Clay County Kentucky

September 24, 2009 by USA Post 

Clay County Kentucky, A part-time Census Bureau field worker was found hanged in Kentucky Sept. 12 with the word “fed” scrawled across his chest, according to a law enforcement source. Bill Sparkman, 51, who was white, was found at the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky, the Associated Press first reported Wednesday night.

The FBI is assisting state and local police with their investigation, the law enforcement source told The Post’s Spencer S. Hsu. The source was unsure of the cause of death.

It is a federal crime to attack a federal worker during or because of his federal job.

“It’s a tragedy. Our hearts and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this worker,” Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said Thursday morning. He has spoken frequently about the denigration of federal employees.

“I’m going to be closely following this law enforcement action. If this is an attack on a federal employee, I can assure you that no resources will be spared to find the perpetrators,” Berry said. “We cannot tolerate essentially domestic t*rror*sm, if that is what this is. But until we understand the law enforcement investigation, we don’t know.”

Threats are more common than actual attacks on federal employees, Berry said. He noted that people regularly threaten federal judges and their families, IRS agents and federal law enforcement officers.

“It’s also a reality for many categories of federal workers so we take any threat of violence seriously,” he said.

Sparkman, an Eagle scout, moved to southeast Kentucky to be a local director for the Boy Scouts of America, his mother told the AP. He most recently served as a substitute teacher in Laurel County and earned extra money as a Census field worker.

The Census Bureau has suspended operations in Clay County, Ky. where the slaying occurred pending the investigation. Hundreds of thousands of temporary workers across the country walk door-to-door conducting various demographic surveys. The Census will hire more than 1 million temporary workers to conduct follow-up interviews for next year’s 2010 decennial Census.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our co-worker, and our thoughts and prayers are with William Sparkman’s son, other family and friends. We are monitoring the developments closely,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a statement Wednesday night. The Census Bureau is part of the Commerce Department. “Mr. Sparkman was a shining example of the hard-working men and women employed by the Census Bureau. The work they do on a daily basis is not easy but is a great and important service to our nation.” There was no immediate comment from Census Director Robert M. Groves.

The apparent killing of a Census employee comes during an already busy period for the Census Bureau. Groves told a Congressional panel on Tuesday that he fears next year’s headcount will be impaired by the recession and continuing concerns about immigration. The agency also recently cut ties to the controversial community organizing group ACORN, one of more than 10,000 civic organizations, churches and corporations recruited to help increase participation in next year’s Census.

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