Senate confirms new Census director

Texas demographer Stephen Murdock will become the new director of the Census Bureau as the agency moves into its next major test, the 2008 dress rehearsal.

The Senate confirmed him Dec. 20 during a delayed nighttime session. A Census spokesperson said that Murdock will be sworn in and begin work tomorrow.

At a hearing two days earlier, Murdock had expressed support for moving the census process online in the future, if not for the upcoming 2010 Census. Bureau Deputy Director Preston Jay Waite previously testified that the bureau was unwilling to take unnecessary risks to implement Internet questionnaires.

Murdock, director of the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio, faces more challenges when he start his new job. The Government Accountability Office wants the bureau to improve its risk management processes or be in danger of falling behind schedule and overbudget. The upcoming decennial census will be the first to eschew paper questionnaires in favor of handheld, networked computers.

Murdock said he was unable to address any issues about budgeting or the performance of the computers until he could see data from previous tests.

Current Acting Director Louis Kincannon resigned as agency head in November 2006, but continued to work until a new director was approved.

Murdock's name had been offered as a choice for director, but his hearing had been delayed for several months. Commerce Department Secretary Carlos Gutierrez expressed relief that the Senate finally confirmed a new director.

“I look forward to working with Steve and the thousands of Census employees who provide such great service to our country,” he said.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.