Two Brooklyn Census Bureau Managers Fired for Filing Not-So-Educated Guesses


Let’s be honest, census forms are a pain in the ass. They were in biblical times, they are now, and they probably will always be. Everyone knows they’re important, but hardly anyone knows exactly why. People fill them out because commercials and fliers tell them to and because they don’t want shady folks knocking on their door and asking how many children they really have.

Interestingly, it turns out the census workers who actually are shady aren’t knocking on doors at all. They’re sitting around guessing peoples’ answers from phone book and Internet “research” for at least 10,000 forms, which are supposed to be completed based on in-person visits. Now they’re busted because they, too, didn’t fully grasp the purpose of their work.

The two fired managers, Alvin Aviles and Sonya Merritt, were caught last week after census employees reported their dishonest behavior, and now, thousands of forms need to be corrected or completed.

Regional Director Tony Farthing said he “believes the branch’s earlier work is kosher, but the pair decided to break the rules at crunch time when they were looking at a huge stack of unfinished surveys, and their bosses were pushing for results, even if it meant more night work,” the Daily News reported.

Next to the article, the Daily News tacked on a reader survey asking, “Do you think more census workers have purposely faked questionnaires?” But aren’t these surveys usually used for opinions rather than completely uninformed guesses at data determined only by investigation? It seems like a silly use of an item that might better get to the point if it asked, “How happy are you that the census only happens once every decade?”