The government giveth; the government taketh away.

The U.S. Census Bureau will pay managers for a new Charleston office up to $26 an hour, but the jobs are good only through the 2010 census.

The bureau is taking applications for six managers for the Charleston office, who would start to work in late September or early October, Charlotte Regional Census Center Media Specialist Steve Rutherford said Wednesday.

The office manager, of course, will make the most money at $26 an hour.

The assistant manager for field operations will make $21.50 an hour. The assistant managers for recruiting, quality assurance, administration and technology will each make $18.25 an hour.

Officials have been scouting out sites and already may have chosen one, but it has not been announced yet, Rutherford said.

The managers will oversee 10 to 15 supervisors and 400 to 600 crew leaders and surveyors, who will be hired later.

The deadline for submitting an application is Aug. 1.

The bureau expects about 1,000 applications, Ruther-ford said, so competition will be stiff.

All applicants must be U.S. citizens, live in the Charleston area, clear an FBI background check and pass a written management test.

Rutherford also asks applicants to be careful not to leave any spaces blank, or they probably will be disqualified.

The only other South Carolina city where the Census Bureau is opening an office is Columbia.

The Census Bureau is also hiring field representatives. The pay is $11.34 to $13.60 per hour and 48.5 cents per mile car allowance.

The Census Bureau will mail out questionnaires to every household on record in 2010. Field representatives will knock on the doors of those who don't return the questionnaires, Rutherford said.

The Census Bureau is obligated to count and collect demographic information on every person every 10 years. The results determine billions of dollars in federal aid.

Reach Dave Munday at 745-5862 or dmunday@ postandcourier.com.