Cannon spouse says census work has been good way to get to know community

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Bethany Mueller hosted a training class in Portales April 15 for crew leaders in the area at Portales City Hall.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

When her husband was assigned to Cannon Air Force Base in October of last year, Bethany Mueller finished teaching a semester at a community college and moved to Clovis in January.

She said being uprooted from Florida to New Mexico was a challenge for her, but her job with the Census Bureau helped with the transition.

“Coming here from another state, this has been a great way to get to know people in the community and just the area,” Mueller said.

Mueller was hired as a crew leader for the census in February. A month later, she was promoted to field operations supervisor.

Mueller said the Census Bureau is always looking for recommendations for promotions. Mueller’s supervisor recommended her, she took a test and went through an interview and was promoted.

Elmer Maestas with the Census Bureau said Mueller’s resume and test scores stood out from her co-workers.

“This (the census) is a tough operation for us,” Maestas said. “We choose the very best people that have proved themselves out in the field.”

Maestas said Mueller is the first Cannon spouse to hold the FOS position in this area since he began working for the Census in 1990. He said the position is usually held by a Clovisite.

“This FOS we have now is in keeping with the outstanding FOS’s we’ve had in the Clovis area. We’re sure she’ll be successful,” Maestas said. “She’s shown that she wants to do that.”

As a field operations supervisor, Mueller is in charge of training and supervising crew leaders. Crew leaders are in charge of a group of enumerators, who go door-to-door collecting information from those who didn’t turn in their census form. Mueller said it’s her job to provide the crew leaders with help wherever they need it to get the job done.

“At first this was just a job,” Mueller said. “But now I’ve realized it’s a really cool way to get involved with the community.”

Mueller said many people believe the census only happens on the national level.

“People don’t realize the effect it has on the local communities. This job is a way to serve my local community. The more accurate count we can get, that means more money for our area, more resources for our area,” Mueller said.

Mueller said her job has provided her the opportunity to travel all over the state.

“I don’t think I would have seen the state the way I have or meet the people that I have without the census,” Mueller said.

The FOS region Mueller oversees includes Roosevelt, Curry, some of Quay, DeBaca and Guadalupe counties. She oversees six crew leaders who in turn manage 15-20 enumerators each.