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Mr. Chairman, that concludes my prepared statement.
I believe our operation director, who is sitting here, and the postal unions have gone over our case very clearly:
I would like to bring to your attention that we just left our national convention, which was held in Chicago last week. There were two outstanding resolutions adopted unanimously by the delegates assembled, those two resolutions being that time and a half be considered in your deliberations for substitutes and the elevation of our people, mail handlers, from pay level 3 to pay level 4.
I think the members of the committee know, ever since 1955 we have been striving to get our people, because we feel we are justified in asking, for the job they do, and now that we have the word "comparability,” that they are entitled to pay level 4.
We have searched the entire country, we have had research people in, and the only people we can compare their job with is the checker in transportation. His job is just to separate whatever comes in, if it is off a train or off a boat. They tell me his wages—he is under longshoremen or teamsters—his wages are over the $3.50-per-hour rate.
I came out of New York City, and the department of sanitation people have received two raises since 1961. They are in the $5,000 to $6,000 bracket. This is not criticism. They do not even have to read or write.
Going down the line, for the job we do, it is outlined as in Public Law 68, we ask that in your deliberations you consider elevation of our people from 3 to 4 for the job we do. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions of Mr. McAvoy? Mr. Pool. I will ask him the same question Congressman Udall asked. You would support a package bill?
Mr. McAvoy. Yes; it is in the brief, Mr. Congressman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. McAvoy. This concludes the list of witnesses scheduled for today. There is nothing else before the committee this morning. The next session on this legislation will be next Thursday, September 12. The committee will stand adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 11:25 a.m., the committee adjourned.)
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1963
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1963
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.O. The committee met at 10 a.m. in room 215, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. Tom Murray (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Mr. MURRAY. The committee will come to order.
The hearing will be resumed on the pay legislation now pending before the committee.
The witnesses this morning are Mr. Bernard L. Gladieux, chairman of the National Civil Service League, accompanied by Mr. Rocco C. Siciliano, member of the board, and Mr. Jean J. Couturier, executive director, National Civil Service League. We are glad to hear from you, gentlemen. STATEMENT OF BERNARD L. GLADIEUX, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL
CIVIL SERVICE LEAGUE; ACCOMPANIED BY ROCCO C. SICILIANO, MEMBER OF THE BOARD; AND JEAN J. COUTURIER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CIVIL SERVICE LEAGUE
Mr. GLADIEUX. Mr. Chairman, I am Bernard L. Gladieux, chairman of the National Civil Service League. I have a brief prepared statement which I would like to read because I think I can give it to you more succinctly and in a more organized fashion.
The National Civil Service League has enjoyed a long and honorable history of relationships with this strategic committee, and we are pleased to accept once again an invitation from you to offer our counsel concerning measures designed to improve the public service. More specifically, I am here in my capacity as chairman of the league, together with my colleagues, to support H.R. 7552. It is also our intent to urge extension of your consideration of the problems of Federal pay to the inadequate levels of compensation now applying to Congressmen, the judiciary, and executives under appointment by the President.
The National Civil Service League is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization representing the public interest in matters affecting the welfare and capacity of the public service. It is the only citizens' group in the country working continuously to improve and modernize public personnel management at all levels of government. Founded in 1881 and instrumental in establishing the first civil service systems based on the merit principle in this country, the league for over 80 years has sponsored measures designed to make the public service a trust for the competent, the loyal, and the dedicated.
The board of directors of the league is composed of distinguished business and professional leaders, many of whom have at one time served in positions of high responsibility in the Federal Government. I am pleased to advise you that Mr. Frank Pace, Jr., former Secretary of the Army and more recently president of General Dynamics Corp., together with Mr. Newton N. Minow, formerly Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, have accepted invitations to serve on our board of directors. We welcome their active support of the league's efforts to enhance the dignity and prestige of Government employment.
You will recall that Mr. Siciliano and I appeared before this committee in May 1962 to offer our strong support of the legislation which eventually became incorporated in the Federal Salary Reform Act of 1962. We are here today to express our warm support for the principle of comparability. Having wisely accepted this continuing principle in the Reform Act, it seems clear that, as a matter of equity, the Congress is obliged to follow through in maintaining salary schedules for Federal employment that adhere to the principle of comparability in relation to business and other employment outside Government.
In this process, we strongly urge that the Congress refrain from overemphasis on increases at the lower end of the scale that cannot be justified on comparability or economic grounds. For too many years the Federal salary structure has introduced excessive leveling factors which have served to compress the compensation range and to offer inadequate incentives at top civil service levels. We deplore any measures which perpetuate the present inadequate differentials and hope these factors will be avoided in any future legislation.
I might add adherence to the principle of comparability, would, of course, automatically rule out any such disparities.
While favoring the present measure before this committee, the league believes it imperative that the Congress concurrently consider the transcendent matter of inadequate compensation for policy leadership levels. This includes the judiciary, legislative representatives, executives, and top career ranks of the Federal service. In the long perspective of our existence, the league declares unequivocally that the paramount need of our times is to attract and retain judges, legislators, and executive personnel of the capacity and stature requisite for our position of world leadership. We in no way minimize the public service appeal of Government employment or the prestige that properly attracts men to high office. But we are convinced that present compensation levels for judges, legislators, and executives are seriously inadequate, do not recognize the heavy weight of responsibility carried, and do not offer the incentives required for the retention of the best.
While recognizing that increased salaries for Congressmen and Senators is a politically volatile subject, we believe that equity calls for a reexamination of legislative compensation. Coupled with this must be consideration of the problem of the mounting burden of personal expense carried by the conscientious legislator as an integral part of his public responsibilities. It is manifestly unfair to require those willing to serve their Government in a legislative capacity to make a substantial financial sacrifice for the privilege, and it is clearly
not sound public policy to maintain a compensation system which in any way tends to limit legislative service to those who can afford to make the monetary sacrifice.
The same concern and consideration applies to Cabinet and other executive personnel in the executive branch. While acknowledging that the principle of direct comparability in the private sector is not practical or relevant in the public sphere, we are convinced that the pay of our top policy leaders at the present time is wholly unreasonable and unrealistic. A mere citing of the fact that almost 400 executives and professionals in State and local government receive salaries higher than the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense underlines the gross disparity of the Federal salary structure.
It is no exaggeration to state that the steady depletion of our top appointive and career ranks, both executive and scientific, by more attractive offers of private employment represents an alarming threat to the integrity and competence of our Government. This threat is no less grave because the process and its conesquences are insidious. It is imperative that there be a halt to the persistent flight of top quality men who have exhausted their personal financial resources in Government service or who must seek higher incomes in the interest of their families.
I should like to make an observation from personal experience and observation based on the fact that having left the Federal service in 1950, I have now enjoyed just about as many years in private employment as formerly passed while a civil servant. It is my observation that the Government generally gets better than it deserves under present compensation policies, and that the preponderance of Government officials are equal to the best in business, education, and the professions outside Government. Too much cannot be said to their credit in terms of capacity, loyalty, and dedication to the public interest, and I would wish to disassociate myelf from frequent and uninformed blanket indictments of Government personnel as incompetent time servers. Such accusations are inaccurate and mischievous.
But there is the constant threat that as the better people tend to leave Government service their places may all too often be taken by marginal performers or what George Kennan has called “people of colorless semicompetence" at working levels. Unless the departure of the more competent executives and supervisors for better jobs outside Government can be arrested there will be an accentuated trend whereby personnel of but mediocre capacity work upward in the hierarchy by a type of glacial action process.
I do not claim that adequate pay is the sole factor in this situation, but I am convinced that it is a dominant one as I have lived in or kept close to the Government community for the past 25 years. Many other measures involving recruitment, promotion, and dismissal policies are also required to aspire toward' higher standards of personnel competence. But poor compensation at senior grades will, until rectified, remain a central deterrent to the retention of the top governmental leadership required by big-scale, complex governmental management. There is simply not enough distinction between the mediocre and the outstanding in terms of salary incentives at the present time.
We are encouraged in our view of congressional and executive compensation by the results of a broad survey conducted recently by the
league embracing some 400 national leaders in business, education, journalism, and the professions. We will be glad to supply a copy of this survey for the record. In summary terms it reflects a conviction that present salary levels for Cabinet officers, Senators, and Representatives of the Federal Government are seriously inadequate and should be moved sharply upward. The most striking result of the survey was that more than half (52 percent) of all those participating expressed judgment that Cabinet members should receive annual compensation of $50,000 or higher in contrast to the present statutory limit of $25,000. With respect to legislative compensation, just about half of those responding were in favor of $35,000 or a higher level for Senators and Representatives.
The survey was undertaken to guide the league in determining its own public position with respect to the issue of appropriate compensation levels for executive and legislative personnel in the Federal Government. As a result of this survey and our own study of the matter, our board of directors has adopted an official position supporting levels of $60,000 for Supreme Court Justices, $50,000 for Cabinet officers, and $35,000 for Congressmen and Senators. We are, accordingly, in agreement with the recommendations of the Randall Panel and the league strongly supports the proposals of this report.
We believe the public generally appreciates the burden of responsibility placed on legislative, judicial, and executive officials and is ready to accept the salary implications of achieving and maintaining higher standards of competence in our leadership personnel. The league, therefore, wishes to place the full weight of this historic citizens' movement in favor of the progressive legislation now before you as well as that contemplated in the Randall report.
Mr. Chairman, I invited Mr. Newton N. Minow, former Chairman of the FCC, to be with us this morning as the most recent addition to the Board of the National Civil Service League. However, he had a long-term commitment on this very morning which prevented him from attending, but he did send me a letter directed to you, Mr. Chairman, in support of this legislation which I would like to read to you because it presents the view of an official who was so recently in the Government service and who has left to enter private employment.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, sir. You may read it.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I join my colleagues of the National Civil Service League in expressing the conviction that salaries for the judiciary, the Congress, and executives in policy positions are not only inadequate but of serious concern to the proper handling of the public's busines. The time when compensation for high government office was merely inadequate passed long ago. Based on recent experience in Government, I believe this situation is now crucial.
The business of running our Government may well be the biggest, the most demanding, and the most vital job facing our society today. Our survival as a free people depends upon the way men and women conduct this business. The best talents of the best people in America must be applied to this job. And yet, the simple, clear, undeniable fact is that the present salary scale for top Federal posts makes it practically impossible for any but the well-to-do to serve their Government for any extended time during their most productive years.
During those years of maximum productivity, most men and women coming from ordinary circumstances are necessarily hostage to family financial responsibilities which Government service generally accentuates. These financial problems include providing their families with an adequate living standard, saving money with which to send their children to college, taking care of parents or indigent relatives, protecting themselves against the hazards of disabling illness