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Census mistakes mean a recount for some

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

At least 10,000 homes in Brooklyn -- and maybe more -- may get another knock on the door in the coming days thanks to some mistakes made by U.S. Census Bureau managers.

The agency conducting the national headcount announced late Friday that it's fired two managers at a local census office in Brooklyn amid quality assurance concerns: Though the rank and file census takers properly conducted their work, managers failed to properly process their paperwork once it was brought back to the office, according to Census Bureau officials.

“We have Census employees working in their own community who did the right thing here, and we'll be relying on them and the public as we move forward to get a complete count in Brooklyn," Regional Director Tony Farthing said in a statement.

Ironically, the errors occurred in the Congressional district represented by Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee, which keeps close tabs on the Census Bureau. Towns plans to hold a hearing on the mistakes soon, according to staffers.

Officials didn't know how much the new interviews would cost taxpayers, but said the agency budgets for potential mistakes as it coordinates the work of about 600,000 temporary workers. In 2000 census takers had to conduct new interviews at about 68,000 households in Hialea, Fla.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 7:14 AM ET
Categories:  Census, Eye Opener  
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Comments

My wife and I have lived on the Hill for about 14 years; we've both worked on the Hill for some two decades now.

We never received anything from the Census Bureau in the mail, not had any contact at home or via phone.

It doesn't leave room for having high confidence in the census results.

Posted by: HillRat | June 28, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

And I received two census forms in the mail - completed and returned ... AND ... had a Census Take stop by my home to record the information again.

If multiple entries means more money from the government, then You Go Obama .....

Between the multiple citizen entries and the aggressive reach out to count illegal aliens, my county will receive a ton of money - if Obama doesn't bankrupt us between now and then

Posted by: asmith1 | June 28, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Re: My wife and I have lived on the Hill for about 14 years; we've both worked on the Hill for some two decades now.
We never received anything from the Census Bureau in the mail, not had any contact at home or via phone.
It doesn't leave room for having high confidence in the census results.

Posted by: HillRat |
----------
Since you live "on the Hill", I take it that you and your wife must have more than a high school education, and should have some common knowledge regarding the decennial census. Even my school-age kids knew about the census because of the ads on TV and in the newspaper/magazines. These ads mentioned that if you did not receive a form, you were to call the toll-free number.

Posted by: missingwisc | June 28, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Never time to do it right, always time to do it over.

The Census was bound to have hired some MBA's by mistake. It's heartening to see that they wasted no time on the traditional step 2 (wondering which little guy made the error).

Posted by: gannon_dick | June 28, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

It's a good thing they already did the census count in Arizona. If they had to do it again Arizona would loose a lot of money... A lot of people have left the Phoenix area. Stores and resturants are closing. Even the people that are citizens are leaving. What a mess we have...

Posted by: anita1145 | June 28, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

This is nothing more than a waste of time and tax payers money. All data required is available from the IRS.

As the other poster stated, he and his wife haven’t received anything in the mail nor has anyone came by. The same applies for us. No form no visit.

Posted by: askgees | June 28, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ed O'Keefe says there were "mistakes" and "quality assurance concerns".

This story from the Post has quite a different take:
"Instead of surveying people in their homes, the managers allegedly cheated by copying information from phone books and Internet directories, Farthing said. They were turned in by whistleblowers."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/26/AR2010062604241.html

Posted by: spamsux1 | June 28, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, never said we didn't attempt our own effort to be counted.

The problem is why weren't we contacted despite long residencies in the same place? Any number of federal and 'state' agencies have had that info for quite some time. We also knew how to deal with an agency failure and make sure we found the necessary forms and submitted them. Who knows if they were actually counted though.

How many others weren't counted because they were far more transient or less proactive or caring about being counted?

Posted by: HillRat | June 28, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"This is nothing more than a waste of time and tax payers money. All data required is available from the IRS."

A lot of people do not report tax income, e.g. illegal immigrants. However, the constitution clearly states that all persons living in the United States (not "legal" residents) must be counted. Thus, the Census has a separate purpose.

Posted by: JTF- | June 28, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Uh, it's Hialeah, Florida

Posted by: TCooper44 | June 28, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Mistakes? Mistakes?!?

Wow, this article feels like it was written in China or something.

What actually happened was outright fraud. The two managers, instead of actually interviewing a few thousand people, filled out census forms themselves, and they forced their employees to do the same. One quit and several were fired when they refused. At least one of these people, in turn, blew the whistle.

Now, because the Census Bureau does not know which of the Brooklyn census forms are legit and which are fraudulent, they are going to have to redo all of them.

Mistake? Sorry, but this was no mistake. These two managers willfully flouted Census Bureau policy, were confronted about it by subordinates, and then continued to commit the fraud until higher-ups at the regional and national level caught wind of what was going on.


How about a shred of honest reporting here? "Mistake"? C'mon!

Posted by: blert | June 29, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

This is nothing more than a waste of time and tax payers money. All data required is available from the IRS.

As the other poster stated, he and his wife haven’t received anything in the mail nor has anyone came by. The same applies for us. No form no visit.

Posted by: askgees

-----------------

The Census Bureau does miss a fair number of people, but the IRS would miss more. Filing a tax return is "voluntary," as the IRS likes to say, and there are a fair number of tax protesters and tax dodgers who do not file. On top of this, there are even more people who do not file a tax return at all because their incomes don't reach the threshold of being required to file. An awful lot of poor people would end up never being counted if the IRS were doing the counting.

Posted by: blert | June 29, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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