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Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt announced today before the bureau's standing advisory committees that he had completed his review of the operations of 15 local census offices (LCOs) around the country and found no cause to take further action. The LCOs were named earlier this week in a staff report of the House Subcommittee on the Census as areas where improper procedures may have been employed during the door-to-door phase of Census 2000.
"After a careful review of the operations of each of the offices listed, I find no need for any further action," the census director said. "In each case, the increased pace of field work by dedicated census takers -- either at the beginning or at the end of our door-to-door phase -- is consistent with the staff resources applied to the situation. I am convinced that the work in these offices has contributed to the overall success of Census 2000."
"Our highest priority is to correct any errors in the census," Prewitt said, "however, in this instance I must correct serious errors in this report. For instance, in one case, the report inaccurately suggests that door-to-door enumeration was suspect in an area of tribal lands, where we use completely different counting processes."
Prewitt noted, "The staff report summarizes Census Bureau data from April, May and June which we shared with the committee. However, it is seriously flawed. It points to issues we ourselves identified and already remedied, or unfairly criticizes a local community because it finished earlier than most, or had a late surge in production. It's important to note that we continuously monitor every one of our 520 local offices. Nothing new came out of the re-review we conducted this week."
"We are hearing from mayors, many of our local partners, and our employees that they are genuinely offended that their best-intentioned efforts and their hard work have now been unfairly impugned. This is especially unfortunate when you realize that the census is not over, and that our workers will be conducting quality check operations until September."
Prewitt's announcement came at the regularly scheduled joint meeting of the seven Census Advisory Committees: those on the African American Population; the American Indian and Alaska Native Populations; the Asian Population; the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Populations; the Hispanic Population; the Census Advisory Committee of Professional Associations; and the 2000 Census Advisory Committee. The committees are made up of 169 members, chosen to reflect a broad cross-section of the populations and groups they represent. The committees have provided sustained, detailed input on a wide variety of program areas and made a significant contribution to the success of Census 2000.