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.

Steve Jost of the Census Bureau responds to my ranch resort post…

Steve Jost of the Census Bureau  wrote the following response to my recent ranch resort post, but please note that he does not address the airfares or hotels or other transportation costs of Census Bureau officials from the Denver office that I inquired about:

I suppose one could fly speck every single event or Census related project for cost efficiencies, however this example was a poor one to choose to make some argument about waste.  Indeed, it is a great example of how vital the 2010 Census partnership effort is, and how much it helped save the taxpayers.

First, the partnership effort deserves a great deal of credit for helping the country achieve a mail back response rate and cooperation during our door to door phase that contributed to reducing the total cost of the Decennial Census by $1.6 billion.

Second, this luncheon was at no cost to the taxpayers as the food was provided by partners.  They were gathered together for a Census sponsored briefing on data products that will be coming out from the 2010 Census and the Bureau spent just $500 for room rental for that briefing.  We took the opportunity at this briefing to also thank these partners for their generous contributions toward making the 2010 Census a success.

One example of how our 255,000 partners helped reduce the cost of the Census through their own civic engagement is how much money the government saved because local organizations donated space for testing and training centers.   Nationally, they helped saved the taxpayers over $179 million in rents that did not have to be paid so we could train our temporary workforce of some 565,000 enumerators.   This luncheon was a small gesture of thanks for their significant contribution.

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25 Responses to “Steve Jost of the Census Bureau responds to my ranch resort post…”

  1. Doorknocker Says:

    Hmmm, Mr. Jost’s information raises more questions in my mind. An acquaintance of mine was a recruiter and tester for enumerators. He had to find his own testing centers — with no fees paid by the Census Bureau — to give the written exams. And, if he failed to attract a certain quota of people to take the exam each week, he would be fired. He was given no funds for advertising the exam and no funds to rent testing spaces. He used library meeting rooms, town hall event rooms, school rooms, club houses at condo developments, etc.

    When I attended enumerator training, it was held in a tiny room of a city hall complex, and no fees were paid for its use. I assumed that this was the norm. Will there be a luncheon in each state for all of these organizations? I imagine that every city in the U.S. will be using Census data products.

  2. Solong Census Says:

    FL-RI, look at the content, though. It is impossible for one person to know what is going on in different parts of the country, especially the great lengths the Census Bureau goes through to “cover up”. Sure, there may be bloggers who use different names but, I am not convinced it is all the same person.

    It is so amazing Mr. Jost goes to great lengths to honor the Partnership Staff when I have heard, first hand the vile and negative things the folks on the Operations side of the Census Bureau say about the Partnership people. They use sterotypical and perjorical terms, you would have expected to hear decades ago. The majority of the Partnership staff is of different ethnic groups, people of color,LGBT and different language speakers. Operations treats the Partnership Staff as if they are second class. It isn’t necessarily the fault of the Partnership staff. The program has been poorly managed, maybe purposely to keep the Partnership People appearing as “second class”. The Census Bureau needs to clean up its act.

  3. Florida Fool Says:

    How many other recruiters out there had to find their own free testing sites vs. how many recruiters had previously rented rooms in which to perform their testing? “Ladybug 1″ comments on the first LUNCHEON post that she was a recruiter and also had to find her own sites to give the Census test. Was that common?

    To FL-RI: Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t a conspiracy.

  4. Solong Census Says:

    LA Region Recruters were told there was no money to rent space. It all had to be free. As the recession wore on, for the NRFU recruitment, it became more and more difficult to find free space as, even, community groups wanted to charge for space. They desperately needed money, too. We would have been very greatful and so would the community groups, if we had been given $500 to rent space.

  5. Florida Fool Says:

    I’ve read and re-read Steve Jost’s last paragraph, about how the 255,000 national partners saved the government/taxpayers $$$, because these civic organizations donated space for testing and training centers, and therefore saved $179 million in rents that otherwise would have had to have been paid for testing and training centers.

    I’m confused. If, indeed, individual recruiters each had to scrounge around to find their own free testing sites where ever they could, then how, exactly, did the Census Partners save the govt. all this money on rents? It sound more like the lowly recruiters saved the govt. rent money. Was each recruiter given a list of local “census partners” to contact to ask for free meeting rooms?

  6. Solong Census Says:

    In the LA Region the Partnership program didn’t really get going until Uncle Sam gave the Census Bureau the stimulus program to hire Partnership Assistants in late 2009 early 2010. Then they hired whoever to use up the Stimulus money. The Partnership program did not provide testing sites or even contacts for testing and training sites. We were given a some lists of contacts that had been obtained in the 2000 decennial. They were worthless. The sites were obtained by the recruiters for testing and by the Field Ops staff for training. Partnership had nothing to to with it. What Partnership did was attend events to give out all the thousands of dollars of giveaways and then dumped the giveaways when Mail Out Mail Back operation was over. Again, it really had nothing to do with the people hired in Partnership, they were good people wanting to do a good job. It was the poor planning and poor management of the Partnership program.

  7. Patrick Says:

    As a CL, we had to find our own training centers as well… some better than others… some, for lack of a better location, were held at tables at gas stations… yeah, tons of help from the “partners” there!

  8. Michael Fermanich Says:

    I know for a fact that Green Bay volunteers for Census were very upset at what had happened to myself regarding various experiences and the Census paid NO money to various city government offices and county offices and township offices which caused problems to some of there budgets and normal meeting places. So than they have meetings at Burger Kings and McDonald’s, other public places which upset many citizens trying to eat and had to listen to census meetings.

  9. anon Says:

    Quote of the week: “I cannot make this up.”

  10. Samantha Jackson Says:

    Partnership was not involved in recruiting in any way in our LCO. Recruiting Assistants secured their own training sites which had to be free of charge. Recruiting Assistants handled all use agreements when necessary. The Census Bureau refused to sign any agreement that contained a hold harmless clause. The training sites had to be content with assurances that the Census Bureau is self insured. We used their lights, their heating, their air conditioning all free of charge. Let me tell you, those training sites were like gold. They were a precious thing.

  11. Bob West Says:

    In some local offices the Partnership resources appeared to be almost unlimited. In most areas, in particular rural areas, the local Partnership Assistants were pretty much left to fend for themselves.

    The RCC Partnership did whatever they wanted with great enthusiasm, little oversight and no tangible deliverables. Almost every local office I visited that had scheduled an enumeration blitz with partnership and was disappointed. Either Partnership never showed, or arrived hours late resulting in enumerators running out of hours and going home.

    Touting the “success” of Partnership due to the mail back return is misleading. I’d like to see the figures about how much money was spent in each LCO and what the return was in mail back. In my experience where the bulk of the money was spent, mail back was at or below 2000 numbers.

  12. Census Worker in Houston Says:

    As an RA, we were required to locate & schedule our own testing & training sites, as long as they were free. We also coordinated sites to use for QA locations & NRFU training. As a CL for NRFU, we were also required to find our own meeting places for daily enumerator meetings. The CB didn’t pay for anything, and they kept asking sites for more and more beyond the initial agreement, very much wearing out their welcome at most sites.

  13. Solong Census Says:

    Stephen Robert Morse, tell Steven Jost he is full of bull on this one and please keep exposing the Census Bureau and Jost for what they are; flim flam liars.

  14. Bob Says:

    Solong – exactly how is Mr Jost “full of bull on this one”? He responded to Stephen. Stephen got it wrong. What more is there to say?

  15. GS-X Says:

    Was the real mission of Partnership to fool state and local governments into believing that their residents were enumerated accurately?
    Or do Partnership Specialists serve as spies for Census Headquarters?
    Do Partnership Specialists alert Headquarters of efforts by state and local governments to challenge the count?
    Do Partnership Specialists try to get housing and population counts from state and local governments so Census Headquarters can credibly fake the census?
    It all seems extraordinarily political.

  16. one of many Says:

    It is a pony and dance show.

    Office workers sitting around twittling their thumbs with no work to do and LCOs wonder why EQs and completed binders get lost, shredded by mistake, and misplaced! Too much waste, fraud.


  17. Florida Fool Says:

    There is a difference between Census employees called “partnership specialists” vs. businesses and civic organizations that signed up to be 2010 Census Partners. On the official Census website is a list of the national Census Partners, including businesses like Cargill, Caterpiller, Inc. and Macy’s, plus community and faith organizations such as AARP, Meals on Wheels, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It appears that this luncheon was to honor community Census Partners — NOT Census employee partnership specialists. That is all well and good.

    MY POINT IS: Steve Jost credits these organizations with saving the govt. $1.79 million in rent money by donating their buildings for Census testing and training sites. BUT, so far, the comments on this post indicate that individual recruiters had to find their own free meeting and testing sites — without assistance from these Census Partner organizations. Did any of you meet in rooms at Macy’s, or at Caterpiller, or at Northrup Grumman or at Meals on Wheels sites, or at AME churches or any of the other businesses or civic group buildings listed on the PARTNERS webpage of the Census? It doesn’t sound that way from the responses so far. Oh, well, actually, I did find Burger King listed as a Partner, but NOT MacDonald’s.

    So, on what information is Steve Jost basing his assertion that the civic organizations listed as official Census Partners saved the govt. almost 2 million dollars in rent-free space? Were the LCO offices located in buildings donated by Census Partners? Help me out here… what do you know?

  18. Anonymous2010 Says:

    The Partnership program was a good idea that failed, miserably. Recruiting did the entire job of finding enumerator training sites. Recruiting was not allowed to interact with Partnership and Partnership provided no training sites. There was no coordination between Partnership and the LCO with respect to the operation of the Census. The tasks Partnership was assigned should be re-integrated into the general Census operations so the operation can benefit from that. The one thing that Partnership did do was raise the profile of the 2010 Census in the respective communities, which was important, but did not contribute at all to the operational end of it.

  19. Solong Census Says:


    Jost is full of bull because the justification he gave SRM that Parntership saved so much money by securing free sites is pure bull. The recruiters and field ops saved the money. Who is Jost trying to impress or convince? Not us we lived through all of this.

  20. Samantha Jackson Says:

    Partnership Specialists may have had a list of Census “Partners” but that list was never shared with Recruiting Assistants who secured the test sites at my LCO. RA’s pounded the pavement and sold the idea on municipalities, libraries, non-profits, churches, workforce centers, community groups, etc. RA’s completed use agreements. RA’s completed partner paperwork. Recruiting then shared their information with Partnership. It was a one-way street. Recruiting shared partners they had secured with Partnership. Partnership did not share with Recruiting the “Partners” that Partnership secured.

    The community stepped up. The community provided. But it was Recruiting that secured the sites.

  21. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Please note that he never explained how the people flew from Denver to Arizona SRM

  22. Solong Census Says:

    SRM, Jost will probably try to say they each paid for their own travel. The Partnership Specialists had company credit cards. Field Offices couldn’t even get reimbursement for supplies when we didn’t have any. Especially when the ELCO’s opened. We couldn’t even get folders for recruitment and personnel files. It would be interesting to see how much Partnership Specialists charged to these cards. I was told by a Partnership Specialist Supervisor that a Partnership Specialist in the LA Region charged a trip to Las Vegas on the company card and nothing was done to her. Pretty Sweet Life. Next time I’m coming back as a Partnership Specialists; no accountability, money to pay for trips, no supervision…..

  23. AP Says:

    I see round trip airfare for one person leaving on a Wednesday, coming back on a Thursday for around $240. Can we stop talking about this now?

  24. George J. Wilberg Says:

    In NC the partnership people were a “joke!” Most of those folks I met did not know what they were doing, were poorly trained, and made enemies out of about every public figure I ever saw. One mayor banned them from her office! Some you could not understand as I am sure they were hired to meet a minority quota but were immersed in areas where few if any people spoke her language. About everyone I talked to did not have many good words to say and thought the Partnership people were partners in a way, How? They contributed little to the success of Census 2010 and they were “partners” in the typical taxpayer pocket. Another cruel joke played on the American people. Steve Jost must live in a fantasy world in his criticism of Steve Morse which in my opinion is quite factual and observant. I like Solong Census last comments-come back as a Partnership Specialist-do little to nothing and get paid well for it……what a job…..yeah baby!

  25. meme Says:

    Our partnership people found only a handful of training locations. They had many sites entered into the database that never agreed to be training locations or to “partner” with the census. The clerks called day after day to find the free rooms. Their jobs would have been so much easier if they could have paid people $50 for janitorial services here and there.