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.

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)?

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.

Tags: follow-up, interviews, , , ,

135 Responses to “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)?”

  1. anonymiss Says:

    This is consistent with what I was told although I am not allowed to have 3 personal contacts on the form unless one is a CI. 6 or 7 neighbors, in my subdivions, 3 on either side and 1 across the street. I sent one in as a NC and it came right back with a note to find a proxy which took me a week and I never did get the occupant’s name so it may come back again.

  2. 'nuff already Says:

    We are definitely expected to get the job done regardless of how many personal visits or telephone calls we have to make. The exception to this unofficial rule is when you start racking up the miles. It’s one thing when you’re in the neighborhood to keep swinging by and banging on the door, it’s another when that non-compliant household is the only one keeping you in that part of town! As for relying on a proxy, outside of Apartment property managers, mere neighbors don’t really know enough to help you get the form filled out. I was chided by my CL after I managed to get someone who at first out and out refused to participate to at least give me some of the info. The mantra about at least getting names and numbers is obviously fiction as the only thing I did not get was birth dates and whether the homeowner owned or rented.

  3. 'nuff already Says:

    Almost forgot…in our “crew” all refusals are given to other more persuasive team members to try and complete per the order of the local census office… apparently the local census office does not ho have the staff (or stamina) to send out follow-up workers.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    I only do more than three personal visits if I have previously spoken with the residents and they have encouraged me to return, but I keep missing them. Or if the neighbor/proxy tells me that “they are usually there” and I want to try one more time. If I am in the area, I might drive past the home and make undocumented observations. If there is no visible change: no cars in the driveway, no sign of human presence, I will not waste a personal visit when there is not likely to be any different outcome. On the other hand, if I have made only two personal visits and I just don’t see any sign of life, I will go to a neighbor and ask if the home is occupied. If the neighbor says “they never answer their door” or “they are gone a lot” I go ahead and gather what information I can from the neighbor and expect that’s the best I’m going to be able to do. I document in the notes what I was told, so far I’m not getting them back.

    Regarding the refusals, we had some discussions on our crew about the ethics of going to a neighbor for information when the resident states that they do not want their information included in the census. (Some are polite, some are rude, some are downright threatening and abusive.) Some of us felt uncomfortable with going to a neighbor in these cases, that there could be negative consequences for relations between those neighbors. So I am simply documenting these as refusals, and recording the objections in the notes.

    In retrospect, I have had relatively few refusals to participate at all. Most have been willing to provide at least a little information. If we accept what little we can get, and respect the feelings of the residents, IMO, we pave the way for positive public relations and participation for the 2020 census. If, on the other hand, we hound and badger people and use underhanded methods to get the information, we increase the likelihood that people will remember this experience and refuse to provide any information in 2020.

  5. Former AMFO Says:

    The biggest waste of money spent in the 2010 Census are the Regional Technicians. They are supposed to support the LCO’s and provide whatever guidance and resources necessary to complete the task. They are really clueless on how the operations should be run. Our RT would come in and find the smallest thing wrong and and run right to the Area Manager. She would completely bypass the Local Manager. It didn’t matter that the LCO far exceeded all goals in every operation if one thing was out of line we were a bunch of failures. This person loved to talk down the neighboring offices as well as ours. The Census pays the RT’s for both their time and mileage. Added up the are paid quite handsomely for not knowing much. My RT told me that I was a Manager and wasn’t supposed to think. Try that in the Private sector. Anyone else out there have the same experience ?

  6. Anon MO Says:

    RE: Locked buildings and proxy –
    1. try contacting the city department that handles building inspections they’ll have a name and number for the building owner if not the individual owner of unit.
    2. If it’s a public housing bldg contact local HUD office and ask for the info. They have information on each tenant per application
    3. Homes – try block unit captain or elected official
    4. Homes again – contact local board of elections to see about information for the address
    5. Homes – contact local police department community affairs officer/dept they may have street level info
    6. Contact the partnership specialist who had that area for their contacts and utilize them
    7. Contact the local city office that is/was doing the complete count committee and let them know that you cant find these people – watch how quickly they will help
    8. Contact the local congressman’s office – watch how quickly they help- they could be out of a job if the count is low

    What concerns me about the posting is that the LCO’s are sending people out into the field with no possible solutions like the ones listed above. City’s are clamoring to show growth and if they can provide the information on an address/person they will gladly do so. Also – whatever happened to the partnership specialists database? doesnt that have contacts in the community that know the community better than the Bureau? why is that not being utilized? Seriously, politicians get out the vote yearly and have databases on damn near every person in their city why cant the Bureau have the same

  7. Samantha Jackson Says:

    If you find a good, knowledgeable proxy on the first visit, the EQ gets sent back because you didn’t exhaust your visits. If you exhaust your visits and then can’t find a proxy, it gets kicked back to find a proxy. Still can’t find a proxy? Find one anyway. Still can’t? Send the CL out to act as a proxy for the Enumerator even though the CL has absolutely no knowledge about the HU. It’s a paper game, a fill in the proper boxes game. The LCO or RCC doesn’t really care about getting a good count in these communities. They care about getting the proper boxes checked. Yes, we were taught over and over again that we cannot go back more than three times and yet we are ordered to.

  8. Samantha Jackson Says:

    One more thing. Get a good, knowledgeable proxy to state that the HU has been vacant for 6 months and the LCO still isn’t happy because there may have been squaters on April 1st so you’re supposed to find someone who will say there were squaters, could have been squaters, may have been squaters, how many squaters. Oh, and what were the birthdates of the squaters? LOL! BTW, you are behind your goals. Hurry up! Wait! You’re working too many hours! Slow down. Manage your time better. You’re going to get fired. Blah, blah, blah! It is a psychotic atmosphere and not conducive to productivity.

  9. angrycl Says:

    The only time my enumerators go to a house more than three times is if they have made their three personal visits, on a subsequent phone contact get a respondent on the phone, and then the respondent requests that they make a visit to fill out the EQ in person; this has only occurred once.

  10. Crew Leader Says:

    I’m in South Florida. The LCO doesn’t like the outcomes after only 3 so they want us to do 6. This goes against what we were trained to do. Training was very explicit about this. It was always in bold print in the manual. I think the Census Bureau thinks this is important and wanted to really drive this home during training. The LCO may think we are faking these EQs (that’s the excuse they’re using) but, isn’t that what the CLs are monitoring in the field? I think 6 personal visits bastardizes the processes that are important (for whatever reason) to the Census Bureau. I’m asking for this new derective in writing, but can’t get it. They insist you do it, but refuse to own it. This smells like higher ups are being influenced by outside money to increase numbers. Like “they” say, “Follow the money and you’ll find the answer.”

  11. enumeratingirl Says:

    I too was trained 3 visits then they changed it to 5-6. Now we suddenly have to get our books done in the next few days, we are taking too long & making too many visits. Hurry up and get the proxy, they tell us. I thought the idea was to go when people are home, in the evening or the weekends, but now we just have to go back anytime and fill out the correct box on the EQ.

    Essentially, our FOS told us we only need to fill in 3 boxes on the form to get it through the system. So if a neighbor tells you a couple live there with a baby, you can extrapolate the rest…he says: Couple with baby, that’s 3 people. Is the neighborhood hispanic? Then put that down, they are all probably hispanic…And what do you think their age is?

    Even with refusals, just fill it in the best you can. Was he white? You know he’s a male. What would you guess his age is? Get the headcount, fill it in, move on to the next. He is just wanting us to make stuff up to get the forms in. Accuracy is not an important part anymore; rather just get the paperwork processed.

    On another note there is a huge press to get everything done this week and our last meeting was basically if you can’t work in the next few days, you won’t be working at all. Then we find that the real problem is with the office, forms are stacked everywhere and not getting processed. They are pushing us to work faster (17 EQs / day). But then the EQs are piled up all over the place at the LCO. My CL still has not recieved any data about what we have already done. Not one report.

  12. CLA Dave Says:

    So far we’re sticking to the rules as printed in the manual and taught during training: Three personal visits, then look for a proxy. Refusals get listed as occupied with a 99 for POP unknown.

    On another subject, one of our enumerators called payroll yesterday and was told this week’s paychecks will be short again.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    “the maximum number of visits as stated by law”

    SRM – please provide deails, including section number, of the federal law that states this.

  14. Crew Leader II Says:

    I agree with the first Crew Leader. “They insist you do it, but refuse to own it.” My FOS told us that enumerators are to make as many personal visits as it takes to find a respondent but only record the allotted three on the EQ. I would love to see the Opps Log that said “Fake it.”

  15. exFOS Says:

    The rules change daily, hourly. They want it done yesterday. Why were there mistakes made? Call them all now, tell them everything they learned in training is wrong. We are all working together . . . it’s not our responsibility. Proxies without phone numbers not good enough. Didn’t follow the rules, ‘release’ them immediately. It is a power game run by the Area Managers and LCOMs. I like to call it “Census Island” – who will be left standing by the end. I don’t know how these stone-hearted drill sergeants got their jobs. They treat us all like disposable robots and care nothing about doing the job right. They just want to show off at their next meeting how high their numbers are.

  16. mandy_Reeves Says:

    See i was trained that 2 visits and THEN a proxy. I was doing 3 then a proxy but was told I was wrong?

    I amm not aware of any new 5 or 6 rule. Then again, i did not work sunday or monday because I am going through final paperwork for my gall bladder surgery on Thursday. Hopefully i can grit my teeth through the pain and work Friday. I need to find out about new changes.

  17. Former AMFO Says:

    Well said Former FOS…..How long would these stone-hearted drill sergeants last in the real world ?

  18. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    I think what this posting vividly illustrates is the “tempest in a teapot” style of journalism that S.R. Morse practices, rather than any egregiously bad practices on the part of the Census Bureau, as Mr. Morse obviously implies.

    Not to mention that this discussion must be positively mind-numbing to anyone who’s not working for the Bureau. Yes, there are some interesting points being raised here, but no, it’s not a flagrantly wasteful or misdirected practiced that ought to be thrown up to public attention.

    I mean, think about those “HTE” (hard to enumerate) areas: how the hell else are you going to get anything near an accurate count if you don’t exceed the three personal visit “rule”? Perhaps trying to contact 6 neighbors may seem excessive, but even in more sparse urban settings (single-family dwellings as opposed to apartment buildings), I’ve sometimes had to do that kind of research to find a credible (and willing) proxy.

    And to the shocked! CLs, CLAs and enumerators who loudly complain “It’s against what they told us in training! It doesn’t say that in the manual!”, look: get real. You ought to know by now that THE keyword when working for the Census is flexibility. We are told one thing today, and something completely opposite the next day. Yes, it may seem as if they don’t know WTF they’re doing, but trust me, this is not the kind of operation where one can blindly adhere to the procedures that were laid out in the manuals and the verbatims and expect good results. Changes are made. F’rinstance, on my last crew we were told to mark all completed interviews that were *not* occupied places as “OT”, rather than “CI”. Now we’re supposed to mark all completed interviews as “CI”, which actually makes more sense. But since I don’t know what happens during the downstream processing of my EQs, I’m not going to make a federal case out of it.

  19. exFOS Says:

    Thanks Former AMSO. And to YAE – when we received accurate info via a proxy who didn’t give phone no and name, that should have been the end of it. Instead, they are wasting more time sending the CL, then the FOS, then the AMFOs so that by the end, the hard to enumerate areas will be even more hard to enumerate. They don’t want an endless supply of Censusbots invading their privacy.

    The Census accepted minimal information for transitional areas and group homes, why now do we expect uncooperative areas to supply their names and phone numbers? And, btw, the only flexible part of the Census is the worker’s own life. Changing rules just to be able to look better than the next ‘area’ is not noble nor righteous.

  20. Paulie Says:

    It’s not the procedural changes. It’s the fact that the supervisors put the enumerators in the position of not documenting what they are doing. Procedural changes should be made in writing, so everyone understands what’s happening. It sounds like the “6 visits” procedure is not a procedure at all, it’s more like “do whatever you have to do to get the box filled, don’t tell me how you did it, and if you are caught breaking any rules we will sack you”.

  21. Anonymous NE Says:

    ex-FOS….also well said. The upper management here in New York may be the most inept and incompetent (is that redundant ??? LOL ) in creation. What’s laughable is they feel as though because they are “permanent Census” they can basically say and do as they want. They berate the LCO’s, with supposed fixes to problems that have no validity.

    As for FORMER AMFO….I couldn’t agree more with regard to the RT’s. They actually ship these morons from other states, put them up in high priced apartments and houses and pay them well….and they know ZIP. As you say , they are quick to condemn the staff at the LCO’s, and operate with ZERO accountability.

  22. Samantha Jackson Says:

    When asked to do something that goes against procedure, write up an info-com stating what you’ve been directed to do and have your supervisor verify it on the info-comm. It was hinted to me that I should open up envelopes of mailed census questionnaires (that the household has not returned by mail but has been completed and is in the sealed envelope) that respondents hand Enumerators at the door in order to get the info for the EQ. I asked for that directive in writing and I never got it. No way am I going to direct my Enumerators to do something that could get them and/or me fired.

  23. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @exFOS: “when we received accurate info via a proxy who didn’t give phone no and name, that should have been the end of it.”

    Really? That doesn’t sound right to me, at least as an enumerator. How would anyone know that the enumerator isn’t just making up their info out of thin air?

    A proxy who refuses to give a phone # I can understand: I’ve gotten a bunch of those. But neither name nor phone #? To be honest, if I were in the LCO evaluating EQs, I’d be skeptical of this.

  24. Former AMFO Says:

    Question for enumerators…When no one is home and you leave a Notice of Visit card which phone number do you use for the person to contact you ? Do you use your personal number like the crew leader told you in training or the LCO number ? I wouldn’t want everyone having my personal number !! But then again the LCO can’t handle the simplest questions from the public.

  25. Current CL Says:

    As I have to remind my Crew…

    1) There is the right way, and the government way… if we want to keep working for a government job – we have to do it the government way (even if it’s not fair, not efficient, or just plain contrary).
    2) Stay flexible. The nature of this work is to try to get an accurate count, and rules must be flexible.

    In addition, when it comes to the multiple visits…

    If they can find phone numbers, names, from public information, do so. If they have to keep going back to find a proxy, then wouldn’t it be smarter to drive by on your way to more addresses, rather than to make a specific visit for one house? If they are in a single family home area, then on the first visit, they should find out whether the unit is vacant or occupied. One of my enumerators is very good about getting all information down on a separate piece of paper. He paperclips the info, and still tries to get the resident to answer the door and phone. Once he is at his final contact attempt, if no contact has been made with the resident, he uses the information from the proxy. He is incredibly diligent that every scrap, note, or even napkin with information on it is given to me to forward for destruction of the personal info.

    Regarding the mailback questionnaires, we were instructed to ask the respondent whether we had their permission to open the envelope and put the information on the form to turn in. If they won’t let us open it, and don’t open it themselves, then we still have to complete the interview.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Samantha, that is the latest instruction that I have as well, regarding the completed questionnaire that is in a sealed envelope. We are to ask the resident if it’s ok if we open it, then open it and make sure that everything is complete. We are to thank them, and then go to our car where we transfer everything from the questionnaire to the EQ, then clip everything together with the info-comm. Was that our instruction the first week of this month? No. The bottom line: don’t get too hung up on proper procedures, because they change with the wind.

  27. Current CL Says:

    @ Former AMFO
    I instructed them to use their personal phone number, but if they were not comfortable with that to leave mine. Mine is my cell phone number, and I can always change my number with my service company.

    Under no circumstances do they leave the LCO number – it just makes the LCO waste time answering calls from respondents instead of doing what they should be doing – processing data in, getting work out.

  28. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @CurrentCL: “Under no circumstances do they leave the LCO number – it just makes the LCO waste time answering calls from respondents instead of doing what they should be doing – processing data in, getting work out.”

    Not my understanding at all. We put both our own phone # (if we’re comfortable doing so, which I am) *and* the number (and name) of the LCO on each NV. In fact, I actually got a call from the LCO my last binder, which was really nice: a woman there read me all the info for me to complete my EQ for that address, making it very easy for me. She said that this is the way they preferred to do things, by interviewing the respondent, rather than creating a lot of back-and-forth between LCO, enumerator and respondent.

  29. Current CL Says:

    @ YAE: Perhaps it is a difference in the area, or the LCOM’s idea of how things should be.

    We were directed by our LCO by email that we had to stop putting the phone number. We still put the name and LCO code on the NV.

  30. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @Current CL: Yes, obviously a difference by area, LCOM, or something else. Just another reinforcement of the idea that flexibility is the key: these things aren’t set in stone.

  31. landp Says:

    I am averaging about 6 to 7 dwellings an hour. What are other enumerators averaging? Any ideal what should be a good average? I am also getting only one EQ per hour. If this is the average of most enumerators , this census is going to take awhile.

  32. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    For our area we’re told that the average is about 2 completed EQs per hour. (Urban area.)

  33. mandy_Reeves Says:

    My best night was this past Thursday evening. I got 2 that afternoon in 1 hour and then in 4 hours, got 6. so 7 for 5 hours is pretty good.

    Of course this is the nice residential neighborhood, not the apartment complex with literally hundreds of vacancies.

  34. Samantha Jackson Says:

    I like the idea of asking the Respondent’s permission to open the envelope and transfering the info to the EQ. That I’ll do along with the Info-Comm.

    landp, at CL training we were told 1 EQ per hour worked on average. Taking CL meetings, etc in to account. I have one Enumerator who’s doing 2 + and another that’s close to 2 but most are right around 1 per hour. We’re a mix of urban, small towns, and rural. No high rise apartments here though.

  35. CLCL Says:

    Here is how we’re doing it:

    -Drill rules into people
    -Send people to streets to enumerate
    -Change rules when answers you want are not received
    -Instruct people to disregard rules you created & drilled into them

    Why is everyone so surprised? It is the U.S. Census Bureau…a department of the Federal Bureaucratic Mass of Inefficiency & Waste,…oh, I’m sorry, did I say that out loud, I mean the Federal Government. LOL!!! Hang in there, we’re almost done, I think!

  36. ET Says:

    What law are we talking about? I searched the US code and could not find it.

    Can someone provide please? Thanks

  37. DisgustedCensusWorker Says:

    I’m a CL in Florida. We were just told this week that EQs without a phone number will be returned along with the ones that only have 3 visits for the HU and where a proxy couldn’t be found (which filled up the other 3 spaces on the EQ). I asked what if they got an interview but household doesn’t have a phone then what? I was told to find a proxy with a phone!! Just plain crazy!. Apparently everyone has a phone. Well if I don’t get paid soon, I won’t! LOL.. ok sorry had to add that. To make a long story short, nothing is being done the way we were trained or the way we were told to train the enumerators. We are told to open the mailers that residents give us too. I think the biggest problem I have is being told to tell enumerators to erase the record of contacts and start over. I can’t do it, that is their proof that they were working on those days.

  38. Maiasaura Says:

    RE: leaving your phone number Vs the LCO number:

    1: I got a call today from the LCO that a someone from a management office called them about an Early NRFU Notice of Visit I left six weeks ago. I left my personal number on the NV, of course.

    2: It’s not hard to set up a Google Voice number and forward it to your cell phone or land line. That way nervous Nellies can calm down about giving out their phone numbers — although I’ve never gotten a crank call from a Census NV.

  39. CLA Dave Says:

    re: “Question for enumerators…When no one is home and you leave a Notice of Visit card which phone number do you use for the person to contact you ?”

    We were instructed to write the LCO number and our personal number only if comfortable with it. I leave both. So far, nobody has called.

  40. UpsetEnumerator Says:

    I’m an enumerator in Las Vegas. We are required to visit a person as many times as it takes to get a name and phone number or find a proxy to provide same. We are instructed to open any census mail that is given to us and enter the information. If we have to enumerate a gated community and can’t gain entry we are instructed to sneek in with another car. Each of these instructions was given to me by my crew leader with the phrase
    ” but you didn’t hear it from me”. We are told that our crew leaders can fire us for any reason any time and if we get fired we will never be able to get another job with the federal gov’t. We live in fear and loathing in Las Vegas.

  41. Geewhiznrfudude Says:

    “I think what this posting vividly illustrates is the “tempest in a teapot” style of journalism that S.R. Morse practices, rather than any egregiously bad practices on the part of the Census Bureau, as Mr. Morse obviously implies.”

    Dear Yet another enumerator, Who are you really? I must say you are quite the wordsmith. I am impressed. Perhaps there will be an opening within the USCB that could better utilize your obvious talents.
    Perhaps you could step in to fill the gaps to be left in the PR/Communications area after the congressional hearings determine that employees of the USCB practiced disinformation to prevent the USCB from looking bad in the media. Some of those it the current positions just do not understand that they can not lie….even if it is their job.

  42. ConnieL in NC Says:

    A bit off-topic, but I just looked at the direct deposit for my census pay and it is AGAIN not correct. I’m sure I’m not the only one. The paper detailing the breakdown should arrive tomorrow and I can try to figure out what they did wrong.

  43. Ex-IT Says:

    Former AMFO’s RT sounds just like ours. Several managers and OOS’s found out the hard way that the RT sort of functioned like a Political Commissar. Everything the Area Manager knew about the LCO was through the RT’s filter. When anyone complained that the RT’s directives were contrary to Census manuals and rules, they were soon demoted or fired.

  44. Sherry Says:

    We were also told to do up to six personal visits, but then it was changed. However, no refusals are allowed, and no ability to find a proxy is allowed. I have phone numbers from my persistence with finding neighbors, but nobody returns my calls. But then tonight, somebody did, and he apologized for avoiding me.

    All in all, it’s been a fun experience and there’s no pressure in my crew to produce numbers. Maybe because we’re turning in enough? I was out for three hours today in a rural area (18 miles of driving total) and completed 12 questionnaires. I don’t know if that’s good or not because never have I been told to produce more completed EQs, and am now juggling three books.

  45. b from chicago Says:

    UpsetEnumerator said: “Each of these instructions was given to me by my crew leader with the phrase ” but you didn’t hear it from me”. We are told that our crew leaders can fire us for any reason any time and if we get fired we will never be able to get another job with the federal gov’t. We live in fear and loathing in Las Vegas.”

    Uhm… this really does not sound right, especially since in my training they had us all read the administrative procedures to submit complaints about superiors and even told us of whistle blower protections (esp if ppl above you are trying to make you mess w/ your hours and time sheets).

    Anyway, the topic at hand re: personal visits–I don’t mind visiting more than three times especially if no one called me back and the unit looks occupied. Of course by the third visit if no one answered at the address that’s when I start looking for a proxy (and I’ll come back if there’s no proxy at the time–and this is what usually puts me over three personal visits).
    To be honest, my habit now is to visit and/or wait for ppl when folks are usually home and if it looks like they’re just not answering I’ll try and get their attention annoyingly till they tell me to leave and then I’ll ask them point blank if this is an absolute refusal–sometimes they’d say no and abusively finish the questionnaire w/ me and other times they’d say yes and I’d thank them for their time and leave–that way I can submit the EQ and it gets tossed up to the enumerators who do those kinds of follow-ups.

    I don’t think visiting more than 3x is harassment if it’s a place where someone lives but was not there when enumerators went around for a visit.

  46. Former AMFO Says:

    The Census Mail forms packages that were mailed out in March have a Business Reply Mail envelope inside to return the Census form upon completion. Once that envelope is sealed it should not be opened by anyone but the addressee. The Postal Service calculates the postage and charges the agency with the permit…the Census bureau in this case and they pay. Ripping open such mail by an enumerator not only take revenue away from the Postal Service it is illegal..

  47. Anonymous NE Says:

    EX-IT… are also correct about the RT’s. Here in NY, the Area Managers do NOTHING..the poor excuse is that they be in all places at all times, so therefore they dispatch the, and I quote…’eyes and ears of the Area Manager” to the LCO’s….the RT’s come with an agenda, and may I say their own “prejudices” to inflame, instigate, undercut etc the LCOM’s. There are RT’s here in the NY area that preach EEO and by the book, yet have been subjects of EEo complaints themselves, and sexual misconduct…..hmmmmm, the eyes and ears????? Interesting

  48. Amy- Enumerator Says:

    there is a human side to all this. I knocked on an elderly lady’s door today. She answered the door but only spoke greek, so she stood there in the doorway and dialed up her son on her phone & handed me the reciever. We started into the interview, then I asked for lady’s age & birthdate. Son said: ” we dont know her age or birthdate- she was displaced as a child in Greece in WWII, we estimate her age is between 76 & 80 years. This got to me.

  49. UpsetEnumerator Says:

    to binchicago- Have you tried to call the whistleblower hotline? It is an answering machine and they do not call back (I’ve been waiting for 5 days)

  50. Senseless Says:

    RT’s are such a waste of time and money. They come in and try to change things and just make a bigger mess. Some of the RT’s do have experience but most have no clue. We had an RT that started out as a clerk and is now an RT. He was barely making it as a clerk.

  51. CLA/EN Says:

    We are told to do it until it’s done no matter how many attempts. Absolutely absurd, and putting us in danger by making people irate. It also make the Census Bureau look terrible.

  52. Anonymous Says:

    So far we are being told to do our best. If a respondent slams the door in your face and/or uses words that you’re not sure the computer will recognize as veiled profanity, another visit by any enumerator will not improve the results from that address, it will only make them angrier.

    I spoke with a person today who had not turned his form in – this was outside of the context of my role as an enumerator, he wasn’t in my book or anything – I told him to just fill it out and call the person on the NV and they will come and pick it up. He was worried about the $500 fine for not filling it out.

    IMO, if the Census Bureau were to really impose those fines, or to really carry out the full extent of the law on participation, we would see a revolt stronger than anything else that we have seen yet, fired by the talk show hosts. Could you imagine??

    I think the Census Bureau could make far more progress in getting people to comply if they offered tangible rewards for completing the forms properly. Something like gift cards, it would be cheaper to send a $20 gift card to every address that sent in a properly completed form than to send us all out there.

  53. Anonymous Says:

    And they would have to pay for those gift cards in advance. They couldn’t decide not to pay for some of them.

    BTW, everybody who does not receive full pay this week should call their senators. This is ridiculous. I didn’t take this as volunteer work.

  54. anonymiss Says:

    My direct deposit looks wrong today, missing a day or mileage or something

  55. CensusCL Says:

    At this point in the operation I don’t think anyone cares about getting the job done right. I think most people are just getting as many hours and miles as they can. After not paying us last week, making numerous jokes about us needing to work volunteer time, and seeing the silliest policies, I know I am at the point that when my FOS passes on new policies every other day I just laugh and say okay. I am not even pointing out that it isn’t logical or can’t be done. I am telling my crew to make their 40 hours and we will take as long as it takes to get it done. As someone said above…..they aren’t paying me to think….and I am convinced that no one is thinking. But I no longer care.

  56. imsotemp Says:

    Received with my pay statement a page of warnings regarding social networking and blogging about census work. This warning seemed over reaching and prohibits commenting by employees now or ever about operations. The prohibitions go well beyond disclosing PII. Does anyone know if there are statutes that actually support these rules and have all employees received this warning?

  57. Crew Leader Says:

    I’m not surprised at all the Bureaubots commenting here. “Be flexible”, “Just do what you’re told”, “Go with the flow”, “Things change every day”, etc., etc. If you own any of these statements, you were born to be a follower & the Census Bureau loves you. Just keep on not thinking for yourself & you’ll be fine. Don’t want to hurt that little pea brain, now, do we. The one comment, similar to these, that I can understand is, “I don’t care anymore.” If you’re around bureaucrats long enough, they’ll beat the caring right out of you. Thinking for yourself & taking a stand when you believe something is right is difficult. It doesn’t make my life easy. But…at the end of the day…I, still, own my soul. Life is too short to not poke a bureaucrat in the eye at every opportunity! Yesterday, at my FOS meeting, I demanded this “more than 3 visits” directive be in writing. Otherwise, I won’t allow my crew to do it. If this means I’m history, so be it. Me & my soul will go home with our head up high & our integrity intact. LONG LIVE INDEPENDANT THINKERS!!!

  58. anon Says:

    Yes, although my work ended in Boston we were told to make as many visits as it took, go on the internet for numbers etc. Thank you for putting this website up – it is nice to know that I was not the only one who was having issues!

  59. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @Crew Leader: Since I assume you’re addressing your displeasure towards me as well as others, let me answer you. Please don’t mistake my criticisms of the owner of this site as an endorsement of everything the Census Bureau does. Yes, we all know that it is a Gigantic Federal Government Bureaucracy, and therefore full of all kinds of incompetence, power tripping, capriciousness, etc., etc. Hell, anyone who’s ever read Dilbert knows that.

    What I’m knocking is S.R. Morse’s amateurish approach to this subject. Specifically, he doesn’t seem to know the difference between important matters that should be investigated and trivial, pissant stuff–like this business of NFRU enumerators making more than 3 visits.

    Some of the things he’s investigating here are for damn sure important, like the problems with enumerators not getting paid, the various shenanigans involving Census Bureau “swag”, stuff like that. But on THIS topic, he’s shooting blanks. For one thing, I challenge him to find a “law” that limits the number of personal visits to three. It’s a rule, a policy stated in the enumerator’s manual, but so far as I know it is not a Federal law. (I’m willing to admit I’m wrong here if someone can show evidence to the contrary, but I doubt it.)

    He ought to concentrate on the issues that really matter, and not bother with the penny-ante stuff, is all I’m saying.

    And yes, even though I don’t defend every practice of the CB, I still think it’s the best policy to be flexible if you’re working for it, as I am. (I’m just an enumerator, by the way.) None of the policies, rules, or procedures are set in stone, as anyone with half a brain can see by now. So just do it. If the policy really strikes you as totally crazy, which some may be, you can always send in an INFO-COMM. Sure, I’ve been told plenty of things that turned out to be wrong; my GQE crew leader, f’rinstance, told us that we would not get any phone messages for NRFU training if we wanted to transfer to that operation, as I did. Insisted that this was “policy”. Of course, that same day I got two phone messages, in contradiction to what she told us.

    So you know what? yes, we get contradictory messages from our crew leaders, FOSs, LCOMs, etc., etc. Big fucking deal. Live with it.

  60. Bobby J Says:

    6 visits to the home and 6 visits to each of 6 neighbors is 42 visits, not 36. I hope the people who count visits aren’t the same people who count people.

  61. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @imsotemp: I got that same statement (“CONFIDIENTIALITY AND ETHICS REMINDER”) in my pay statement; I’m guessing everyone will.

    You complained that “This warning seemed over reaching and prohibits commenting by employees now or ever about operations. The prohibitions go well beyond disclosing PII.” Really?

    As I read it, this “reminder” prohibits 3 things:

    o Disclosing any “nonpublic information that is protected by statute”. I take this to read “PII and information protected by Titles 13 and 44″, yadda yadda yadda, which we all know about already.

    o “Reeiv[ing] payments for writing about Census programs or operations or about assignments you have been given as a Census employee”. Doesn’t sound unreasonable to me; you can write about these things; you just can’t be paid for writing about them.

    o Creating the “appearance that you are writing on behapf of the Bureau of the Census, the Department of Commerce, or the United States Gov’t”. Again, sounds reasonable.

    And again, I’m not sure if this is actually “law” or just CB policy. Maybe someone else here knows?

  62. Crew Leader Says:

    @Yet Another Enumerator: Yes, you are one of the followers. Accept it, own it, embrace it, it’s yours. No BFD. Live with it.

    There are plenty of penny ante, chicken shit things about this operation, but I disagree that this issue is one of those.

    You’re correct in that a maximum of 3 personnal visits is not law. It comes from D-547, Enumerator Manual, Page 5-13 and D-553, Crew Leader Manual, page A-15. On those 2 pages it is mentioned 3 times and, each time, it is in bold type. That makes me think the Census Bureau is being emphatic about it. I think they really mean it and don’t want it fucked with by some [possibly or not] well intentioned moron that thinks he’s doing a good thing by getting bigger (and in his mind better) numbers. In reality he just screwed up the integrity of the process. The census is more than just a count of the population. It is, also, an experiment in processes, among many other things I don’t even know about. If the system has little integrity, the data from that system has little integrity. Are you familiar with experimental EQs? They’re the ones with only 4 or 5 contact places (instead of 6). The reason those exist is because the Census Bureau is studying the effect of less total allowable contacts on the data gathering process. This is one example that makes my point.

    Finally, I enjoy and take great pride in my work. I always have & always will. That is part of my work ethic & personnal integrity. I like knowing that I fought for the integrity of the 2010 Census. Winning or losing the battle is secondary to knowing that I tried to do my best.

    You may shuffle along and do as you’re told if you like. I hope you enjoy the view from back there. No BFD. Live with it.

  63. Crew Leader Says:

    @ Yet Another Enumerator: OMG!!! I just read your last post. I am convinced you are a CB plant on this web site. Keep putting that finger in the dike, Buddy!

  64. KLS Says:

    To be honest, I forgot about the 3x rule.
    Yes, we are expected to get results, and therefore we need to go more than 3x to get the info. Usually the 4th time gets you a proxy. But then there are the times, where no one wants to talk to you, or doesn’t want to give their info as a proxy. That will be kicked back to us as an “incomplete.”
    What do you say, when you finally get the slumlord and he says “2 people” when the anonymous worker next door said, 6 or 7 people live there “illegally”. You couldn’t use them as a proxy, since they didn’t give their info.
    I don’t think the census bureau really cares if the apartment is overcrowded, or if someone rents out 4 illegal apartment/rooms in their garage. I think we just want to count the people.

  65. CLA Dave Says:

    chicagocensusworker, the blogger cited above, has shut down her blog and erased all past posts.

  66. Anonymous Says:

    People do not want to give out personal info on themselves or their neighbors due to identity theft and privacy. Apartment managers, realtors, renters who legally or illegally sublease their apartments do not want to give out personal info because they could be sued or a tenant will leave in the middle of the night. There are small efficiency and one bedroom apartments with several people living inside – a reality in today’s economic downturn. I have people tell me their name is: famous movie star, well-known entertainer, Micky Mouse, Donald Duck … Race? I have heard many complaints … Some people insist they are: Transformer, Star Trek, Hillbilly, etc. — I write down the info each person gives me. I write exactly what they tell me.

  67. Anonymous Says:

    For Amy Enumerator: Your story touched my heart. Yes, I too have interviewed people from other countries who have no birth records and can only estimate. I have interviewed people who ask me my name 10 times during an interview because they have dementia – they are very kind and want to talk all day. These are the people I will never forget and make my job worthwhile.

  68. partially rural crew leader Says:

    I got orders to send people three times then find a proxy, on obvious vacantsor deletes. No proxy before three visits! Houses with foreclosure notices before April 1st. Completely empty houses with real estate signs. The real estate person is called on the first visit and certified it was vacant. Still want three visits! Try to delete an attached garage that was declared a housing unit? Not until 3 visits because even the owner of the house its attached has to be called a proxy to the garage. So my people had to drive 22 miles, one way, at least two different days (1st attempt – morning, 2nd – evening, 3rd – next day then use the flippin owner of the place) so many were kicked back for the three rule. same thing for that stupid camper on the lot. Then they threaten to write me up because my crew has to many miles per EQ.

  69. Maiasaura Says:

    This week we started getting dozens of kick-backs, many frivolous or reflecting policy changes that we have to ‘devine’ from the ether. Some of my crew go with the flow and are happy to get the hours because they know we could be released at any time. Others (esp Early NRFU’er) can’t get past the fact that we are now supposed to make 6 visits instead of 3.

    We have a big problem in our district. We are near a university, and our area was heavily covered by Early, Early NRFU, Early NRFU and now regular NRFU. Many homes have been approached 2, 3, 4 times and they regularly refuse to participate. The enumerators feel bad and don’t want to push it–but as a CL I have to deal with the kick-backs.

    The LCO (according to my FOS) is under the impression that all Early NFRUs were removed from our binders, so we should have very few refusals. So wrong. I showed my FOS dozens of EQs where people refused because they mailed it in, and in some cases, also gave a verbal interview. No written instructions to make 6 visits except from the newbie clerks who at QCing the EQs.

  70. Laffing... Says:

    @Crew Leader: you called “Yet Another Enumerator’s” bluff. The format of his post seem vaguely familiar (LOL)! Can somebody say Fact Check? LOLOLOLOL!

  71. TriState Says:

    We recently discovered that there is an “American Community Survey” person in our area. Our CL was furious, because if our addresses overlap, I am sure that once we get to them, the people will be sick of answering questions.
    Why did they plan this to happen at the same time??

  72. Enumerator anywhere USA Says:

    Plan?? Do you think this was actually planned?

  73. My Two Census » Blog Archive » MyTwoCensus Editorial: For the sake of employees, tell the truth about how long NRFU operations will last Says:

    [...] 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 [...]

  74. Anonymous Says:

    NRFU is winding down: Binders maybe; No Binders until next week ….

  75. Current CL Says:

    @Crew Leader and YAE: wow… just wow…

    Did no one else receive the memo that the manuals were unedited from 2007? Why are you surprised that there have been changes to the policy in 3 years?

    On to something different… I need to see if there is a forum talking about how to handle the vast number of “I already sent it in” residents.

  76. Anonymous Says:

    @TriState ACS has to continue as scheduled. There are Field Representatives conducting the survey in every county , so addresses may overlap.

  77. Crew Leader Says:

    @ Current CL: Maybe you’re not paying close attention to what I say. I’m not surprised about policy changes. I welcome policy changes. That means [hopefully] improvements are being made. My issue is that nobody wants to own this one. That tells me it’s “unofficial”. Nobody above me has the balls to call it what it is…getting the numbers, no matter what. They are spineless pieces of shit that are afraid to take responsibility for it, so instead, they decide to let it run downhill. I prefer to be a bit more principled than that.

    Wow…just wow…I’m amazed by how you interpret what you read. Are you from Venus? I’m from Mars. Maybe that explains it.

  78. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @Current CL: Thank you; you make my point for me. I didn’t know that the manuals went back that far, but I’m not surprised. In my earlier lifetime as an enumerator (GQE), I found an astounding number of discrepancies between the manual (D-569.12 for that operation, dated April ’09), the verbatim and what was actually ‘spozed to be done according to our CLs. Some things in the manual were just plain *wrong*. (One critical error involved the business of whether we were supposed to put ICRs–individual census reports, the GQE equivalent of EQs–into sealed envelopes or not.)

    On to more important things, indeed. I’m curious how NRFU is winding down for most folks out there. I’m done; turned in my last binder yesterday, am hoping I might get called for some further work down the road, but not expecting any. Oh, and we were told that our LCO got the highest rating in our region (decloaking a little here: LCO=Oakland, RCC=Seattle). Not sure what measure was used there: overall productivity? # of EQs? Anyhow, we’re wondering if they might throw us a little party (yeah, right!), or at least give us little certificates (attaboys) or someting …

  79. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @Crew Leader: So not only do you like ad hominem attacks, but you appear to be sexist as well???? Good job there …

  80. enumeratingirl Says:

    @Current CL about the already-sent-it-ins…

    Humor goes a long way for these people. Let’s face it if they are nice enough to answer the door, they are probably nice enough to talk to.

    I had a guy tell me that he recieved a census form in April which he mailed in, then he recieved another census form in May, which he also mailed in. I just started laughing!!! I said, well, it is the federal government. It was hilarious, we both just cracked up.

    I then asked him how many people lived there with him and thanked him for making my day.

    Oh and I detailed it all in the Notes of my EQ. Haven’t had that one come back yet!

  81. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @Current CL: Good question indeed, how to deal with “I already sent my form in!”.

    I heard this a *lot* out there. Assuming that the respondent can be believed, this raises a bunch of questions.

    My standard reply became something along the lines of this: Yes, I totally believe that you sent your form in. I’m here because the Census Bureau didn’t receive a form from you [notice that this is different from saying they didn't send it in], for whatever reason.

    It’s that “whatever reason” that bugs me. Possible reasons:

    1. Lost in the mail. (How likely is that?)
    2. Received late (yes, we all know about LMRs).
    3. Received on time but somehow stuck in processing at some mail center.
    4. Simple clerical fuck-up.

    So what do other folks think about this, and how do you deal with it? (Yes, it would be nice to find a more appropriate forum for this discussion.)

  82. enumeratingirl Says:

    already-sent-it-ins response:

    Take the blame off of the person that answers the door and instantly place the blame somewhere else. Then plead your case.

    I say:
    Well maybe it got lost or processed incorrectly, for some reason they didn’t receive it.
    And now they sent me here to fill out this questionnaire with you, so, can you help me out?

    (if they hesitate I say) It just takes a few minutes,
    (sometimes even say) I’d really appreciate your help
    (look them straight in the eye and smile).

    Works every time.

  83. Crew Leader Says:

    @ Yet Another Shill: Nice Latin but, I’m not impressed by your misuse of the term. Not only do I call an asshole an asshole, I use logic in my arguments as well. I would direct you back to my previous posts but, apparently, you wouldn’t recognize logic & facts if they bit you in the ass. I suppose it is better for your argument to ignore them. So far, all you’ve used is opinion.

    Own it Shillboy

  84. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, its true. In one of the Chicago south offices we are simply told to “get the information.” This means get the information and the EQs done. They just want the information. When the CL is told about the difficulty in some homes, we are just told to go back out and try again. So that’s what happens. Some people have had the same AA binder for about a month, because they are told to just go out and get the information.

  85. NYWest Chaos Says:

    BTW – on my route as a NRFU-RI enumerator, I ran into 2 NRFU enumerators who each had a folder full of EQs that were reassigned to them. ALL of the EQs had already been contacted 6 times (3personal/3telephone). Neither was a CL or CLA. They were just told to get it done.

  86. QC Clerk Says:

    Someone asked where to find title 13. . . the entire US Code is on a Cornell University website. . .

    I looked up the criminal penalties, etc tonight. Notice how much of Census “collective knowledge” is verbal?? People ask and answer q’s in the office without looking things up in the manuals (of course, if you assume the manuals are purely logical/rational, you will most certainly go bonkers. . . it can be like interpreting Scripture!. . . but there are specifics sometimes that people simply ignore while they make up rules. It’s a fascinating (and, yes, fun) work environment. . . so we’re reviewing EQs and we see all these apt mgrs who will not allow access, will not give names, etc etc. Everyone assumes that the law requires you to only give your info, not anyone else’s. I was pretty sure Census trumps other privacy statutes. Sure enough–law is different for, say, apt managers–the (theoretical) penalties are BIGGER! Where I live has been expanding/sprawling wildly the past 20 years, why are the big prop mgmt companies not directing their resident managers and site managers to assist the census???????

  87. Anonymous II Says:

    CL and CLA in our area have have also had the same AA binder, respectively, for one month. Wasteful. They use their time to call census workers in their crew repeatedly and talk about the weather just to draw out time. Wasteful.

  88. Negro Says:

    I am a Crew Leader in Chicago. So far I have had EQ’s returned by the office with notes saying 3 personal visits isn’t enough. Then 6 wasn’t enough. This morning I found out that now I am supposed to go waste time lurking around these dead end cases. I can’t say I’m surprised. Honestly, I do need the cash, so I’ll just do what I’m told. Maybe I’ll bring my FOS, since he’s having trouble meeting his 20 hour a week minimum. My whole CLD within 4 blocks of my house, so is at least I won’t have to bill for travel time or mileage.

  89. BurntOutEN Says:

    My CL and CLA are great and realistic. However, the people above them are ridiculous. Attitude is just get it done, despite maxing out the visits. We’re told be tenacious, don’t back down. We get the information but the FOS still doesn’t like the proxy and makes us find others. Rules change daily, sometimes hourly. FOS says Refusals will not be accepted. He says, if they refuse tell them “alright, I’ll see you tomorrow.” People are getting hostile and at times can be scary. I need the money, so will continue to waste time.

  90. anonymous Says:

    my CL and her supervisor were arguiing about this…three vs. six visits…and my CL encouraged more visits since she wanted me to work but wouldn’t give me more binders…so it was keep going back…she wanted her job to last…it wasn’t about getting the job done, it was about stretching out her time on the job. Very depressing and we wonder why our government is in the debt it’s in.

  91. anonymous Says:

    I wish “crew leader” was my crew leader. He or she sounds awesome.

  92. Anonymous II Says:

    For “Negro”: you are correct; it is getting crazy out there. The public is suspicious of Census workers. You knock on the door, someone comes to the door to look out of their peephole or mini-blinds, then they walk away without answerring the door. Frustrating.

  93. Former AMFO Says:

    Census Area Managers and Regional Tech are real adamant about following the rules and regulations to a T as long as it is in their interest. The 3 visit rule is a prime example.

  94. Pro-Internet Census Says:

    Some people do not want to provide the Census with personal info about their lives. I have turned in D308 forms with no completed EQ on it due to revisiting homes.

  95. Enumerator anywhere USA Says:

    Then with the item about the registered sex offender in the news – and the full knowledge that any scammer could easily reproduce the census “credentials” (badge and bag) – who in their right minds would open their doors to us, let alone give out personal information that could be used in identity theft??

  96. Pro-Internet Census Says:

    And don’t forget the story out of Yuba City, CA today. Census worker knocking on the door from 9 to 9:30 pm. Woman yielding a gun is shot by police.

    9 to 9:30 pm ???

  97. Crew Leader Says:

    I have had a minor victory today that I would like to share. I have been demanding the change to the 3 personal visits rule be put in writing. Our local RT said he would get it. The next day, my FOS said it wasn’t coming. She said, “You need to move on.” I said, “Put it in writing & I will.” Frustrated, she wrote it out & signed it. Good enough for me. If the shit flows downhill, it will stop with her. My crew is protected. My title is Crew LEADER & I take it seriously. Typically, I would be loyal to all co-workers…above & below me. But, ALWAYS, the people below me must come first. For the past 21 years, I owned 2 businesses & never had anyone above me (wife excluded). Maybe that’s why I had little fear of those above me now.

    At the end of the day, this victory may seem minor, at best. But, my self esteem & the loyalty from my crew have gotten a major bump up. It makes it worth every battle I’ve fought & the ill will created in the LCO.

    God Bless America! She needs all she can get.

  98. Enumerator anywhere USA Says:

    What was a census worker doing knocking on doors between 9 and 9:30 p.m.?? Our instructions are to not be out after dark. I don’t knock any later than 8 p.m.

  99. Nowheresville NY Says:

    “Pavey said the census worker was at a home on Mariner Circle after 5 p.m. Thursday when the residents aimed a firearm at her.”

  100. Nowheresville NY Says:

    Also, Opinion (as in this is my interpretation of the written rules, not an official one): looking for and talking to a proxy respondent doesn’t count as a visit – because you haven’t knocked on the address and by now you should know they can’t be reached – until you find one able to complete the interview. So in theory you can try as many potential proxies as you need to. So if I ask two neighbors who don’t know and call a landlord and get the proxy from the landlord, that’s one entry. Similarly, informally asking a neighbor “Hey, do you know who lives here and when he’s in?” isn’t an interview attempt. The interview officially starts after you’ve given them the confidentiality notice and started writing down their answers.

  101. CLA Dave Says:

    Crew Leader – Congratulations. AFAIC, any and all directions to violate the rules of procedure as written in the manual I agreed to follow should be in writing, signed and acknowledged. It’s for the protection of both parties. If it’s not in writing, they can’t prove they told me to do it! :)

  102. CLA Dave Says:

    Nowheresville – I agree. IMO, a failed attempt to find a proxy is not a recordable event.

  103. anonymous Says:

    To the public: “I COME IN PEACE”.

  104. Anon Says:

    May 22, 2010 Monroe County, Florida Keys count almost 100% and accurate.

  105. AxionJackson Says:

    “the maximum number of visits as stated by law”

    It’s clear to me now that despite making public some bad things in the census (as should be done), Stephen Robert Morse has no interest in fairly reporting anything about the census.

    Morse is quick to mis-attribute statements to Census director Groves (i.e., make them up out of whole cloth) and claims Groves is “lying” whenever the things Morse has made up don’t come to pass.

    Now Morse claims some “law” about how many times a Census worker is to go to addresses. Repeated requests by different people to get him to show us this law he has invented have gone unanswered.

    Morse is quick to respond to other comments, so clearly he reads these — and has no interest in clarifying or changing his statements to actually match up with the facts in the real world.

    Apples don’t fall far from their tree roots. He’s funded by a right wing foundation that’s only interested in dumping on gov’t workers. He does not have the best interest of Census workers on this site, he’s only interested in bashing this aspect of gov’t.

    SHAME on you for lying, Morse

  106. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    What foundation is that, A. Jackson? I’m always curious to know who’s behind a “voice on the Internet”, like this site.

  107. Anonymous Says:

    Axion Jackson, we have been told time and time again: “The census is mandated by the Constitution of the U.S.”; “it is the law that we visit each resident up to 3 times in person, up to 6 times indirectly by public search, neighbor, or other proxy”.

  108. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    Hmmmm; according to this site, Morse is “a 2009-2010 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow with the Washington DC based Phillips Foundation and a 2009-2011 Erasmus Mundus scholar in Journalism and Media within Globalization (sponsored by the European Union)”. Is that the foundation you were talking about?

  109. AxionJackson Says:

    check his own “about” or “sponsor” list for the foundation support
    do your own Google research

    you don’t have to take my word for it

  110. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    Anonymous, you haven’t answered the question: what law? And I was never told that ever, during my training or afterwards by anyone, CL, FOS, nobody.

    I simply do not think that “the law” (meaning Title XIII or anything else in the United States Code) says ANYTHING at all about the number of times an enumerator must/must not visit an address.

  111. Anonymous Says:

    Our trainers, CL, CLA told us it “was the law”.

    Thank you for sites like My Two Census – we are able to share and learn information. We are intelligent enough to think for ourselves and form our own personal opinions.

  112. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    Maybe they simply don’t know WTF they’re talking about: did you ever consider that?

    Hey, I found something: the complete text of Title 13, here on the Cornell University Law School site (I think that ought to be considered authoritative).

    Look at this page, which I found using their search function. It seems to have all the nitty-gritty about how the census should be conducted (remember, this is “the law” on this matter).

    Nothing at all about the number of visits to an address. Nothing. (But there is a lot of other interesting stuff there …)

  113. Anonymous Says:

    I just do the best job I can. I’m peaceful. A lot of times, the respondants will come to may after I walk away from their homes.

  114. NYWest Chaos Says:

    @ Yet Another Enumerator: you were obviously sleeping during training. READ YOUR MANUAL!

  115. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    Well, good for you: that actually is the best approach. I’ve been contacted that way too. I tried to make it clear I was just another person doing their job, certainly not any kind of “census cop” out to order them around. Peaceful = good.

  116. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    @NYWest Chaos: Nope, I did not sleep through anything.

    Like a lot of other folks here, you’re confusing what’s written in the manuals (or given out in the “verbatim” or any other oral instructions) as “the law”. I posted links to THE LAW (meaning Title 13, the law in the United States Code that governs the Census. IT SAYS NOTHING ABOUT NUMBERS OF VISITS.

    I’m willing to be proven wrong, but so far nobody’s done that. Please look at THE LAW and see if you can find anything there about this “controversy”. I can’t.

  117. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    Just to clarify: What’s written in our manuals are procedures and rules made by the Census Bureau. In some cases these rules ARE the law (most importantly the rules about nondisclosure of PII). In most other cases, the rules are not the law: in other words, there are no statutes that mandate that rule.

    (And I’m not saying that anyone should violate the rules: I’m simply challenging S.R. Morse’s (and others) assertions that the “no more than n visits” rule is “the law”. It isn’t.)

  118. Anonymous Says:

    YAE, you are correct. And, so is Stephen. Regarding the law, federal mandates, rules, regulations for the Census: like living in tornado alley; just wait a few minutes and everything changes!!! :)

  119. Negro Says:

    I’ve resorted to googling addresses and searching for the associated names on facebook. Maybe I’ll gain some sort of insight as to when/if people are at the addresses my crew has already visited (more than) six times. I feel creepy.

  120. Anonymous Says:

    “Negro”, the reverse address/public record internet search are not 100% reliable or current. Especially regarding transcient populations. People move overnight, investors, landlords, property managers change quickly. I searched myself and none of my info is correct or current!

  121. Anonymous Says:

    KLS, yes, I too have talked to “Slumlords” who refuse or give limited info on tenants. I also just try to do the best job I can.

  122. Yet Another Enumerator Says:

    Who’s “KLS”???

  123. Anonymous Says:

    KLS May 19 7:13 pm

  124. Anonymous Says:

    I just read about another person impersonating a census worker in Indiana today. We have had quite a few fake census workers in our city. We hear about it on the news or read the local newspaper. The LCO and RCC do not discuss specific incidences. Does this happen to other areas as well?

  125. Stephen Wilson Says:

    Before I post to this blog, I feel I need assurance myname and email are protected from prying eye . . . so . . . lets see.

  126. Stephen Wilson Says:

    I guess open honesty isn’t the best policy is it?

  127. Stephen Wilson Says:

    I’m sure glad I tested before rattling off a post or comment . . .

  128. LadyP8Riot Says:

    When I started working NRFU some weeks ago, I was invigorated and excited to actually be paid by Uncle Sam to “HELP” Uncle Sam! However, I have learned how frustrating it is to be put in a “double-bind”. Every morning, I eagerly anticipate getting into my auto and heading out to accomplish the goal of successfully completing the EQ’s in my binder. I am very tenacious in my quest to visit as many residences as possible. The dilemma I face today is that it is now 2 PM. I arrived home at 12:30 PM. Why? Because yesterday when I received a new AA Binder, I actually visited the 16 residences that were given to me… Out of the sixteen, eleven were turned in this morning as CI’s. The remaining five, unfortunately, were NV’s. When I met with my CL, I was told that I was NOT ALLOWED to visit my NV’s from yesterday BECAUSE I left the NV’s yesterday afternoon! Therefore, I was told to “REVISIT” tomorrow! I was told that I am NOT ALLOWED to have a new AA Binder UNTIL I have completed the ones I was given yesterday… No problem! EXCEPT THAT ALL OF THE EQ’s I have are ALL in the COUNTY I live in… The “BOONIES”… Way out in the “STICKS”!!! The nearest “Proxy” to ALL of these residences are several miles apart!!! The USCB wants me to a job that I WANT TO DO… However, the USCB actually prevents me from doing the job I want to do ~ Was hired to do!!! What is wrong with this picture?!? I have been told that my CL is my god… It is “verboten” for me to talk to anyone EXCEPT my CL when I have questions, concerns, opinions, problems, difference of opinions, etc… Based on my experiences with my CL’s work ethic and time management, I am convinced that my CL is inept, inefficient and derelict in her duties. When my CL calls a meeting, I am always early… My CL has NEVER been on time. N-E-V-E-R! I have had to wait on my CL’s arrival as long as 1-1/2 hours!!! No phone call from my CL telling me he/she will be late. Yes, I get paid for the time I must “hurry up and wait”. However, I would be much happier canvassing residences! I have been instructed that I am NOT to contact my FOS because I will break the “chain of command”… That is strictly “verboten”!!! So, here I am… Sitting at my computer blogging… I would LOVE to contact my LCOM and ask for a “private” meeting… However, I am reluctant for obvious reasons! Did I say, “GO FIGURE”?!? If I knew a way to contact someone, ANYONE, at the USCB anonymously, I would do it in a heartbeat…

  129. neighbors Says:

    The census web site specifically states that enumerators are NOT allowed to ask someone about their neighbors. They are not allowed to ask any questions that aren’t on the census form and specific to the person they are questioning. Any enumerator that asks someone about their neighbors is supposed to be reported to the national office.

  130. LadyP8riot Says:

    Ummmmmm ~ Neighbors ~

    Where in the world did you get your information?!? Are you a current/former USCB employee? If you have been through the required training to be a USCB Enumerator, you would know that a “Proxy” is someone (neighbor, family member, landlord, realtor, friend, etc.) who has knowledge about whether or not the residence in question was occupied on April 1, 2010… I will wait ~ ~ ~ Until you submit the official USCB dictate regarding your assertion, I’m not sure that you are a credible source of information. Until you can prove to me that the training I received from my employer, the United States Census Bureau, is inaccurate/false, I will simply continue to do my job as usual in a manner that is worthy of honor. Please advise…

  131. LadyP8riot Says:

    Yesterday was the last day of my work week… I turned in all of my EQ’s in on Friday, expecting to receive a new AA Binder yesterday (Saturday). I did not receive a call from my CL or CLA yesterday morning. So, at 11:30 AM I called my CLA and was told that I would not receive a new binder until Monday because my CL is sick! I was ready to go to work yesterday morning… I was anticipating making up for all of the hours I lost because I could not receive a new AA Binder until I turned in all of my EQ’s… My question is: What am I supposed to do IF my CL is sick for the next week, two weeks, month?!? This is so unacceptable! Why does my CL NOT contact our FOS and ask that person to fill in for him/her until he/she gets well?!? My entire team is at a standstill because our CL is sick! I got a whopping 27 hours this week because of my CL’s ineptness! Or, could it be that his/her hands are tied from “above”?!? Maybe he/she is simply the “fall guy/gal”. Either way, if I were the FOS, I would make sure that all of the people under me were able to get the work done that they have been hired to do! Therefore, my FOS has dropped the ball! I guess if our Trainer had told us “the rest of the story” during our training, that we would experience this kind of frustrating “double bind”, most of us probably would have dropped out! My commitment to working for the USCB after paying me to learn my job is solid! This is not the time for me to quit! I will simply “hurry up and wait”!

  132. anonymous Says:

    LadyP8riot: My CL and CLA quit today because they did not want to work Memorial Day Weekend. We found out at our crew meeting – they did not show up. Instead another crew leader collected our D308, completed EQs, etc.

  133. atlenumerator Says:

    Our crew in North Atlanta, and most that trained our same week, are all done. No more binders are forthcoming it seems. We were trained four days to work about 2.5 weeks. Seems like a plan to boost the job numbers. What is going on in other regions? Any comments?

  134. mattesonbranch Says:

    we just got rework today. they reprinted the eq’s they said because of the amount of visits. they are changing CLDs because they want different faces going around to these tough cases supposedly.

  135. JT Says:

    I can VERITY 7 (SEVEN) physical repeat visits at a Columbus Ohio address. I have the stupid blue forms to prove it. To all you census workers out there, I would strongly caution you to consider that if someone does not respond after 3 visits you might want to leave them alone. Alternately you might be headed for a harassment suit. I have contacted my attorney and am seeking remedy for trespass on posted property.