Census Bureau director resigns

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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Census Bureau Director Robert Groves resigned from his post Tuesday to become provost of Georgetown University.

Groves will start in his new position on Aug. 20, according to a Georgetown release.

President Obama appointed Groves -- former director of the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center -- to head the bureau in 2009. Groves oversaw the 2010 Census, which counted more than 308 million Americans on time and more than $1 billion under budget.

In a farewell blog post Tuesday, Groves commended Census employees for the successful 2010 survey.

“This is hard work,” he wrote. “It takes complete commitment to ongoing innovation. It’s not flashy. Indeed, public service is rarely sexy. It is, however, noble.”

Groves, who has also served as a professor at the University of Maryland, told The Washington Post he’s “an academic at heart” and the Georgetown position was “kind of hard to pass up.”

The Census Bureau has not immediately announced a replacement. Due to budget cutbacks, the bureau has been making an effort to shrink its regional presence in recent years.

In her own blog post Tuesday, Rebecca Blank, deputy secretary of the Commerce Department, said Groves “is a significant loss for the department.”

In a statement Tuesday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., also praised Groves, who was brought before the committee in 2010 after Census workers in Brooklyn were charged with falsifying population counts.

“His tenure is proof that appointing good people makes a big difference,” Issa said.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the Census, credited Groves with turning the bureau around.

"When Dr. Groves came on board in 2009, the Census Bureau faced many operational and management challenges that threatened the success of the 2010 Census,” Carper said in a release Tuesday. “Dr. Groves confronted these challenges head on and, through his impressive skill set and background in issues related to the Census and to statistics, he helped right the ship, ensuring the successful completion of the 2010 Decennial Census.”

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