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Extracts From the Postmaster General's
June 30, 1919
apparent the pruning knife has been applied without fear or favor.
The Postmaster General in his report for 1913 recommended legislation looking to the compensation of injured postal employees and this led up finally to the enactment on September 7, 1916, of the present law, wbich is proving of great benefit to all Government employes injured while in the service of the Government.
Salaries of employees in all grades have been increased, working conditions and hours of labor improved, and everything possible done for the health and comfort of the employees.
In order that the spirit and letter of civil service might be conscientiously carried out as far as practicable, and pending enactment by the Congress of legislation which, though repeatedly urged by the Postmaster General, failed of passage, several Executive orders bave been issued by the President extending in effect the classified civil service to postmasterships of all classes and requiring that those who were blanketed into civil service by Executive orders under previous administrations without having been subjected to any civil-service or merit test whatever shall be required to pass a civil-service examination. This is believed to be a long step in the direction of higher standards in the Government service and more businesslike administration of postal affairs.
without its good effect. Certainly the friends of retirement will be cheered by this favorable declaration in support of a cause they have long advocated, and while the
recommendation offered is general rather than specific, nevertheless it is more than gratifying to note that the Postmaster General has at last joined in giving his support to the principle involved.
Several pages of this report are devoted to a bitter arraignment of postal organiza tions. Taking exactly the same stand on this subject, and in fact using much of the same language as he did in his report
Postal Finances of 1917, the Postmaster General again charges that the conduct of these organiza
The revenues of the Postal Service for tions are such that "they are fast becom
the fiscal year ended June 30, 1919, as ing a menace to public welfare and should
reported by the Auditor for the Post Office no longer be tolerated condoned."
Department, including the or
revenues from Arguing against the right of postal em
money-order and postal savings business ployees to affiliate with an outside organi- and the increase in postage derived from zation, and specifically mentioning the
the 3-cent rate on letter mail and the 2American Federation of Labor by name,
cent rate on postal cards and post cards, he renews his former recommendation to
amounted to $436,239,126.20. repeal the Act of August 24, 1912 (the The act of Congress increasing the posanti-gag law), which grants these rights
tage rates became effective on November 2, in question. At the same time he is care- 1917, and expired by limitation on June ful to point out that his unfriendly atti
30, 1919. The increase in the rates was tude in opposition to effective organization
virtually a war tax, and has been so treat"cannot be distorted into a reflection upon ed in compiling postal statistics for comthe efficiency and loyalty of the postal em
parative purposes. The collections under ployees, whose devotion to public duty the act during the period in which it was under the trying test of war was conspicu
in force, which necessarily were estimated. ously demonstrated."
a mounted to $115,892,000, and were turn-
over to Postal workers now enjoy the right to
the Treasury of the United organize and the right to cooperate with
States monthly as they accrued in the other similar organizations of workers.
manner prescribed by the act. The estiThis right has only been utilized for com
mated collections during the period from
to mendable ends. It is a right which at once
November 2, 1917, June 30, 1918, is an asset to the service and society and
amounted to $44.500.000, and during the it will not be lightly relinquished. In a period from July 1, 1918, to June 30, 1919, previous number of the Postal Record I to $71,392.000. have taken occasion to answer a similar The ordinary postal revenues for the indictment leveled by the Postmaster Gen- fiscal year 1919, therefore, after deducting eral against postal organizations and it is
the estimated collections for increase in
postage, likely I will have more to say on the same
amounted to $364,847,126.20. subject in some succeeding issue. Despite
For comparative purposes this sum repall arguments and ingenious representa
resents the normal revenues of the Postal
Service and shows an tions to the contrary, it is quite plain that,
increase over the with the record of the past seven years in
preceding year of $20,371,163.96, or 5.91 mind, postal employees cannot afford to per cent. trust their welfare solely to the caprice of
The audited expenditures for the year
were chance or rest their hopes alone in paternal
$362,497,635.69, an increase over istic authority. Painful experience has the preceding year of $37,663,907.22, or taught the worker to look after his own
11.59 per cent. interests and in this era of social inter
The audited revenues therefore exceeded dependence, organization provides the in- the audited expenditures by $2,349,490.51. dispensable agency through which this end After deducting losses of postal funds by may be achieved.
fire, burglary, and other causes, amount. Aside from the rich fund of information
ing to $6,638.55, the accounts as closed for it contains, there is much in the report of the year show a surplus of $2,342,851.96. the Postmaster General that is of uncertain meaning and much more that is of a
Firm in the belief that the postal estabcontroversial nature.
lishment should be self-supporting, it has If the plan of granting a 79.9 per cent been the policy and constant aim of this wage increase to compensate for a similar administration. during the seven years of
its tenure of advance in living costs, as proposed by Dr.
office, to equalize postal Gartield to settle the coal miners' strike, revenues and expenditures in so far as it was utilized as a method to determine
is possible to do so, in order that postal postal wages, it would mean, among many
operations might be removed from conother things, that a letter carrier draw
sideration in connection with the levying
of taxes. ing a salary of $1,200 per annum in 1913
This, it is submitted, is sound would now be entitled to an annual salary
public policy. To administer the affairs of $2,160. Nor would this figure under
of the service without regard to economy existing price conditions mean a dollar in
and efficiency, passively submissive to the crease in actual wages.
grip of selfish private interests which fatten "The average salaries of carriers in 1919 on extravagance, privilege, and favoritism, WAS $1,305.02 compared with $1,087.57 in
is not only a breach of public trust, but in1913," is a fact to which the Postmaster evitably results in an unwarranted burden General directs attention. Granting that
on the public treasury. On the other hand this increase is not an inconsiderable one,
to conduct the service with an eye single as it appears, we find upon analysis that it to profit is to impose a supplemental tax is more apparent than real. Had postal
and thereby assume a function not conwages scored
templated or delegated by law. The service
commensurate with the advance in prices since 1913, it
belongs to the people and should be conwould mean that the present average salary
ducted for their use and benefit, but those of letter
who use the mails for particular purposes carriers would approximate $1,960.13. This is one angle of what price
should pay for the service rendered them at movements in the past seven years have
rates approximating the cost of the service. wrought.
There should be no class distinction of Similar comparisons based upon the fig
any kind. The attempt to equalize the ures contained in this report could be made
revenues and expenditures can only proshowing how the volume of work per unit
duce approximate results, however, for the of working force in the service has been
revenues depend upon the patronage of the steadily climbing while the real wages paid
public, and the necessity of making many the postal employees as compensation for
long-term contracts for the carrying of the such work has just as steadily declined.
mails precludes the possibility of adjustBut this is another story.
ing expenditures concurrently with periods
In keeping with these principles the
has been to promote efficiency by the comDecember 11, 1919. plete standardization of the service-by Reports received at the department indi
harmonizing equipment, adjusting the per:
sonnel in respect to individual itness and cate gross carelessness on th part of employees in some postoffices in the handling
ability, and securing the greatest possible and safeguarding of parcels.
cooperation in every quarter. If these efforts Postmasters are hereby enjoined to issue
brought the expenditures below the rev.
enues, the surplus was to be used for the instructions and recommend such disciplin
enlargement of the service, and, when ary action as may be necessary to safe.
justified, to a reduction of rates. Where guard parels from both injury and loss.
has been necessary to enlarge postal J. C. KOONS,
facilities money has been spent without First Assistant. stint; where extravagance or waste were
The department continued during the year
its assistance and cooperation to other branches of the Government utilizing the extensive organization and personnel of the Postal Service in the execution of the numerous details of the Gov. ernment's war program and war activities. Aside from the extensive use of the mails in the regular manner, practically every department of the Government has sought the facilities of the postal establishment in putting its war plans and work before tbe people of the country. This material assistance has been afforded in every instance wbere it could be done without curtailing or abridging the Postal Service. Some of the most unusual, highly im. portant, and extraordinary activities not connected with the mail service were placed upon the postal establishment.
They may be briefly stated, as follows:
The use of the postal organization in connection with the nation-wide fuel and food conservation campaigns, also in connection with the sale of Liberty and Victory
bonds, War Savings, Thrift, and revenue stamps, and practically every other activity and patriotic endeavor intended to aid in successfully prosecuting the war. Postmasters and
postal employees generally have responded cheerfully to these numerous demands upon and extraneous duties required of them, evidencing at all times a noteworthy spirit of loyalty and patriotism. The Postal Service as a whole is credited with 83 per cent of the total amount of sales of War Savings stamps.
One letter carrier sold and personally delivered $160,000 worth of War Savings stamps, and there were many similar cases of noteworthy and commendable individual effort in every branch of the Postal Service. Furthermore, the personnel of the service subscribed to their limit to the various Government loans, as well as contributing liberally to the funds to carry on the social and welfare work in the armies and camps.
During the six-year period from July 1, 1913, to June 30, 1919, the number of first, second, and third class offices increased from 8,406 to 10,825, or 2,419.
In the same period the combined salaries of postmasters increased from $14,965,500 to $19,285,700, an increase of $4,320,200, or 28.9 per cent.
In 1919 the total number of clerical employees, exclusive of assistant postmasters, at first and second class offices was 44,681, as compared with 35,486 in 1913, an increase of 9,195, or 25.9 per cent. The expenditures for clerical service increased from $43,668,732 to $74,251,888, or $30,583,156---70 per cent.
During this period the promotions of clerical employees numbered 112,179, involving an expense of $15,889,710. The average salary of clerical employees is now $1,318.03, whereas in 1913 it was $1,052.97.
The total appropriations for postoffice service, including city delivery, vehicle, etc., in the Bureau of the First Assistant, increased from $121,660,275 to $192,334,107, an increase of $71,673,832, or 59.2 per cent.
Prior to 1913 the work at the larger offices was divided into five principal divisions which in turn were composed of minor subdivisions or sections. It 18 apparent that with such a wide division of authority and supervision there must be less friction between the supervisory heads, loss of time through the inflexibility of the working forces, and a lack of cooperation. After thorough investigation and a close analytical study of the matter it was decided to reorganize the larger offices in accordance with sound business principles and modern methods of postal management. As a result, during the past six years practically all postoffices of the first class have been reorganized on the two-division plan, thus centering under two divisional heads the duties of supervision which were formerly dispersed throughout five or more independent divisions. The results attained have more than demonstrated the wisdom of this action through economy of management, effectiveness of supervision, coordination of the work, cooperation of service, and the standardization of salaries and allowances, uniformity in methods and equipment, and interchangeability of personnel.
Experience having shown the necessity for unity of service in postoffices, as well as for a line of demarcation between mail transportation and postoffice service and, in the latter instance, the necessity of defining the jurisdiction within cities of the First and Second Assistant Postmasters General, on July 1, 1916, by authority of Congress, the Division of Post Office Service was created in the Bureau of the First Assistant Postmaster General. This was brought about by the consolidation under one directing head of all postal activities within a city which could be classed as purely postoffice service, the new organization embracing the former divisions of Salaries and Allowances and City Delivery under the First Assistant Postmaster General, together with the Screen Wagon, Mail Messenger, and Pneumatic Tube Service wbich were transferred from the Bureau of the Second Assistant Postmaster General. The effectiveness of administration within the Department, as well as the results obtained in the supervision of the work of postoffices throughout the country, have fully justified this action.
The appointment of the different classes of employees and the authorization of all expenditures for the maintenance of postoffices are now bandled jointly, thus giving a broader knowledge of the requirements of the service and insuring closer cooperation.
In the matter of authorizing expenditures for auxiliary clerical and carrier assistance, allowances are now granted on a quarterly basis, for it is impossible for the post master to make accurate estimates of bis requirements for an entire year.
The total number of postoffices in operation on July 1, 1919, was 53,084. Of this number, 10,825 were assigned to the presidential grade, 665 of which were first class and 2,539 of the second class.
The policy inaugurated in 1913 of reorganizing postoffices in accordance with sound
business practices and correct principles of postal management was necessarily suspended during the period of the war.
However, prior thereto practically all of the larger first-class offices had been reorganized ор the "two-division plan," under wbich all financial operations and all mail handling activities are placed under separate supervisory heads. These two chief supervisory officers are coordinate in rank and responsible directly to the postmaster. Experience during the past five years has conclusively demonstrated the efficiency and the economical advantages of the two-division system as compared with the old five-division organization, and its benefits will gradually be extended until
all first-class offices are embraced, with necessary modifications as the offices diminish in size and importance.
The clerical and carrier forces of first and second class offices, including substitutes, laborers, and special delivery messengers, now comprise more than 105,000 employees. To
this large corps and direct the work requires the services of approximately 3,500 supervisory officers, exclusive of postmasters and assistant postmasters. As indicated, the work in the larger offices is centralized under two chief supervisory heads, thus avoiding an extensive division of authority and insuring close cooperation between the two divisions, as well as among the different sections of each division.
The administration of postoffices became an increasingly serious problem during the war, due to the loss of thousands of highly trained men through the military and naval necessities, and the impossibility in some instances of obtaining sutlicient additional employees with the requisite qualifications. Consequently, there was some deterioration in the postoffice personnel throughout the country, the same every industrial institution. During the ensuing tìscal year the inost careful attention must necessarily be given to the appointment and training of employees with a view to again building up a force of unquestioned efficiency. Coincident with the restoration of an efficient personnel the department will continue its policy of standardizating both work and methods and introducing modern and effective equipm
The postoffice is essentially the people's institution. It reaches every home and comes in contact with every business concern throughout the country. Therefore, in the very nature of things, close and honest cooperation between the public and the postoilice is essential to satisfactory service. The advantages of such a relationship are manifold. The patron can directly serve both himself and the department by equipping his residence and place of business with mail receptacles ; posting heavy mailing early and continuously throughout the day; placing his return address all mail; informing the postoffice promptly of any change of address; addressing all mail compietely and legibly ; properly preparing all parcels and packages for the mails, etc. Furthermore, when the postal service is not up to the standard he can render an invaluable aid by offering constructive criticisms accompanied by suggestions for improvements.
In order that defects may be remedied and inefficiency stamped out the public is being urged, both directly by the department and through the postmasters, to make known the inadequacies of the service and the derelictions of its employees in order that remedial action may be taken. On the other hand, postmasters have been instructed to explain fully to their patrons the organization of the postoffice and its various functions in order that they may be in position to utilize this great organization to the fullest extent and participate in its many benefits. The response of the public has been prompt and cordial, many useful suggestions have been made, and the general results of tbis campaign for closer cooperation and a clearer understanding have been highly gratifying.
City Delivery In the past six years free delivery of mail by letter carriers has been established in 343 additional offices, carrying therewith the appointment of 730 regular carriers. Such establishments, coupled with the extension of free delivery in other cities, have extended this service to approximately 7,000,000 additional people.
As an indication of the extension and growth of the city delivery service since 1913, the expense of maintenance has increased from $36,600,544 to $59,527,296, or 63.1 per cent, and the number of regular carriers from 30,923 to 35,024, or 13.3 per cent. During this period carrier promotions have numbered 78,263 at a total cost of $11,501,700. The average salaries of carriers in 1919 was $1,305.02 as compared with $1,087.57 in 1913.
Prior to 1913 nearly all mail in cities wàs delivered by foot carriers, who also made collections from street letter boxes, as the weight limit on a single piece of mail of any class was four pounds and the average weight of parcels was less than six ounces. Through the institution of the parcel post the volume of fourth class or parcel post mail has been many times multiplied until approximately 2,750,000,000 parcels are now handled annually. The average weight of parcels now exceeds three pounds with a maximum of 70 pounds. As approximately one-third of all parcels are received for delivery at city carrier offices, there has in this period been a transition in the nethod of effecting delivery which has necessitated the installation of an efficient and comprehensive system of motorvehicle service.
With a view to conserving the time of carriers, avoiding excessive loads, and at the siame time expediting the delivery of mails, motor vehicles have been utilized extensively in making collections and relaying bundles of mail to the foot carriers while serving their routes.
Through encouragement and stimulation the use of private mail receptacles at residences and places of business has been greatly extended as the means of increasing the efficiency of the service, their provision now being one of the requirements for the establishment or extension of City Delivery Service.
In so far as possible in connection with local conditions, the work of carriers throughout the country has been
standardized. Routes, schedules, and frequency of service in the different cities bave from time to time been adjusted in order to eliminate inequalities and insure uniformity of service, and modern, standardized equipment for the use of carriers has been installed.
During the fiscal year just closed city delivery service was inaugurated at 27 additional offices, making a total of 2,019 city delivery offices. This new service involved the authorization of additional carriers and the increase in the number of carriers authorized at other offices was 431, making a total increase of 485. However, due to abnormal labor conditions, which naturally resulted in an increase in the number of resignations, and inability of the Civil Service Commission to promptly supply eligibles for appointment to fill vacancies
some instances, the total number of regular carriers actually on the rolls at the close of business June 30 was only 35,024, against 34,993 at the close of the preceding fiscal year, or a net increase of 31.
It was necessary to grant auxiliary allowances in lieu of carriers which were authorized but could not be appointed fo reasons stated.
While the Department has followed a liberal policy in the establishment and extension of city delivery service, due to the decrease in available man power and other corelated causes incident to the war, the growth of the service has not been so pronounced as in former years. In no instance has the Department declined to authorize the establishment of city delivery service where the population and volume of business transacted were sufficient and the civic requirements had been met. As a matter of fact, in a few cases where owing to unusual conditions the necessity for city delivery service was especially urgent, the usual requirements were waived and the service installed. Notwithstanding this liberal policy during the war and immediately following, there was a considerable reduction in the number of applications for the establishment of city delivery service as compared with former years, and in several instances where applications were
It is deemed important to again invite attention to the advisability of removing the restrictions bearing on the establishment of branch postoffices. Under existing law branch offices can not be established in villages having a population of less than 1,500, or which are more than 5 miles distant from the corporate limits of the city wherein the main office is located. The advantage resulting from the operation of central accounting and nonaccounting offices demonstrates fully that the department should have greater latitude in establishing branch postoflices. The removal of the restrictions respecting the establishment of branch offices would not affect the postmasters thereof, or the service to the public, but would greatly simplify accounting methods, and, in many instances, enable the department to inaugurate City Delivery Service. Legislation permitting the department to establish branch offices without regard to the population or distances between corporate limits is again urged.
Entered as second-class matter at the postoffice at Washington, D. C., under the Act of March 3, 1879. Acceptance for mailing at special rate of postage provided for in Sec. 1108, Act of October 3, 1917, authorized June 12, 1918.
WASHINGTON, D. C., JANUARY, 1920
What Seven Years Have Wrought
greatest possible cooperation in every quarter."
Turning to the subject of city delivery this report shows that there has been granted a total increase of 485 carriers in the regular carrier force, including carriers assigned to newly established offices within the past year. It is apparent, however, that at the close of the fiscal year there were more than 400 vacant places in the carrier force with no eligibles available to fill such vacancies, a condition without precedent and of itself a sad commentary on the present inadequate wage scale. Referring to this item, the Postmaster General says:
“However, due to abnormal labor conditions which naturally resulted in an increase in the number of resignations, and inability of the Civil Service Commission to promptly supply eligibles for appointment to fill vacancies in some instances, the total number of regular carriers actually on the rolls at the close of business June 30 was only 35,024, against 34,993 at the close of the preceding fiscal year, or a net increase of 31."
The Annual Report of Postmaster General Burleson recently made public is more exhaustive and comprehensive than any one of his preceding reports and contains much information and data of unusual interest to the student of postal affairs and especially to postal employees. Item by item and with faithful detail, this report addresses itself to the varied problems of postal administration, and doubtless having in mind a desire to answer some of the many criticisms which from time to time have been leveled at this department, each subject is handled with consumate skill and in a manner ingeniously calculated to favorably impress the average reader. Obviously, this document is intended as a review of performance as well as a declaration of policy:
"The administration stands squarely on its record,” says the Postmaster General and "the facts as presented above tell a story of achievement." Featured in this report is a table which compares the receipts and expenditures of the Post Office Department for the past seven years with those of the seven years immediately preceding and a postal surplus amounting in all to $35,188,879 accumulated under the present administration is contrasted with a postal deficit totalling $59,072,909.62 for the prior seven year term. Apparently, this financial exhibit is esteemed the administration's crowning achievement.
"It has been the policy and constant aim of this administration during the seven years of its tenure of office to equalize postal revenues and expenditures in so far as it is possible to do so,” says the Postmaster General, and in this declaration, which may mean any number of interesting things, is illuminatingly revealed the ruling motive which has given shape and direction to postal processes. Continuing he insists, however, that economies have not been enforced at the expense of the service because "where it has been necessary to enlarge postal facilities," he says, “money has been spent without stint; where extravagance or waste were apparent the pruning knife has been applied without fear or favor."
Conceding that during this seven-year period postal revenues have increased 50.68 per cent, while postal expenditures have increased only 42.49 per cent, and granting that to this fact, and to this fact alone, is due the gross postal surplus of the past seven years as compared to the postal deficit of the seven years preceding, the Postmaster General dismisses without notice the charge that lessened postal facilities and overburdened workers explain the diminished operating cost, but claims instead that this desired change has been effected "by the complete standardization of the service by harmonizing equipment, adjusting the personnel in respect to individual fitness apd ability and securing the
Despite this spirited objection, increases in salary, measurably higher than the 15 per cent increase protested by the Postmaster General, were granted by Congress. Nevertheless, the "largest deficit in the history of the postal service," as feared by Mr. Burleson, turns out to be a considerable postal surplus. Then, too, the rate on letter postage has since been reduced to 2 cents and quite recently the Postmaster General has renewed his recommendation for 1 cent drop letter postage. Verily, prophesying is an uncertain enterprise.
In a similar prediction contained in this report the Postmaster General takes a strong stand in opposition to the then proposed emergency wage increase. This increase has since been granted by Congress. Referring to this subject he says:
"If this increase should be granted by Congress, the opinion is here expressed that the Department will at once be placed on a deficiency basis, unless there should be an unlooked for increase in the postal revenue. These proposed increases absorbed for the benefit of the postal employees the entire increase in revenue for this fiscal year, as well as all savings and economies which have been effected within the past seven years, and deny to the users of the mail any participation therein. The necessities of the service do not require this and it is manifestly unjust."
Due to a cheapened dollar the postal employees have already suffered a very serious salary reduction, and this fact, patent to all, has not been challenged by the Postmaster General. Therefore in his persistent opposition to salary legislation he has been, and is now, simply opposing a partial restoration of the reduction in salary already suffered. Assuming that such restoration of salary would later involve a considerable postal deficit, what has that to do with the case? Shall a postal surplus be achieved at the expense of inadequate service or underpaid postal employees? As we read his report, we do not understand that the Postmaster General ta kes any such position, but rather does he seem to agree that postal employees are entitled to an equitable wage, whether the postoffice shows a profit or not.
The question of postal salaries is one to be considered separately and on its own individual merits, and when the subject of postal finances is injected, as the Postmaster General has done in this particular instance, and as he has done before, it only serves to make confusion worse confounded. Nor is justice to the worker the only ques. tion involved. Certain increases in postal salaries have been granted within the past two years despite the opposition of the Postmaster General, and in the light of subsequent events it must be quite apparent to him now that failure on the part of Congress to have granted such increases would have reacted most seriously upon the service itself. A debased wage rate spells a demoralized service.
Referring to the subject of a retirement law "to provide for superannuated ployees in the postal service," the Postmaster General expresses the hope that "some legislation of this character will be enacted before the end of the present Congress." This is a highly important announcement and one which should not be
Even on the basis of 485 additional carriers for the past year, this figure shows an increase amounting to a fraction above 1 per cent in the carrier force, while the volume of mail as indicated by postal receipts covering the same period, increased 5.91 per cent. Evidently the amount of work performed per carrier continues to grow.
The Postmaster General reports a postal surplus for the past fiscal year of $2,342,$51.96, and this total compiled upon a two cent letter postage basis does not include the revenue derived from the higher rate of postage, listed as a war tax, and which amounted to $71,393,000 more. That there was a surplus at all must have occasioned the Postmaster General no little surprise, if we are to judge by his own predictions. Under date of April 11, 1918, in a communication to Senator Bankhead, Chairman of the Senate Post Office Committee, Mr. Burleson registered a very vigorous protest against even a 15 per cent salary increase being granted postal employees. I quote from this communication:
"The cost of increased salaries proposed in the bill reported by your committee will involve an additional expenditure of more that $33,000.000 during the next fiscal year.
This additional cost will no doubt exceed the total gross increase in revenues of the postal service during the next fiscal year and doubtless create the largest deficit in the history of the postal service. If these increases in compensation become permanent, it will never be practicable to reduce the rate of postage on letters from 3 cents to 2 cents."
found necessary to make extensive alterations to some of the chassis to place them in condition to receive the screen bodies used in the mail service. The trucks re. ceived from the War Department that cannot be placed in the service immediately : re jacked up, blocks placed between chassis frame and axles to relieve tension of springs, pneumatic tires removed and deflated, and cylinders and other metal parts oiled, after which the trucks and parts are stored in buildings rented for the purpose. The expense of storage amounts to less than $12 per year per truck. Tires, tubes, and other parts that deteriorate rapidly are being used in the cities where Government-owned service is now in operation, and this prac. tice materially reduced the expenditures for motor-truck parts during the last quarter of the fiscal year ended June 30. The practice will also reduce expenditures during the greater portion of the fiscal year 1920, as sufficient tires and tubes are hand or have been promised by the War Department to make it unnecessary to purchase any of those items except to meet emergent cases.
The Secretary of War has approved the transfer of 5,778 motor trucks and 1,087 motorcycles to the Post Office Department.
Of the motorcycles received from the War Department 284 have been assigned to postoffices for use in the mail service.
Any question which may have existed as to the relative merits of Government-owned vehicle service and contract service bas been dispelled, the value of Governmentowned service having been thoroughly established during the period of the war, when in many instances contract service became disrupted and demoralized under the pressure of abnormal conditions. Government-owned service has been extended gradually, its installation in each particular city following only after a thorough investigation, and it is proposed to continue this practice in the extension of the service.
Selection of Sites for Government
already pending the persons interested voluntarily suggested that establishment be deferred until the close of the war. While such suggestions were not followed by the Department, this attitude is indicative of the deep spirit of patriotism and selfsacrifice which prevailed among the entire American people during this period, and accounts, at least in part, for the small number of initial installations of city delivery service during the war.
Realizing the universal feeling in this regard and fearing that it might lead to detrimental economies, the Department especially impressed upon postmasters the fact that under
circumstances must service be denied or curtailed because of war conditions, so long as the necessary man power could be obtained.
The increased use of automobiles has greatly added to the efficiency of the delivery and collection of the mail. This is especially true with respect to the delivery of parcel-post mail, the transporting of foot carriers to their routes, and the relaying of extra bundles of mail to carriers on their routes. Thus not only is the overloading of carriers avoided but the delivery of mail is greatly expedited. The Department is also experimenting in the collection of parcel-post matter from large firms which deposit mail of this class in considerable quantities, and if found to be practicable this service will gradually be extended in the larger cities. As delays in delivery inevitably result from inadequate collection service, particular attention has been given to the arrangement of collection schedules with reference to the dispatch of important mails and the prompt movement of mail for local delivery.
The effect of the war on the carrier force has not been so generally noticeable as in the case of clerks. There have, of course, been many vacancies due to carriers entering the different military and naval organizations. On the whole, however, the Department has been able to maintain an adequate force through the use of temporary employees, and, in a few cases, the employment of female carriers.
While refraining from the withdrawal of service already in operation it has been the purpose of the Department to equal. ize the city delivery service in cities of corresponding size, population, train schedules, and of the same relative importance with view to establishing uniformity throughout the country. At the same time, proper consideration has in all cases been given to any peculiar conditions or requirements which may exist, the object being to provide service for each comniunity fully adequate to meet its needs. Government-Owned City Motor
Vehicle Service Prior to the fall of 1914 all vehicular service in connection with the transportation of mail was secured under contract. The magnitude of the vehicle service necessary for the proper handling of mails in the larger cities was fast developing a serious situation with which the department would soon be unable to cope, except by entering into contracts at exorbitant rates. Competition for vehicle service in these cities could easily be stified by one set of contractors through the organizations of corporations in the various States where the service was to be performed. An oficer of one parent organization, which either had under contract or had submitted bids for the seryice in several of the most important cities, openly boasted that he would crush his competitors and soon gain control of all of the large contracts. It was found that in some instances when bids were invited for service in the very large cities the bidder could obtain a bond from only one surety company, and in order to do so it was necessary to disclose to the agent the amount of the wid, thereby affording a further opporturity for a combination between one set of bidders and the bonding company, with the object of compelling the department to pay exorbitant rates for the service required. Not satisfied with obtaining money from the department which it was entitled to receive under its contract, one company succeeded in adding many unnecessary trips to the vehicle schedule, thereby greatly increasing its compensation. It is regrettable to say that to further defraud the Government an officer of the company having this contract bribed an employee of the postal service to abstract from the files the reports of delinquencies and failures on the part of the company, thereby enabling it to escape the fines which otherwise would have been imposed and keep the department in ignorance of the inferior service it ac
tually rendered. This practice was soon discovered, the conspirators prosecuted and imprisoned, and the company compelled to return to the department a compensating sum for the losses suffered.
An efficient and economic transportation service is one which meets the reasonable needs of the public at the minimum cost. To secure this combination it is essential that there shall be a co-ordination of the work of the various branches of the postal service coming in direct contact with the public and that the collection, distribution, transportation, and delivery of the mails within a city shall be brought under one supervisory head and conducted by those familiar with the needs of the public and interested solely in solving the postal problems in the particular city. À condition of this character is impracticable in the larger cities under the contract system owing to the division of local authority as regards the means of transportation and the divergent responsibilities and interest of the two agencies. The chief object of the contractor is naturally one of profit, while the aim and purpose of the postal officials is one of service. The contract system in the larger cities developed a constant friction between the contractor and the local postal officials, while under Government ownership that complete barmony and co-operation among the various branches in handling the mails so essential to a successful operation of any service is not only possible, but is inevitable.
In the light of the conditions hereinbefore related, the Postmaster General recommended the enactment of legislation that would permit the department to perform the vehicle service with Government-owned equipment and Congress in providing funds for screen-wagon service for the fiscal year 1915, took favorable action on the recommendation.
Government-owned motor vehicle service was first inaugurated in Washington, D. C., on October 19, 1914, and since that date the service has been extended to the following 27 cities : Atlanta, Ga.; Chicago, Ni. ; Indianapolis, Ind.; Baltimore, Md. ; Boston, Mass. ; Detroit, Mich.; St. Louis, Mo. ; Jersey City, N. J.; Brooklyn, Buffalo and New York, N. Y.; Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton, Pa. ; Nashville, Tenn., Norfolk and Richmond, Va.; St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn. ; Far Rockaway, Flushing and Staten Island, N. Y.; Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wis., service in the eight cities last mentioned having been established since July 1, 1919.
To transport the mail in the cities where Government-owned service is now in operation it requires 1,692 trucks, ranging in size from 38 to 3 tons capacity and to operate these trucks requires the services of approximately 1.880 persons, employed as mechanics, chauffeurs, garagemen, supervisory officials and clerks.
It is proposed to extend Governmentowned service to 30 additional cities during the remainder of the current calendar year, and it is expected that 2,100 Government-owned trucks will be in use in the mail service by January 1, 1920, and that the personnel will then number 2,250 employees.
The majority of these cities in which it is proposed to establish Government-owned motor vehicle service are located in the third contract section, comprising the States of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Micbigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin, where the contracts for screen-wagon service and the rental of vehicles for use in the collection and delivery service expired on June 30, 1919, and the service is being conducted under a temporary extension of the contracts, which can no be continued beyond December 31, 1919.
Congress authorized the Secretary of War (act of July 2, 1918) to turn over to the Postmaster General such motor trucks and motor-truck equipment as is not suitable for military purposes, and acting under this authority, the War Department approved the transfer to the Post Office Department of sufficient motor trucks to meet the reasonable requirements of the postal service during the ensuing five years. Only a part of the trucks to be transferred are in the possession of the Post Office Department, but additional trucks are being received daily. In some instances only chassis are transferred, while in other cases chassis are delivered equipped with bodies unsuitable for use in the mail service.
It therefore will be necessary for the Post Office Department to have screen bodies manufactured and mounted on the chassis before the trucks will be suitable for mail transportation. Furthermore, it has also been
The Postmaster General in his annual report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1913. recommended that all sites for Federal buildings to be used exclusively for postoffice purposes be selected by the Post Office Department. While Congress failed to act favorably on the proposed legislation, the ob. ject to be attained was partially accomplished by an agreenient between the Treasury and the Post Office Department, whereby the Secretary of the Treasury refers to the Postmaster General for review and recommendation all cases involving the selection of sites for postoffice buildings. This action enables the Post Office Department to have one of its representatives make an inspection of the different locations offered and submit a report regarding their relative desirability from a postal service view. point.
Inasmuch as the location of a postoffice has very material bearing on the cost of the city delivery service and mail transportation, it is highly important that the Post Office Department should have the right to select sites for postoffice buildings. Under existing law authority to select Federal building sites for postal purposes is vested in the Secretary of the Treasury.
Government Buildings and Postoffice
In October, 1918, a list of offices occupying Government buildings, where insufficient workroom space was available to permit the postal business to be transacted in an expeditious and economical manner, was submitted to the Committee on Public Build ings and Grounds, House of Representatives. However, there has been no publicbuilding legislation since the act of March 4, 1913, and building operations on the projects authorized by that act were curtailed during the period of the war. The parcel post was established only two months prior to the enactment of the last publicbuildings bill, and it is that branch of the service that has had such a remarkable growth and for the handling of which provision must be made immediately. The suspension of construction work on authorized projects, the failure to provide for additional extensions, and the inauguration of the parcel post bave brought about a serious situation with respect to space, both in Government-owned postoftice buildings and in quarters rented by the Department.