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.

Are you working for the Census Bureau during this holiday weekend?

Let’s here your stories from the field and office.

To all of this site’s loyal readers, have a great weekend and be safe!


39 Responses to “Are you working for the Census Bureau during this holiday weekend?”

  1. anonymous Says:

    YES!!! Getting ready for work right now. Wishing Stephen, My Two Census Journalists, and all readers/posters HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!! :)

  2. greco Says:

    This is the first Federal holiday in 18 months where the clerks and supervisors in our office have -not- been required to work.

    (Managers are -forbidden- to work on Federal holidays, of course, but they’re forbidden to work overtime, too–producing the joke called “donated time.”)

  3. ********** Says:

    After my supervisor encouraged us to turn in timesheets the past 3 weeks despite having no work left, I’m sorry to stop getting easy money but glad to see that my region is finally cutting off the free handouts.

    We received this message yesterday from our LCOM:

    “Everyone needs to take a deep breath and have a nice enjoyable long weekend to unwind. Thanks again folks, please let your CLs and enumerators know that there is no reason for anyone to be putting hours in over the weekend, we will discuss the release process at our meeting which I have not scheduled yet…remember we can not release anyone until the VDC enumerators are selected and start training on July 12th, we need to have a pool to pull from in case we have drop outs. Have a great Fourth”

  4. anonymous Says:

    Coverage Followup Call Centers will be working on July 4th. Those Temp employees of various contractors will be calling homes verifying data, no holiday for those on the headsets and computers for US Census contractors at ACS, Convergys, Vangent, etc.

  5. MIAMI Says:

    We did the VDC training on july 1st, it lasted 4hr, we were told that on july 2 we were going to receive the assignments but I was called by my CL and was told to expect his call around tuesday or wednesday…I guess nobody is working during the holiday!

  6. Senseless Says:

    Finished training on the first. Binders will not be ready until tomorrow so no one in my area is working until Monday.

  7. Jake Says:

    So the next operation deals with Vacants and Deletes?
    Door to door or over the phone calling “proxy’s”?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    and i can’t spell

  9. Amanda Says:

    I have been working to collect materials/badges from released enums yesterday and today. Will be going to the office tomorrow (says the FOS) to turn in collected materials/badges and 308s for the last few days. However, the 308s will probably not be processed until Tuesday. Our training for NRFU VDC is scheduled for Tuesday, but the binders won’t be ready until 2 days after the download hits the LCO which will probably be on Tuesday, meaning the binders won’t be ready for pickup until Thursday next week.

  10. MidwestCL Says:

    We trained for NRFU VDC in my LCO last Mon and Tues (the 28th and 29th) but were told the binders will not be ready until the 9th and possibly as late as the 13th. This operation uses only people who were trained as enumerators. We are revisiting all NRFU addresses that were marked as Vacant or Delete on the EQs, as well as some Supplemental addresses (whatever that means). We cannot revisit any house we obtained the original EQ from. Grounds for firing. Spelled out in the manual. That is their biggest concern. My CLD as well as the surrounding CLDs are loaded with lakes with vacation homes so there are a TON of vacants which will need to be re-proxied. All NRFU VDC EQS allow for 6 visits. The public was already sick of us… they will probably start throwing rocks this time out. There is NO DIFFERENCE between NRFU and this operation regarding forms, requirements, etc. except for one thing: we don’t have to worry about InMovers or HUE. I mean, we do not use a blank EQ to obtain info about the resident if they lived somewhere else on April 1. Also, we were told that this time the EQs would be held and turned in with the binders. We’ll see if that really flies. Since exact same EQs are being used as for NRFU, first visit must be in person.

  11. Jake Says:

    MidWest CL,
    You are probably 100% on target..”The public was already sick of us… they will probably start throwing rocks this time out”.
    Even though we have not worked since June 12 we are still getting calls from HQ with them looking for binders and EQ’s not turned back. All mine were signed in and out so I guess they have to call everybody. Sounds like clock riding to me.

  12. Amanda Says:

    Our EQs are NOT staying with the binders, or so I’ve been told, once we get the binders that is. As the LCO has even gone so far this time as to require a top sheet that details the number of EQs and from which AA they’re from when we turn them in (individually from the binders). The top sheet must be signed by the office staff accepting them. Again, this is apparently something that just my LCO has implemented. Hmmm….

    They did say that this new requirement was due to the amount of misplaced EQs and the LCO wanting to know where every single EQ is at any given moment. We’ll see…

  13. Anonymous_in_FL Says:

    From reading various stories & rants, I realize the level of organization and competence at each LCO differs, but just so you enumerators have an idea of what goes on in a (or at least my) local census office…

    There must be 2 weeks (by LCO) between the end of NRFU (every last EQ was completed and entered into the PBOCS computer system at the LCO)& the start of NRFU-VDC, I guess this is for the RCC to process everything and create the workload for NRFU-VDC. That’s why there was no work for enumerators for a while. In the meantime, we at the LCO had to set up training sites and get feedback to determine what FOSs, CLs, and enumerators would be used in NRFU-VDC before inviting people to training. Since there are fewer cases, we also had to merge FOSDs and create all new CLDs which were adjusted several times and required (I think) the RCC’s approval. We too had much less work to do. Then, a couple days ago, we got word that we would receive our workload on Friday at 7am and that we should have everything out in the field in 24 hours. My office received the workload from the RCC Friday morning and the goal the managers set was to have all the binders ready for FOSs & CLs to pick up by noon Saturday! We’re normally open 7:30a-12mdnt, but created a third shift for Friday night. We had around 115-120,000 NRFU cases and from my experience entering NRFU EQs into PBOCS, I’m sure a majority were vacant/delete (plenty of seasonal & vacation homes along with foreclosures here in FL). That means we had to print tens of thousands of labels & sheets of paper. Then, manually stick a label on each EQ, write the PBOCS’ CLD # on the back of each EQ, count/log EQs by AA (as a check), place the EQs in the manila envelopes by AA and label the envelopes. To the couple thousand AA binders–which we had straightened up, checked for correct maps, and ordered numerically a week ago–we had to add two new sheets plus 1+ sheets of VDC address listings and the envelopes with EQs. Then, these binders had to be audited…the AA#s on the spine, the sheets inside, and on all EQs in the envelope needed to match and we needed to verify that the EQs had the correct PBOCS CLD written on the back and that the number of EQs on the address listings and in the envelope match. That is a LOT of work for about 20 people to do in 30 hours! I’d say about 3/4ths of the binders were by noon (although I myself left earlier and haven’t been to or talked with anyone there since leaving), when the office was opened for FOSs & CLs to pick up their binders. My office seems to be quite organized (despite all the constantly-changing procedures/directives and other BS the RCC gives us); I can only imagine a disorganized office or one full of incompetents would take days to do this stuff. Those of you who were told it would take a over a week between VDC training and the time you get your work should keep in mind that your LCO may not have been given the work yet from the RCC.

    And, of course, some complaining about the topic. Since they didn’t expect to get everything done today (and RCC wanted everything out ASAP), a night shift was scheduled tonight as well. Many were asked to work midnight to 8:30am on the Fourth of July…and for just $9 ($9.90 w/night diff.) an hour (could somebody please tell me where the hell you make $22.75 as referenced in the previous article!?!?!?!?!)!!!!!!!!!!!! That said those who don’t work in field ops at the LCO tried to work hard so they don’t have any work to do Sunday and take the day off. I think (but can say for certain) that Atlanta expects us to have cases completed and starting to be entered into PBOCS by Monday! Of course, just as Memorial Day, the Fourth (and 5th, the federal holiday) is just another workday and a busy one at that!

  14. Anonymous_in_FL Says:

    The second to last sentence should read: “I think (but CAN’T say for certain)…”

  15. OOSX in KY Says:

    As I left our office on Jul 3, the binders for the next operation NFRU VDC were finished, the training was in place for Jul 6, but our QA deptartment underscheduled for Friday & Saturday, so as a reward to the Field Ops clerks who were told “get the binders done and get Jul 4&5 off” our LCOM was considering mandating that they come in on the 5th to do the QA on the binders they just built. I spoke to our AMFO about this and the reply was “I can’t buck the LCOM, but the AMFO did send a few e-mails to the right powers pointing out the lack of scheduling in QA. I am off until Jul 6, per scheduling by my AMX. I overheard an OOSQA complaining that “Field is working too fast” I suppose that the OOS & AMQA were not expecting our Field Ops to work hard for a couple days off. As another office stated this is the first federal holiday since last Jul 4 that the office was closed, with the 3 day weekend. Office politics, I know, but it’s nice to have a forum here I can air our dirty laundry.

  16. Jake Says:

    So, for this next operation will the EQ’s have the data collected from the last visit(s) or will we be starting with a clean slate? If a clean slate how will be know whom the proxy was?
    For those of you who have only Enumerated cities and towns you really need to do a drive along with folks doing country addresses. Talk about trying to find a needle in a hay stack. Have a Nice 4TH.

  17. Amanda Says:

    Jake – I’ve been told we’ll be sent with totally clean EQs. I also saw the office staff stickering blank EQs at the office today, around 20-25 people sitting around putting stickers on the EQs and said that once that’s done, there will be a crew that will double check them before we’re (CLs) are able to pick them up.

    Told me again today that they would more than likely not make it for training day (Tuesday). This poses a slight problem in that now that the CLDs are much larger and the FOSDs are too, that many of the CLs will be travelling WAY more than they probably should simply because the binders won’t be ready before training. I know my training site is a 50 mile round-trip drive.

  18. Amanda Says:

    Jake – Sorry for double post, but forgot to answer the other question. You won’t know who the proxy was. You’ll go the address as if we’d never been there before (3 personal visits then find a proxy).

  19. Jake Says:

    Thanks for the insight.
    This go around (operation) should be intersting especially if you are assigned vacants/deletes that you enumerated on the last operation.

  20. Anonymous_in_FL Says:

    “especially if you are assigned vacants/deletes that you enumerated on the last operation.”

    @Jake: You should NOT be assigned cases that you had enumerated during NRFU. In my area, the enumerators & CLs have been transferred to different CLDs to prevent this. I’m not sure if this is the way it’s supposed to be done nationwide, but since this is a quality check on the previous operation, the point is to have different enumerators visit these locations. The reason you will not have the proxy info from the previous operation is that the EQs have all been sent from your LCO to a national processing center to be scanned. The logistics of transferring the proxy info from tens of thousands of cases at each LCO isn’t very simple (and would be very time-consuming). Also, it’s probably better to find a new proxy because (for example) if someone claimed that a particular address didn’t exist or a new tenant claimed the house was empty on 4/1, you could find a different proxy who may be more knowledgeable and tell you that such-and-such address is hidden behind a certain building or a neighbor who recalls that there were people living in a house on 4/1.

  21. Another Census Worker Says:

    Shouldn’t the proxies from NRFU EQs be called to check on the information for VDC? Also, is the rule “if obviously vacant on first visit, try to find a proxy immediately” still in effect?

  22. Jo Says:

    Yes, things are a bit different everywhere. We had about a week between the last NRFU turn in and the beginning of VDC. We have been out for VDC (we did have our binders) but we were told not to work on the 4th. Today, the 5th, yes.

    For VCD, you can find a proxy right away if you are dealing with an “obvious” vacancy or an address that it seems doesn’t exist right off the bat. And, as someone mentioned above, the VDC training makes it clear that you cannot enumerate a housing unit that you enumerated in NRFU. We are working within the same FOS area, but not the same CLD area.

  23. Samantha Jackson Says:

    You can’t enumerate a HU in VDC that you enumerated in NRFU… What if you were a CL in NRFU and are now an enumerator in VDC? Can you enumerate a HU that your crew enumerated in NRFU and you, as a CL, signed off on the EQ?

  24. Gail Says:

    We were trained Thursday the 1st. I have worked every day since. Got binders friday Morning July 2. Completed 5 so far. We should finish up this weekend.

  25. CO Says:


    The original eq’s were entered with the enumerator number. The CL should be fine with enumerating one that they signed off on.

  26. Dave Says:

    I can see checking out the deletes, but looking for different proxies for vacants hardly seems worth the cost (especially when the enumerator doesn’t know who the first proxy was). Peoples’ memories aren’t perfect and census day was over three months ago. When first proxy said family moved out on 3/31 and second proxy thinks they were still there on 4/1, how will the census decide which to use? Toss a coin? Use the one with a pop count? Send a third enumerator back out for another proxy (without knowing who the first two were)? As an enumerator I’m glad for the extra hours and mileage, but as a taxpayer I don’t like the waste.

  27. Gail Says:

    I agree with your comment Dave.

  28. Crew Leader Says:

    @ Samantha & CO: Duplication is based on info in the binder not the EQ. So…if you enumerated the case or, as a CL, it was in your NRFU CLD, you cannot enumerate it in VDC.

    @ Dave: I totally agree. The CB designs processes to hire qualified people & do quality work through layers of supervision. VDC means they don’t have confidence in the processes or the people. But…at some point in time…they will have no choice but to trust. It’s just a bureaucracy doing what they do best. Logic has no place here.

  29. AssistantManager Says:

    Recieved a letter Monday, my day off, stating that I was going to be let go a month early.

    Nice, eh?

    No word on any bonus –

    Other than “only at the RCC level and higher!

  30. NRFU Clerk Says:

    Was told last week we’d be not only working regular shifts on the Fourth, but that TPTB decided FO needed to be double staffed to make sure we got all our work done. And as many office people here might be aware, PBOCS was down all of Sunday, so while we need all the help we can get putting binders and EQs together for VDC (which for us starts tomorrow, I believe), we couldn’t print out materials. So there we were, with 9 people on the shift and no work to get done because of managerial oversight.

    So they started throwing any work they could find at us to get done. Check to make sure we have all AA binders and arrange them in CLD order (yup, even though we’ve pointed it out, our AMFO insisted on binders being in NRFU CLD order instead of numerically by AA)? Four clerks did that yesterday. Come up with recommendations for changes to make to our internal paperflow logs? Answer: change ‘NRFU’ to ‘NRFU VDC’ on all of them. Call the last enumerators to make sure they want in on VDC training? There are twenty of them, they were called by 8:50 in the morning, and none who didn’t answer the phone then didn’t answer all day cause it was the Fourth of frickin July. So our manager finally made the smart call around 10am and told second shift not to come in that afternoon…but she told us first shifters that though she could see we were playing rubber-band-ball four-square outside her office and taking naps on top of the boxes of AA binders, we still couldn’t leave for another 6 hours because she might need us ‘in case of an emergency.’ Everyone here complains about government waste, here’s Exhibit A for your arguements.

  31. Tristate Says:

    We are training on Wednesday. I was a CL, but now only an enumerator for Vacant-Delete. Glad to be getting paid for the the hours I actually work!
    I still felt responsible to my people who I had recommended for VD. The new CL never called me back to confirm if all my people had been contacted. One of them called me on Thursday to chit-chat, but never mentioned getting the call for the training.

  32. 1980 Says:

    I worked the census back in 1980. For some reason in 2010, the whole process of enumerating seems convoluted. We didn’t do Vacant-Delete or checking someone else’s work. Also are pencils back in 1980 were stamped 1980 Census… what happened this go around?

  33. Dave Says:

    Attention enumerators.
    When someone inquires as to the purpose of your visit, do NOT say you’re doing a VD check.
    It will make the respondent uncooperative. :):)

  34. anon Says:

    Just wondering. If a person moves on April 1, are they counted?

  35. Census Guy Says:

    Hi Dave,

    What would you suggest telling them instead? The sad thing is that working an area I’ve developed a few really good proxies, such as trailer park rental managers. I think its insane that we don’t look for and find the best sources for a given area. Heck, on a third visit I can almost always find any old proxy, though some really don’t know anything about the propery, but its the system forcing inefficiency on us again!

  36. Census Guy Says:

    oops VD joke, now I get it.

  37. merri stafford Says:

    rumor has it that upper management will be getting bonus thus the reason for pushing to place first in each region. Any truth to that. If so my LCOM hadmost FOSs and CLs falsifying data on the last day of the NRFU closeout here in Oklahoma

  38. Admin OOS Says:

    We all worked (except managers of course, they can’t).

  39. Lisa Says:

    Anyone else having to go to homes during the VDC of people who already mailed in their forms and the census has recorded in the binders that they were received?

    I had 50 EQs in my first VDC round and about 8 or 9 were to homes that showed the census received their forms. Why on earth are we 1. bothering people who already did what they were supposed to do? 2. wasting my time and tax money bothering people who already did what they were supposed to do?

    It just makes me look like a stereotypical,incompetent government employee. I finally told my CL that I wasn’t doing them anymore, I was tired of doors slamming in my face. And rightly so. I’d be ticked off too.