What a waste: Census bigs already count blown bucks
By JENNIFER FERMINO, NY Post/AP
The nation's headcount hasn't even begun in earnest, but the US Census Bureau has already managed to waste millions in taxpayer money -- for everything from training employees who never worked to doling out gas reimbursements to people who barely left their car, a new audit has found.
And the small fortune already frittered away could be just the beginning.
The Commerce Department's inspector general's office, which conducted the audit, warned that the waste could balloon even higher once the $15 billion headcount kicks off in full next month unless there are tighter spending controls.
The audit focused on a Census Bureau project to update the agency's maps and mailing lists. The $444 million project, which took place in the fall, involved about 140,000 temp workers who were paid to survey the streets one block at a time.
The operation finished ahead of schedule, but still managed to run 25 percent over the initial cost estimates -- an overrun of $88 million.
Some $3 million was squandered because the agency paid $300 a piece to more than 10,000 workers -- who then quit or were let go without doing any work.