This post is dedicated to the Census Bureau’s Associate Director of Communications Steve Jost: More pay delays for Western North Carolina census workersSaturday, May 15th, 2010
Even though spin doctor Steve Jost, tried to Jost-ify the Census Bureau’s failure to pay its employees properly and on time in the comments section of this blog, this latest report from North Carolina details how Congressman Heath Shuler had to step in to enable emergency checks to be issued to Census Bureau employees — checks that are yet to arrive. Thanks to Julie Ball of the Citizen Times for the following:
ASHEVILLE — Some Western North Carolina census workers are still waiting on emergency checks after payroll problems caused some workers to get no or only partial pay this week.
Karla Gay, local census office manager for the city office, said those workers should have the emergency pay by next week, but she could not say for sure when.
“I know that there are people who are living paycheck to paycheck, and it’s very important. I want them to know we are doing everything we can,” Gay said Friday.
Workers who didn’t request emergency pay won’t get caught up on their pay until Wednesday, according to Gay.
“At this point, what we are telling folks really is to sit tight … people will be paid on Wednesday,” said Tony Jones, with media relations for the Charlotte Regional Census Center.
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler sent a letter Friday to U.S. Census officials urging them to resolve the problem.
Gay said between 5 and 8 percent of 1,100 workers who are doing census work in 11 WNC counties had pay problems, getting either no pay or partial pay Wednesday. She could not say how many of them requested emergency pay.
Of five states covered by the Charlotte regional office — North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia — the pay problem only occurred in the Asheville and Charlotte offices, according to Jones.
Jones didn’t have an exact count, but said between 1 and 4 percent of the 1,300 workers in Charlotte either didn’t get paid or got only a partial payment.
Census officials have attributed the pay problem to incomplete or unsigned pay sheets and problems with bank account numbers submitted by workers. But at least one worker has said there were no problems with her paperwork.
“We also had challenges here in the office with getting the volume of work in because it came in late,” Gay said.
Unlike the 2000 Census when workers submitted weekly pay sheets, census workers must fill out and sign a pay sheet every day they work. Each individual sheet must then be audited.
Jones said there are people working “24-seven” on nothing but payroll.
Some WNC workers who didn’t get paid have contacted Shuler’s office and U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s office to complain about the problem.
Stephanie Allen, spokeswoman for Hagan, said the office is turning the information over to U.S. Census officials.
Julie Fishman, communications director for Shuler, said if census workers are having trouble with their pay, they can call Shuler’s office at 252-1651 and leave their name and the city/town they are working in.
Shuler’s office is compiling the information and will send it directly to Charlotte.