Census office in GJ also had problems in 2000
The last time there was no change of management at the Grand Junction census office during the head count was 1990, according to a veteran of the census that year and the one in 2000.
Reford Theobold, a former Grand Junction City Council member, was assistant manager for operations at the office during the 1990 census, and his boss, Bud Andrews, was in charge the entire time.
Theobold was recruited by the census to help out with hiring and recruiting in the region for the 2000 census “because my position on the City Council gave me numerous contacts in other cities,” he said. “After about three months, the census suddenly had a change of heart, decided my council position was a conflict of interest, and asked me to resign.
“Not too long after I left, the Denver office fired the manager, and other top officials in GJ left in protest. I think they were on their third manager by the time they finished the count.”
The 2010 census also has seen its share of management changeovers. Bill Hugenberg, the original manager, was fired in February and has since filed a complaint with the Census Bureau’s Office of Civil Rights.
His temporary replacement, Russell Copelan, was replaced, and now the office is headed by a permanent replacement, Fruita resident Kathleen DuHamel, a former field operations supervisor for the census.
The Grand Junction census office also has been beset by an other issue, the presence of a marijuana-growing operation in the same building. Several census employees were overcome when the ventilation system shared by the marijuana operation and the census carried pesticide fumes into the census office in March.
The census office urged employees who needed medical care to seek it and said it would deal with workers’ compensation claims as necessary in connection with the pesticide fumes.
The Grand Junction census office is now gearing up for the next and largest phase of the count, sending 2,600 enumerators into the field to collect information from residents who didn’t respond to the forms mailed out for the April 1 count.
People with questions can contact the Grand Junction census office at 970-361-3690.