Judson Brown: Cites Pamela Powers’ work on census

  • shironosov

Monday, November 06, 2017
Describes Pamela Powers’ work on census

I give wholehearted support to Pamela Powers’ bid for the position of Northampton city clerk. As the interim clerk, she already has shown mastery of the job.

I know from personal experience what a truly gifted, inspired public servant she is. I worked directly under her when she served 10 years ago as director of field operations for the western Massachusetts office of the decennial U.S. census.

This was a sprawling, many-faceted organization that was assembled from scratch employing a diverse army of talented people from all walks of life with remarkable resumes, very few of which included any prior government service. We came from business, academia, journalism, the arts and all tried mightily to squeeze into and fashion ourselves to roles with sci-fi titles like mine, “Group Quarters Supervisor,” or “enumerator.”

There were a lot of colorful and quite a few opinionated and overqualified personalities trying to fit themselves into the straightjackets of a truly god-awful bureaucracy. The whole thing as far as I could see was a logistical and human resources nightmare.

And Powers managed all of this and all of us with unbelievable aplomb. She was all over the material logistics which were excruciating, was a terrific communicator, a firm disciplinarian as she often had to be, and an absolute joy to work with. Her good humor and great love masked her serious purpose and focus and made the whole monstrous thing tick.

I’m sure she’s already got the city clerk’s office ticking. We are so lucky, and will continue be, to have her there.

Judson Brown