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APPOINTMENTS AND DISMISSALS IN THE CIVIL SERVICE
FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 1928
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. e. The committee met (pursuant to call of the chairman) at 11.30 a. m., in room 250 Senate Office Building, Senator Porter H. Dale (presiding).
Present: Senators Dale (chairman), Brookhart, and Heflin.
Present also: Hon. William C. Deming, president Civil Service Commission; C. W. Bartlett, chairman special committee, assistant chief, division of appointments; Miss Vivian Carlson, assistant chief, division of appointments; Mrs. Amy A. Harrison, congressional correspondence clerk, division of appointments; Ruloff R. Strattan, statistical clerk, division of appointments; H. E. Morgan, director of public information and recruiting; and John T. Doyle, secretary Civil Service Commission.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
(The committee had under consideration Senate Resolution 154, which is as follows:)
[S. Res. 154, Seventieth Congress, first session]
Whereas William C. Deming, President of the Civil Service Commission, admitted in an article published in the Washington Post of March 6, 1927, that the Civil Service Commission had appointed in excess of quotas over 10,000 persons from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and other States; and
Whereas many legally appointed civil-service employees from States whose quotas are in arrears, and many ex-service men and women have been illegally separated from the service, and much suffering and hardship caused thereby, terminating in some cases in commitments to Saint Elizabeths Hospital, and in other cases in suicide; and
Whereas the morale and efficiency of many of the executive departments and independent establishments of the Government have been completely broken down by the injustice, discrimination, intimidation, and illegal dismissals in the civil service and much loss to the Government caused by the resulting maladministration of the laws: Therefore be it
Resolved, That there is hereby created a special committee of the Senate, to consist of five members appointed by the President of the Senate, three of whom shall be from the majority party (including one Progressive Republican), and two of whom shall be from the minority party. The committee is authorized and directed to investigate illegal appointments and dismissals in the civil service since July 1, 1919. The committee shall meet and organize within five days from the date of appointment and immediately thereafter shall begin hearings upon this resolution. Within sixty days after the adoption of this resolution the committee shall report to the Senate concerning such illegal appointments and dismissals in the civil service, and shall include in its report such recommendations for legislation and suggested action for the removal from office of any parties to such illegality;,-aş it deems advisable to correct abuses in appointments and dismissals in the civil service.
For the purposes of this resolution the committee is authorized to hold such hearings, to sit and act at such' times and places, to employ such experts and clerical, stenographic, and other, assistants, to require by subpoena or otherwise the attendance of such witięgs and the production of such books, papers, and documents, including the records of the Civil Service Commission, the Bureau of the Budget, the Bureau of Efficiency, the Personnel Classification Board, and the several executive departments and independent establishments, to administer such oaths and to take such testimony and to make such expenditures as it deems advisable. The expenses of the committee shall not exceed $2,500, and shall be paid from the contingent fund of the Senate upon vouchers approved by the chairtcan of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Will President Deming take the stand, please ? The committee thinks it better that the witnesses be sworn, Mr. Deming.
Mr. DEMING. Very well.
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM C. DEMING, PRESIDENT UNITED STATES
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
(The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.)
The CHAIRMAN. Will you tell the committee your name and position, Mr. Deming?
Mr. DEMING. William C. Deming, president United States Civil Service Commission.
Senator HEFLIN. Mr. Deming, have you got a copy of the resolution there before you?
Mr. DEMING. I have read it, Senator; yes, sir.
Senator HEFLIN. I think, Mr. Chairman, we might permit Mr. Deming to make a statement orally, if he wishes to, before we begin.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Mr. Deming, if you will do that.
Mr. DEMING. Now, Mr. Chairman, as I understand this proceeding and the resolution, they originated primarily from an article published by me in the Washington Post, March 6, 1927, concerning the status of the apportionment of positions in the classified service among
the States and the District of Columbia. If it pleases the chairman and the committee, I believe it is only fair to correct what seems to be an erroneous inference in the resolution concerning that article. I think I can do that best by submitting as Exhibit A an article entitled “ Memorandum on Senate Resolution 154."
I would like to say that the article published was inspired by this thought: That the disparity with respect to the apportionment as between States and the District of Columbia was at that time, and had been for some years, very apparent, and was growing more obvious and more pronounced. Our ordinary efforts in advertising our examinations in the various States and our official reports concerning the condition of the apportionment failing to attract sufficient notice to stimulate interest among the States in arrears, it occurred to me that I could prepare an article upon a serious subject in a semilight vein to reach those that are most interested. Undoubtedly the esteemed Senator from Alabama has read the article since and has taken cognizance of it, and I am very glad that he did.
The resolution in its first paragraph says: Whereas William C. Deming, president of the Civil Service Commission, admitted in an article published in the Washington Post of March 6, 1927, that the Civil Service Commission had appointed in excess of quotas over 10,000 persons from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and other States.
The use of the word “admitted” seems to imply that there has been some secrecy about the apportionment situation. Quite the contrary is true. The article published in the Washington Post of March 6, 1927, was given out for publication voluntarily for the information of the public, and for years the commission has published twice a month an apportionment table, available to the public, giving the exact distribution among States and Territories and the District of Columbia of appointments to the departmental service at Washington.
The use of the words "the Civil Service Commission had appointed” indicates a possible lack of understanding of the commission's power in the matter of appointments. This office makes no appointments except in its own organization. Under the law and rules the commission certifies eligibles secured through open competitive examinations for filling vacancies in the various departments and independent establishments to the appointing officers, who in the exercise of vested constitutional authority make the appointments. The commission has no jurisdiction in appointments except to see that the requirements of the civil service law and rules are met.
It is only from the District of Columbia that more than 10,000 persons have been appointed to apportioned positions. On June 2, 1928, from Maryland 2,319 had been appointed, whereas that State was entitled to 480 of the apportioned appointments. From Virginia 2,496 had been appointed, that State being entitled to 765. From Vermont 142 had been appointed, the quota of Vermont being 116, and from Delaware 79, the quota of Delaware being 73. Ali other States and Territories are in arrears under the apportionment.
The second paragraph of the introduction to the resolution reads as follows:
Whereas many legally appointed civil-service employees from States whose quotas are in arrears, and many ex-service men and women have been illegally separated from the service, and much suffering and hardship caused thereby, terminating in some cases in commitments to St. Elizabeths Hospital, and in other cases suicide.
The power of the Civil Service Commission in connection with removals is clearly defined in section 4 of Civil Service Rule XII, which provides that,
The commission shall have no jurisdiction to review the findings of a removing officer upon the reasons and answers provided for in section 1 of this rule, nor shall the commission have authority to investigate any removal or reduction unless it is alleged, with offer of proof, that the procedure required by section 1 of this rule has not been followed, or that the removal was made for political or religious reasons.
The commission has no knowledge of the illegal separations from the service referred to. If cases are brought to its attention where removals have been made without the observance of the provisions of section 1 of Civil Service Rule XII, or where there is evidence that the removals have been made for political or religious reasons, the commission will be bound to investigate such cases. It has no authority to make investigation of removals on any other grounds.