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Repairing a Problem, Connecting With Local Leaders

Mon Jul 12 2010
Robert Groves
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I spent last Friday visiting with community leaders and census officials in Brooklyn, NY. In one local census office there, some staff reported inappropriate activities, violating our training guidelines among office staff. We investigated and studied how inappropriate office activities might have affected about 10,000 – 12,000 cases. Based on that investigation, we believe that about 4,000 of them may have not met our quality standards. We decided to redo those 4,000 cases with an independent set of enumerators.

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I wanted to share with community leaders where we were in the process. I also thanked them for their cooperation and support throughout the 2010 decennial.

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The actions of the office workers were abhorrent to the quality standards we seek to maintain. In this case, dedicated and conscientious office staff brought the breakdown in procedures to the attention of senior management at the Regional Office. We immediately terminated those staff that violated these procedures.

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We are redoing work that we suspect might have been tainted by the inappropriate behaviors of the staff even though we are not positive that errors did affect each case. This is expensive and time-consuming, but it is a task that is absolutely necessary to fulfill the pledge we have to the American public that we aim to count every resident once and only once, and in the right place.

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We’re checking other offices whenever we hear of possible violations of quality standards; when we find something we attempt to act on it quickly, repair it, and notify all interested parties about what we did.

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