County Board 15Jul 2019: Census Bureau resolution request

New Albany MS Supervisors Census Bureau request
Union County Supervisors declined to take action requested by a Census Bureau employee aimed at their participation in the federal 2020 census process.
July 17th, 2019     Government & Politics

An appearance by U.S. Census Bureau “partnership specialist” brought a cool response from the Union County Board of Supervisors Monday morning, July 15th.

Brenda McGaha, who identified herself as an employee of the Census Bureau, presented each supervisor and others in the meeting room with a folder containing pre-printed materials about the census.

McGaha said she was there to seek help from the county government in conducting the 2020 census required by the U.S. Constitution. She asked the board to pass a resolution establishing a “Complete Count Committee.”

None of the supervisors had had the opportunity to review the materials they had just been handed. It seemed to this reporter, that McGaha was vague as to what the county’s responsibilities would be if it established a “Complete Count Committee.” However, she asked again that the supervisors pass a resolution saying they would establish and support such a committee.

The board voted unanimously to take McGaha’s request from the Census Bureau “under advisement.”

County Board President Chad Coffey said after the meeting ended that he had “no intention of voting for something when I don’t know what it is.”

Union County Chancery Clerk Annette Hickey told Tuesday afternoon that she would be informing McGaha that Union County will not be establishing a “Complete Count Committee.”

Article One, Section Two of the U. S. Constitution requires that an “enumeration” of the U.S. population shall be made “within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” [Note: the odd capitalization of the words “Term,” “Years,” etc. is exactly as it appears in the original 1787 Constitution.] The original document plainly makes it the responsibility of the federal government to conduct the “enumeration,” and to fund whatever it takes to get the job done.

Problems with staffing, funding, and conducting the census have been in the news for well over a year. These problems are quite apart from the question of whether respondents may be asked about their citizenship status. The company printing census forms went bankrupt. There is a shortage of field workers. Field tests to assure the accuracy of the census have been cut back. The word “mess” has appeared in more than one published article about the status of the 2020 census.

A perusal of the documents census bureau worker McGaha left with the county board Monday morning seemed, to this reporter to create more confusion than clarity. For example, one of the documents McGaha left indicated the county would be expected to “provide a vehicle for coordinating and nurturing cooperative efforts.”

It appears the Union County Board of Supervisors decided not to take on responsibility for funding or otherwise managing the census for the federal government.


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