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Hearings on the Post Office Appropriation

A Bila Statement by Hon. JOHN C. KOONS, First Assistant Postmaster General

DECEMBER 9, 1919 MR. KOONS. The estimates for the next fiscal year are based on the basic salaries, and, of course, if the committee determines or decides to continue the present salaries, the amounts will necessarily have to be changed.

MR. MADDEN. I understand you have concluded your statement on postmasters. and I would like to ask you two or three questions. Are all postal employees eligible to competitive examinations for postmasterships?

MR. KOONS. They are at fourth-class offices. At Presidential offices, up to those paying $2,400, they are eligible for those above that amount if they meet the minimum requirements on business experience.

MR. MADDEN. What are the minimum years of a business experience ?

MR. KOONS. Three, five and seven years. The instructions governing these examinations are as follows

MR. MADDEN. How many postal em ployees bave been appointed to the position of postmaster, since the executive order was issued by the President, to fill vacancies in the position of postmaster in first and second-class postoffices by competitive examination ?

MR. KOONS. I will ask that I be given an opportunity to find it out and insert it in the record

MR. MADDEN. You told about the number of years' business experience the men must have before they can become eligible to competitive examination for postmasterships. Now, is there any difference in the number of years' experience required for the different grades of postoffices-for eligibility to the different grades, as first, second and third ?

MR. KOONS. At offices where the salary of the postmaster is $2,400 to $4,000, three years; from $4,000 to $6,000, five years; and over $6,000, seven years.

(Mr. Koons later submitted a statement to the committee explaining the method of filling postmaster positions through nomi. nation by the President for confirmation by the Senate.-Editor's Note.)

MR. MADDEN. It goes according to the compensation ? MR. KOONS. Yes, sir.

MR. MADDEN. I would like to know Mr. Koons, if you can furnish the committee with a list of the employees who have been appointed to the position of postmaster and their roster designation at time of such promotions,

MR. KOONS. You mean the Executive order?

MR. MADDEN. Yes, sir.
MR. KOONS. We can furnish that.

committee with a list of the employees who have been so appointed to the position of postmaster in first and second-class of fices and their roster designations at the time of such promotions ?

MR. KOONS. I shall be glad to furnish such a list.

MR. MADDEN. What system is followed in filling vacancies in the supervisory positions in first and second-class postofices?

MR. K0ONS. Postmasters submit recommendations for filling such vacancies, and they have been instructed to always recommend the employee whom they consider the most efficient to fill the vacancy. The Department, for administrative reasons, usually follows the recommendation of the postmaster unless some facts are brought to the Department's attention which indicate that the employee recommended is not qualified for the position.

MR. MADDEN. Are all employees in the highest grades in the postoffices eligible for promotion to the supervisory positions in those offices ?

MR. KOONS. They are, except that city carriers are only eligible to promotion direct to the supervisory positions of fore. man or roundsman and to the position of assistant postmaster. It is the Department's requirement that carriers desiring to transfer to other supervisory positions must first be transferred to a clerkship and demonstrate their efficiency in that capacity before promotion to other supervisory positions. Under the law, as construed by the Comptroller of the Treasury, any clerk in the highest grade can be promoted to fill a supervisory position.

MR. MADDEN. Have you any difficulty in getting men now?

MR. KOONS. We did during the war have difficulty in getting men in some places, but the difficulty is becoming less. Still there are some places yet where it is hard to secure men.

MR. MADDEN. Has the increase temporarily of compensation allowed by resolution 151 aided the Department any in getting additional help?

MR. KOONS. Naturally, it has to some extent. The labor conditions are becoming more settled. There is one particular spot where we have a great deal of trouble, Detroit, because of the unusual growth of the city and the unusual industrial conditions which prevail. And in Chicago we have some trouble.

MR. MADDEN. You had 1,100 temporary employees there?

MR. KOONS. Yes, at one time. In Akron we had some trouble, but that has been taken care of. Those have been our worst places. We have no trouble at New York now, and we are getting a better class of employees.

MR. MADDEN. Is that due to the increased compensation and to the hope for better things or what?

MR. KOONS. Of course part of it is due to increased compensation and part of it to the fact the men are beginning to look for permanent employment.

MR. MADDEN. Are the schedules of the tours of duty of postoffice clerks and letter carriers arranged in all postoffices to comply with the eight-in-ten-hour law ?

MR. KOONS. Yes, in accordance with our instructions, and as far as I know they are. In every instance in which it is found that postmasters are violating the statute they are directed to revise their schedules,

MR. MADDEN. As far as you know, they are?

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir; they are all eight-in-ten hours.

MR. MADDEN. Is all overtime made by clerks and carriers supposed to be recorded and paid for?

MR. KOONS. It is directed that it be recorded and paid for. MR. MADDEN. Directed to ?

MR. KOONS. Of course, sometimes complaint is made to us that it is not done. And when such complaint is received, we immediately refer it to the postoffice inspector for investigation.

MR. MADDEN. And have it adjusted ?
MR. KOONS. And have it adjusted.

MR. MADDEN. Is it customary for postmasters or supervisory officials to instruct letter carriers to finish on their routes when they are pressed for time?

MR. KOONS. No, it is not customary to Instruct letter carriers to finish on their routes. In some cases this is done where it is a convenience to a carrier to end his tour of duty at the last delivery. The Department does not encourage this practice, and in every case where it is brought to our attention postmasters are directed to instruct carriers to begin and end their tour of duty at the postoffice.

MR. MADDEN. What is the meaning of the term "finish on route ?"

MR. KOONS. “Finish on route" means that in certain circumstances it may be advantageous to a carrier or to the service to so arrange the routes that the carrier will finish his day's service with the last delivery and go direct to his home without returning to the postoffice. These arrangements are sometimes made at the request of the carrier when the route ends near his residence and he prefers to go direct to his home rather than go to the office and return to his home from that point.

MR. MADDEN. Does not this practice in vite the opportunity for overtime being made without being recorded or paid for ?

MR. KOONS. No, it would be checked up by the foreman. Of course, where a man makes overtime it is always looked into very carefully.

MR. MADDEN. Are postoffice clerks and letter carriers required to ring off on the time clock on swing periods for less than one-half hour during their hours of duty ?

MR. KOONS. The clerks have a swing period of half an hour for lunch. That is the minimum swing period we have ever given them. MR. MADDEN. What about carriers ?

MR. KOONS. The carriers may have less than half an hour.

MR. MADDEN. What is the shortest period of time that these employees are required to swing during their tours of luty ? Half an hour? MR. KOONS. It may be half an hour

MR. RAMSEYER. Under your regulations. how much time is the postmaster in the first or second-class office supposed to give to his office ?

MR. KOONS. Eight hours a day at first, second and third-class offices.

MR. RAMSEYER. What do you do if they do not do that?

MR. KOONS. Remove them from the service. or, if their terms have expired we do not reappoint them.

MR. RAMSEYER. Do you keep a pretty close watch of that?

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir. If we have not taken such action, it is only because it has not been brought to our attention either from an inspection of the ofice or complaints of the public. There were only three or four cases where exceptions were made during the war. In those cases the Government wanted to utilize a man's seryices for work for which he was specially trained in some industry for a few hours a day, and we permitted that in a case in Michigan, as I recall, and in possibly one or two other cases.

MR. RAMSEYER. Prior to the Execu. tive order, as everybody knows, these positions, first and second-class especially, and to a large extent the third class, went to politicians and frequently to newspaper men who kept up their newspaper work and continued their political activities, and even gave more time to their political activities than they had before. Do you think you are eliminating those objectionable features under this Executive order?

MR. KOONS. The Executive order has not changed the time a postinaster was required to devote to his duties. Before the Executive order was issued the postmaster was required, before his commission was sent to him, to sign a statement he would devote eight hours a day to the duties of his office. And where he failed to do so, we removed him, or, if his term had expired, we failed to reappoint him. I can cite dozens of such cases. As to political activities, this administration has not only continued the policy of the previous admin istration, but gone much further. Postmasters must not engage in or be perniciously active in politics. In other words, they are not permitted to preside at meetings or to serve as members of the county or State committee or to take an active part in politics,

MR. RAMSEYER. Pernicious activities would not prohibit any activities.

MR. KOONS. We can not prevent a man from voting.

[The Department furnished the House Committee for insertion in the hearings a statement of names of employees in the postal service who have been appointed at offices of the first and second classes as in accordance with the Executive order of March 31, 1917. The list included the cases which have been submitted to the President for appointment. but not yet transmitted by him to the Senate. The list showed that 100 employees had been appointed. of whom 61 were assistant postmasters, 21 clerks; 1 cashier; 5 railway mail clerks; 2 superintendents of mail; 3 letter carriers; 4 rural letter carriers; 1 auxiliary clerk and 2 postoffice inspectors. On July 1, 1919, there were 3,204 first and second-class postoffices.- Editor's note.)

MR. MADDEN. Are all postal employees eligible to competitive examination for postmasterships?

MR. KOONS. All employees are eligible to compete in such examinations provided they meet the requirements of residence, age, and business experience.

MR. MADDEN. How many postal em ployees have been appointed to the position of postmaster in first and second-class postoffices since an Executive order was issued by the President to fill vacancies in such offices by competitive examinations ?

MR. KOONS. One hundred.
MR. MADDEN. Can you furnish the

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MR. MADDEN. How many additional letter carriers were appointed in the city delivery service for each fiscal year from June 30. 1913, to June 30, 1919 ?

MR. KOONS. I have just given that. MR. MADDEN. Can you furnish the committee with the number of new city free delivery offices established during each fiscal year from June 30, 1913, to June 30, 1919. and the number of postoffice clerks and letter carriers appointed in these of fices?

MR. KOONS. I can put that in the recoril: I can not give it to you now.

or less, according to their duties or late arrival of trains.

MR. MADDEN. Are letter carriers required to double up on their routes and perform extra work during the summer vacation period ?

MR. KOONS. It is necessary in some cases to give additional work and require them to do what might be called doubling up. But even then they only perform eight hours' work. You take in the residence sections of a city, where a great many people go away to spend the summer : There is not enough work on the regular route to keep the carrier busy half the time.

MR. MADDEN. Then the practice of the department is, I suppose, to curtail the deliveries on the routes to that extent during the vacation period?

MR. KOONS. It is not to curtail the deliveries, Mr. Madden, as much as it is to give the men additional work.

MR. MADDEN. To curtail the number of trips, I mean.

MR. KOONS. It would not curtail the number of trips. But, for instance, a man can deliver two districts, or a district and a half, and make all of the regular trips, because of the fact so many of the people are away on his route. Of course in some few instances the deliveries may be curtailed because of the small volume of mail to be delivered.

MR. MADDEN. What is the attitude of the Department with respect to the payment of additional compensation for overtime, if you know?

MR. KOONS. You mean time and a half? MR. MADDEN. Whatever it is.

MR. KOONS. We, of course, pay for the regular service and we pay additional for the overtime at the regular rate of pay prescribed by law. We have not been in favor of paying time and a half for overtime, because of being an inducement to make overtime. to which we are opposed.

MR. MADDEN. Are all employees who work on Sundays and holidays allowed compensatory time or cash payment as the employee elects?


MR. MADDEN. Are postal emplovees de. nied the right to elect whether they shall receive compensatory time or money payment for Sunday and holiday service?

MR. KOONS. No; there was complaint made that this was being done at Pittsburgh, Pa. It was looked into very promptly and found there was no foundation for the statement. When the clerk reported for duty, he was asked to state whether he wanted compensatory time or to be paid for it, and was permitted to elect which

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MR. MADDEN. And if not, on whose recommendation the reduction was made.

MR. KOONS. All right.

MR. MADDEN. I have just a few more questions, and I want to get these in while I am at it.

MR. KOONS. You want these segregated by offices when I put that in the record ? This will involve the examination of all files of first and second class offices, 80 it is impossible to furnish this data in time to be printed in the hearings; but it will be furnished the committee at a later date.

MR. MADDEN. Yes. Is it customary to require postal employees who have been absent one year on account of illness or because of injuries received in line of duty, to resign from the service or be dropped from the rolls?

MR. KOONS. If there is any prospect of a return to duty at the end of the year, we do not drop them. If there is no prospect that they will return to duty at the end of the year, sometimes we put them at the foot of the substitute roll. They hope to get a pension law passed, and we put them at the foot of the substitute roll in order to carry them, if possible, beyond that time. But as long as we carry them on the roll as a regular employee, it prevents us from appointing a regular clerk, and we try to take care of them in each particular case as best we can.

MR. MADDEN. How many employees injured in the performance of their duties who were unable to return to work within one year were required to resign or have been dropped from the rolls ?

MR. KOONS. None during the past year. MR, MADDEN. Then I would like to know what procedure is followed in cases where employees become incapacitatea through age and are no longer able to perform their duties?

MR. KOONS. The policy in those cases. when a person becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to perform his duties, is to reduce him one grade or to the next lower grade. And as he becomes less efficient we reduce him down until finally some of them reach the lowest grade. it is very seldom a person is dropped from the seryice because he is incapacitated. There are occasions where that is done, but that is only in cases where it has reached such a stage that we could not under the law possibly keep him in the service any longer.

MR. MADDEN. In your judgment, would the enactment of a retirement law for superannuated employees benefit the postal service ?

MR. KOONS. Yes. The passage of a retirement law for superannuated employees would benefit the postal service, but in my judgment it would not benefit the employees to the extent they expert MR. MADDEN. In what respect?

MR. KOONS. Because, at this time, the minimum salary is $1,200, and it is very rarely we ever drop one from the service. When they reach the lowest point they are retained at the minimum salary. Now, they draw that salary and they have some employment. But if a retirement bill were in effect they would be dropped. I think all the bills have provided a maximum of $600, which is all they could receive, and they would not have any employment. And if you take a man who has been active all of his life and take his employment away from him it is more serious than to allow him to perform what service he can and pay him for it.

MR. MADDEN. So you think it is best for the men to comply with the practice which is followed by the Department at the present time?

MR. KOONS. Yes; it is better for the men themselves, but not for the postal service.

MR. MADDEN. Do you think economy and efficiency would result from the elimination of those men through a system of retirement ?

MR. KOONS. There would undoubtedly be economy and efficiency both, Mr. Madden, because the maximum retirement rate is $600 and there would be al saving of $600 in the salary alone. And, of course, the old employee who would leave the service would be replaced by a young man who is more active and efficient.

MR. MADDEN. So you think both efciency and economy would result from the elimination of those men through a sys. tem of retirement?

MR. KOONS. Yes, but that is loking at it in a cold blooded way from the service standpoint. I think the service would be benefited. Looking at it from the standpoint of the men I do not think the men themselves would be as well ofl.

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MR. MADDEN. Has the Department reduced the force of clerks or carriers in any first or second-class postofce? If so, can you furnish the committee with the names of the offices and the number of employees reduced in each during the past three years?

MR. KOONS. No separate record is kept of reductions made in the force of clerks and carriers, hence to secure data necessa. ry for an accurate reply to this question would necessitate a review of approximately 9.000 case files--that is to say, the cases for three years involving each first and second class office. I may say, however, that the department has effected re. ductions in forces of clerks and carriers in a few instances in which conditions justified such action. These cases are very rare, and in every instance in which it becomes necessary to reduce the force, the department arranges, if possible and agree able to the employees involved, to effect their transfer to some other office where additional help is needed, in order to obviate the necessity for relegation to the substitute roll.

MR. MADDEN. Was the postal service curtailed in order to reduce the force of employees ?

MR. KOONS. No: it was not.

MR. MADDEN. We think it was out our way. that it was curtailed and we want to get the data.

MR. KOONS. I am answering the ques. tion. You asked whether it was curtailed for the purpose of reducing the number of employees ?


MR. KOONS. The service has been curtailed in some places where the service given was not warranted and could be curtailed without inconvenience to the public.

MR. MADDEN. Of course, I perhaps did not put that question exactly fair,

THE CHAIRMAN. It was curtailed for what?

MR. KOONS. Because the service given was more than necessary.

MR. MADDEN. Did a reduced number of clerks result from the curtailment of the service?

MR. KOONS. Possibly in some instances.

MR. MADDEN. What disposition was made of the employees in offices where reductions in the force were made, if you know?

MR. KOONS. I can not state in particular cases, but our general practice is to find an employee work in another office. if he wants a transfer. If not, we put him at the head of the substitute list until we can give him a permanent place.

MR. MADDEN. I would like to know what reductions were made in the force of employees in postoffices on the recommendation of postmasters?

MR. KOONS. I will state that in the cases where it occurred.




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MR. MADDEN. Of course. I can understand during the war, when you were short of help, it might have been necessary to encourage men to ask for the money rather than the compensatory time."

MR. KOONS. During the war we did everything to keep the service moving.

MR. MADDEN. How can an employee secure compensatory time or payment for Sunday or holiday service if payment is denied him by the post master?

MR. KOONS. If he takes it up with the department, we refer the case to an inspector; we send an inspector to go over the record and see the employee, and if the inspector says the employee has not been paid

MR. MADDEN. Suppose an inspector as. sumes a friendly attitude toward the employer and the man is afraid to make complaint, what is he going to do about it?

MR. KOONS. We would not permit that on the part of a postmaster. An employee has a right to write us direct on any matter, and also to write to his Congressman and Senator.

MR. MADDEN. I wonder if you can tell me how many additional cler) yere employed in first and second-cla ostoffices during each fiscal year from J 30, 1913, to June 30. 1919 ?

MR. KOONS. If you will just let me make one other statement on the matter of overtime. The overtime for th September quarter of 1918. for clerks, as $730,218.98. For the September quarter of 1919, it was $7.50.334.32. That was only an increase of $20.000 in money, but the Septem. ber quarter was paid at the increased salaries and represented a far less number of hours,

Now, for the carriers. for the September quarter of 1918, it was $173,186.24. For the September quarter of this year, it was $154.808.32. That is a reduction of about $20.000 for the carriers, notwithstanding the increased compensation.


MR. HARDY. I have a carrier 74 years

of age who has to work to make a living,

and he is very anxious for the retirement

bill to pass because he can not quit and

he does not know anything else he can do,

and if the act were passed he would be re-

tired on $600 a year.

MR. MADDEN. Will you be good enough

to put in the record a statement of what

opportunity is afforded the postal em -

ployee to defend himself where charges

have been filed against him for any reason?

MR. KOONS. No classified employee is

removed or reduced, except in accordance

with the provisions of section 29, Postal

Laws and Regulations, under which he is

given full chance to reply fully to the

charges submitted against him. All papers

are transmitted to the Department for final

review before definite action is taken on

the charges submitted against the em-


MİR. MADDEN. And whether the em-

ployee is furnished the name of the com-

plainant and a detailed copy of the

charges ?

MR. KOONS. He is furnished a detailed

statement of the charges, but he is not fur-

nished the name of the complainant. That

is not done with the employees; neither is

it done with postmasters.

MR. MADDEN. Is he permitted to ex-

amine the papers and evidence submitted

against him in order to complete his de-


MR. KOONS. He is not; neither is the


MR. MADDEN. Is he confronted with

the complainant and those furnishing the

testimony or evidence against him?

MR. KOONS. He is not: neither is the


MR. MADDEN. Who decides cases in-

volving demotion or dismissal from the


MR. KOONS. The postmaster or inspec-

tor handling the case makes a recommenda-

tion to the Post Office Department and then

it is decided by the Department.

MR. MADDEN. Has the man any right

of appeal if he feels he has been the victim

of a grave injustice ?

MR. K0ONS. He has every right of ap-

peal and frequently we send the case back

for reinvestigation by another inspector:

or if action taken is on the recommendation

of the postmaster, we send it out to an

inspector for investigation.

MR. MADDEN. Are there many cases

in which an appeal is taken?

MR. KOONS. There are not many cases

where there would be what you might call

an appeal. Mr. Madden. After action is

taken, in a great majority of cases where

charges are preferred, the employee writes

to his Congressman, or we receive a letter

from his Congressman that charges have

been preferred against the employee and

that he would like to be heard on it, and

when the papers are received we write the

Congressman a letter and tell him we would

be glad to hear anything he wishes to pre-

sent, if it is presented within ten days.

That is the usual form. Of course if the

Congressman is not here, we give a longer

time. And in that way the employee fre-

quently presents through his Congressman

anything he wants to present. We never

hesitate to show the Congressman any pa-

pers the Department has in the case, or

anything connected with the matter.

MR. MADDEN. Of course. I have never

tried it, so I do not know.

MR. K0ONS. And what our action is

based on and why we take the action.

After that is done, it is very rarely an ap-

peal is made. There are times when an ap-

peal is made and if in such case there ap-

pears to be any foundation for it. we send

it out to an inspector. The removals are

less than three-fourths of one per cent of

the force and I think there are less men

removed from the postal service than from

any service or employment in the United

States. We give similar attention to an

appeal made by an employee direct.

MR. MADDEN. Outside of that, let me

ask you this question: Is there any limit

to the size and weight of the mail matter

that foot carriers are required to deliver ?

MR. KOONS. There is not any pre-

scribed limit, because the circumstances

show in all of the cases that it is hard to

prescribe a regulation that will fit all cases

or that you could standardize or make


MR. RAMSEYER. These removals you

speak of, three-fourths of 1 per cent, a re
they chiefly due to misconduct, or are some
of those men employees who have grown
inefficient on account of age ?

MR. K0ONS. They are for misconduct.
An employee who has grown 80 inefficient
on account of age that it is necessary to

drop him we give an opportunity to re-
sign; we tell him we can not continue him
longer in the service and that we will
accept his resignation if submitted.

MR. RAMSEYER. What if he does not


MR. KOONS. If he does not resign, of

course, if we can not employ him any

longer, we are compelled to remove him.

But it is extremely rare that such action

is taken.

MR. RAMSEYER. But your policy is to

hang onto these older fellows and give
them employment as long as you can ?

MR. KOONS. Yes I have a case in
mind; there was a case where an employee
who was unable to distribute any mail had
been reduced to the minimum salary. The
only thing he did was to take a few letters
a day to the nixie division, and he could
not locate the division any longer. We
would give him a basket of mail. and he
was just as liable to go out on the street
as any other place. He had plenty of
money to take care of himself, and we told
him we could not retain him in the service
any longer, and asked him to submit his
resignation, and he failed to do it. And
in that case we had to prefer charges
against him, and did remove him from the
service, because it was even dangerous to
the man to keep him in the building.

MR. MADDEN. Does the Government in-
sure its own automobiles, or does it as-
sume the responsibility for the losses or
require the drivers to pay the damages?

MR. KOONS. We do not insure our auto-
mobiles, but in cases of damage due to the
gross negligence of the driver, we require
the driver to pay for it. It is only a dis-
ciplinary measure, and we have got to do
it to make the drivers exercise due care.

MR. MADDEN. In such cases, it has got
to be shown that there was reckless care-

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir.

MR. MADDEN. And that he was not
exercising due care?

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir.

MR. MADDEN. What is an auxiliary

letter carrier ?

MR. KOONS. An auxiliary letter carrier

is one who is employed regularly for two

hours or more a day.

MR. MADDEN. To what extent are.

auxiliary letter carriers utilized by the De-


MR. KOONS. They are used wherever

their services can be used to advantage.
A great many auxiliary carriers are em-
ployed for two or four hours a day and
some six and eight. The temporary and
auxiliary appropriations have greatly in-
creased since the eight-in-ten hour law
was put into effect, because we can not
arrange the schedules in every case so the
enıployees can work under that law. And
wherever we have to employ men for two,
four, or more hours a day, they would
be auxiliary.

MR. MADDEN. Are auxiliary employees

frequently required to work more than

eight hours a day?

MR. KOONS. If they do, they are paid

for it by the hour.

MR. MADDEN. Are auxiliary employees

allowed the benefit of the eight-in-ten

bour law, the vacation law and other laws

affecting the regular employees?

MR. KOONS. These laws do not apply

to that class of employees. There is no
vacation provided for them, because they
are only substitutes. But they are paid
by the hour; that is, for the number of

hours that they work. Of course their
service may not all be within 10 consecu-
tive hours, but we review the list of

auxiliary carriers from time to time and

ask the postmasters to report how many

are employed eight hours a day, whose 8

hours are within 10 consecutive hours ;

and when they are within 10 hours they

are appointed regular employees whenever


MR. MADDEN. When an employee is

appointed to a regular position, is he re-
quired to serve a probationary period not-
withstanding his long service as a sub-
stitute or auxiliary carrier ?

MR. KOONS. That is necessary under

the law.

MR. MADDEN. Regardless of how long

he has served in the other capacity?

MR. KOONS. Yes, that is one matter

I want to lay before your reclassification


MR. MADDEN. Can an employee be

dropped from the roll during the proba-

tionary period, even though he served as

a substitute for a number of years?

MR. KOONS. During the first six months

under the civil-service rules and regula-

tions, they can be dropped, of course, be-

fore the end of the six months. That is

true in the Postal Service and in other

civil-service positions.

MR. MADDEN. Do you think, in justice

to employees, that the probationary period

should date from the date of the original

appointment whether as a substitute or a


MR. KOONS. I would not date it from

the original appointment, Mr. Madden, be-
cause a man may not render any service
at all until he is appointed regularly. I
think that a man should be given credit
for the number of days he has served as
an auxiliary, substitute, or temporary clerk
or carrier. And that is one of the matters
on which I want to be heard before your
reclassification committee.

THE CHAIRMAN. Now, Mr. Koons, it
is the desire of the committee to get the
hearings printed as soon as possible, and
instead of your waiting for the transcript
to answer these questions, Mr. Madden has
consented that I hand you these questions
now and that will probably expedite it

MR. KOONS. There are only one or two

questions that will take considerable time,

and if I find I can not get that in time

for your hearings, will it be all right to

secure the data and submit it later in the

form of a letter?


MR. GOLDFOGLE. How many carriers
and clerks are there who have arrived at
the age of 60 years? Can you tell ?

MR. K0ONS. I do not have that data

here. We collected that a year or two


MR. GOLDFOGLE. Approximately.

MR. KOONS. I could not tell.

MR. GOLDFOGLE. Could you make up

the figures and insert them in the record ?

MR. KOONS. We can give you what it
was two years ago, and that will give you
an approximate idea of what it is

MR. GOLDFOGLE. Can you bring it

clown to date?

MR. KOONS. We can not bring it down

to date without a large amount of work.

MR. GOLDFOGLE. Such data as you

have, will you be good enough t

the hearings?

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir: we will put that

in the hearings.

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This table is based on the employees in the service January 1, 1916.

clude the war bonus; that was only the basic salary.

THE CHAIRMAN. Yes; that is the reason there is a decrease of $4,310,000 ? MR. KOONS. Yes, sir.

THE CHAIRMAN. That represents the war bonus?

MR. KOONS. That represents the war bonus. Now, if House joint resolution 151 is added it should be $60,000,000. The decrease only represents the difference in the salaries between the war bonus and the basic salary, but not the difference between the House joint resolution and the basic salaries. It requires approximately $7,000,000 to take care of the war bonus and approximately $7,000,000 more to take care of House joint resolution 151.

THE CHAIRMAN. No. 14 reads as follows:

"For pay of substitutes for letter carriers absent with pay, and of auxiliary and temporary letter carriers at offices where city delivery is already established."

THE CHAIRMAN. Well, if, for instance, it should be found that in one office of equal rank as compared with another, the clerks and carriers were fairly well satisfied that they were treated fairly, and in another office it was just the reverse, and the employees were not satisfied that they were treated fairly, would that not be sufficient for the Department to inquire into the matter to see whether the postmaster had administered the rules there in regard to promotion fairly?

MR. KOONS. We have done that in a great many cases. Of course, you can not always gauge it by whether the personnel is satisfied; a man might be fair in his dealings, and be very cold blooded and abrupt in his manner. That man would create a great deal more of dissatisfaction than a man who was

THE CHAIRMAN (interposing). A diplomat..

MR. KOONS. A diplomat, or a man who is tactful in putting changes into effect. One man might be tactful and create no dissatisfaction, and another man might disrupt the office, and yet in each case the changes might be the same and be absolutely fair. I do not think you can gauge the dissatisfaction in an office solely by that.

THE CHAIRMAN. Well, you would regard that condition in the two offices, I suppose, as a matter sufficiently important to inquire into ?

MR. KOONS. Yes; we have always done that, and of course, sometimes there have been found cases where it was justified. I know in one case the postmaster of a firstclass office was removed on account of the manner in which he was treating employees. But the hardest thing to control is a factional fight when it starts. I could mention three or four cases where the of. tice is divided into factions, and there is agitation on each side, and it has kept the ofhce in a state of turmoil for years.

MR. RAMSEYER. What is the cause of that?

MR. KOONS. Sometimes it is political and sometimes it is religious; more often religious than anything else.

MR. MADDEN. And neither one of the parties have any religion in their hearts. I suppose ? (Laughter.)

MR. KOONS. No, sir; those things will happen, and it is a question of the best way to handle them. If you arbitrarily remove the heads of one faction, other heads will spring up.

The estimate is $6,000,000. MR. KOONS." That $6,000,000 is based on the old rate of 40 cents an hour, the rate now authorized is 60 cents an hour. There has been no increase in that appropriation for the last two years.

THE CHAIRMAN. It is a lump sum appropriation ?

MR. KOONS. It is a lump sum appropriation.

THE CHAIRMAN. And the rate of pay has been increased ?

MR. KOONS. The rate has been increased 50 per cent, so that it will be necessary to increase the amount to $9,000,000.

THE CHAIRMAN. $9,000,000; it is simply a 50 per cent increase

MR. MADDEN. That increase represents the increase in the permanent law ?

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir; increase over the permanent law.

THE CHAIRMAN. Item 15, page 32, reads as follows:

THE CHAIRMAN. Your office exercises some supervision over this matter of promotion, does it?


THE CHAIRMAN. In the first and second class offices ?

MR. KOONS. Of course, we have to rely somewhat on the recommendations made to us by the postmasters. And where there is a protest filed we send an inspector to investigate it. Of course, in the case of demotion, no man can be demoted without having charges filed against him. Some times it is handled by the inspector, and the inspector makes his recommendation : sometimes it is handled by the postmaster, and the postmaster makes his recommendation.

THE CHAIRMAN. In one case this joint commission requested two postmasters to furnish for four or five years back a list of promotions and demotions and the seniority rank of the parties, and that was furnished in two instances. But do you think that the joint commission ought to require that of all the postmasters, so that the Department would have some way of seeing whether they administer the law with regard to promotions fairly?

MR. KOONS. It is perfectly satisfactory to have the commission call for that; and I will be glad to get it for a matter of record with your commission. Of course, in supervisory positions a great deal depends on the man himself. The promotions can not be based on seniority alone. A man may be a good foreman but not have the ability to make a superintendent or an assistant superintendent ; or he may be a good assistant superintendent and not have the ability to make a superintendent. So, after all, a great deal depends on the man himself; and we have got to rely to a very large extent on the postmaster and on the investigations made by the inspectors in those cases.

MR. MADDEN. Of course, for that reason, it is not always possible to take the senior man?

MR. KOONS. No; it is not. MR. MADDEN. Because his qualifications for the vacant place might not be just what the requirements call for.

MR. KOONS. And that is the reason that seniority can not govern to the extent in supervisory positions that it does in clerical positions.

MR. MADDEN. I know that in business we never assumed to promote a man simply because he was senior: we took him because he had better qualifications; he might be the best man in the world for the position he occupied, but if you put him in the higher position you might lose the services of a first-class man in the position he occupied, and also lose the services of some first-class man in the higher position because of his inability to meet the requirements of the higher place.

THE CHAIRMAN. Well, would not the fact that the personnel in the office seemed to be dissatisfied with the promotions indicate that there was some injustice somewhere?

MR. MADDEN. I think this ought not to be carried to the extent of doing an injustice. MR. KOONS. No.

MR. MADDEN. It ought to be apparent that the thing that was done must be done to observe and preserve interests of the service, and not as a matter of favoritism.

MR. KOONS. Of course, the matter of promotions to higher positions will always cause some dissatisfaction, because every man that is eligible naturally feels that he is entitled to the position. And in answering the question of the chairman I would say that it would depend somewhat on the local conditions of the office such as whether there is a factional figh the office, wbicb comes up in some cases for different reasong: and of course, when one faction lines up aga magnify everything tbat is done by or for one of the particular factions; and that would cause a certain degree of dissatisfaction; there is no question about that. We have always, when there has been any complaint that the promotions were not fairly made or the proper men were not promoted. carefully investigated, and done everything possible to keep the promotions on the basis of merit. It is my intention, after the 1st of January to call a committee together and revise our efficiency rating

our efficiency rating has not been revised for some years and to make it as nearly as possible foolproof. Of course, you have always got to depend on the human eleinent in rating men or determining their efficiency.

For pay of letter carriers, substitute and auxiliary letter carriers at offices where city delivery service is established during the year."

The estimate is for $94,000. That is the same as last year,

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir; $94,000 would be the amount on the old basis; now the House joint resolution 151 would make that $130,000.

THE CHAIRMAN. You require $130,000 to put it on a par with the other increased compensation ?

MR. MADDEN. Well, there is a war bonus, too.

MR. KOONS. There is also a war bonus.

MR. MADDEN. That would make it $130,000.

THE CHAIRMAN. We will go now to page 31, item 13:

"For pay of letter carriers at offices already established, including substitutes for letter carriers absent without pay, City Delivery Service."

The estimate is $46,190,000, a decrease of $4.310.000.

MR. KOONS. That decrease is because the estimate is based on the basic salaries and not on the salaries now in effect. If it is the desire of the committee to continue the salaries now in effect, it will be necessary to increase the amount to $60,000,000, which would include the war bonus and the House joint resolution.

THE CHAIRMAN. Well, I suppose that is what the Department recommended, then ?

MR. KOONS. Yes, sir; that is the amount if the temporary increases are continued.

MR. RAMSEYER. Item 13 is for substitutes for letter carriers absent without pay: and item 14 is for substitutes for carriers absent with pay ?

MR. KOONS. Item 14 covers substitution when carriers are on vacation.

MR. RAMSEYER. When they are on their vacations they get their pay? MR. KOONS. Yes, sir.

MR. RAMSEYER. When are they off without pay?

MR. KOONS. When he has used all of his vacation period and wants a day off we give it to him without pay: we deduct the time, pro rata, from his monthly pay and hire a substitute in his place.

MR. PAIGE. Where does that decrease in item 13 of $4,310,000 come from?

MR. KOONS. That is the difference be. tween the basic salaries and the salaries that are now in effect. At the time these estimates were made up only the war bonus was in effect.

THE CHAIRMAN. The $46,190,000 MR. KOONS (interposing). That should be increased.

THE CHAIRMAN. That was including the war bonus?

MR. KOONS. No, sir; that did not in

MR. STEENERSON, I presume the increase in the number of employees is due to increased business?

MR. KOONS. The total postal receipts for the 50 largest postoffices represent approximately one-half of the entire revenues of the Postal Service. During the June quarter tbe postal receipts increased 11.02 per cent over the corresponding period the year previous. During the months of September, October, and November the postal receipts increased over the corresponding months of last year 8.81, 9.30, and 7.76 per cent, respectively. This increase was over and above the entire revenues when the 3-cent postage rate was in effect, which a mounted to 17.07 per cent of the postal revenues and which was a war tax and was no part of the postal revenues; neither was it expended by the Post Office Department in any manner. To make a fair comparison of the volume of business for these months with the corresponding months of last year it would be necessary to deduct the amount received last year for war tax. When this is done the increased receipts for the month of September, 1919, over the corresponding month in 1918 would be 25.89 per cent ; for the month of October, 26.37 per cent; and for the month of November. 24.83 per cent. This is no doubt the greatest increase in the postal receipts ever known in the history of the service.

MR. STEENERSON. Do you anticipate a reduction now ?

MR. KOONS. No. On the other hand, we believe that the increase in volume of business will continue.

MR. STEENERSON. Will not January be less than December?

MR. KOONS. No. The decrease will be but slight. In December the volume of mail

is heavier than January, but the revenue is but little greater because of the fact that during the Christmas period there is usually a falling off in the other classes of mail.

The normal increase of business is about 6 per cent, but the increase today is four times as great.

Owing to prohibition, fragrant Havanas were passed around to the members and chewing gum to the non-smokers.

Brother Helm made the following address: "Be not the first by whom the new are

tried “Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

miren as they

civil servlished a bearin


cedent whichonate. Not

MR. ROUSE. When the chief inspector appeared before the committee he requested that 13 additional postoffice inspectors be appointed. Will you please state for the benefit of the committee your views as to the economy and necessity for additional inspectors?

MR. KOONS. I consider that the request for 13 additional inspectors is a very modest one, and that it would be not only economy but the necessities of the service require that they be appointed. At the present time when cases are sent to the field they are divided into three classes-immediate, special and ordinary. The immediate cases are usually reported on promptly, but a considerable period of time elapses, in some instances being as much as a year, before the reports in the other cases are received. In my judgment, when matters are referred to the field for investigation by postoffice inspectors, the investigation should be made immediately and the report submitted promptly. It is a businesslike way of conducting the postal service, and when complaints are made regarding poor service or charges against postmasters or employees of the postal service, they should receive immediate and prompt attention. It is highly important that the inspectors not only investigate the cases that necessity requires they investigate, but that they be used to investigate the service frequently to ascertain wherein its efficiency can be increased and the service to the public improved. and such economies effected as the circumstances warrant. Knowing the service as I do, I hope the committee will not hesitate to grant the request for 13 additional postoffice inspectors. If these are granted, in my judgment more inspectors could be utilized to very great advantage.

"Mr. President and members of Branch 33:

" "There is a proud modesty in merit! Averse from asking and resolve to pay ten times the gifts it asks.' Fidelity, honest endeavors, and faithful service in all vocations and walks of life have ever been admired, but not always compensated or rewarded as they deserve, and especially is this a fact in our civil service. In this re. spect Branch 33 has established a beautiful precedent in honoring and celebrating the event of its members attaining their 35th anniversary or Golden Jubilee; yea, a most beautiful precedent which should be emulated by our Congress and Senate. Not merely by granting the privilege of wearing the insignia of a golden star on each sleeve, but something more substantial-a good and lasting pension system, so that when old carriers become superannuated they will know that they will be provided for in their declining years. At present the silver star is a warning that old age is approaching, while a golden star is a danger signal and a prophecy that we are about to be relegated to the scrap heap. Let us hope that Congress will soon enact a pension bill. In the words of the great poet, 'It's a consummation much to be wished for.'

“In September, 1884, Brothers Kinler and Mahoney entered the service, as young men, full of vigor and endeavor, and after thirtyfive years of strenuous service, arising in the wee sma' hours when others were asleep, they daily reported for duty, walking miles with heavy loads upon their shoulders, going

“From the mansion of the rich

To the cottage of the poor,
With a pleasant word for each
They went from door to door,
Bringing letters of joy and gladness,
Letters of weal and woe,
And letters of silent affection
From friends known long ago.
Through rain and heat and sunshine:
Through wintry blasts of snow and hail,
Cheerfully onward-never did they fail.

Germ diseases kill off more people than the deadliest wars. In 1917 pneumonia and tuberculosis killed 223.000 Americans, more than seven times the number killed in action in France.

Retirement Resolution Whereas it is in most part well nigh, if not absolutely, impossible for the average civil service employee to secure a competency that will guarantee a civilized main. tenance for his declining years; and

Whereas a retirement plan has come to meet with the distinct favor of the popular mind of our country, as evidenced by the constantly growing number of business enterprises that are retiring their aged faithful employees with a generous annuity; and

Whereas it is a conceded fact that the corporate business of the future will be conducted on a retirement basis; and

Whereas the enactment of a retirement measure into law will directly operate to increase the efficiency of every department of administrative and executive government and will especially rehabilitate the postal service by removing its worn-out element of senility, and recruiting it with the vigor and elasticity of youth; and

Whereas two civilized countries only on the face of this great globe are yet withholding annuities from their faithful superannuated civil service employees, the United States of America being as yet one of this ignoble twain; and

Whereas an equitable retirement plan has the unqualified endorsement of the heads of the administrative and executive branches of the government, not excluding the President himself; and

Whereas two great political parties have recently pledged their support to civil serv. ice retirement-the so-called Sterling-Lehl. bach bill having already been favorably reported in committees of both Houses; and

Whereas a well defined public sentiment is now prevalent throughout the wide domain of the Eleventh Congressional District in substantial support of the immediate enactment of some suitable retirement measure into the statutes; therefore be it

Resolved. That at this ripe and propitious time we, the members of the Eleventh Congressional District Civil Service Association, will, through committee of this convention and otherwise, redouble our energy and assiduously employ every available means looking to the immediate statutory relief of the poor old men of the service who, frail, stooped and enfeebled. have drawn their last draft on their physical resources, and can totter their weary way but a little longer. And be it further

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to our President of the Na. tional Association of Letter Carriers, one to each of our Congressmen, one to the Postal Record, and one to the central organ of the Rural letter Carriers for publication: as well as one to each publication from the various presses throughout the district.


Warren, Ind., R. J. WEIMER,

Wabash. Ind.. BURR ATKINSON,

Van Buren, Ind., IRA S. MAST:

Amboy, Ind., GEORGE B. THOMAS.

Marion, Ind.,

Resolutions Committee. Addressing Mail Matter

Washington, January 12, 1920. The attention of the Department has been called to the fact that persons emploved by mail order houses and other large business concerns to address advertising matter are paid at the rate of so much per thousand pieces addressed and, consequently write the names as briefly as possible, using only one initial. This practice results in the misdelivery of a considerable amount of this matter because of the fact that very frequently two or more patrons of a postoffice have one identical initial. For example, a valuable piece of mail addressed "E. Allen" was delivered first to Edmund Allen, although intended for Essie Allen.

Postmasters are requested. therefore, to advise their patrons who mail letters or circulars in considerable quantities that correct delivery will be expedited by requiring mailing clerks or those who prepare the mailing lists to write common or Christian names in full whenever it is possible and to use two or more initials for each name, when known.

As wide publicity as is practicable should be given this advice.

J. C. KOONS. First Assistant Postmaster General.

"They were part of that grand connecting link of all transactions of all negotiations by which means the absent become present. That great connecting link where two souls may communicate together though thou sand miles apart: the greatest business institution of the world—the U. S. P. 0,-and which makes no provision for its old and faithful servants when superannuated."

At this stage of the program the recipi. ents were presented with the fobs by Bro. Frank J. Papineau, the oldest carrier in point of seniority in the New Orleans postoffice. Brother Helm then continued as fol. lows:

New Orleans Branch Elects Officers

and Celebrates the Golden Jubilee of Two of Its Oldest Members Crescent City Branch 33 held its regular monthly meeting and election of officers on Saturday, December 13, 1919. The newlyelected officers are as follows: R. W. Ir. vine, president; Jos. Thenstead, vice president; John Parr, recording secretary; J. C. Williams, financial secretary: W. C. Scott, treasurer: Anthony Roth, sergeant-at-arms: trustee for the term expiring December 31, 1922, Thos. P. Murphy; collector M. B. A. and clerk N. S. B. A., H. A. Christenberry: medical examiner. Dr. Jas. I. Richard.

After the regular order of business was disposed of President Flaherty announced that there was something else on hand and of great importance to be attended to at this meeting and then called upon Bros. Phil. L. Helm and Frank J. Papineau, who presented Bros. 0. Kinler and J. Mahoney, on behalf of the members of Branch 33, each with a beautiful gold watch fob in honor of their thirty-fifth anniversary as letter carriers-their Golden Jubilee. These fobs were of beautiful design, being a miniature letter satchel of solid gold suspended from a chain. On the front was a small jewel over a palm leaf, and on the reverse side was engraved the date of their entry into the service and the date of their Golden Jubilee.

Brothers Kinler and Mahoney were taken completely by surprise and both appeared to be very much affected. Brother Kinler expressed his thanks in a few well-chosen words, while Brother Mahoney could not express his feelings, but his few words of gratitude were very touching.

Brother 0. Kinler was born in New Orleans, La., July 10, 1863, and entered the service as a letter carrier September 15, 1854, when 21 years of age. Bro. John Ma. honey, Jr., was born in New Orleans, La.. March 6, 1858, and entered the service as a letter carrier September 13, 1884, at the age of 26 years.

"Brothers Mahoney and Kinler, on behalf of the members of Branch 33, we present you with these tokens of friendship and esteem, also as a reward of merit. While you have faithfully performed your duties as letter carriers, you have likewise been true and loyal members of Branch 33. N. A. L. C. The flawless jewel bespeaks of your honest and faithful service. The miniature satchel will remind you of the thousands of messages of joy and gladness, love and sorrow which you have carried through many years in your letter satchel.

"As you gaze upon it from time to time, think of your fellow members who have the highest regard for you. Think of the many pleasures which we shared together and also of the sorrows which we experienced at times; and above all, think of those brothers who made their last round and rang Bundy for the last time.

I certainly deem it an honor to have been selected by our president to take part in this presentation, and I know that each and every member feels as glad and as harpy as I do on this occasion, and on behalf of the members of Branch 33 I heartily congratulate both of you."

JOHN PARR. New Orleans, La.

A decayed tooth is far more dangerous to health than a fiy in the soup, says the United States Public Health Service. Visit the dentist regularly. Keep the teeth clean,

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