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.

Field Verification: Your comments please

As a reader noted to me, the Vacant/Delete thread is morphing into the Field Verification thread. Let’s start a new thread here to specifically focus on Field Verification thoughts, complaints, etc.

Enjoy the weekend!

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82 Responses to “Field Verification: Your comments please”

  1. FV enum Says:

    LCO still completing NRFU VDC. Dangerously high temperatures and heat indices above 110 all week. Many enumerators have quit due to excessive heat.

    FV will start next month.

  2. testing Says:


    document.write(“This is my first JavaScript!”);

  3. 2514 Says:

    I was told by LCO that no one who worked on VDC can work on field verification. VDC done in my cld.

  4. Young CL Says:

    I find all this very interesting, how some LCO’s are given certain information and some LCO’s are given completely different information. Enumerators in my area complained that there were so many hunting lodges and old/uninhabitable buildings that it would be imposssible to meet the deadlines being set for VDC if enumerators had to contact each and every property owner just to hear the owner verify that the building was uninhabitable or vacant. The LCO decided that the enumerator using him/herself as a proxy would be acceptable in these cases, provided the enumerator included detailed notes on the EQ. But having read some of these comments, not all areas are so lucky.

    I also read several comments with issues regarding the NO FEAR act, retaliation, etc. and I wondered if someone might have some advice. I am currently a CLA on VDC, although I do everything a normal CL would do except sign payroll forms (effectively, a CL in all but official title, and the story below may explain why).

    During NRFU I was a CL, and my FOS had instructed me to give binders to another CL who had a much smaller area and had already finished his workload. She didn’t specify which binders nor how many. Prior to doing so, I met with my enumerators and, for the ones who needed work, gave them binders that were close to where they lived, because that’s always been census policy. However, it meant that the other crew leader’s workers had to travel farther. My FOS, unfortunately, misinterpreted my actions and decided in her head that I was manipulating her by trying to avoid giving up the binders, thereby extending my own employment.

    She sent out several nasty emails in which she (A) insulted me (“stupid”, “conniving”, “forgetful”), (B) accused me of wrongdoing, and (C) belittled and dismissed my concerns about the other CL’s workers having to travel much farther when I had workers who could do the job if the Census bureau showed a little patience.

    Her emails were completely unprofessional and offensive. If I had done it to an enumerator, I’d have been fired. I asked for a meeting with the AMFO. When we met, the LCOM happened to be in the room as well. The AMFO predictably sided with the FOS, because they had worked together much longer (I also think the fact that I’m 24 and they’re both around their late 40′s had something to do with it). Not just that, the AMFO threatened to fire me if I filed a grievance. The LCOM just sat and listened and, when asked about it, simply said filing a grievance wouldn’t accomplish much. When I said I would anyways, the AMFO said, “Okay, give me your badge, we’ll have to 291 you.” The only way I saved my job (I needed the money) was by backpedaling and promising not to file a grievance and basically just shut up about the whole thing. Meanwhile, she never faced any disciplinary action whatsoever. Even if I had done something wrong, it still would have been highly inappropriate to belittle and insult a subordinate like she did, and then to have the AMFO threaten to terminate ME for filing a grievance added insult to injury.

    I know it’s not ethical — but is this legal? Do I have to just suck it up? Thanks very much to anyone with advice…

  5. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @FV enum – where are you located? how have managers responded to the heat issues?


    It would be a good idea to say when the individual LCOs select Field Verification employees so we know when they kick off? Interested in NC Fayetteville LCO? Does anyone know if Fayetteville won some type of contest by finishing up before the rest of the nation started today? I’m sure it was a pizza party?

  7. 5454 Says:

    @Young CL
    Under those facts I recommend filing a grievance. Understand that VDC will end soon and you are likely to be fired at that point regardless. If they do fire you in retaliation then you have a good case under NO FEAR which will likely yield more money than an extra week or two of census work would provide.

  8. 2514 Says:

    VDC rules in Chicago-as relayed to us by our CL:

    1. Long sleeves and tie required in the field…in 90+ degree heat. AMFO’s words were: “Just short of a suit.”

    2. Minimum of 7 complete EQ’s a day per person. Goal is 18 a day per person.

    3. Cannot turn in a time sheet with zero EQ’s.

    4. Three visits, then a proxy. Or, proxy on 1st visit if HU is clearly vacant.

    5. LCO observers will be in the field watching enumerators.

    Glad to be done.

  9. Formernum Says:

    @ Young FV,

    File a grievance. There are older adults who do take pleasure in treating those of us in our twenties poorly. If you think you were the victim of age discrimination, report it. If you have copies of those e-mails, file those with it. They do not have the right to retaliate against you if you do file a complaint, and telling you they would fire you for filing sounds like retaliation.

  10. Says:

    No idea when Field Verification will be starting in our area in LA. We’re still wrapping up vdc but my cld is supposedly the first done.

  11. LCO AMFO Says:

    Young CL – DEFINITELY file a grievance. They can try to fire you, but if you have no other issues in your employee fioles (282′s) and you keep a copy of any nasty emails from your FOS, then they are opening up a big can of worms if they fire you after yoru file a grievance. As an AMFO myslef, I woul never even consider firing someone over wanting to file a grievance.

    As for Field verification….it is absolutely UNTRUE that if you worked on VDC you cannot wor4k on FV. ALL our FV employess were in VDC. In fract, the training verbatim doesn’t even allow for new hires filling out their employee paperwork. FV will be a VERY short operation with just a few dozen people working in the field.

  12. Shirley Says:

    2514-all I can say is “Wow” to your comments. In our area we didn’t have a dress code beyond “neat and clean”, no political statements on clothing and jeans are okay.
    Nothing was ever said about quotas.
    If I was told I couldn’t turn in a D308 with no EQs finished, I’d ask the CL to go out and do my job for a while.
    These sound like ridiculous rules made by someone who has never been out in the field.

  13. Jim Bob Says:

    So FV is another check on the work we did for VDC?

    Is it a random check on what we did or who we called/proxied? I heard the only other operation is something with verifying/deleting map spots, where most of the work will be done from the office or the field.

    True.. or the same thing as FV?

  14. minnesota Says:

    I worked 4 prevoius operations that went OK. This last one was a disaster. LCO mandated demotions to the extent that we had 1 CL, one part time CLA for 40+ enumerators. 3 people were “acting” as CLA’s, but could not supervisor-give advice, answer questions. I didn’t see the CL until the day She decided this was the last day. I worked till Midnight & beyond trying to meet “her” artificial deadlines. thats when you get angry, being force to work 14 hour days, needlessly. The information we got wasn’t the best. I hear others are still working the proper way, I wish I could have finished mine the right way, and actually gotton good info.

  15. Anonymous2010 Says:

    Young CL – It is illegal to fire someone for filing a grievance. You will probably get fired at some point. If you don’t mind being fired now, file a grievance and say everything that happened – include a copy of the emails and keep a copy of your grievance for yourself. File a complaint with the OSC (Office of Special Counsel) – look it up on the web.

  16. GS-X Says:

    Field Verification checks some of the addresses of residents who called in their enumeration by phone, mailed a census form that they requested from the Census Bureau by calling 1-866-872-686, or filled a Be Counted! census form. It also attempts to resolve some possible duplicate addresses. There could be more to it this.

  17. Young CL Says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I have explored filing a grievance before, but I can’t seem to find an appropriate “mechanism” to do so. (@Anonymous2010: I glanced at the OSC website and much of my comment here relates to that.)

    Strictly speaking, my FOS didn’t do anything illegal — she was just highly rude and unprofessional. The HR rep from Boston also recommended filing a grievance, but how/where do I file this grievance about her emails? The only mechanism I see to do so would be an EEO complaint, but I don’t think this is an EEO issue. I can’t prove that any of this was age related, despite my suspicions. All I can prove is that my old FOS is a terrible supervisor… that they threatened to fire me if I did file some sort of complaint… and that to my knowledge no disciplinary action was ever taken for her outbursts. In truth, I would have been satisfied with a simple apology, but she refused to admit any wrongdoing whatsoever, nor did she ever admit I had simply followed census policy.

    I would need a way to make my complaint based on her emails (and subsequently get fired) before I could prove they actually fired me as retaliation and/or age discrimination. I’m not looking for a way to “lure” them into illegal activity… I’m just looking for a way to make that initial complaint regarding my FOS’s emails, because so far, that’s the main issue, which was never resolved satisfactorily since I was afraid of getting fired if I pursued it and could never find a complaint process other than EEO, which as I said, didn’t seem to apply.

    Do I have an incorrect understanding of how EEO works? Is there another complaint (“grievance”) process that I’m missing?

  18. HC Texas Says:

    We are still doing the V-D check and I quit yesterday, but I was asked to please not quit and take a few days off and then give them an answer. I flat out made it clear I will not falsify my work for the sake of not getting a form kicked back. Even if an HU is CLEARLY vacant and or uninhabitable and I get a proxy after the first visit they are still kicking back the EQ saying I must go back 2 more times even though I have written a book of notes why the HU is empty. So I was told to just write in more visits and I said absolutely no way.

    We were also told that if we worked the VDC then we cannot work the Field verification operation which means there will be no one from the original group that can work that operation so everyone is out. Frankly I don’t care one way or another the heat index is 105 – 110 everyday and our FOS is on another planet and forget the mis-managed LCO. I just think they are rushing these operations so fast to get their bonuses and have the attitude of to hell with the lowly CLs, CLAs and enumerators.

  19. 2514 Says:

    Oops…VDC not quite done in our CLD, it appears! We completed VCD earlier this week, but the LCO has now directed that any HU’s found occupied during VCD via proxy now must have an in person interview done with a household member. New EQ’s printed and back to the field.

  20. OverworkedCL Says:

    Young CL
    Dig out your D591 Handbook for Crew Leaders and Field Operations Supervisor. Chapter 7 topic 5 discusses the procedure for filing a greivance. Do it. Nothing will probably come of it, but do it anyway. It will be a paper trail.

    Go here and read it. Then file both complaints with OSC. (you will understand better what they do after reading the above, I hope) Waste no time. Get on it.

  21. Another Census Worker Says:

    2514- Wow! Some of the occupied HU’s I found required a proxy. Out of town, etc. Long sleeves and tie, you have to be kidding! I wore my standard attire (athletic long-sleeve shirt, either pants or athletic shorts) and never had a problem in the heat.

  22. Dave Says:

    Here in rural northern California, a dress shirt and tie would be the absolute wrong way to dress. A lot of people wouldn’t open the door to someone dressed that way. Some would run out the back door. :)

  23. movin'_on Says:

    My take on this is that the LCOs are not on the same page… Looks like we need a little more “verbatum training” at the top…

    Young CL – our LCO was screaming when it learned that people were using email, that may or may not be an issue, did the email contain PII ? Either way, if I were you I would follow LCO AMFO’s advice.

    2514 – Ouch! The folks at the top there are really ambitious. We got away with “business casual” although I (just) never really noticed what my people were wearing… 7 complete EQs with a goal of 18! Wow, I guess all of your people are “full – time” census workers. Also, “3. Cannot turn in a time sheet with zero EQ’s.” combined with “4. Three visits, then a proxy. Or, proxy on 1st visit if HU is clearly vacant.” would have sent about half of the VDC enumerators we had packing in the first 3 days. We had rule #4, but not rule #3.

    HC Texas – sounds like what is happening here. A couple of people told me that between NARFU and VDC things had gotten a lot meaner. Same ridiculous “three visits then a proxy” for clearly vacant places. Also, first they told us that VDC people would not be able to work FV because the two operations would run concurrently. Next they said that they could get the majority of their people from VDC…

    Now, where do we talk about what should be done to make the 2020 Census better? This would have helped where I was:
    Up to date maps at the beginning.
    Tell the ACS to take a holiday before, during and after the Decennial Census.
    Picture ID for ALL Decennial Census workers. (Its not expensive.)
    Keep the form short, they could remove the race – related questions. In fact keep only the questions you can give a good, solid, Constitution – based reason for keeping. (Spirit of the Constitution.)
    Don’t let your people die of heat stroke! Put them in a “uniform” they can live in!
    Test your equipment and software BEFORE you use it.

    That’ my two cents for now, and I’m


  24. Still counting.. Says:

    If your wearing a shirt and tie then I think your with the Mormons and there is no way I am answering the door.

    In the Chicago suburbs they started in April telling us shirt and tie but within a week it went to a polo type shirt no tie.

  25. HC Texas Says:

    Frankly, there are only 12 RCC’s for our entire country and I personally do not see that as being in any way efficient. Somehow the canvassing needs to go back to the states and have some form of quality control to make sure no state is padding the count. There is no way 12 RCC’s can compile information accurately or be “in touch” with what really goes on in the Field.

    And to Movin’ On, the maps we worked with were a joke. I must have remapped the maps in every binder because they were completely incorrect. I sent in so many Info-Coms and notes about the bad mapping and found out it was all a waste of time, since the LCO just throws the info-coms away.

    I have no faith in the accuracy of this 2010 Census and redistricting should not be allowed since there are so many gross miscounts all over the country.

  26. Anonymous2010 Says:

    @ YoungCL – As you are still employed by the Census, the grievance form would be the D-244, the LCO Administrative Grievance form. In your manual, look in the table of contents and you’ll see a topic on LCO Administrative Grievance procedure. You have to file a grievance within 15 days of its occurrence – which would be the meeting you describe. In it, put both the behavior of your FOS and what happened at the meeting, especially since they threatened to fire you if you grieved. You will be fired. The two illegal things are firing you for filing a grievance and threatening to fire you if you filed a grievance. Keep copies of the original. After they fire you (by the way – file for unemployment – tell unemployment what happened), then you can file with the OSC, although I don’t know if you will get recourse, but that would be the place to file.

  27. Anonymous2010 Says:

    @YOung CL – oops – it’s in your Handbook, not your manual

  28. CL Chicago Says:

    The Chicago RCC (same as 2514) this is the director’s 6 decennial census. He has a conservative office mentality and dress clothes with ties are required for all male census employees (field and office). The various RCCs can set their own dress codes. This is not being actively inspected, but you could be written up or fired if you do not follow the code.
    It is too bad that three of the strongest permanent census/RCC managers retired right at the beginning of this census. They saw how messed up this one would be and just didn’t want to go through it again. We are left with either the managers who just aren’t engaged and want to get it over, or the managers who want to prove they deserve to go to Washington and mostly scream at their subordinates (can here it at any office when speakerphones are used).
    I am sure Director Moore and his deputy will be retiring shortly after this one is done. Lets hope that 2020 has better planning and some managers that aren’t lifers and know how to better manage projects and people.

  29. John Says:

    Well guys, I just heard from a friend that has been doing NRFU (not nrfu vdc) but just plain NRFU in Salem NH. OK he has not been paid since day one- His CL has is no where to be found- His FOS is also lying under a rock somewhere. His calls are being referred to Porthmouth NH and they say that it is a tech problem that no one in his group has been paid. He still is working on his last binder but has no 308s to fill out no one to turn them into and no one to call. He plans on mounting the binder on his wall and because he is young will apply for the 2020 census and turn it in then. I am still working in FL and we just started FV but I can tell you where every binder is and can account for 99% of all EQ’s.

  30. Strange Question Says:

    @John – now that calls for filing a grievance and calling the RCC in Boston. most definitely.

    i had a lunchtime meeting with my CL and a CLA to review yesterday’s work and had a weird conversation. and i was wondering if anyone else had this too.

    since VDC and FV are winding down, the question was asked if i wanted to join a business venture with them. i asked what it was.

    no details, but i will say this: the pitch sounded fishy and the name rose a red flag because i knew it. do a search and it will be one of the biggest pyramid marketing scheme scams out in america.

    here’s the odd part: they said the office manager (LCO or whatever) said not to do it on census time, but he supported the idea for people going to the unemployment office soon. so if this pyramid scheme makes people earn points and money for recruiting people, this is clearly against census regulations. just wondering if this goes higher up and anyone else is being asked. i’m not doing it at all, especially if it helps some idiot administrator in DC.

  31. Census Guy Says:


    Assuming what you are saying is correct, he should tell his Census Bureau contacts that if they do not solve this problem he will file a wage complaint with the appropriate state agency. (Dept of Labor)

  32. John Galt Says:

    We mailed our Census form the 1st week of April with questions 1&2 filled in (the constitutionally required “enumeration” questions) and now I have a census person banging on my door and ringing my doorbell (3rd visit)…this last time was at 8:30pm on a Sunday and she stood out here for >10 minutes knocking/ringing!! Next time that happens I am calling the PD! How many more “visits” can I expect?? Or do the phone calls start now?!?
    If she shows up a few more times I may “throw her a bone”, open the door and give her a “bonus” answer of “1 man & 1 woman”!

    —A Concerned Citizen

  33. Shirley Says:

    Our CL has instructed us to finish all EQs tomorrow (Monday) and turn in what we have, finished or unfinished. I’m pretty sure I will have some unfinished as the area I’m working in has a lot of seasonal homes and I wasn’t able to find anyone as proxy. Many of the homes sit off by themselves, or no one was around at the neighboring homes. I also didn’t get any calls on my NVs even though they were picked up at some addresses.
    One thing that was frustrating-I turned in an EQ the first week where I used a proxy-I couldn’t find the address, and when I asked the neighbor he told me the residents were on vacation for two weeks. Unfortunately I did not write that in the notes section so it was kicked back and must be re-enumerated by a different census worker. What a waste of time and money!! This was an address that was marked as vacant during NRFU and in reality had five residents, and I could have written the notes and sent it back in instead of someone else having to go out.
    My CL also offered me 4 new EQs on Saturday. I told him, “No thanks”, as I didn’t think I could finish them by Tuesday and frankly, I am getting tired of this. It has been a frustrating operation in many aspects.

  34. Shirley Says:

    HC Texas-I agree with you about most of the maps!!! So many of the map spots were not where the addresses were, and I loved those partial maps that didn’t show you the main roads or highways as to get your bearings. In NRFU I only used the maps a few times because I was working in a suburban area, but in VDC I really needed maps. I ended up using a GPS,
    which worked most of the time.
    Another thing about the maps was that in NRFU we were not told to make sure the maps got put back in the AAs. One of the workers in NRFU turned in a bunch of loose maps to our CL-what a nightmare to try to figure out where they went as none of the maps had AA numbers on them.
    Does anyone know where we can write to give suggestions as how to make the 2020 census more efficient? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has complaints about the 2010 census.

  35. Shirley Says:

    JohnGalt-my suggestion is to tell the worker the number of people in the house on Census day, your name and phone number. Without a name and phone number for verification, you might get another visit.
    I’m don’t blame you for being annoyed-I hate bugging people who have turned their forms in. This was the worst part of the job.

  36. DontBHatinEnumeratin Says:

    John Galt, please do call the cops. I’ve had the cops called on me six times, and they just smile. We are given a directive to call on you as many times as the Census Office sees fit and unless the Enumerator is breaking the law … YOU HAVE NO GROUNDS to call the police. It is in our constitution that you take part in the Census, and if that means four or five visits, deal with it. It’s for the good of your community.

  37. HC Texas Says:

    Shirley, I am with you on coming up with a way to make the 2020 Census better. When this is over I intend to write several letters about the various situations I encountered where the manual was totally useless and EQ questions that really angered the general population and should be removed or modified and the fact everything was geared toward ‘urban’ areas and truly missed the mark for rural areas, really rural locations.

    And to John Galt, please understand that enumerator is just doing their job and not trying to annoy you. We are required to go back as many times as they tell us to especially in No Contact situations. But instead of hiding behind your door, just let the enumerator know the questions you are willing to answer and then tell her to put down ‘REFUSED’ on all the others, then the enumerator has done their job. I have encouraged refusals to at least give a 1st name and age with no DOB then the LCO knows I spoke to someone and the form is not kicked back.

    I really appreciate this website, Thanks!!

  38. 2514 Says:

    Anyone else working on “Red Dot” binders? When the LCO designates an original NRFU binder a Red Dot binder for VDC,it places a red dot on the spine lable and sends it out to the field for priority action and return to the LCO asap. Once assigned a Red Dot binder, enumerators must first canvas the block(s) to make sure all addresses were included in NRFU, then enumerate the VDC cases on EQ’s with printed lables. Enumerator must then reinterview all remaining original NRFU cases on blank EQ’s, regardless of the original outcome status. Just curious if this procedure is unique to Chicago or is in place elsewhere.

  39. gladdich Says:

    @2514 – we are not doing “Red Dot” binders in our area of Texas. Heard of lots of reasons for reinterviewing (most, in my opinion, are to prolong jobs) but not this one.

  40. curious Says:

    What is Field Verification? Is it re-interviewing and quality checking?

  41. GS-X Says:


    Ask SRM to put your recommendations for 2020 in his book. You know the Census Bureau will lose them.

  42. No Sense Census Says:

    We had one CL in NRFU that had a map burning party. The LCOM said to put in info-comms that said they had been lost. Which prompted the PII question, which the LCOM ignored.

  43. anonymous Says:

    Map burning party?!!! We had maps missing from the NRFU VDC pouches both before and after receiving binders!

  44. Not Still Working Says:

    No red dot binders as far as I know… and we aren’t too far from 2514.

  45. 2514 Says:

    Yesterday, the LCO ordered a stop to the re-enumeration of the old non-VDC NRFU cases in Red Dot Binders…now the rule is to only canvas the block or blocks contained within the binder.

    In addition, the LCO has printed a new EQ for any case found to be occupied in VDC and is having enumerators re-interview respondents, most of whom talked to someone only a week or two ago. Heavy push to get household interview…must have 5 attempts before going to proxy. People are really getting tired of talking to us.

  46. enumerator Says:

    2622 – Topeka, KS: Only personal favorites chosen to work the final Field Verification operation.

  47. Hatta Rayga Says:

    If you had 2,000 workers and had to determine who would get 75 positions.. how would you do this?

    Would you ask for recommendations from the FOS and CL’s .. who has skill, flexibility, clear communication, good problem-solving skills?

    Throw darts?

    Pick numbers?

    Send out a mass email and hire the first 75 who replied?

  48. Dave Says:

    If you had 2,000 workers and had to determine who would get 75 positions.. how would you do this?

    I’d hire the people who had the most experience working for the census in prior operations. Their suffering should be rewarded.

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  50. Jax Enumerator Says:

    I got called back for field verification today. 2 days of training starting August 4 and then a little over a week of work.

  51. movin'_on Says:

    Map burning party! Wow! Our RCC had issued ORDERS that anyone who lost a map be TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY… AMFO was on pins and needles until the RCC rethought that one. You could feel the relief comming over the phone when the AMFO informed me.

  52. movin'_on Says:

    John Galt – If those poor enumerators are still comming to your house, either 1) Open the door and answer the 10 questions. “I refused to answer that” is a valid answer. Or 2) Continue to not answer the door until they simply stop comming.
    The Census Bureau’s goal is to get those 10 questions answered by YOU. Since you didn’t answer them on the mail-in form they will try to get them answered by sending someone to your door. Note that if they are reading from the same book we were reading from they will send different people at different times. i.e. the thinking is if someone is not home at 10 am on Monday, chances they will not be at home at 10 am on Tuesday, so try at 7 pm… same for people. The little lady on the other side of the door may not answer for a young guy but she will answer for an older lady.
    Oh well, all the census folks here know all of this, forgive me for rambling on.

  53. movin'_on Says:

    FYI – “personal favorites” and “I like that name” must have been how they picked people for VDC in my district. at least for half of them. The folks we got were NOT the “cream of the crop” that we had been told would make it to this level.
    I have NO IDEA how they will pick people for FV – hopefully more carefully than they picked then for VDC. Fortunately (I guess) they will only need a few people for FV, although we are the biggest LCO in the suburbs of a major city. I’ve heard between 5 and 20 people, the most reliable source saying 15.

    Good luck Jax Enumerator!

  54. Florida Fool Says:

    I’ve been working NRFU and then VDC in this Florida heat — 95+ with heat index above 100. NRFU CL required business casual, including closed-toed shoes for women (no sandals). But, at training day for VDC, a “surfer dude” showed up in cut-offs, a wrinkled too small shirt, and flip-flops, with his long ponytail tucked under a ball cap so that the ends of the ponytail hung down on either side of his forehead — and the FOS at the training session just said “I can’t tell you how to dress, but people will be more apt to open the door if you dress nicely.”

    Our LCO gave up on INFO-COM sheets for VDC. Apparently, all those detailed INFO-COMS that we filed for problems with EQ’s during NRFU were separated from the EQs at the LCO — so no one could match them back together with the proper EQ. Unbelieveable! Therefore, no surprise that we had so many EQs in VDC.

    One glaring erro in the design of the EQ is that there is no box to check if you speak to the owner of a house who is not living there. You just have to mark him/her as a “neighbhor/proxy”. Atlanta was upset over the high percentage of vacant units in my part of Florida and so we had a big VDC. But, Florida is a state of vacation homes, vacation condos, and timeshares. Get this — we were even required to make 3 visits to each timeshare, even though the occupants changed each week of the year! Apparently, no one in charge understands the concept of timeshare.

  55. MojoMark Says:

    So how is all different than working at a large company?

  56. movin'_on Says:

    First, how is it like working at a large company?

  57. Shirley Says:

    Florida Fool,
    (One glaring error in the design of the EQ is that there is no box to check if you speak to the owner of a house who is not living there. You just have to mark him/her as a “neighbor/proxy”)
    I can’t agree more!! In VDC I worked an area with lots of seasonal homes. Any time we used an proxy, we were told to tell why and who the proxy was in the notes section.
    Unfortunately, since this was not emphasized during training, our LCO kicked back some EQs, and asked that they be re-unemerated, by a different worker.

  58. Maiasaura Says:

    Whoever designed those flipping binders should be shredded, bleached and sent to Indiana with the rest of the useless census materials. No up or down to them–half the time you open it upside down. No identification except the AA number on the spine, and the only way to stack them is to reverse every other one, which means you can only see half the AA numbers at a time. Good luck searching for a particular one! They are too long to carry and not long enough to write on either.

    Awful example of 21st Century Industrial Design.


  59. Shirley Says:

    Maiasaura-so true about the binders!! During training we were told to use them as a writing surface when we interviewed-I went to Goodwill and spent 99 cents on a clipboard which worked much better for me.
    So many procedures could be done better in the census!

  60. Another Census Worker Says:

    Another beef about the binders: You really shouldn’t take them with you while enumerating! They are chock full of PII, and shouldn’t be put at risk while enumerating. I had a clipboard with me, and went up to people’s doors with just the EQ, a notice of visit, and the sheet explaining the census. If they were more than 5 people or Spanish speakers, I would say “Pardon me, I need some forms from the car”, go to the car and get the necessary forms, and return. I almost never carried the black bag for the same reason.

  61. movin'_on Says:

    Another Census Worker,

    Tell that to the geniuses writing the verbatim training…

  62. Makes No Sense Says:

    Florida Fool, I had the same problem with forms getting kicked back because the owner did not live in the HU, it was just a second home, so I had to get another proxy to reverify the first proxy. To top it off, several second home owners let me know they mailed in a form for that HU marking the appropiate boxes for vacation home. The forms really missed the mark for tourist/vacation towns and also for garages. I could never get a straight answer if a garage should be marked as vacant or delete since there was no category for garage/workshop/storage.

    BTW, I was told to not view this website because it gives away PII. Oh well, guess I am getting fired.

  63. me me Says:

    Anybody know anything about trying to get the proxy numbers down? When does that start? I hope they have the info-comm information from those addresses so the enumerators know if they are going into dangerous or hostile situations.

  64. Dave Says:

    I marked garages etc as nonresidential and delete (98). In the bottom margin I wrote: “See Notes.” In the notes I wrote: “This is not a housing unit. It is a garage and should not have been mapspotted.”
    Not a one got kicked back.

  65. Florida Fool Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out if ANY PERSON in the LCO or regional office actually reads the notes I write on my EQs. I know that my CL did not. It is clear to me now that no one read my INFO-COMMs during NRFU. We were told at VDC training that the INFO-COMMS were burned because they were separated from the EQs and could not be matched up again. Now I see that it was not an isolated incident — HC Texas above says her LCO dumped the INFO-COMMS also.

    So, if all the explanatory INFO-COMMs were dumped by the LCOs, then all those quirky housing units got recycled into VDC. During VDC, I had the Director of a museum tell me that she had been contacted 12 times by enumerators and she was tired of it. The building looked like a house but was actually the historic colonial dwelling of a dignitary and is now part of a museum. If no one at the LCO had this information, and since we were forced to make 3 visits before getting information from a proxy, the cost for verifying that one “delete” is about $180.00 in enumerator time, PLUS the time spent to recycle the address and print new binders and labels. Horrible, horrible waste of money and time. I see that today’s post on MY TWO CENSUS about the Orlando workers who quit deals with the same issue.

  66. Shirley Says:

    Regarding Info-coms-after submitting them with the EQs I was told the same thing-they got separated at the LCO and so they were useless. Don’t forget we were told not to paperclip anything to the EQs. I’m not sure why they gave us a box of paperclips in our kit…….

  67. Shirley Says:

    Makes No Sense, what PII? I haven’t seen anything in here that could lead me to identify anyone who was interviewed. I think most people have spoken of their experiences without identifying where they worked-I know I have.

  68. Florida Fool Says:

    Shirley, you said in a post on August 1, that you were told that your LCO separated the INFO-COMM sheets from the EQs, so they were useless. That is the same story I got in Florida, and the same story from HC Texas (see post of July 25th). I’m curious — what state did you work in? It would be very interesting to find out how many LCOs in different states dumped the INFO-COMMs. Hmmmm….

  69. movin'_on Says:

    When we were told that all Info-Comms were removed from the EQ’s, we were told that it was because “the EQ has to stand on it’s own” IMO this point should have been made and emphasised in training.
    I’m thinking that no one is keeping their Info-Comms. Were any provisions made to store or copy them?

  70. movin'_on Says:

    Makes No Sense, I have to agree with Shirley, What PII?
    Sounds like someone is trying to make a boogy man to scare people off.

  71. Makes No Sense Says:

    Shirley and Movin 0n your question is the same as mine, “What PII”? I guess the hidden meaning is not to tell about our LCO issues.

  72. Shirley Says:

    Florida Fool-I worked in Oregon. Regarding Info-coms, I know my CL was frustrated because she was told to use info-coms, and didn’t know they would be separated from the EQs until after it happened. Movin’_on, I agree! This should have been covered in training. Makes me wonder if this was another “rule change”, like so many we dealt with!!

  73. Sandra Says:

    Never made it to FV. After promises of 4-10 weeks of FT work for NRFU, I got 40 hours total over 2 weeks. The faster you worked, the faster you lost your job. The day the job ended they hired and trained a new person! I was not selected for further ops. Those went to people who had no unemployment left. Not impressed with the way this was handled other than my lead. She was great. Past that, we were told to never go to the main office in town. What is so secret that as a citizen I can walk in the office but as an enumerator I am denied access?

  74. movin'_on Says:

    Sandra, Our LCO looked like a converted doctor’s office with a small waiting room in the front. Usually staff did not want anyone from the field in past the waiting room. This was not a constant rule because several times they had meetings at the LCO that were too big for the “waiting room”. Several times I had to let people know that I had asked my Crew Leaders to come in and help me.

    I can understand their not wanting a lot of foot traffic through the “nerve center”, this is just to keep people from getting “in the way”.
    Citizens who had not taken the oath were not allowed beyond the waiting room except with an escort.

    This does seem strange and just a bit of overkill, but they do have legimate PII concerns.

  75. Mary Says:


    The very idea that the use of proxies should be lower for a vacant delete operation is simply not logical. It is only commonsense that proxy use will be higher 4 months after the target date.

    One EQ was sent back because I used the owner of the building as a proxy for his tenant who moved out soon after April 1, 2010. He answered the door when he saw me-I did not ring or knock and he volunteered all the information when I told him what I was there for. I passed in a complete enumeration, yet it was sent back so that I could be told I should have gone to the apt in question FIRST.

    This is the same idiocy that forces me to visit an obviously vacant home multiple times before seeking a proxy-even if a neighbor tells me before I head up the first stair on the first visit that the owner has died and the property is vacant.

    My output is more than double all the others, yet the message from the top with the idiotic returns is “You suck, girl.”

  76. MidwestCL Says:

    Our LCO went from 900+ NRFU enums to 300 VDC enums to 7 FV enums and I’m one of those. I’ve read many of the whines and gripes about VDC and as a CL I’m AMAZED at the number of people we found that weren’t counted in NRFU. Some people (2 in my expanded CLD) ran out of their houses demanding to be counted because they had seen the enums and never got a form and were missed completely. Yes, I know some of the repeat visits seemed wasteful, but at $1500.00 per person per year for 10 years the County gets, it was worth it in spades! I’ve heard that 26% of VDC households had occupants that could be counted. I don’t think my ECLD was that high, but surprising, nonetheless. One house had 6 people…that alone is $90,000.00 over 2011-2020. It was definitely worth it. Now, on to FV. Training starts tomorrow.

  77. Florida Fool Says:

    As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, most of the enumerators in this Census are well-educated and computer-savvy. Perhaps some of the frustration we have felt with the instructions to visit each address in VDC 3 times before obtaining a proxy is that, as former managers ourselves, we know that a “one size fits all” directive can be wasteful of time and financial resources. For example, in many of the areas I canvassed, the homes are mostly seasonal, and if there is not a “neighborhood watch captain” available, proxies are hard to find, since whole streets of homes may be vacant during certain times of the year, especially during the summer in Florida.

    A fellow enumerator in my NRFU group came up with the idea of checking the online county property ownership records, to see where the property tax bills were mailed. If the owner’s mailing address was in another state, this enumerator used the online White Pages Directory to get a phone number, and then called the owner long-distance to ask about the status of the unit, i.e., seasonal-UHE, rented, vacant/other, etc. This was a very effective and reliable way to get correct information, and took no longer than several extra visits to a vacant house or knocking on the doors of a whole street of empty units. Our CL never got an answer from the LCO as to whether this was an acceptable technique, but for pure accuracy of information, it beats the guesswork of neighbors, who may or may not know the true situation of the housing unit.

    Did any of you other enumerators use this technique?

  78. Mary Says:

    Florida Fool,

    Getting the information from the horse’s mouth (the property owner) is the most logical and cost effective way to do this work, but your way is clearly not the way the Census wants it done, at least in my area.

    I have a complete enumeration on a large transient residence done by proxy-the company that manages the building, which is not acceptable to the Census, because it was obtained on the first visit. Imagine getting all the correct info in one go,but it can not be used. I have to continue to go back to the addresses at least 3 times over a two week period, with one visit being on a weekend and the others at various times of the day to attempt to collect information from VACANT apts.

  79. Shirley Says:

    I had several “first visit proxies” too. In one case I could not verify the address in question because there was no address marker. When I went to a neighbor to ask about the address, he told me yes, it was next door but the people were on vacation for at least two weeks. He proceeded to give me a full interview, including the names, ages, relationship, and sex of each resident. After two weeks the EQ was sent back to be enumerated by a different worker. ALL the information was there!!! My mistake was in not writing “residents on vacation” in the notes section.

  80. Mary Says:


    So your FOS and CL allows you to get proxies on the first visit provided you write why you did this in the notes? Is this true for vacancies, as well? I wish we could do this. My LCO is holding tight to the3 visits spread out over 2 weeks, with a weekend visit, etc rule. Makes no sense to me if a proxy leaps out at you on the first visit to offer a valid explain why you would be wasting time to come back and to provide you with the information you are seeking.

    I inherited a several enumerations with the situation that the residents where out of the country and the proxy enumerations on their rental apts right next door which were vacant on 4/1 and are still vacant were returned to the CL. Makes no sense to me. If we meet the owner who tells us on the first visit that the unit was empty this is also a proxy, and the best proxy in the situation. Doing three unnecessary field visits is a mega waste of our tax money, even if it is me who legitimately earns it by the repeat visits and telephone calls.

    LOL, when I first began doing this I was told I wrote “books” in the note section. Now I am told I must supply multiple pieces of “information” and information that re-verifies what I have checked on the front and back of the form, like writing “Proxy said unit was vacant on Census Day” or “Proxy is owner who said unit was empty on 4/1.”

  81. ILoveNewAbbottsville Says:

    Wow, this site is great! So many stories that are EXACTLY what I have experienced (pissed off multi-unit managers, buying a cheap thrift store clipboard to use instead of the useless binder). But I never had any problems with things like: being pressured to submit falsified info, invisible and/or overbearing CLs/CLAs, EQs kicked back, etc.. Everybody in our CLD was supportive and cool. I never even had to deal with the office until training for the FV operation.

    As far as FV goes, it seems to be a mishmash of things related to verifying mistakes which were pointed out by enumerators in the field during NRFU. Mostly it is removing duplicate/nonexistent addresses and assigning map spots and map spot numbers to addresses that don’t have them. I like that you don’t have to make repeated visits this time, only one. Some people are still pretty P.O.ed though. “Y’all have been out here about four times in the last month! That’s kinda overkill, dontcha think?” is a typical response. And I don’t disagree. Today was my first day out in the field, solo. Did my “Easy” binder, but I’m finding that the cases are so spaced out this time… a lot of my time is spent driving between locations. Fine by me. Looking at the prospect of one of my binders which requires me to drive a 150 mile roundtrip including going over a mountain on a dirt road. In my tiny vehicle that has no 4WD. Ah the joys of enumeration! Er, um… field verification! :)

  82. Trish Says:

    Great article but it didn’t have eervytihng—I didn’t find the kitchen sink!