The Census Bureau is undergoing its first field office realignment in 50 years, cutting half of the agency’s regional offices in a move that is expected to save between $15 million to $18 million annually, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced Wednesday.
The move comes as a cost cutting measure under the Campaign to Cut Waste launched earlier this month by President Obama and Vice President Biden, even though the 2010 Census was delivered on time and 25 percent under budget, saving nearly $1.9 billion, Locke said.
“Whether the budget is in surplus or deficit, every dollar must be spent as efficiently as possible, but in a time when so many Americans have had to cut back, our mission takes on added urgency,” Locke said.
The move will close six of the 12 regional field offices with the remaining ones having wider coverage areas starting next year. In total, Locke said approximately 330 government employees of the national field force of 7,200 will be affected with a net loss of about 115 to 130 positions.
“The Census Bureau is committed to constantly improving its processes to slow the rising cost of data collection and keep pace with new innovations, all while maintaining the highest quality statistics,” Lock said. “And here at the Commerce Department, we will continue to search for new ways to do more with less, and do our part to make the government work better.”
“Over the past two years, this administration has begun to change how Washington does business and saved billions of taxpayer dollars. Increasing efficiency and cutting waste is about making sure the American people can trust the government to treat every dollar with the same care and attention they do – and to make sure that we are directing resources to those investments that will create good jobs and help our economy grow and become more competitive,” he said.