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.

Archive for the ‘MyTwoCensus.com’ Category

Atlantic City census office on chaos over Crew Leader’s decision to follow the rules…

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Here’s an interesting story from the Press of Atlantic City that raises many issues that have previously been discussed on MyTwoCensus.com:

U.S. Census Bureau officials said Friday that confusion over how to count shore residents has made it pull at least 20 canvassers out of Brigantine after a local crew leader resigned in protest.

Debra Dunham, who recently moved to the city from Minnesota, submitted her resignation Thursday and said she was ordered to expedite the counting of residents there even if it meant not following procedures to get accurate numbers.

“The motto from the local census office is ‘Git-r-done,’” she said Friday.

Census officials said their attempts to blanket the area more thoroughly with enumerators was misunderstood as trying to take shortcuts, and so reduced a group of 50 counters to 30 to erase the misconception.

Dunham sent her resignation letter to the city’s offices and the media, and after her concerns were forwarded from the local office in Northfield to the regional office in Philadelphia, officials said they were changing their handling of the area’s count.

Regional Director Fernando Armstrong said his office was investigating Dunham’s allegations, saying all workers are expected to attempt contacting a house up to six times in order to get a complete number of residents.

He said his office spoke with representatives from the local office and instructed them that they should be proceeding with the count according to the normal procedures.

The practice of bringing in more workers, called “blitzing,” was being used because the shore region is notorious for having too few volunteers. But it is also an expensive process, since the bureau pays several workers an average of $18 an hour to canvass a small area.

“What the local office was trying to do was get as much of the shore area done by bringing people from other parts of their territory to get it done before the weekend when you have a lot of people coming to shore homes,” Armstrong said. “It was never the attention to not continue to do door-to-door enumeration.”

Armstrong said there were also concerns among workers that this was taking work away from them, which he said was not the intention.

Armstrong said the bureau needed workers so badly that they had rehired Dunham by the end of the day Friday.

The 30 counters remaining will continue knocking on doors through the weekend and into the middle of July, Armstrong said, both in Brigantine and throughout the region.

Interesting Op-Ed from the LA Times…

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Though this issue hasn’t been discussed for a few months now, an op-ed in the LA Times questions why illegal immigrants are counted in the 2010 Census, thus altering Congressional apportionment, if they don’t have the right to vote.

Daily Sound Off: History of access letters

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Here’s today’s Daily Sound Off:

Our History of Access Letters

[Set against the background of a fill-in-the-blanks, multi-part, Census Form Letter, complete with Census seal, to use for locked buildings and gated communities]

We’re in an urban area.

My district has only apartments or condominiums. All of these have external control devices/call boxes, with the exception of one building that has a locked door and no identifying marks other than the street number.

I have been surprised by the the number of property management organizations and condominium owner’s associations that have actively impeded Enumerators in pursuit of the data. This includes posters from “management” stating “do not allow Census workers into the building” or stating “access to the building is only available by invitation of each individual condominium owner.”

Our LCO has offered an amusing stream of “access” letters aiming to help us gain access to the buildings to enable the sacred first visit in person.

Our Enumerators hit the streets on Apr 29.

First letter, May 13th, on copy paper, no Census Logo or letterhead, toughest language “Please allow our Census Bureau employees to enter your building(s) or community to perform their official duties.”

Second “letter,” May 17th, , on copy paper, no Census Logo or letterhead, text labeled as a copy of US Code, Title 13, Chapter 5 [sic], Subchapter 2, Section 223, substituting at the end “….(it goes on to describe the penalties).” for “shall be fined not more than $500.”

Third Letter, later in the day on the 17th, on copy paper, no Census Logo or letterhead, placed the above Title 13 extract between an opener of “At the XXX Census Office, we have been experiencing a high number of apartment managers and other facility managers who do not understand their obligation to provide information to US Census workers.  Here is the official language from the document which gives you the authority and responsibility to provide this information to the sworn federal employee” and closing with the AMFO’s signature block, but no signature.

Fourth Letter, May 19th, essentially the third letter with the AMFO’s business card attached.

Fifth letter, May 20th, on copy paper, no Census Logo or letterhead, essentially the third letter but with the full text of sections 223 and 224, i.e., containing the full language on fines.

Sixth Letter, May 21st – Fifth Letter retracted, revert to Fourth Letter

Seventh Letter, May 23rd, on copy paper, no Census Logo but with a mockup of the Census letterhead, similar to Fifth Letter but containing only section 223, with the text of the section within a ruled box.

Eighth Letter, May 24th, Seventh Letter retracted for “looking too official [sic],” revert to Sixth Letter, i.e., the Fourth Letter.

Ninth, and current, Letter. May 27th. on copy paper BUT it  is a copy of an RCC’s official letterhead paper, signed by the RCC director, dated “May 2010,” with text extolling the recipient to assist the Census and read the enclosed “Section 223, Title 13 [sic].”
On the reverse the top half is entitled “SECURITY/PROPERTY MANAGER INFORMATION SHEET.”
The bottom half is a photocopy of US Code Title 13, Census, Chapter 7 – Offenses and Penalties, Subchapter II -Section 223, from the United States Code Annotated.

All of this would be somewhat amusing if it weren’t so timid, unprofessional and unproductive. It is on par with the Enumerator’s Manual suggestion about gain access to an access controlled building by tapping on the door glass with your keys.

What works for me….
When I first talk with property managers on the phone, they all seem to be reading from a script.
The script is along the line of “Our clients are very wealthy and very famous. They pay us great sums of money so they aren’t bothered. Further, we can’t have seasonal employees scampering down our halls.”
I then arrange for a meeting in person. Before the meeting I send a copy of the very first, timid, letter, telling them that this is just a draft of our first-level letter for them to examine. I then arrive at the meeting in _full_ business attire. The meetings have been short and the result has been access for our Enumerators.

In my briefcase I have the Ninth Letter copied on to heavy, white, laid bond paper, with a copy of §223 on a second page. So far it has staid in my briefcase.

[This is just one of twenty of more exercises where everyone in the field is saying "They've done this before, right?" and "Surely this isn't the first time the Census has encountered this situation."]

Daily Sound Off: The real problems with payroll

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Here’s today’s Daily Sound Off:

I work for the payroll department in my LCO.  I wanted to explain some things about how Census payroll works and why people are getting paid late.  I would appreciate if my name were left out of this, but feel free to publish some or all of the information contained below.

As you may know, in order to get paid for a day’s work a Census employee must submit a daily payroll form that we lovingly refer to as a “308.”  The 308 contains several redundancies to help catch potential errors.  For instance, the employee must mark both the date worked and the day of the week worked, and if these do not match the 308 will not be processed until the office can determine what date the employee actually worked.  The employee also must enter the number of hours worked and the times worked, and if these do not match the employee will be paid for the lesser of the two numbers.  Finally any expenses incurred must be explained and any over $5 must be accompanied by a receipt; in order to save taxpayer dollars we regularly reject claims for ridiculous things that the employee does not need to complete their assignment.

The reasons that we’re having so much delayed payroll come down to the problems with processing these time sheets.  First of all, as I mentioned before, if there are any errors with a paysheet, that sheet may be placed into a problem file to be dealt with later.  Ideally we deal with all problem 308s in their appropriate pay period, but the first three weeks of NRFU were not ideal.  You’ve heard of all the paperwork new employees have to fill out?  All of that has to be processed by the admin department *before* an employee can be paid.  Admin departments basically had to begin processing one to two thousand hiring packets plus five to ten thousand pay sheets starting at the end of the first day of training and be finished by the following Monday.  For many LCOs, that just didn’t happen.  That’s why we all put in overtime that week – to try to get as many people paid as possible.

Now, from the perspective of someone whose job it is to process paysheets, the thing about problem 308s is that some are very easy to deal with and some are very difficult, but almost none of them would exist if the employees themselves took the time to fill these things out right.  Everyone who works for the census was tested on the ability to read and count and everyone who works for the census was hired basically to enter information on forms, and filling out pay sheets does not require any skills beyond these.  And yet we continuously have problems with people who apparently cannot count to 40 – who either claim overtime with under 40 hours a week worked, or claim no overtime with more than 40 hours a week worked.  We continue having problems with people who apparently cannot glance at a calendar long enough to verify both the date and the day of the week.  So while we try to get these errors fixed, a large portion of the employees who are getting paid late are being delayed because they made mistakes on their paperwork that we cannot easily deal with.

Of course the other problem we’re facing is that we can’t process payroll that we don’t have.  I’ve heard numerous stories of FOSes and CLs who don’t submit 308s on time.  I understand from the Crew Leaders’ position that they have a lot to do, but most of our CLs get their 308s in on time.  The maybe 5% who don’t account for 90% of the phone calls we get from enumerators who have missed several days’ pay from their checks.

This is a personnel problem.  We simply don’t have a good way to motivate large numbers of temporary employees to do their jobs promptly and correctly.  Every job has its share of lazy or incompetent employees.  The Census does work to terminate these, but if we have to give each CL who brings payroll in late (or never) at least two warnings, that’s at least three weeks of delayed payroll before we can replace the person, which is why we’re getting stories from across the country of whole crews who haven’t been paid for two or three weeks of working.  Rumor around the office has it that the terminations for unsatisfactory performance are going to start coming fast and furious starting next week, although we’ve already got a decent pile going now.

Now, the admin department gets well over a hundred calls a week inquiring about missing hours or days.  In the vast, overwhelming majority of cases – including every single call I have personally handled – these hours or days are already processed and on their way to the employee on the next pay period.  I understand that it is difficult for many people, especially those whose only job is the Census, to have to wait three weeks instead of two to be paid for a particular day’s work.  Some people may be counting on being paid on time.  I think that the situation would have been helped immensely if we had issued a blanket disclaimer at training or even during the hiring process that it is normal for it to take up to four weeks to be paid for any particular day worked.  Somehow, people formed an expectation that a gigantic government bureaucracy staffed entirely by people with virtually no experience would be fast and efficient at handling paperwork, which makes me wonder if none of these employees who are calling us up or going to the media because their pay is a week late have ever tried to mail a letter or get a driver’s license.  Anyhow, we try to stay cheerful but a certain fatalism develops when all we can do is tell people, essentially, that their check is in the mail.

I can say that fortunately our department is now caught up with payroll on a weekly basis, and it is only when CLs or FOSes bring 308s in late that we process them late.  However, payroll is already on a delayed basis by design – so if I work on a Monday, that 308 gets processed by the LCO and “closed” the following Monday, which means that a direct deposit will be issued the week after that, usually on a Wednesday – a delay of up to 17 days.  So people who missed hours on their last paycheck were actually missing hours for the week of May 9-15 – which was basically the second week of actual work, and third week of employment, and at that point we had many but not all of our glitches ironed out.  By that point we had issued directives to FOSes and CLs about how and when to fill out and bring in 308s and started getting positive responses, which should be reflected in even fewer errors in next week’s checks.

However, the heart of this issue is actually in how the Census approaches the hiring process.  While the recruiting process stretches over two years, the hiring process is basically crammed into a week.  Queens LCOs had to hire 1600 – 2200 employees over the week of April 19th, for a training session that started April 26th.  This has obvious problems.  First of all, we were asking people – many of whom had taken the test months ago, in the fall or even summer – to drop everything and come in for training with a week’s (or in some cases, a day’s) notice.  This is pointless and disrespectful and also resulted in the loss of many promising candidates.  Basically, we weeded out everyone who had a job, or responsibilities, or the ability to plan, or the self-respect to demand to be treated courteously by an employer; then we hired whoever was left.  Certainly we found some people who were competent and hard-working and just down on their luck or hit by the economy, but the overall caliber of employees is lower than what it would have been if we had given people adequate notice or contacted them in a timely fashion after they took their test.

The second problem is, as I have said, the logistical difficulty of processing 2000 new hires at once.  If we had hired people on some kind of rolling basis we could have gotten their paperwork filed and their payroll started up before they had to start working.  If we had started hiring and taking care of administrative matters in, say, March or even April 1st, as most test-takers were promised, then we could have gotten people trained, processed, and into payroll before NRFU even began.  This would have eased the burden on admin, but also on NRFU and the people who had to get training sites for thousands of people all during one week.  This would also have reduced the number of people who were verbally hired but never contacted again, or who attended training but were never assigned a CL, or who were assigned a CL but never any work.

Also, there simply has to be a less resource-intensive way to handle payroll than having each employee hand a piece of paper to their CL each day, to be handed to the FOS each day, to be brought into the office each day, to then be audited by one clerk and then entered into the payroll system by another clerk and then sent to a different agency entirely for final processing.  We did payroll exactly the same way in the 2000 Census, and guess what?  We’ve had ten years and the internet since then.  We have secure banking, we have ebay, amazon, paypal (all of which, I realize, we also had in 2000).  Why can’t we have a server that the employee can log on to to enter their information; that the CL can log on to to approve the hours worked and digitally sign; that can automate the auditing process and eliminate the need for a separate data entry process?  I believe I was promised a paperless society when this whole internet thing started, so what gives?

In short, we in payroll are struggling to get everyone’s pay processed correctly and on time, but the system for doing so is incredibly inefficient, incapable of surviving the level of human error presented by barely-trained temporary Census employees, and compressed into a set of arbitrary and irrational time-frames that make actual prioritization of tasks or long-term planning impossible.  So some of us are doing the best we can, some people aren’t doing well at all, and are being fired ASAP, but ultimately I think we have to blame the planners.  There’s really nothing any of us on the ground can do to remedy the systemic problems that come from an unnecessarily paper-heavy and error-prone operation in which everything is rushed and the right hand never seems to know what the left hand is doing.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: 2010 Census work should be suspended for Memorial Day

Friday, May 28th, 2010

MyTwoCensus has received numerous tips that Census Bureau offices will be open on Memorial Day and that enumerators will be out counting households. MyTwoCensus strongly disagrees with this decision to operate on Memorial Day for many reasons. First, Memorial Day is FEDERAL HOLIDAY, and the 2010 Census is a federal government operation. Second, Memorial Day is a time to show respect to veterans, living and dead. Third, Memorial Day is a time when not many people will be at home anyway. American tradition dictates that families and friends gather at parties that can be held in private, on beaches, in parks, and other public spaces. Enumerating on this day will likely be a major waste of time and money because few people will be at  home to answer their doors. Additionally, if all other federal workers receive Monday off, why should Census Bureau employees be held to a different standard?

Bob Barr claims Census workers can enter your home when you’re not around.

Friday, May 28th, 2010

This appears to be idiotic, plain and simple. Yet this Bob Barr fellow who is a former Congressman and now writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution seems to believe what he’s writing, and he’s got a lot of comments in his comments section. However, it doesn’t make sense that someone looking to enumerate would want to visit an EMPTY household:

Census workers can enter your apartment in your absence

6:00 am May 26, 2010, by Bob Barr

Thousands of census workers, including many temporary employees, are fanning out across America to gather information on the citizenry.  This is a process that takes place not only every decade in order to complete the constitutionally-mandated census; but also as part of the continuing “American Community Survey” conducted by the Census Bureau on a regular basis year in and year out.

What many Americans don’t realize, is that census workers — from the head of the Bureau and the Secretary of Commerce (its parent agency) down to the lowliest and newest Census employee — are empowered under federal law to actually demand access to any apartment or any other type of home or room that is rented out, in order to count persons in the abode and for “the collection of statistics.”  If the landlord of such apartment or other  leased premises refuses to grant the government worker access to your living quarters, whether you are present or not, the landlord can be fined $500.00.

That’s right — not only can citizens be fined if they fail to answer the increasingly intrusive questions asked of them by the federal government under the guise of simply counting the number of people in the country; but a landlord must give them access to your apartment whether you’re there or not, in order to gather whatever “statistics” the law permits.

In fact, some census workers apparently are going even further and demanding — and receiving — private cell phone numbers from landlords in order to call tenants and obtain information from them.  Isn’t it great to live in a “free” country?

Daily Sound Off: The Chicago Enumerator

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Here’s today’s Daily Sound Off:

May 26, 2010

I am an enumerator/Census taker in Chicago and this is my story of working for the U.S. Census Bureau over the past month.

My CLD has never had enough address binders for each of the approximate 15 enumerators working for it.  During training, some binders were split up, while a lucky few got a whole binder, me included.  However, the majority of my addresses were in a federally subsidized Section 8 building, where office staff refused me access and would not return my crew leader’s calls. The lower income families residing in this building need to be counted the most for funding, etc., especially since their housing is federally funded, but staff has been unfortunately uncooperative thus far.  I should have moved onto a new binder after the first week of work, but my CLD received only a handful more of binders during that first week and none since.

My CLD is now in the fourth week of work and has not received any new binders, despite my crew leader promising us new binders 2.5 weeks ago, at one point even telling us the day on which we would receive them!  At a meeting 1.5 weeks ago, she told us matter-of-factly that one of the reasons we weren’t receiving more work was because we had too many old EQ forms coming back with mistakes because she had failed to review them before she submitted them!  Forms are being corrected, addresses revisited, at what point have we submitted enough work to get new work?  Why are individuals who have finished their work forced to wait for others who have not?  Why are enumerators suffering for a crew leader’s mistakes?

It sure seems like crew leaders, others in supervisory positions, and those working in offices are putting in plenty of hours dealing with the mess and confusion of the 2010 Census, wasting taxpayers’ money, but many enumerators are barely able to put it any hours, when we are the ones supposed to be collecting data that IS the Census!  The work is not filtering down to us at the bottom of the bureaucracy.  I haven’t worked in the field for a week now, every week I have worked fewer and fewer hours, never near the 20 hours per week I was told to expect during training.  The most hours I ever put in was for training, inadequate training at that!

My crew leader decided to hold an additional training session after the second week to demonstrate common mistakes we had made on our EQs, when they could have easily been corrected if she had actually reviewed them like she is supposed to!  In fact, she said she was instructed to start writing enumerators up for mistakes, when they are the result of inadequate training and crew leader oversight!  I would also like to note that my crew leader chooses to meet during meal times at a McDonalds crowded with crack heads, not the most appropriate environment.

It is apparent that my crew leader is poorly trained and cannot answer many questions posed to her about Census policies and procedures.  Another example of this: Pay.  My crew leader signed off on several pay sheets I had filled out for training where I claimed 30 miles, which is what I drove round-trip to and from work.  I subsequently received a call from my LCO informing me that I was not allowed to claim those miles.  I talked to a supervisor, who informed me that if she signed off on those miles, she could be terminated from her job.  I told her that my crew leader had seen the miles and even said I would be reimbursed for them, and the supervisor at my LCO told ME to inform HER that enumerators can only claim mileage from home to work (which it turns out is IN the Enumerator Manual) and that it would be trouble for me if the pay sheets with 30 miles were submitted!  It was extremely inappropriate and strange to be threatened with responsibility for the termination of a LCO supervisor and the implication of my termination as well!  Once again, because of my crew leader’s severe ineptitude and inadequate training, the little guy at the bottom of the hierarchy gets the stick, thanks federal government.

The supervisor at my LCO told me that my pay sheets with the mileage would have to be sent back by courier to my FOS so that I could redo them.  Of course my FOS never received them.  I called the LCO supervisor again and at first she could not find any record of what had happened to my pay sheets.  She then discovered that someone had approved the miles!  For what she previously made out to be a serious violation of procedure, she laughed about it and seemed to want to chit chat with me.  I felt like she may have been drinking that night I talked to her.  Apparently, no one knows the mileage enumerators can claim and are approving reimbursements they shouldn’t be, wasting more taxpayer dollars!

My crew leader instructed us during training not to keep the duplicate copy of our pay sheets because they would be mailed back to us.  I double-checked this, unfortunately with the same supervisor at my LCO that I mentioned previously.  She also explicitly instructed me to submit both copies together.  However, one of my family members also working as an enumerator said everyone in her CLD was keeping their pay sheet copies.  I checked the Enumerator Manual and it explains that the copy is to keep.  I called Payroll to see what they had to say about this conflicting information, and the guy I spoke to advised me to keep the copy, but that the issue was up to crew leaders’ discretion!  Clearly, no one is aware of their own policies!  Surely, I have the right to keep the copy of my original work records!  I just keep the copy now, since there is no one clear directive.  This is just one instance of several, where I have received contradictory information from my crew leader or LCO versus what is written in the Enumerator Manual.  This whole operation is either incredibly inept, corrupt, or both.

Today, in the fourth week of field work, I called my LCO to ask when/if we are getting new binders, after being promised them for at least 2.5 weeks now.  The woman I spoke to said I shouldn’t be calling the LCO and that I should ask my crew leader, meaning that I must not step out of line in the hierarchy.  I explained that my crew leader and FOS clearly do not what is going on and do not have answers to my questions, so that was why I was calling the LCO.  She said it was too bad that was my situation, but that she could do “ABSOLUTELY NOTHING” for me.  I quote.  I asked if she was not allowed to give me information regarding the issuance of new binders, but that did not seem to be the case.  She just refused to give me any information and told me she had talked to my FOS earlier in the day.  Don’t step out of line if you are on the bottom, know your place, and don’t ask questions if you work for the Census!

I am stuck talking to those directly above me who also know nothing.  I called my FOS today and she said she didn’t think we would be getting new binders.  She said we could be reassigned to another FOS, but she would check to make sure and call me back.  She always sounds sleepy and bewildered, I will probably have to call her back instead and lord knows if she will be any more informative.  I have been waiting for at least 2.5 weeks now, barely getting any hours in, on the promise of new binders, only to hear that there may not be any coming, and that my only chance for more work is to be reassigned four weeks in!

Two months and 20 hours per week I wish!  I was depending on this job for extra income this summer and it has amounted to barely anything, just waiting and hoping for work, rather than actually working, and trying to keep tabs on others’ incompetence.  Thanks for paying me to be trained for a job I barely even got to do federal government! OUTRAGEOUS.  The 2010 Census is such a poor reflection on the U.S. government, can’t we do better than this?

Regional Director: Change the label; then throw out information

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The below e-mail is from the New York regional director Tony Farthing to his staff. Note his quote “Also, you need to watch the appearance of things, like what is being thrown away, even if what is in a box is different than the label….then change the label so that the appearance is not anything that would cause concern.”

From:  
To:  
cc:  
bcc:    

Date:  
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 05:17PM
Subject:  
Fw: Picture of boxes in NY with “Recycle” on them

Hi Folks:  as you can imagine, in this day and age we have all kinds of people in our offices who are looking to take photos of anything, and even record conversations outside of the offices between Census employees.   At all times, you need to be careful about what you say…you need to say the right things and say it in a way that it cannot be misinterpreted.   Also, you need to watch the appearance of things, like what is being thrown away, even if what is in a box is different than the label….then change the label so that the appearance is not anything that would cause concern.

Be advised that whenever anything is to be recycled from a Census office…nothing should be placed in boxes out of the street and left unattended.   At all times Census workers with ID should be guarding this until it is picked up by the approved company.

We need everyone’s cooperation with this…..and unfortunately, and fortunately, this is the most watched census ever…..from those that want to help us, and those who take enjoyment out of finding the smallest flaws and broadcasting them.

Please be diligent in your upholding and enforcement of Census procedures and Title 13 materials….including the appearance of what could be Title 13 materials even if they are not.   If it is a box that says Census on it, the antennas go up automatically.

Feel free to take a look at the link below which pretty much sums up the reason for my email!

Tony Farthing
Regional Director

Washington Post: Stricter hiring rules at the Census Bureau

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

In response to recent incidents and pressure from lawmakers, Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves has made hiring rules more tough. MyTwoCensus has for more than a year exposed holes in the Census Bureau’s hiring plan and fingerprinting procedures, so this shouldn’t come as a major surprise. However, this action may further fuel the class action lawsuit against the Census Bureau. Here’s the latest from Ed O’Keefe and Carol Morello of The Washington Post:

The Census Bureau is adopting stricter rules for screening new hires after a registered sex offender using an alias got a job as a census taker, the bureau’s director said Wednesday.

Robert M. Groves said that from now on, applicants whose name, age, gender and Social Security number don’t all match background records will be held up for more investigation instead of being sent on for FBI fingerprint checks. Applicants whose fingerprints are not legible, as sometimes happens with older people whose ridges have worn down, will not be hired until their identities and backgrounds can be checked.

And when there is any “evidence of criminality” by a census worker, Groves said, there will be swifter invention to get them off the streets.

“These three things are good things to do,” said Groves, speaking at a Fairfax event that aimed to encourage Asian Americans to open their doors to census takers and answer their questions. “People should know that the person coming to your door won’t harm you.”

In early May, a woman in Pennsauken, N.J., who was home alone with her toddler son, opened her door to a census worker who asked for the names and birth dates of everyone residing there. Thinking he looked familiar, the woman checked the sex offender registry site after he left and recognized the man under a different name than the one he had given her.

Census officials said the man had passed a name check but failed a fingerprint check and was fired in the first week of May, apparently after he had visited the woman’s home. The man was charged with using a fake Social Security number in his census application.

In a separate incident, a census worker in Indiana was charged with raping and beating a disabled woman in early May when he allegedly returned to the house after first visiting on an official call as a census taker.

The Census Bureau has hired about 635,000 people to make house calls to people who did not send in their census forms by the end of April. This phase is more than half completed, and is scheduled to continue into July.

Daily Sound Off: The Plight of the Crew Leader

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Many readers have suggested that during these NRFU operations MyTwoCensus should provide a place strictly for workers to vent their frustrations, whatever they may be. I will start taking the best e-mail that I receive each day, publish it here, and hopefully readers will also vent a bit in the comments section. Here’s the inaugural e-mail:

In the past week, I have been told that:
1) NRFU is winding down and our CLD’s should wrap everything up by:
a) 5/26
b) 5/28
c) 6/7
d) 6/18
2) That I must complete enumerator progress reports on a daily basis [In the past week, CLs have received 5 different versions w/varying rubrics to track enumerator progress in this new paperwork about paperwork].
3) That my top priority should be:
a) completing/submitting EQ’s
b) completing/submitting binders
c) completing/submitting D-308′s
d) calling new enumerators, only to inform them I have no work for them but they can come to CLD meetings to get their min. hours each week. (I am also required to observe them in the field and then have them share a binder w/one of my regular enumerators, even though remaining EQ’s in my CLD are few and far between.)
4) That my other top priority is to complete various forms of paperwork about completing tasks listed in 3)a-d every day and submit all information to the LCO w/in 24 hours of the date completed.
5) That I am not authorized for overtime, and should delegate more work to my CLA.  Also, that my CLA is not authorized to sign anything that needs to be signed and submitted in order too accomplish task 4).

I also found out that CLs in earlier operations were making $2.00/hr more.

Although I realize that I am “guaranteed” up to 40 hours each week, I make $1.50 more than my enumerators and am expected to take on a level of agita that almost makes unemployment more attractive than a weekly paycheck.

Photo of the Day: Waste on the streets of New York

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

UPDATE: I have word that the New York regional office is up in arms over this photo. Please note that I received it from a college friend who does NOT work for the Census Bureau. I don’t want anyone to be falsely accused/needlessly fired over something that they didn’t do…

423 West 127 Street, New York, New York

Multiply this by the 494 local census offices around the country…and know that this happens on a daily/weekly basis.

Dedicated to Census Bureau Associate Director for Communications Steve Jost: 2010 Census payroll problems acknowledged and additional assistance to be given to employees

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Though the Census Bureau’s Associate Director for Communications (and Spin Doctor in Residence) Steve Jost denied problems with the Census Bureau’s payroll system in comments he posted on this blog, Ryla, a firm contracted by the government to handle telephone complaints and questions about Census Bureau operations, has now acknowledged its own payroll problems for its employees. This is a true victory for MyTwoCensus.com and its loyal readers, as this issue likely would not have received the attention it deserves without your assistance. Let’s now hope that the Census Bureau follows suit in addressing payroll problems that have been widely reported by this site’s readers. Thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the following:

By Leon Stafford

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kennesaw-based Ryla Inc. is working to improve its pay processes after some of the 1,300 census workers the company employs complained they were not getting checks on time or were shorted work hours.

Ryla spokeswoman Karen Clay said the pay problems have occurred in spurts and the company is paying employees as quickly as its officials are notified. She did not know the exact number of people affected, but said it is small.

“There were some hiccups in our own processing in payroll,” Clay said, declining to be more specific. “Any payroll discrepancies are actively being worked on.”

Ryla, operator of one of Georgia’s biggest call centers, announced in February it was hiring the workers to handle calls for the 2010 Census. Pay is roughly $12-$15 an hour.

Another issue for workers has been pay stubs issued for $0. Clay said workers with those checks are employed by temporary agencies. Ryla pays the temp agencies, which then pay the workers.

A letter to Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves from an employee in Florida

Monday, May 24th, 2010
The following opinions are those of a Census Bureau employee, not MyTwoCensus.com, and concern the letter below from Robert M. Groves::

Dear Robert Groves:

I am writing this editorial in response to a letter you wrote to all your local census office staff thanking them for their hard work and late hours dedicated to the census. I know that you will read this personally or someone on your staff will bring this to your attention. In your letter you assure us that you and Census Bureau employees at the highest level are focused on improving the Paper Based Operations Control System (PBOCS) and its performance. As this website has pointed out, PBOCS still has outages and bugs in the system are not fixed.

In the past few weeks we have seen a huge backlog in processing questionnaires. When headquarters and RCC set strict production standards and goals without flexibility and evaluate offices strictly based on that what you will find is managers react and make wasteful decisions. The Census needs to stop a common practice of  “throwing” bodies and resources at the problem in offices across the country. The staffing levels in some offices are now triple what the staffing authorizations originally allotted. Some offices are running three shifts 24 hours a day and those who are working 6pm to 6am are getting night differential pay. The number of staff in these offices has become simply impossible to manage effectively. The bureau may want to hire more staff in lieu of paying overtime. However keep in mind that there is a learning curve. Managers and supervisors can’t give new staff the same organized verbatim training. In some offices the NRFU operation is ahead of schedule, yet enumerators are still being trained as replacements when it is clear there is going to be no work. The most effective management decision is to find a balance using a marginal cost/benefit analysis: hire just enough additional staff to complete the task in a reasonable time, reward controlled overtime to your quality employees and spread out the staff. For example on Saturday May 15th our LCO was required to bring in ten staff for PBOCS over the weekend, even though most of the staff were not trained and the system couldn’t handle the users. So most of these employees sat around unproductively.

Also when production goals are set with no flexibility there is corner cutting and low quality work. When PBOCS doesn’t work and questionnaires need to be shipped we’ll just throw them in the box. When enumerators are held to strict production standards in hard to count areas we’ll simply resort to non-knowledgeable proxies or marking them as vacant or uninhabitable. (and remember vacant and uninhabitable units are difficult to be re interviewed in the quality control process) The Census Bureau’s quality assurance checks try to find low quality or falsified data however there are flaws. We won’t add housing units as we are supposed to and no quality assurance check that the bureau has can pick that up.

The solution is work smarter and more efficiently. If the Census fails to do this they will go over budget and run out of money. Most people will agree the crux of your staff are the enumerators and the clerks in the office who process questionnaires and payroll. We are the ones who are being paid the least amount of money and suffer the most from intimidation, constant demands of unattainable production goals and threats of being fired. Some of these forms of intimidation come from constant reminders that overtime is strictly forbidden. However if we don’t work fast enough headquarters and RCC staff will bring people in to take the food out of our mouths and pay the overtime to other employees either from other offices or even other regions. How demoralizing it must be to bring in people from other local census offices or even flying people across the country and putting them up in hotel rooms to help local census offices.

In these tough economic times, local census office employees like us may swallow their pride and work beyond their hours without claiming them simply because we want to be viewed as productive employees and keep our jobs. However when the Census ends the bureau is setting itself for another lawsuit from disgruntled employees. Your headquarters and regional census office staff must be more constructive in its criticism and not just threaten. The fact is your career census employees had ten years to get this right and didn’t. Now to blame local census offices for not processing work fast enough or to be inflexible in its deadlines is unacceptable.

I am proud to be part of this great endeavor, working for the 23rd census of population and have forged the greatest of friendship and camaraderie part of it as a result of the recession which has attracted a talented employee pool. Nevertheless I am disappointed in how we are treated by the regional census center and headquarters employees. I am simply asking that your career census employees treat the temporary employees with the respect and support we deserve and need in this tough time.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Census Office Employee

A Yuba City, CA woman was shot and killed after a Census visit

Friday, May 21st, 2010

The story is tragic and bizarre — after residents pointed a gun at a Census employee, attracting police to the area, a woman refused officers’ demands to lay down a shotgun she was carrying and was shot. It’s sad that an irrational fear of Census takers seems to have fueled gun threats yet again, and it’s even sadder that it had to result in the loss of a life this time. From Appeal-Democrat.com:

Woman shot, killed by Yuba City police

May 21, 2010 11:18:00 AM

A 67-year-old Yuba City woman was shot and killed by officers when she pointed a shotgun at them and refused to put it down, according to Yuba City police.

Victoria Helen Roger-Vasselin was pronounced dead late Thursday at her home at 764 Mariner Loop in an affluent neighborhood on the city’s far south side.
Roger-Vasselin was the sister of the late Thomas E. Mathews, a Yuba County judge and district attorney.

“They shot her dead,” Roger-Vasselin’s distraught son said outside the house Friday morning.

“I think she was just startled” by late visits to her home, he said.

Before he could give his full name, a relative or family friend took him by the arm and led him inside, shutting the door.
Officers went to the Mariner Loop home after receiving a call at 9:04 p.m. about weapons being brandished.

A U.S. Census worker “had been confronted by residents who pointed a firearm at the worker and said they would not answer any questions and closed the door,” said police spokeswoman Shawna Pavey.

When two male officers arrived, 51-year-old Lionel Patterson answered the door, armed with a handgun, police said.

“As officers were dealing with the male, a female approached the door with a shotgun and ignored officers’ orders to release the weapon. As the female advanced on officers, she continued to point the shotgun at officers in a threatening manner and the two officers fired their service weapons, hitting the female,” police said.

Both officers fired their guns, said Pavey, adding she didn’t believe Roger-Vasselin or Patterson fired.

Both officers were uniformed and clearly identifiable as police, Pavey said.

Pavey said toxicology testing after an autopsy Friday morning will determine if alcohol or drugs were factors in the incident.

The officers have been placed on routine administrative leave while the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office investigates the incident.

A neighbor, Bob Dhaliwal, said he was in bed when heard people, including one woman, shouting and yelling, followed by five or six shots. When he came outside, officers with guns drawn had the male suspect on the ground, then took him away in a patrol car, he said.

“All I saw was him being arrested. I assumed he shot somebody,” Dhaliwal said.

Patterson lives at the same address. Pavey and neighbors said it wasn’t clear what the relationship was between him and Roger-Vasselin.

Dhaliwal and other neighbors said they didn’t know Roger-Vasselin well.

“She kept to herself,” Dhaliwal said.

One neighbor, who declined to give her name, described Roger-Vasselin “pleasant but reserved,” almost reclusive.

“She was much more social when she moved first moved in. The economy was better then,” the neighbor said.

Neighbors said they had also received nighttime visits from a female census worker.

Roger-Vasselin owned the house for about three years but rented it for about six months while she worked in Hawaii, returning to Yuba City six to nine months ago, the neighbor said.

When her mother, Lillian Mathews-Crumrine, died in 1998, Roger-Vasselin lived in Kauai, Hawaii.

When the former judge, Thomas E. Mathews, died In 2005, Roger-Vasselin was living in San Francisco. Then 63 and a regional membership executive at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, she was one four employees involved in an age- discrimination lawsuit against the Marriott Corporation.

Mom knows best

Friday, May 21st, 2010

UPDATE: The guy, Frank Kuni, is now in even more trouble. The local ABC affiliate’s website is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security is after him too. From the story (for the whole article click here):

By DAVID HENRY

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. – May 21, 2010 (WPVI) – Action News has learned the Department of Homeland Security issued a search warrant in connection with the case of a convicted sex offender who got a job as a Census worker in New Jersey.

Those warrants are for two locations in connection to Frank Kuni, who is being charged with using a fake Social Security number in the application he filled out in March to get the Census job.

Pennsauken Police and the Social Security Administration’s Office of Investigations are also involved in the search warrant.

They are searching for laptop computers, false ID’s or any documents that would be able to prove he used false identification. They have already confiscated numerous laptops and large sums of money.

This case came to light earlier this week, when Action News reported that Pennsauken resident Amy Schmalbach recognized Kuni from the NJ State Police sex offender registry.

Here’s a story that came out of of Jersey earlier. A registered sex offender allegedly used an alias to get past a name background check for enumerators, got fired when he failed his fingerprint checks, and went on to impersonate a Census employee with a badge and bag (MyTwoCensus has written extensively on how easy it’d be to do this). Luckily, an informed mother recognized him from an internet database. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time someone has allegedly impersonated an enumerator. We hope these cases are far and few in between. From Philly.com:

Mother recognizes Census worker as sex offender

By Darran Simon

Inquirer Staff Writer

Amy Schmalbach doesn’t answer her door when she’s home alone with her toddler son. But she opened it for a U.S. Census Bureau worker on May 4.

“I figured this is a government worker, I’m safe,” said Schmalbach, 33, who had misplaced her survey and got a visit from a worker.

Schmalbach spoke briefly to the man, who said his name was Jamie, on the porch of her Pennsauken home. He looked familiar, wore a badge, and carried a dark bag with the census logo. He asked for names and birthdates, and whether Schmalbach and her husband rented or owned.

Toward the end of the interview, she recognized him: She had seen his face on the state’s sex-offender Internet registry. She remembered his many aliases – including some outrageous ones – such as Phanton Flam, Toot Flynn, and Jamie Shepard.

Schmalbach checked the sex-offender registry site after he left, found the man, and told her neighbors and Pennsauken police. The next day, officers arrested Frank J. Kuni, a registered sex offender in Pennsauken, who had used the alias Jamie Shepard to get a job as a census worker, Pennsauken police said.

Kuni, 47, was being held Monday in the Camden County Jail on charges of false representation and impersonating a public official, authorities said.

“If I had not recognized who this person was, none of my neighbors would have, and I believe he would have continued to go door to door,” Schmalbach said.

Police credited a quick-thinking resident concerned about Kuni with helping the investigation.

A census official said someone named Jamie Shepard working in the Camden area passed a name check but failed a fingerprint check. He had been hired in late April, completed four days of training April 30, and was terminated May 5. Kuni had visited more than one Pennsauken home, police said.

The census official confirmed Shepard failed the background check but could not say why.

A sex-crime arrest or conviction would preclude someone from working as a census worker, said Fernando E. Armstrong, director for the Philadelphia region.

Kuni had served about four years in prison for endangering the welfare of a child in November 1996, burglary, and other crimes. He assaulted one victim and had inappropriate contact with two other victims he knew, according to a state website.

There are 3,168 registered sex offenders listed on the state’s Internet registry. Camden County has 324, Burlington has 130, and Gloucester has 70.

Armstrong said workers are fingerprinted at the start of the four-day training. The checks usually flag arrests or convictions in training or shortly afterward.

The census hired some 600,000 workers in the last week of April for the home visits, which started on May 1, Armstrong said.

“When you are looking at 600,000 people going through this check, you can understand that it doesn’t always work the way it should,” he said.

Here is the how the hiring process works:

Applicants must pass a written test and a check of their Social Security number and date of birth, among other things.

Then, new hires take an oath and get fingerprinted on the first day of training. Fingerprints are sent within a day to an Indiana census center.

If the background check finds something, regional offices get electronic messages that someone should be removed, but not the details.

The order trickles down to a field supervisor.

But Schmalbach wants the census to clear workers before they receive any materials and credentials, which happens on the last day of training.

“I know that they’re not going to catch every bad guy even by doing the fingerprinting,” she said this week. “But I think a great amount of people, who have bad intentions or want to do some harm, would be precluded from doing so if these background checks are done before they give out the materials.”

To see the list of registered sex offenders in New Jersey, go tohttp://www.state.nj.us/njsp/info/reg_sexoffend.html

MyTwoCensus Editorial: For the sake of employees, tell the truth about how long NRFU operations will last

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

MyTwoCensus has received confidential reports from multiple Census Bureau officials that non-response follow-up operations in many parts of the country are winding down. By law, the Census Bureau can only contact non-responders three times in person and three times by phone — even though MyTwoCensus is currently investigating whether additional illegal contacts are taking place.

Because of the Census Bureau’s computer failures, the 2010 Census may be coming in over-budget (apparently $15 billion wasn’t enough cash…). Since the Census Bureau doesn’t want to take yet another scolding from the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office, they may try to abruptly end the 2010 headcount ASAP.

With half a million workers on the streets during this large-scale operation, there is significant amounts of confusion about how long jobs will last. Lying to Census Bureau employees, who very well may lose their jobs within the next one or two weeks (by the end of May) is not the answer. Yes, these jobs are temporary, but working through the end of July meant an additional two months of security and stability for many individuals employed by the Census Bureau who may have quit lower paying jobs to take on these positions. Additionally, it seems to be that thousands of individuals went off unemployment to take their Census Bureau jobs. These people should not have been told that they would have 6-8 weeks of work if they really only have 4 weeks of work.

Social networking is bad! (says the Census Bureau)

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
An anonymous Census employee sent SRM a tip about a few flyers the Bureau sent along with their paychecks (finally). One flyer covered driving safety (and please, everyone, do take care while driving). The other covered the ethics of social networking, and unfortunately it came to the conclusion that it’s bad. Sorry Morse, time to close up shop! (Note: That was a joke.)
Email excerpt:
It’s funny how it is implied that criticizing and talking to outsiders about the incompetence of the census machinery and brass is punishable with jail and fines, when in reality, it only applies to title 13 of USC in regard to respondent information and personally identifiable information.  The census own manuals have a section devoted to the rights and protections afforded to whistleblowers.  They also imply that because we are paid government employees, that it is unethical for us to publicly humiliate and or expose the ineptness of our employers.  Nice try.  There is no law preventing anyone from writing in their personal capacity, but it is implied that it is wrong, unethical, and just not cool.
And from the reminder itself (no emphasis added):
CONFIDENTIALITY AND ETHICS REMINDER
Social Networking and Census Employment
As personal blogging, tweeting, social networking sites have become more common and popular, it
is not unusual for Federal employees to have an opportunity to write about their work and their
employer in a public forum.  Please be aware you cannot disclose any nonpublic information that
is protected by statute.  You also cannot receive payments for writing about Census programs or
operations or about assignments you have been given as a Census employee.  In addition, you
must be careful to ensure that there is no appearance created that you are writing on behalf of the
Bureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce, or the United States Government when you
are writing in your personal capacity.
[...]
These restrictions on writing and publications are in addition to the life-time oath you took to
uphold the confidentiality of census information.  Any wrongful disclosure of confidential census
information subjects you to a fine up to $250,000, imprisonment up to five years, or both.

Former Census Bureau statistician denounces Census Bureau Director’s words as misleading to the public

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves keeps a blog on the Census Bureau’s web site. Adeline J. Wilcox, a former Census Bureau employee has informed MyTwoCensus of misleading statements on Dr. Groves’ May 14, 2010 post about data collection. Ms. Wilcox states the following about this post headed “Computer-Assisted Data Collection”:

The survey methodology term “Computer-Assisted Data Collection”describes the use of laptops or mobile devices to collect data from survey respondents. It also describes self-administered online surveys and telephone surveys in which the telephone interviewer reads the script from a computer monitor and enters the responses into the computer. “Computer-Assisted Data Collection” means NO PAPER.

The 2010 Census is not using “Computer-Assisted Data Collection” for NonResponse FollowUp (NRFU).  The 2010 Census NRFU operation is paper-based.

Groves wrote:

“Several times in my career, I have experienced first-uses of complicated survey data collection systems. The first use is rarely a pretty affair, mainly because of the difficulty of designing testing regimens reflecting all the combinations of steps that occur in real production with thousands of diverse users.”

This is at best misleading.  His statement is relevant to “Computer-Assisted Data Collection” but has no relevance to the troubled 2010 Census paper-based NRFU operation and the Paper Based Operations Control System known as PBOCS.

MyTwoCensus Investigaton: Are Census Bureau enumerators attempting to go to each residence more than three times (the maximum number of visits as stated by law)?

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

UPDATE: MyTwoCensus has learned from a Census Bureau official who has requested anonymity that in urban areas, because the travel time between units is negligible, Census Bureau officials have been visiting units up to six times. Large municipalities, particularly those with low participation rates thus far, are fearful of undercounts, so they welcome these measures.

MyTwoCensus has learned from the blogosphere and from anonymous tips (a new feature on our updated contact page) that Census Bureau employees, who are permitted a maximum of three personal visits and three phone calls to each residence that has not returned their 2010 Census forms, have actually visited residences upwards of six times. (We blame Census Bureau officials, not the enumerators!) Yes, these are your tax dollars at work. Here’s the law, as taken from the Census Bureau’s web page:

We have perused the blogosphere to discover that a Census Bureau employee in Chicago has reported the following problems on her blog:

Shifting Census Rules: Six Visits Becomes 36 Points of Contact. Or: WTF?

We learned in training–over and over and over again–that we’re allowed three personal visits and three phone calls. I’ve blogged about this before, because about a week ago, when we started turning in forms with three personal visits and no actual contact, they changed the rules. That’s when we were told six personal visits, despite what had been burned into our brains in training.

Well guess what’s happening now?

Enough time has lapsed that those six visit EQs are coming back and a few of them still haven’t been able to find a proxy or a respondent. In most cases, in my district, they’re in locked buildings with no access to any kind of entry, and no neighbors. My enumerators have tried calling Realtors listed on the signs but they won’t call back. We’re all assuming that the buildings are vacant, but the LCO doesn’t like that.

So now they’ve said that for every single visit our enumerators should be knocking on the doors of six neighbors. By the time they’re done they should have 36 point of contact. THIRTY SIX POINTS OF CONTACT. A close-out, they stressed to us, is very, very, very rare.

Now, let’s set aside the fact that this is stalking, it’s creepy and it’s absolutely and completely ridiculous.The thing that gets me is that, of all rules they can change, I don’t think they should be screwing with the manuals.

How many times were we told to stick to the script? That these had been tested, researched, shot into outer space, all that crap, and that they KNOW that this works the best way. With three personal visits and three calls I can see their point. Much more than that is going to be the law of diminishing returns.

Not that you can reason with these people.

Are these type of shenanigans happening in other areas as well? Please leave your comments below to alert the public and the government officials who read this site where and when similar activities are taking place.

Is the Census Bureau inflating participation rates in Florida?

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

The following story from keysnet.com makes us wonder if participation rates from the Census Bureau are truly accurate (or inflated as the story suggests). If any statisticians or Census Bureau officials reading this want to chime in, please do so in the comments section.

Census sending enumerators back to the Keys

By RYAN McCARTHY

It’s safe to say U.S. Census Bureau officials and Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers disagree on just how many Keys residents have been counted for the 2010 tally.

Census officials have been touting return rates as high as 97.5 percent in the Keys, which raised Carruthers’ — and others’ — suspicion. She put out a call on Thursday asking those not counted to contact her office.

That 97.5 percent figure appears to be inflated.

“We have an amazing number of people calling saying they haven’t been counted. Some say their whole neighborhood; some say [a census taker] left a note on their door and never came back,” Carruthers said.

She’d heard enough, and asked Marilyn Stephens, Census Bureau partnership specialist for South Florida, to address the County Commission this Wednesday in Key Largo.

“Maybe this will light a fire under them and they’ll go back out and count some of these,” Carruthers said.

Similarly high return rates — 87 percent countywide and 99 percent in Key West — were reported in April, but it was later determined that the Census Bureau was pulling those numbers from two select groups of people: Military personnel and the handful of Monroe residents who live on the mainland.

Carruthers has been trumpeting the importance of the census since well before it started on March 22. Return rates in Monroe County during the 2000 census were poor, which affected the amount of state and federal grant dollars the Keys received.

Returns were so poor, in fact, that the Census Bureau implemented a hand enumeration program in the Keys. It hired hundreds of workers from the Keys and South Florida to visit residents door to door. In other areas of the country — and at Keys military bases and on mainland Monroe — people were mailed surveys and asked to fill them out and return them.

Census Bureau spokeswoman Helga Silva said she received word Friday that census workers will canvass the Keys one last time this weekend.

“Twenty-five to 30 enumerators will go down to the Keys this weekend to finish up the operation that stands at around 98 percent. They’re looking at around 100 houses,” Silva said.

Silva said anyone still not counted after this weekend can contact the Census Bureau office in Homestead at (305) 508-9300.

Wednesday’s commission meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Murray E. Nelson Government & Cultural Center. Stephens is scheduled to speak at 2:45 p.m.