged their feet to try and stretch out work for a few more weeks. Now, the very same “work slow-down” individuals are intimidating workers to finish recklessly.

  13. anonymous Says:

    It does NOT “just as easily mean ‘finish them up using CLs and FOS’s out in the field (and on the phone getting proxies, doing research, etc)’.” The FOS and CLs have no work either, they say they’re not being told anything, they’re “waiting by the phone”, not working, nada. But yeah maybe the people who are actually IN the office maybe they’re on the phone trying to get proxies or whatever to complete the eq’s. Because, ya know, it would never occur to my FOS or any of the CL’s around here to duh send different enumerators and different CL’s when one enumerator or one CL couldn’t get the info. What do you think we are, stupid? We did everything that could be done, we did it right, or at least we tried, and we tried again and again and again. And yeah at all different times of the day, and all different days of the week. You seem to be saying we didn’t, all we did was send one enumerator one time, and gave up? We’re too lazy or too stupid to “fully utilize a CLD’s staff to get the job done right” and that’s why the office staff has called in all the eq’s, so they can do what we didn’t even try to do? Gimme a break!

  14. Ex-IT Says:

    No – at least, not yet.

  15. MidwestCL Says:

    I closed out my CLD today. When the CLD reached 95% of “acceptable” EQ’s (by this time a population count and one other answer), all work was called on to be collected and turned in. These uncompleted ones, along with previous ones selected for closeout, were given back to me to check off on a not-checked-in form. I had only 22 outstanding ones, so they told me they needed them back by close of business today, 6/16 (essentially 24 hours after receiving them). I turned them back in this afternoon, was asked to wait while they were checked (about 20 minutes) then was told I was free to go.

    The enumerators were told to make one final pass to each address, and to attempt a proxy on that one visit if no NRFU respondent was home. If they got no population count or *only* a population count, I was told to check the CO box on the EQ. Otherwise, it was simply counted as a completed interview.

    It was pretty much chaos at the LCO, with staff wanting up-to-the-minute, case-by-case updates from CL’s with enumerators still in the field. I was quite glad to be sitting there, enjoying a can of soda, knowing mine were all handed in. :)

    My guess is that today was “drop-dead” day because the RCC or even the main Census Bureau wouldn’t budget any more time and money for NRFU, so whatever they LCO got in today made them look all the better in the eyes of those above them.

  16. EnumInKings Says:

    Last Sunday, we had to give in whatever binders we had to our CL. Since then any EQs that still needed to be done have been shuffled out at our daily meetings. We go out for 2 hours, come back, reshuffle then go out again on our own time until the next day’s meeting. When we visit, we leave and NV and the refusal letter, hoping that the refusal letter scares the respondent to call in.

    As of today, hard refusals are being asked for population counts. Yet even that is like pulling teeth from these hard-headed respondents.

  17. JustAClerk Says:

    Same in my LCO.
    Unfinished EQs are supposed to re-assigned –to CLDs or FOSs, who knows.

  18. nerfoo Says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that every effort wasn’t made to finish out EQs in each CLD. I believe that, for the most part, it probably was. I find it difficult to go along with the notion that the census bureau, through it’s application process, was somehow able to weed out the 500,000 most dishonest, lazy and ignorant people in the US so that they could hire them for this job. I find that idea to be tin-foil-hatty and ridiculous. I also take it as a comment about my own personal integrity & find it insulting to myself and to the 99% of the census employees who, like me, have some self-respect and take pride in doing a job well.

    I was replying to the idea implied in the original post that ‘finish them up in the office’ meant ‘make stuff up’. In fact, it could also mean ‘close them out properly, as incomplete EQs’ (i.e. as ‘Refusals’ or ‘No Contact’).

  19. home stretch Says:

    Vacant/Delete will be the last week of July.

    Follow-up Verification will be the first week of August.

    Training for both operations will be 1 to 2 days.

    Actual work for both operations will be only 1 or 2 days.

  20. anonymous too Says:

    “The office will finish up” the incomplete work was also said in our LCO for other operations as well as NRFU.

  21. ohboy Says:

    I work as a matching tech and do quality assurance for the NRFU operation. We basically check all the work for the OI and RI enumerators and report our findings to the LCO to decide on final outcomes (Pass, soft fail, hard fail, etc.). This talk of falsification and deviation from procedure is dismaying. This just makes our pointless operation even more frustrating. What’s the point of finding bad apples when they’re not even working to fire?

  22. LCO-AM Says:

    A lot of the information here is only applicable to certain regions.

    Vacant/Delete (training) starts as early as the last week of June for some, with Field Verification to follow a week after.

  23. reply Says:

    ohboy, have you checked the work of CLs and CLAs? Some are changing EQ answers, recording excessive nonsense work hours/mileage/cell talk time/fake crew meetings on their time sheets! Check it out!!!

  24. Samantha Jackson Says:

    reply, I counted the number of census related calls on my own personal cell phone in one day and it amounted to over 60 phone calls. If anyone thinks that all of that time was recorded on my d308, they are mistaken. If I claimed all the time spent on the phone, I’d be claiming 60 hours per week and I’d have been fired for unauthorized overtime long ago.

  25. anonymous Says:

    I just got called for the Vacant/Delete Operation – even if if last only a few days – of course I accepted the job! :)

  26. FOS me Says:

    @home stretch-

    LCO-AM is right, our VDC enum training has already occurred, and in our area the field work will start 7/6. My LCO finished NRFU about 10 days ago and they are prepping binders now for redistribution for VDC. For the number of seasonal vacancies we have, our work will last about 2 weeks.

  27. JJ Says:

    FOS me – you seem to be in the same boat as my area – we had appx 80% vacancies in our area due to seasonal residences. Our VDC training is scheduled for the next week or two. I ask you, does “vacancy” include those addresses where either the owner or the proxy said it was Vacant/Seasonal? Or is it just for proxied Vacant/Seasonal? This will make a huge difference in our work load.

  28. ohboy Says:


    we only get data from the enumerators. we dont see any time sheets. we work with the EQs in a electronic, condensed form of both the OI and RI and all the case histories of each enumerator. im sure the LCOs who check our work have much more information, but not sure about time sheet info. our primary job is to detect falsification/procedural error first, data accuracy is our secondary role.

  29. dave Says: