GAO Report to the Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, House of Representatives April 1990 1990 CENSUS Enhanced Oversight Should Strengthen Recruitment Program General Government Division B-238316 April 13,lQQO The Honorable William D. Ford Chairman, Committee on Post Office and Civil Service House of Representatives Dear Mr. Chairman: This report responds to the request that you forwarded from the former Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Censusand Population, HouseCommittee on Post Office and Civil Service, that we monitor censuspersonnel issues.The report focuseson the Bureau’s recruitment efforts during the 1989 development of its urban addresslist. We are sending copies of this report to other appropriate congressionalcommittees; the Secretary of Commerce;the Director, Bureau of the Census;and the Director, Office of Management and Budget. Copies will also be made available to other interested parties upon request. The other major contributors to this report are listed in the appendix. If you have any questions concerning this report, please contact me on 27643676. Sincerely yours, L. Nye Stevens Director, Government Business Operations Issues likecutive Summary Hiring and retaining the 390,000 temporary employeesneededto com- Purpose plete the 1990 censusis a major managementchallenge for the Bureau of the Census.A high quality workforce is important to ensuring the successof the Nation’s most comprehensivedata-gathering project. Peak censusemployment will occur from April to June with somehiring con- tinuing until Septemberto complete critical censusoperations. The Chairman, HouseCommittee on Post Office and Civil Service, requested that GAO monitor censuspersonnel issues.This report focuses on: l the progress the Bureau’s district offices have made in recruiting tempo- rary employeesand l the adequacy of the preparations the Bureau has undertaken to ensure that its district offices are ready to implement a recruitment program for the census. The Bureau’s 13 regional censuscenters are responsible for monitoring Background and guiding work in the district offices. For 1989 field activities, the Bureau opened 109 of the 468 district offices it will use to do the census. Precanvass,the Bureau’s development of its mailing list for urban areas and the 1989 field activity with the largest workload and staff needs, involved canvassingurban areas to check the accuracy and complete- nessof address lists the Bureau purchased from commercial vendors. Almost one-half of the Bureau’s district offices were unable to meet the Resultsin Brief 1989 recruiting goal of four applicants for every field position during precanvass.According to the Bureau, meeting recruiting goals is impor- tant in providing managementwith the flexibility to select candidates who will effectively complete their assignments.The Bureau generally was able to overcome its recruiting difficulties and finish precanvasson time. However, staff shortages in someoffices led to delays in complet- ing precanvass,increased costs, and forced changesin the Bureau’s staffing procedures. Problems meeting 1989 recruiting goals also raise concernsabout the Bureau’s ability to attract sufficient staff in 1990. Staffing shortages may result in 1990 becauseapplicants may be less willing to acceptjobs that require a far higher degreeof public contact than precanvass.Staff shortages during the censuscould contribute to delays in completing Page 2 GAO/GGD-9086 1990 Cemw Executive Summay fieldwork and lead the Bureau to alter censusprocedures, as occurred in 1980, which could affect the quality of the census. The Bureau confronts a number of obstaclesin attracting staff, such as the temporary nature of censusjobs, but has made progress in develop- ing a recruitment program. Additional recruiter training is needed,how- ever, on how to manage a major recruitment effort. Local planning also needsto better addressthe diverse demographic and economicchal- lengesfacing the Bureau, such as how to competein high-employment areas. The Bureau’s regions are taking actions to addressthese problems, but headquarters needsto ensure that improvements will be made sufficiently and consistently. Principal Findings Many Offices Had Nationwide, 46.8 percent of the Bureau’s district offices had not met the Recruitment Difficulties Bureau’s recruiting goal of four qualified applicants for each position by the time precanvassbegan.A large applicant pool provides managers but Still Finished on Time with discretion in choosingthe best candidates and also enablesthem to replace employeeswho are not meeting production requirements. Most offices were able to overcometheir recruiting difficulties during the 1989 precanvass and hire sufficient staff to finish on time. However, staff shortages were the major reason that about 14 percent, or 16 of the 109 district offices, finished precanvassat least a week behind schedule. Staff shortages in someoffices during precanvassalso led the Bureau to alter its goals and move staff between offices to complete work. The Bureau believes local censustakers are important, especially early in a field activity, to increasethe public acceptanceof the censusand thereby increase the accuracy of censusdata. Finally, staff shortages contributed to increased cost. Eleven of the 16 offices that completed precanvasslate exceededtheir budgets by an averageof about 26 per- cent. (Seepp. 12 through 19.) Recruiting Difficulties Recruiting problems have shown the Bureau that in many areas, as During Precanvass Raise many as six or eight applicants for each position may be neededto ensure sufficient staff. Turnover and job refusal are expected to be high Concerns for 1990 during the censusbecausethe censusrequires public contact to gather data. Page 3 GAO/GGD-w)BS 1BBO Cenaua Edcutlve Summmy The Bureau faces a number of obstaclesin recruiting, such as the degree of interaction with the public required by censusjobs; the short-term nature of censusemployment; and high crime rates, which may make applicants fearful of working in someneighborhoods. Well-designed recruitment programs cannot guarantee that the Bureau will have suffi- cient staff, but they are important in minimizing the effects of these obstacles.In addition, other factors that were not available for pre- canvass,including the Bureau’s geographic wages and the high level of publicity that accompaniesa decennial census,should help recruitment during the census.(Seepp. 19 through 24.) Improved Recruiter Limited recruiter training and planning contributed to the uneven suc- Training and Recruitment cessof the Bureau’s 1989 recruitment efforts. The Bureau found that recruiters neededtraining on planning, managing, and monitoring a Planning Needed for the major recruitment effort. Census The Bureau has taken actions to overcomethese limitations with its 1989 recruitment program. For example, Bureau officials said they hired individuals with stronger management abilities for the remaining district offices and directed the regions to expand recruiter training. The regions also are enhancing the recruitment planning for the district offices. Bureau headquarters is not systematically reviewing regional recruit- ment efforts to ensure that recruiters-are receiving the neededtraining and planning support. Bureau headquarters reviews weekly reports that show the extent to which offices have met recruiting goals. These reports however, do not document the reasonsoffices are having recruiting problems. GAO agreeswith the Bureau that its regions are in the best position to design their own recruitment programs. However, the Bureau could review regional training and recruitment plans devel- oped for the district offices to ensure that they adequately cover key issues.(Seepp. 24 through 30.) recommendsthat the Director, Bureau of the Census,direct head- Recommendation GAO quarters staff to assumea more proactive role in monitoring the regions’ managementof field recruitment efforts by ” . assuring that the recruiter training the regions are providing addresses the limitations identified during 1989, particularly in managing a recruiting effort; and Page 4 Executive summary 9 reviewing the planning efforts the regions are establishing for their dis- trict offices to ensure plans account for the diverse recruiting challenges confronting the Bureau’s district offices. obtained oral comments on a draft of this report from the Bureau. Agency Comments GAO Bureau officials agreed with GAO'S recommendation but said the draft gave insufficient attention to the improvements the Bureau has made in implementing its recruitment program since the 1980 census. GAO agreesthat the Bureau has made major improvements for the 1990 censusthat should assist in recruiting staff. However, the Bureau’s pro- gress since 1980 does not mean that censusrecruiting will be without difficulty. For example, the Bureau did not meet its milestone to achieve 60 percent of its 1990 recruiting goal by March 2,199O. Overall, the Bureau met about 34 percent of its goal by that date. According to the Bureau, almost 86 percent of its district offices did not meet the 60 per- cent goal. Page5 --.- Contents Executive Summary Chapter 1 Introduction Objectives,Scope,and Methodology Chapter 2 12 Recruiting Critical to Many Offices Did Not Meet PrecanvassRecruiting Goals but Still Finished on Schedule 12 SuccessfulCensus Recruiting Difficulties During PrecanvassRaise Concerns 19 for 1990 Chapter 3 22 Enhanced Oversight of Actions Taken to Address Recruitment ObstaclesShould 23 Help CensusStaffing Efforts Field Recruitment Recruiter Training Limited in 1989 but Improvements 24 Efforts Needed Made for the 1990 Census Limited Oversight Contributed to Poor Recruitment 27 Planning Conclusion and Recommendation 30 Agency Comments and Our Evaluation 30 Appendix Major Contributors to This Report 34 Figures Figure 1.1: Number of District Offices Opening for 1990 9 Activities Increasing Significantly Figure 1.2: Enumerator Staffing Will Escalate 10 Dramatically for 1990 Figure 2.1: District Offices Had Mixed SuccessMeeting 14 Recruiting Goals Figure 2.2: Late Offices Experienced Significant Difficulty 16 Meeting Recruiting Goals Figure 2.3: SomeLate Offices ExceededPrecanvass 18 Budgets Figure 2.4: Number of Applicants to Be Recruited 19 IncreasesSignificantly If Goals Are Expanded Page 6 GAO/GGD4085 1990 Ceneus Y Page 7 Chapter 1 Introduction Acquiring and retaining the 390,000 temporary employeesneededto complete the 1990 decennial censusis one of the Bureau of the Census’ major managementchallenges.Peak employment for the censuswill occur from April to June with somehiring continuing until September 1990. In previous decennial censuses,the Bureau’s difficulties in recruit- ing and retaining employeesin somegeographic areaa contributed to delays and increased costs.We have reported that the Bureau’s historic difficulties in hiring and retaining temporary employeeshave continued during the 1990 censuscycle.’ For example, in 1988, when the Bureau developed much of the suburban and rural addresslist it will use in 1990, about 28 percent of the areas reported problems in meeting recruiting and staffing goals. The Bureau completed several major field activities in 1989 related to the development of its censusaddresslist. As someof the final field activities before the actual census,these activities provided an impor- tant indication of the staffing situation the Bureau may face in 1990. The development of the Bureau’s addresslist for urban areas, known as precanvass,comprised the largest workload and personnel requirements of the 1989 field activities. The Bureau hired censusworkers, known as enumerators, to canvassneighborhoods to verify the completenessand accuracy of commercial addresslists it had purchased. The Bureau hired almost 20,000 enumerators to canvass66 million households dur- ing precanvass,or more than one-half of the Nation’s estimated 106 mil- lion households. The successof precanvassis important not only in providing an accu- rate urban address list for 1990 but also as a key test of the Bureau’s preparations to attract the large number of employeesneededfor the census.Recruiters in the Bureau’s 13 regional censuscenters are respon- sible for designing and implementing a regional recruiting program and for guiding, assisting, and monitoring recruitment efforts in the Bureau’s district offices. Each district office has a recruiter who is responsible for seeking applicants for the office’s nonmanagement positions. The 109 district offices opened for precanvassand other 1989 field activities, represented the Bureau’s first attempt during the 1990 census cycle to manage work through a national network of district offices. Earlier 1990 censuscycle operations, such as the 1988 dress rehearsal, ’ 1990 CMsus: Delays in Completing the Address List for Suburban and Rural Areas (GAO/ CiGD-S9-74, July 1989). Page 8 GAO/GGD9O86 1!390 Ceneus Chapter 1 Introduction either were done in limited geographic areas or were managedfrom the regional censuscenters. In 1990, the district offices will be responsible for completing the field enumeration and for hiring the hundreds of thousands of enumerators to do censusfieldwork. In most cases,the entire district office managementstaff, like the field employeesthey manage,are temporary employeeshired only for the 1990 census. Precanvasswas an important test but is not completely projectable to the censusbecausethe actual censuswill be a much more labor-inten- sive operation. As shown in figures 1.1 and 1.2, the Bureau is opening an additional 349 district offices, for a total of 468, to do its enumeration work in 1990. The Bureau hired almost 20,000 enumerators for pre- canvassin 1989. Nonresponsefollow-up in 1990, during which enumera- tors will visit households that did not return censusquestionnaires, is the Bureau’s most labor-intensive censusactivity. The Bureau projects it will need to fill about 133,000 enumerator positions for nonresponsefol- low-up. Flgure 1.1: Number of District Offices Openlng for 1990 Activities Increasing Slgnlficantly 500 District Dffices Page 9 GAO/GGD-9086 1990 Cenaw chapter 1 Mroduction Figure 1.2: Enumerator Staff Ing Will Escalate Dramatically for 1990 200 Thousands of Enumeratola 150 Census Activity Note: 1989 precanvass shows actual number of enumerators hired. 1990 nonresponse follow-up shows projected enumerator staffing. The Chairman, House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, for- Objectives,Scope,and warded a request by the former Chairman and Ranking Minority Mem- Methodology ber, Subcommittee on Censusand Population, House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, that we monitor censuspersonnel issues.We used the Bureau’s 1989 precanvassas a casestudy of the Bureau’s prep- arations for 1990, since precanvassis one of the Bureau’s last major field activities before the census.Specifically, the objectives of our work were to assess(1) the progress the Bureau’s district offices made in recruiting field staff for precanvassand (2) the adequacy of the prepa- rations the Bureau has undertaken to ensure that its district offices are ready to implement a recruitment program to attract the several hun- dred employeeseach office will need for the census. Page 10 GAO/GGD-90-66 1990 Census chaptm 1 Intmduction To meet the first objective, we reviewed cost, progress, and recruitment data reflected in reports produced by the Bureau’s managementinfor- mation system. The reports we examined are generated weekly by Bureau headquarters from information put into the system by the dis- trict offices. Bureau headquarters usesthese reports to monitor and manage censusfield activities. These reports do not document the rea- sonsthat offices are having recruiting problems. We did not assessthe reliability of the information we received from the Bureau’s manage- ment information system. We also did not evaluate the validity of the recruitment goals established by the Bureau for its field activities. To meet the secondobjective, we reviewed recruiting reports prepared by the regional offices, field observation reports written by headquar- ters staff, and personnel manuals. We also interviewed officials in Bureau headquarters and in each of the Bureau’s 13 regional censuscen- ters to identify policies and procedures for recruiting temporary decen- nial censusfield employees.We reviewed historical documents and our work on the 1980 decennial censusto identify the Bureau’s recruiting efforts and difficulties in previous censuses. We visited 16 district offices and two regional censuscenters-New York and Los Angeles-for detailed work to assessfurther the develop- ment and implementation of field recruitment efforts. We interviewed district office managers, assistant managers,and recruiters about their offices’ experiencesin recruiting in 1989 and in preparing for 1990. These regions were selectedbecausethe Bureau anticipates that it will experience difficulties recruiting sufficient staff in parts of these regions in 1990. These regions were also selectedbecauseof their signifi- cant precanvassworkload and expected workload in 1990. The New York and Los Angeles regions accounted for about 18 percent of the planned national precanvassworkload and staff requirements. The results of our work in these regions cannot be projected to other regions. Our work was done between June and October 1989, in accordancewith generally acceptedgovernment auditing standards. The Bureau of the Censusprovided oral comments on this report. These comments are presented and evaluated in chapter 3. Page 11 GAO/GGD-9085 1990 Censm Chapter 2 l!kcruiti.ng Critical to SuccessfulCensus Many of the Bureau’s district offices did not reach the national recruit- ing goal of four qualified applicants for each position during precanvass. Despite their recruiting difficulties, most offices were able to hire a suf- ficient number of staff and were able to complete precanvasson time. However, staff shortages in someoffices contributed to delays in com- pleting fieldwork and changesin precanvassprocedures. If staff shortages and delays are widespread during the actual census,they could affect data quality and increase costs. The inability of many offices to meet 1989 recruiting goals raises con- cerns about the Bureau’s ability to attract sufficient staff during the actual census,which is a much more labor-intensive activity. A success- ful recruiting effort is important in providing managerswith flexibility to hire staff that will complete their assignmentsmost effectively, according to the Bureau. In addition, recruiting difficulties during the actual censuscould result in staff shortages and delays in completing censusoperations, as occurred in 1980, which could impair data quality. Many Offices Did Not To ensure that sufficient staff would be available when needed,the Bureau established a national recruiting goal for 1989 of four qualified Meet Precanvass applicants for each position at peak censusactivities.1 Temporary posi- Recruiting Goalsbut tions generally last from a few days to several weeks. In the caseof precanvass,fieldwork was scheduledto last 30 days. Still F’inishedon Schedule Meeting recruiting goals is important in providing managementwith the discretion to select candidates who will complete their assignmentsmost effectively. A large applicant pool also provides the Bureau with greater opportunity to releaseemployeeswho are not meeting production requirements and replace them with more able individuals. In 1980, managers’ flexibility in making hiring selectionswas restricted in some offices becauseof a limited number of applicants. The Bureau’s ability to identify and select employeeswho will work most effectively will have an impact on the quality and cost of the 1990 census. Meeting recruiting goals is also important becausethe Bureau has found that high employee turnover and job refusal rates require that it recruit several applicants for each position. Bureau officials said that census field activities consistently have suffered from high turnover rates. ‘The number of staff positions and thus the number of individuals to recruit is continuously adjusted during an activity on the basis of updated workload information. Page 12 GAO/GGD-9085 19fN Cenm~ Chapter 2 aecnlltlng critical to SucceseN cen8ua Job refusal is also a problem becausethe Bureau must typically begin soliciting applications and testing applicants well before a field activity begins. For example, applicant testing for 1990 positions is scheduledto begin about 2 months before the jobs becomeavailable. The Bureau faces a difficult decision on when to begin testing. On the one hand, the Bureau must begin testing early to ensure that a sufficient applicant baseexists when hiring begins. On the other hand, however, early test- ing results in many applicants either losing interest or finding other employment by the time the Bureau is ready to hire, according to Bureau officials. During precanvass,the New York region’s Northwest Brooklyn district office went through a baseof 900 applicants to hire 176 precanvassenumerators. The Los Angeles region noted that someof its district offices had to contact an averageof eight applicants for each position due to high refusal rates. Many offices nationwide were unable to meet the Bureau’s recruiting goal during precanvass.Figure 2.1 shows the extent to which district offices reported that they met recruiting goals at the beginning of pre- canvassand at two precanvassmilestones-completing fieldwork and finishing all district office precanvassactivities. About 46.8 percent of the district offices reported they had not met their recruiting goal by the time precanvassbegan.At none of the three points did more than 66.1 percent of the offices report meeting the goal. About 63 percent of those offices that had not met their goal when precanvassbegan had less than three applicants for each position. Page 13 GAO/GGD9@85 1930 Census chapter 2 Reenlltlng critical to sueeesr3ful censlle Flgure 2.1: Diotrlct Offlcer Had Mixed 8uccerr M6etlng Recruiting Qoala 100 Porwnt Mwtlng CJoal 90 Sources: Bureau Management Information System reports for May 15, June 27, and July 10, 1989. Eleven of the 109 offices did not submit data for the July 10 report. Most district offices that did not meet recruiting goals were able to over- cometheir recruiting difficulties and hire enough staff to finish pre- canvasson time. Overall, 86 percent, or 94 of the 109 district offices, finished precanvasswithin at least 1 week of the scheduleddates despite problems meeting recruiting goals. The 16 offices that finished the 8-week operation at least a week late generally completed work within 2 weeks of the scheduled end of precanvass2 ‘%ifteen offices completed precanvass at least 1 week late. These offices were: Jersey City, Newark, Trenton, Germantown, Norristown, Deptford, and Cheater in the Philadelphia region; North Miami, South Dade, Atlanta, and Jacksonville in the Atlanta region; White Plains and Hempstead in the New York region; Worcester in the Boston region; and Oakland in the Detroit region. Page 14 GA0/GGMO-65 1990 Ceneus Chapter 2 Recrultlng critical to su-ful (zknume Greater than anticipated enumerator productivity was a major factor that assistedthe Bureau in overcoming staff shortages and in complet- ing precanvassgenerally on time. Enumerator productivity rates nation- wide averaged 10.6 percent above what had been expected. More specifically, productivity in the 36 offices that reported they had not met their recruiting goal at the scheduledend of precanvassbut still finished on time, averaged about 13 percent above expected rates.3 While higher than expected productivity helped the Bureau to overcome staff shortages and to finish precanvasson time, the Bureau cannot be certain its productivity rates during the actual censuswill be higher than expected becauseof the basic difference between precanvassand the census,according to the Bureau. Staff Shortages Staff shortages were a major reason that 16 offices did not complete Contributed to Delays in precanvasson schedule,according to Bureau officials. Only 3 of the 15 offices, or 20 percent, reported meeting their recruiting goal when pre- Completing Fieldwork canvassbegan compared with about 68.6 percent of the offices that completed precanvasson time. Six of the offices, or 40 percent, that did not finish on time reported they met the recruiting goal when pre- canvasswas scheduledto end, as shown in figure 2.2. 3As noted in figure 2.1,ll offices did not submit data for the management information report follow- ing the scheduled end of precanvass. Page 15 GAO/GGlMO85 1220 C!ensua chapter 2 Recllltm critical to succesefuI cellsue Figure 2.2: Late Off leer Experienced Slgniflcant Dlff lculty Meeting Recrultlng loo PoKmll Ydng &A Goal8 60 Sources: Bureau Management Information System reports for May 15, June 27, and July 10, 1989. Staff Shortages Led to Staff shortages in someoffices during precanvassforced the Bureau to Changes in Precanvass compromise its goals of providing adequate enumerator training and hir- ing a local workforce. If widespread during the actual censusin 1990, Procedures these compromisesmay reduce the quality of censusdata. For example, to complete fieldwork, the Bureau moved staff from district offices that had completed work into areas that were experiencing severestaff shortages. Enumerators from areas where work had been completed in the Philadelphia region were brought into the Newark and Jersey City district offices to assist with precanvass.Enumerators were also moved in the New York region, where staff from four district offices assisted with precanvassin White Plains. In the Los Angeles region, field staff from four district offices were used to complete precanvasson schedule in Pasadena. Page 16 GAO/GGD9066 1990 ~nsus chapter 2 It.8mdnng critical to succeel3fulcensus Staff shortages, which force the Bureau to use enumerators from one area to take the censusin another, detract from a key censusgoal, espe- cially early in a field activity, to enumerate communities with individu- als who are familiar with the neighborhoods. The Bureau believes that local enumerators are important to increasedpublic acceptanceof the censusand thereby improve the accuracy of censusdata. Using local enumerators is less important at the end of a field activity when only a few casesremain to be enumerated, according to Bureau officials. These officials said that in areas where the Bureau experiencesstaff shortages at the end of a field activity, moving in the best available enumerators from adjoining areas enablesthe Bureau to complete the remaining field- work quickly and with high quality. Another change made to overcome staff shortages and complete field- work on schedule was to reduce the time allotted for enumerator train- ing in somecases.For example, in two of the New York region’s eight district offices-White Plains and Southeast Queens-staff shortages led managers to reduce enumerator training from 2 days to 1 to get newly hired staff working as soon as possible. White Plains did not fin- ish precanvasson schedule even with the reduced training. While we did not evaluate the extent to which reduced time for training affected the quality of precanvassin those offices, New York region dis- trict office officials believe that training should not be reduced. One sug- gestion made at a meeting of the assistant managers for field operations for the New York region’s district offices, was to increase enumerator training from the scheduled 2 days to 3 days becausemany of the region’s enumerators were not trained sufficiently to do the job properly. Staffing Shortages Staff shortages and delays in completing fieldwork also contributed to Contributed to Increased increased precanvasscosts.For example, assigning enumerators to tem- porary duty in other district offices is costly becauseadditional mileage costs and, in somecases,per diem expensesmust be paid. At the Pasadena district office, the only office we visited where the information was readily available, per diem costs for enumerators moved in from other areas totaled about 6 percent of that office’s field payroll costs as of August 12,1989, or about $13,300. Per diem expenseswere also incurred for enumerators from the Trenton district office who assisted with precanvassin other Philadelphia region district offices, according to a Bureau official. If the Bureau is forced to move staff between Page 17 GAO/GGD9086 1990 Cenms chapter 2 , JItecmittng crItIcal to succegsial ceMM offices in 1990 as it did in 1989, the costs could be much higher because of the significantly greater workload. Staffing problems were not the only factor that causedprecanvass cost increases.However, the Bureau’s preliminary data from district office cost and progress reports from when it completed precanvassfield activities show that 11 of the 16 offices that did not complete pre- canvasson schedule exceededtheir budgets for fieldwork, as is shown in figure 2.3. These 11 offices were an average of about 26 percent, or about $3’7,800,over their precanvassbudgets. Figure 2.3: Some Late Offices Exceeded Precanvasr Budget8 15 Number ot Late District Ofltcea 10 lOOand 101-110 111120 121130 131-140 141-150 bslow Pomntago Range of Costs to Budget Source: Bureau Management Information System report for August 16,1989. Overall, precanvassfieldwork was completed within budget, with about 37.6 percent of the offices that finished precanvasson time reporting that they exceededtheir budgets. Greater than expected mileage reim- bursement expensesand higher than expected training costs are among the factors that may have contributed to these offices exceedingtheir budgets, according to a Bureau official. Training costs may have been higher than expected due to a large number of part-time employees and high overtraining rates, which were revised to establish larger than Page 18 GAO/GGD2085 1220 Census expected reserve pools of trained field staff to replace those who had quit or were released.Offices that finished on time but still exceeded their budgets averaged about 12.8 percent over budget. Recruiting and staffing problems during precanvassand other 1989 Recruiting Difficulties field activities have shown the Bureau that in many parts of the country During Precanvass a recruiting goal of four applicants per peak operations position may be RaiseConcernsfor too conservative for 1990. Bureau officials now consider a recruiting goal of six or eight qualified applicants for such positions to be more 1990 appropriate in hard-to-recruit areas, such as suburban areas.We calcu- lated, on the basis of the Bureau’s projected peak 1990 staffing of 286,000 positions, how different recruiting goals, if achieved nation- wide, would affect the number of applicants recruited. Figure 2.4 shows, for example, that the Bureau would need to recruit over 2.28 million applicants if a recruiting goal of eight applicants for each position is adopted. Figure 2.4: Number of Applicant8 to Be Recruited lncrearer Significantly If Goals Are Expanded 3 Millions of Applicants 4:l 8:l 8:l Appllcanfr, Per Poslfian GAO calculation based on Bureau peak staffing projection of 285,000 positions. Page 19 GAO/GGD-9085 1999 Census J chapter2 Recruiting crltleal to Succeeeful ceusus Higher Turnover and Job Higher than anticipated rates of turnover and job refusal occurring in Refusal Expected During part due to the significant amount of direct public contact the census requires, are major reasonsthe Bureau will need to recruit more candi- the Census dates for each position for the actual census.Most enumerators hired in 1990 will visit householdsto gather information from those that have not returned a censusquestionnaire. Contact with a resistant public con- tributes to turnover and discouragespotential applicants, according to Bureau officials. For precanvass,the frequency and degreeof public contact required were much less than during the census.Precanvass enumerators verified addressesand inquired whether there were addi- tional living quarters on a property, but they did not gather the full range of censusinformation. One indication of the rate of job refusal the Bureau can expect in 1990 is provided by a district office manager from the Los Angeles region who estimated that two-thirds of the 1989 precanvassenumerators expressedconcern about the degreeof public contact during precanvass and said that it may pose a recruiting challenge for 1990. Delays Completing Completing fieldwork expeditiously is a key ingredient to ensuring a Fieldwork in 1990 Could high-quality census.Efficient fieldwork provides time to review census counts and enables activities to be completed as planned. Timely data Contribute to Reduced capture also enablesthe Bureau to review censuscounts before they are Quality and Higher Costs provided to the President and the states by legally mandated deadlines. In addition, the need to limit censuscosts and prior delays in completing fieldwork have forced the Bureau to changecensusplans and to reduce operations during the actual census.For example, a shortage of quali- fied staff in some areas in 1980 contributed to delays in finishing field- work. These delays, combined with the need to limit censuscosts, causedthe Bureau to alter censusfollow-up procedures for households that had not returned a questionnaire and on questionnaires that were returned but were incomplete or appeared to contain errors. These changesmay have adversely affected the quality of censusdata. Staff shortages and delays in completing field activities in 1990 also could prove costly. The district offices will have an average budget of about $1.6 million to complete data collection in 1990, or about 10.8 times the average amount budgeted for precanvassfieldwork. District offices’ failures, in somecases,to meet precanvassbudgets did not result in significant cost increasesduring 1989. However, if budget over- runs occur in someoffices in 1990 and are not accompaniedby other Page 20 GAO/GGlMO-f36 1990 Census chapter 2 Recnltljngcritt~tusu-fulceMM offices completing activities below budget, as occurred during pre- canvass,censuscosts could escalatedramatically. The Bureau was generally able to complete precanvasson time despite difficulties meeting recruiting goals in many offices. However, staff shortages in someoffices demonstrated the important role a successful recruitment effort has in enabling the Bureau to complete activities on time, as planned, and within budget. Achieving recruiting goals will be especially important for the actual census,which is more labor-intensive and more difficult. A well-run recruitment program is neededto attract the applicants the Bureau will require for the census.Chapter 3 dis- cussesthat while progress has been made on a number of key recruiting issues,more proactive headquarters oversight of regional recruiting efforts could further improve the Bureau’s recruiting posture. Page 21 GAO/GGIMO85 1990 C!ensus Chapter 3 EnhancedOversight of F’ieldRecruitment Efforts Needed The Bureau faces a number of obstaclesin recruiting neededstaff, such as the degreeof interaction with the public required by censusjobs; the short-term nature of censusemployment; high crime rates, which may make applicants fearful of working in someneighborhoods; and the absenceof employee benefits for most positions-all of which make cen- sus work unattractive to many potential applicants. Although well- designed recruitment programs and thoroughly trained recruiters can- not guarantee that the Bureau will not have staffing difficulties during the census,they nonethelessare important in minimizing the effects of these obstacles.The Bureau’s implementation of geographic pay rates, recent legislation that is aimed at expanding the applicant pool, and other important recruiting improvements the Bureau has made during the 1990 censuscycle should assist the Bureau in attracting needed staff. However, the district offices have not always developed the recruitment program they need to compete for staff, and someoffices have lacked adequate direction, which contributed to the uneven successof the Bureau’s 1989 recruitment efforts. The Bureau discussedits 1989 recruiting performance at an August 1989 conferenceof headquarters officials, senior regional officials responsible for the decennial census, and regional recruiters. Overall, these officials expresseda high degree of confidence in the Bureau’s recruiting program and concluded that the Bureau generally is well positioned for the staffing challengesfor the census.These officials also identified areas, however, where the Bureau neededto take aggressiveaction, such as enhancedrecruitment training and strengthened local recruitment planning, to improve its recruiting posture for 1990. Bureau officials concluded that district office recruiter training needed to be improved, particularly on how to manage a major recruitment effort and on how to plan and monitor recruiting performance. The offi- cials also noted that local recruitment planning did not always account for the diverse demographic and economicrecruiting challengesfacing the Bureau, such as the need to attract applicants from all ethnic groups and the effect high-employment rates have on the Bureau’s ability to attract staff. The Bureau is making improvements in its recruiting efforts for the census,but it needsto ensure that its regional offices provide the recruiter training and recruitment planning neededfor the census. Page 22 GAO/GGD-9086 1990 Censua . Enhamed Oversight of Field lbxukment Effort.8 Needed A fundamental staffing challenge confronting the Bureau is ensuring Actions Taken to that its pay rates are competitive. Inadequate pay is a major factor that Address Recruitment has hampered the Bureau’s recruiting efforts in someareas. For exam- Obstacles Should Help pie, the Bureau raised pay in six east coast areasto meet staffing needs to complete 1988 suburban and rural address-list development activi- CensusStaffing ties. Pay was also increased in parts of New York and Massachusetts Efforts during precanvassin 1989. In a series of congressionaltestimonies over the last year, we encouragedthe Bureau to consider a geographic pay system that is more sensitive to local market conditions to help it compete for neededstaff.1 The Bureau subsequently implemented a geographic pay program for the 1990 censusthat contains sevendifferent wage levels for temporary district office staff. Pay rates for enumerators range from $6.00 to $8.00 per hour. Before the implementation of the geographic pay rates, the Bureau paid enumerators $6.60 or $6.00 per hour, except in those areas where it raised pay to address staff shortagesin 1988 and 1989. The Bureau also plans to provide supplemental payments during certain censusactivities to enumerators and other field staff who meet produc- tivity goals and who continue working for a specified period of time. These payments could add the equivalent of over $1.00 per hour to enu- merators’ pay. The Bureau’s geographic wage rates should make a major contribution toward enabling the Bureau to compete for employeesneededfor the census.However, the successof the effort dependson the extent to which the rates established for each district office are competitive and the program’s funding is adequate. We currently are reviewing these issues as part of a separate effort. The Bureau’s ability to attract staff for the censuswas further improved by legislation that significantly expands the potential appli- cant pool that will be available for the census.The President signed leg- islation in August 1989 that eliminated certain financial disincentives for federal annuitants and military retirees to accepting censusemploy ment, by exempting them from provisions of Title 6, United States Code, that would have precluded them from receiving both their censuspay and their annuity or retired pay. In testimony supporting the legislation %&us of Plans for the 1990 Decennial Census (GAO/T-GGD-89-20, May k&1989); Status of Plans for the 1990 Decennial Census: An Update (GAO/T-GGD-SQ-16, March 23,198Q); Status of the K&O Decennial Cmms (GAO/T-GGD--pt. 27,1988.) Page 28 GAO/GGD90.65 1990 Cawua Chapter 2 JCnhanced Overnight of Field Recruitment JZfforte Needed before the Subcommittee on Censusand Population, HouseCommittee on Post Office and Civil Service,we noted that these retirees, who already have demonstrated a commitment to the public service, could prove a valuable source of applicants for the Bureau, especially in some of the areas where it has experienced difficulties attracting staffa The Bureau’s recruitment efforts will also be helped by the Bureau’s censuspromotion efforts and the large amount of publicity accompany- ing a decennial census,according to Bureau officials. The Bureau believes that its censuspromotion program and censuspress coverage, both of which are expected to peak shortly before the census,will inform many potential applicants who previously were not aware of the censusabout censusemployment opportunities. However, when we examined the Bureau’s promotion and outreach in mid-1989, we found that the 1990 promotion effort had been hampered by a late start, dupli- cation of effort, and strained working relationships among someBureau units.3 In addition, the Bureau experienced staff shortages in some offices during the 1980 censuseven with its promotion effort and high press visibility. For 1989 activities, district office recruiters, like other district office Recruiter Training managementstaff, received 1 week of training on managing the census. Limited in 1989but The managementtraining is developed by Bureau headquarters to be Improvements Made read verbatim by the instructor. The Bureau directed its regions to develop and provide additional training to the recruiters. The Bureau for the 1990 Census believes, and we agree,that recruiter training should be individualized to each district office to accommodatethe recruiting challengesspecific to each area. Therefore, the Bureau allowed the regions to determine the amount and content of the specialized recruitment training they would offer to the district office recruiters for 1989 field activities. Bureau headquarters did not review the regions’ 1989 training programs for district office recruiters and, as a result, had limited assurancethat the recruitment training the regions provided was sufficient and prop- erly focused. While our work in the Los Angeles and New York regions cannot be projected nationally, it identified areas where recruiter train- ing potentially neededto be strengthened. Five of the six Los Angeles region district office recruiters who received the region’s specialized 2Expanding the Decennial Census Applicant Pool (GAO/T-GGD-89-22, May 23,198Q). 3Status of 1990 Census Promotion and Outreach Activities (GAO/T-GGD-89-40, Sept. 20,198Q). Page 24 GAO/GGD-9085 1990 Cenma . Chapter 3 Enhanced Oversight of Field Recruitment Jlff’orta Needed recruiter training, said that it could be improved, for example, by pro- viding answers to questions that applicants would ask most frequently, such as how employment on the censuswould affect welfare benefits. In the New York region, in addition to the verbatim general management training, recruiters were provided with only 2 hours of specialized recruitment training for 1989 activities. This training allowed for only a general overview of recruiting procedures. Training on Managing a The Bureau hired recruiters for the 109 district offices opened for 1989 Recruitment Program activities largely on the basis of the applicant’s familiarity with local communities, which is an important characteristic of a successful Needed Improvement recruiter. However, the Bureau subsequently found that many of these recruiters did not have skills in planning, developing, and managing a recruitment program, which are critical characteristics of a sound recruitment effort wherever it takes place. The Bureau has since empha- sized these skills in selecting district office recruiters and is confident that it was able to hire recruiters for the 349 remaining district offices who are familiar with their communities and possessmanagement abili- ties. The Bureau has also decided to expand recruiter training to better ensure that its district office recruiters have the skills they need to be successful. The significant increase in recruiting workload for the censusmakes it important that recruiters be effective managers.For 1990, a recruiter in a typical district office is expected to recruit at least 2,400 applicants to fill 600 positions. For precanvass,a recruiter in an average district office neededto recruit about 626 applicants. This over four-fold increase in averageworkload requires that recruiters be trained to man- age such a major recruiting effort, including establishing priorities, designing recruiting strategies, supervising staff who administer census employment tests and assist with recruitment, and monitoring recruiting performance. Expanded Training on The Bureau may also need to provide additional training to recruiters to Using Recruiting Reports reinforce how managementreports from the Bureau’s automated appli- cant file can assist with recruiting. The applicant file is a district office May Be Needed computer file containing such basic data as address,race, sex, and other information on all applicants. A primary purpose of the applicant file is to generate lists of applicants for use when the district office is ready to hire. The applicant file can also provide critical recruiting reports that show the extent to which 18 different recruiting sources,for example, Page 25 GAO/GGD9085 1990 Censw . Chapter 8 Enhanced Overalght of Field lbcrukment Eiforta Needed state employment offices, newspaper advertisements, and community organizations, have provided applicants, This report is discussedduring censusmanagementtraining the recruiters and other managementstaff receive but as part of the discussionon using managementreports, not as part of the managementtraining section on designing and implement- ing a recruiting program. Recruiters from the Los Angeles and New York regions, however, did not always use the applicant file’s report on recruiting sourcesand in somecasesdid not know that it existed. For example, recruiters in two of the New York region’s eight district offices said they did not know about the report. The region’s recruiting plan for its district offices dis- cussesthe applicant file but doesnot mention the recruiting sources report. Similar problems occurred in the Los Angeles region. A recruiter at one district office said she was not aware the report existed. Another dis- trict office recruiter from that region said his training on the use of applicant file reports was very limited and, as a result, he was not sure how to use the information contained in the report. He said that on the basis of his experience during precanvass,he now understands how to use the report and believes it will be very helpful in 1990. Recruiters who did not use the recruiting sourcesreport lacked a key device for managing their recruitment program. These management reports enable recruiters to determine which recruiting sourcesare most successfulin producing applicants and provides them with information that helps to design recruitment strategies to ensure that the workforce meets the Bureau’s equal employment opportunity goals. Bureau offi- cials said that these reports contain important information that should be used continuously throughout an operation to adjust and refine recruiting strategies. Bureau Lacks Assurance The Bureau is addressing the problems it had with recruiter training in That Recruitment Training 1989 by requiring that the regions provide a minimum of 2 days of spe- cialized recruitment training and 2 to 3 days of on-the-job-training in Will Be Improved for 1990 addition to the week-long censusmanagementtraining the recruiters receive with other district office managementstaff. Bureau headquar- ters provided general guidance to the regions on what should be w included in the expanded recruitment training, such as details on census applicant testing and selection procedures. Page 26 GAO/GGD-!W35 lfI90 Cenma . chaptm 8 Extbned Chwrdght of Field Becruitment Efforta Needed Bureau headquarters has not required the regions to provide for review outlines of their recruiter training programs. As a result, while head- quarters has provided direction on the amount and general content of recruiter training, it doesnot know the extent to which district office recruiters are actually receiving the training they need. For example, the guidance did not give specific instructions on providing training on managing a major recruitment effort, such as the one required by the census,nor doesthe guidance discussthe need to highlight the impor- tant role the applicant file’s recruiting sourcesreport can play in moni- toring and planning recruitment efforts. The Bureau continues to believe that while headquarters has provided guidance, the regions, on the basis of their experience and knowledge of the local recruiting challengestheir district offices will face, are in the best position to design their own recruitment training programs. We agree that a successfulrecruitment effort dependson local conditions and that the Bureau’s regional offices are in the best position to design recruiter training programs. However, certain key recruiting skills, such as how to manage a major recruitment effort, need to be taught irrespec- tive of the location of the district office. In addition, by not systemati- cally reviewing regional training programs for 1989 activities, the Bureau identified weaknessesin district office recruiter training efforts after precanvasshad been completed. The Bureau believes that planning is critical in designing recruiting Limited Oversight strategies that addressthe diverse competitive challengesit faces. One Contributed to Poor of the Bureau’s major achievementsfor the 1990 censuscycle has been Recruitment Planning to begin recruitment efforts well in advance of the census.For example, the Bureau hired its 1990 regional recruiters about 2 years before the census;for the 1980 censusregional recruiters were hired about 6 months before the census.The Bureau issued its 1990 national recruit- ing plan about 3 years before the censusand a regional recruiting plan in December 1987. In contrast, there was not sufficient time to learn ab,outlocal recruiting challengesin 1980. This affected the recruiters’ ability to managethe region’s recruiting efforts. The Bureau’s 1990 national and regional recruiting plans discussedthe need for each region to develop specific regional and district office recruiting strategies on the basis of the demographic profile and recruit- ing challenges confronting its geographic area. For example, each area’s ethnic and racial composition is a factor that must be consideredin Page 27 GAO/GGIM#O-65 1990 Census Chapter 8 Enhanced OversIght of Field Recruitment Efforta Needed designing a recruiting program to meet the key Bureau goal that commu- nities be enumerated by individuals from their own neighborhoods. Unemployment rates must also be consideredbecausethey are an indi- cation of how difficult recruiting may be. Headquarters Did Limited The Bureau provided guidance on the recruiting plans that the regions Monitoring of Field were instructed to develop for the district offices but did not subse- quently assessthose regional planning efforts. As a result, the Bureau Recruitment Planning did not know the extent to which the district offices were prepared for the recruitment challengesthey face. Our review of recruitment efforts in the Los Angeles and New York regions found that regional recruitment planning efforts for 1989 activi- ties were limited. For example, the Los Angeles regional office did not develop recruiting plans for its district offices in 1989. The regional recruiter said that she believed existing Bureau guidance covered the subject adequately. We found, however, that the absenceof a clear local recruiting plan can hamper recruitment efforts. According to the recruiter at one Los Angeles region district office, he inherited a disorga- nized recruitment program when the original recruiter left. He was not provided with a recruiting plan for the office and therefore experienced problems with his early recruitment efforts. For example, he had to reconstruct the office’s list of recruiting contacts and evaluate the extent to which the office’s locations for testing applicants were actu- ally yielding candidates. According to the recruiter at another Los Ange- les region district office, information on the ethnic composition of his area would have been helpful in monitoring the successof his recruit- ment efforts in generating applicants that reflect the ethnic profile of the community. Recruiting strategies prepared by the New York regional office for its district offices were not tailored to addressthe specific recruiting chal- lenges,such as the unemployment rates, each district office confronts. District offices in the New York region were provided with modifica- tions to the headquarters’ guidance to the regions on preparing recruit- ing plans and a list of organizations in their respective areas that had agreed to assist with censusrecruitment. The New York guidance noted the importance of planning the recruitment effort but provided limited direction on how it should be done. Page 28 GAO/GGIMKM6 1990 Census Chapter 8 Enhanced Overnight of Field Recmitment Efforts Needed Regional Improvements The need for strong recruitment planning in the district offices was a Planned but Headquarters major topic of discussion during the Bureau’s August 1989 recruiting conference.A well-designed recruitment strategy is especially important Oversight Not Expanded in overcoming the recruitment challengesposed by high-employment areas. Traditional recruitment strategies that focus on individuals who are actively seeking employment, such as contacts with state employ- ment centers and classified advertising, will not necessarily be sufficient to attract applicants who are not in the labor market. For example, the New York region experienced significant recruiting difficulties during precanvassin high-income areas, A Bureau official said that applicants in high-employment areas are attracted to the censusbecauseit is a major federal undertaking rather than becauseit provides the opportunity for employment. Promoting censusjobs by convincing applicants that working on the censusis in the national interest is more difficult than using a recruiting approach that stressesjob opportunities, according to this official. Problems with the planning and execution of recruitment efforts in 1989 led the Bureau’s regions to enhanceplanning efforts for the district offices. For example, the Charlotte region’s October 1989 recruiting plan is based on a county-by-county evaluation of the recruiting strategies that were most successful and the recruiting problems that were exper- ienced in 1989. Bureau headquarters, however, is not pursuing a coordinated effort of reviewing the planning efforts the regions are doing for the district offices. Similar to the position it has taken on recruitment training, the Bureau believes that its regions know the recruitment challengescon- fronting the district offices and how best to design a recruitment pro- gram to addressthose challenges. As a result, the Bureau doesnot have the assurancethat the planning problems experienced with the 1989 precanvasswill not be replicated in the new district offices during the census.Bureau headquarters could review regional planning efforts for the district offices to assess whether these efforts addressthe problems identified after precanvass, particularly the absenceof a recruitment strategy in somecasesand the failure to design recruiting efforts that addressthe economic and demo- graphic recruiting issuesconfronting each office. Well-trained district office recruiters and soundly designedlocal recruit- ing efforts are especially important for the actual censusbecausethe Page 29 GAO/GGD-90436 1990 Census Chapter 8 Enhanced Oversight of Field Recruitment Efforta Needed opening of 349 ,new district offices nationwide for the censuswill signif- icantly increase the regional offices’ workload in guiding and monitoring recruiting performance in the district offices. While each region was responsible for overseeingrecruiting activities in an average of 8 district offices in 1989, each will be responsible for an average of 36 offices in 1990. The increased regional workload for the censusforces even greater reliance on the district office recruiters to managetheir recruit- ment efforts effectively without extensive direct regional assistance. The Bureau faces major challengesin attracting the staff it needsto Conclusionand complete the census.The Bureau has made significant progress during Recommendation the 1990 censuscycle in establishing a national recruitment program. In addition, recent actions, such as its implementation of geographic wage rates and legislation expanding the potential applicant pool, should fur- ther improve the Bureau’s competitive posture. However, the Bureau needsto ensure that the district office recruiter training and planning efforts are adequately preparing the recruiters for the challengesthey will face during the census. Accordingly, we recommendthat the Director, Bureau of the Census, direct headquarters staff to assumea more proactive role in monitoring the regions’ managementof field recruitment efforts by . assuring that the recruiter training the regions are providing addresses the training needsidentified during 1989, particularly in managing a recruitment effort; and . reviewing the planning efforts the regions are establishing for their dis- trict offices and requiring any necessarycorrective actions neededto ensure plans account for the diverse recruiting challengesthe Bureau’s district offices confront. We obtained oral comments on a draft of this report from the Bureau. Agency Commentsand Bureau officials said they believed that the draft gave insufficient atten- Our Evaluation tion to the improvements that the Bureau has made in designing and implementing its recruitment program since 1980. The Bureau noted, for example, that it began planning the 1990 recruitment effort early in the LJ decade,hired key regional and district office staff earlier in the census cycle than in 1980, gained valuable recruiting experience and contacts Page 80 GAO/GGD-9045 1990 Census Chapter 8 IGthaneed Oversight of Field Jhmuitient Efforts Needed from precensusfield activities, and has held a number of conferences for regional staff to exchangeideas on recruiting. The Bureau also said that the draft did not fully recognizethe major differences between recruiting efforts for 1980; field activities during the 1990 censuscycle, including precanvass;and the 1990 census.For example, the Bureau believes that the piece-rate method of paying enu- merators in 1980 contributed to staffing problems. The Bureau believes that hourly pay rates used during the 1990 censuscycle along with the daily contact with supervisors should make it easier to recruit and retain employees.The Bureau also believes that its national network of district offices will enable it to better focus recruitment efforts at the local level. The Bureau noted that other actions, taken since we completed our audit work, should further improve recruiting for the census.For example, at the request of the Bureau, the Department of Health and Human Ser- vices is allowing the states to request waivers from provisions that require recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children to have their benefits reduced if they work on the census. Overall, the Bureau believes that it is in a much better position for the recruitment challengesposed by the 1990 censusthan at a similar point during the 1980 census.The Bureau noted that as of February 23,1990, its 1990 qualified applicant base already was about 72.6 percent of what the Bureau’s qualified applicant basewas at the end of the 1980 census. We agreethat the Bureau is better prepared for the recruiting chal- lenges it will face in 1990 than it was at a similar point in 1980. For example, as we noted in chapter 3, the Bureau’s implementation of geo- graphic wages for the 1990 censusand its beginning recruitment plan- ning and staffing earlier than in 1980, are major improvements over the 1980 censusrecruitment program. In addition, we noted that the Bureau’s regions have applied valuable lessonslearned from pre- canvass,which were raised at the Bureau’s August 1989 recruiting con- ference. These lessonssubsequently were used to improve the selection and training of recruiters and strengthen local recruitment planning. However, the Bureau’s progress since 1980 doesnot mean that recruit- ment for the 1990 censuswill be without difficulty. The primary objec- tives of our work were to assessthe Bureau’s 1989 precanvass recruiting progress and the adequacy of the preparations the Bureau Page 81 GAO/GGIMO-65 1990 Census chapter 3 Enhanced tiersight of Field Recruitment Effort-a Needed has undertaken to ensure that its district offices are ready to implement a recruitment program for the 1990 census.We found that Bureau head- quarters neededto improve its oversight efforts to ensure that the regions are providing the district office recruiters with the training and recruitment planning support the recruiters need. Recruiting a high-quality temporary workforce still is a major manage- ment challenge for the Bureau. Early 1990 recruiting performance dem- onstrates the scopeof this challenge. For example, the Bureau did not meet its milestone to have achieved 60 percent of its 1990 recruiting goal by March 2, 1990. Overall, the Bureau met about 34 percent of its 1990 recruiting goal by that date. According to the Bureau, 84.6 percent of its district offices did not meet the 60 percent interim recruiting goal. Difficulties in meeting recruiting goals do not necessarily result in staff shortages.However, recruiting shortages provide ~JIindication of how difficult attracting a sufficient number of staff may be when hiring actually begins. Meeting recruiting goals also is important in providing managerswith flexibility in choosing the best applicants when making hiring decisions. Regarding our recommendation that Bureau headquarters assure itself that the regions’ recruiter training and planning programs are sufficient, the Bureau has directed each region to submit a sample district office recruiting plan and outlines and related materials used to provide the specialized recruiter training. Bureau officials said they will examine the material to ensure it addressesthe problems identified in 1989. The Bureau also noted that headquarters officials continue to monitor dis- trict office recruiting performance by reviewing weekly management information system reports that show the extent to which each office is meeting recruiting goals. We believe that the Bureau’s decision to sys- tematically review regional recruiter training programs and recruitment plans addressesour recommendation. The Bureau also suggesteda number of technical clarifications, which we have made to the report where appropriate. Page 32 GAO/GGDW-65 1990 Ceneua Page 33 GAO/GGD-8086 1990 Censue Appendix - Major Contributors to This Report GeneralGovernment William M. Hunt, Assistant Director, Government BusinessOperations Issues Division, Washington, J. Christopher Mihm, Evaluator-in-Charge DC. Jacob Kaufman, Assignment Manager Tammy R. Conquest,Evaluator James D. VanBlarcom, Regional Assignment Manager New York Regional Bonnie L. Derby, Evaluator Office Larry S. Thomas, Evaluator Los AngelesRegional Brian Bibb, Evaluator Office (017081) Page 34 GAO/GGD-DO85 1930 Census
1990 Census: Enhanced Oversight Should Strengthen Recruitment Program
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-04-13.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)