Wonkbook: Another government leader is leaving his job, and people are worried

By Danielle Paquette Statisticians who once ran the country… | Sponsored by UnitedHealth Group
 
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John Thompson, Director, U.S. Census Bureau By Danielle Paquette Statisticians who once ran the country’s leading data offices are worried the  abrupt departure of the director of the U.S. Census Bureau will undermine the monumental task of counting every American — a report that decides how congressional seats and crucial resources are distributed across the country. John H. Thompson, who has led the bureau since 2013 and worked there for 27 years, will leave his post June 30, the Commerce Department announced. A successor has yet to be named. The news surprised former statistics officials, who expected Thompson to stay on through 2018. Complicating matters, they said: The census is gearing up for the 2020 decennial count, a report that has been constitutionally required since 1790. The unexpected change in leadership could stymie preparation, which typically begins about three years before the document’s release, said Ken Prewitt, who ran the Census Bureau from 1998 to 2001. Staffers aren’t afforded a break from planning the effort or testing new survey technologies, he said — they’re simply down someone calling the shots. “You can postpone going to war if the weather’s bad,” he said. “But the Census is on a relentless calendar. It will happen on schedule whether they’re ready or not.” Read the rest on Wonkblog.

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