U.S. Census Sending Millions of Americans A Second Form... More Government Waste

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 04/03/2010 - 10:38pm.

About 40 million "replacement" Census questionnaires are being sent nationwide to households in areas with low mail return rates, even if those households already have returned the first form they received, Census officials announced on Thursday.  

And just days after completing their paid training, hundreds of Census enumerators in Northern Virginia were abruptly laid off without explanation on Thursday.
Census officials said mailing out a second form is designed to increase census mail participation, get a better headcount for the states, and save taxpayers the cost of sending out census takers to collect information.
The Census Bureau estimates that mailing a second questionnaire "in targeted areas" could save more than $500 million and raise the participation rate by 7 to 10 percentage points.

But what about double counting?
"[P]eople who have completed and returned their questionnaires need not fill out the replacement Census form," said a news release issued Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau's Charlotte region. "You should only complete and return one census form," the release said. "Extra census forms should be discarded." 
William W. Hatcher, a regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau, said both the original forms and the replacement forms are bar-coded "to ensure that people are counted only once and in the right place."
Many Virginia households are among those receiving a second Census form. The 10-question census forms were mailed to 3.32 million Virginia households in mid-March, and as of April 1, 57 percent of them had been returned, the Charlotte Regional Census Center said.
"The replacement questionnaire is a safety net and a wise investment," Hatcher said.  "It reminds people who have not mailed back their questionnaires to send it in now."       
Census workers laid off on "˜Census Day'
April 1 was Census Day - a day marked by events to remind people to return their census questionnaires. But some Census workers were abruptly dismissed from their part-time jobs on Census Day with no explanation.
In Northern Virginia, hundreds of Census workers were told on Thursday to turn in all materials, including partially completed enumeration assignments, because the Group Quarters Enumeration project was being canceled.
"What about enumerating the dorms, jails, nursing homes, etc., that we were supposed to do?" asked one frustrated Census enumerator who was among those laid off Thursday.
The enumerator, who asked that her name not be used, noted that the government invested time and money in hiring hundreds of enumerators, fingerprinting them, and paying them $20 an hour and 50 cents a mile to attend three days of training last week.

Some of those same enumerators spent Tuesday night seeking out and counting homeless people in the Virginia suburbs. But that's where the assignments ended.
The enumerator called it a case of Census "dysfunction, wastefulness, and ineptitude."

Susan Jones - April 2, 2010 - source CNSNews

Tag this page!
Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 04/03/2010 - 10:38pm.