U.S. Census Bureau feuds with contractor

July 22, 2008 at 10:17 AM

WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- U.S. Census Bureau officials are likely to diminish the role played by government contractor Harris Corp. in the forthcoming 2010 census, sources say.

Citing unnamed Census Bureau officials, Washington Web site The Politico says the agency is unhappy with the Florida company and aims to reduce its role to merely carrying out address canvassing. The bureau would eliminate Harris's current function of providing equipment and material for the population head count, The Politico reported.

"A major contract negotiation is under way," a Census spokesman told the Web site, refusing to discuss details.

The disputes between Harris and the Census Bureau are threatening to put the 2010 census in jeopardy, the Government Accountability Office warned in March. The Politico said the Census Bureau withheld a bonus performance payment to the contractor, part of a series of disputes over cost estimates and a lack of communication on details of the contract.

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