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Mr. ROLLINS. I know there are 50 of them.
Mr. RobSION. You know that there are about 27 that ought not to be there?
Mr. ROLLINS. Yes, sir; that do not want to be there.
Mr. ROBSION. And about 23 out of the 50 that are suitable for that training?
Mr. ROLLINS. They can get up a good course. He is going to have two courses; one, landscape gardening, and one at the greenhouse; so that if a man wanted to manage estates he could teach them that, and the other men that wanted landscapes could take landscapes.
Mr. ROBsion. You claim that the Government is paying for these 27 men there, and it is no advantage to them—it is a loss to the Government and a loss to them?
Mr. ROLLINS. They have not paid since September.
Mr. Rollins. Yes; they are paying for men there that it is practically throwing money away.
Mr. ROBSION. So that out of 50 the Government is obligating itself for half of it is lost?
Mr. Rollins. Yes, sir.
Mr. Robsion. You spoke about being called upon to work at other places unnecessarily. I did not get your statement as to that. You need not go into it in detail too much.
Mr. Rollins. That was Lewis & Valentine. Mr. Pyles told me that Lewis was a personal friend of his. Lewis came out there with Mr. Pyles and wanted 10 or 20 men to take down to the nursery to work.
Mr. ROBSION. Where was that nursery?
Mr. ROLLINS. To work nine hours to do nurserving. Mr. Lewis himself said it is nine hours a day and if you are physically disabled so that you can not work nine hours a day I do not want you, because I have to board you.
Mr. ROBSION. What were you men to receive for that work?
Mr. Roosion. And what were you to receive in the way of instruction out there?
Mr. ROLLINS. He said they had no teachers, that you could pick it up by working; you could see how trees are dug up and take them up and ship them out.
Mr. Robsion. Just to do physical manual labor?
Mr. Rollins. To dig up and box trees and ship them out; just regular nurserying.
Mr. Robson. Was that nursery farm to pay the board or anybody else anything?
Mr. ROLLINS. I can not say what dealings they had with the board. Mr. RobsION. Who was this Mr. Pyles you talked about? Mr. Rollins. He is the follow-up man. Mr. RobsION. Is he connected with the Vocational Board in New York?
Mr. ROLLINS. Yes, sir. Mr. ROBSION. Trying to get you men to go out on the farm nurserys to do manual labor ?
Mr. Rollins. Yes; and they told some of them if they did not go there they would have to get out.
Mr. ROBSION. Did you say he was related or a particular friend of this nursery firm?
Mr. ROLLINS. I heard him say that he is a particular friend of Mr. Lewis. He is not related, as far as I know.
Mr. ROBSION. What caused the men not to go after he told them if they did not go they would have to get out?
Mr. ROLLINS. He got 10 names a couple of days after that. I did not say anything then. The students got together and elected me as their representative, and then I advised them not to take it. I told them that I knew what the nursery was and knew that it was just hard manual labor and they would not gain anything by going out there.
Mr. Robsion. Did that include this fellow that wanted a course in poultry? Mr. ROLLINS. It included that and also the automechanic. Mr. ROBSION. And the one that wanted drafting? Mr. ROLLINS. It included all the auto mechanics and everything else.
Mr. Robsion. You stated that you were in the meeting when Mr. Clark, of the vocational board of New York, was present?
Mr. ROLLINS. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rollins. The chairman was present. I suppose there was 40 men there. I do not know how many chairmen were there from the schools.
Mr. Rossion. You say they were using this botanic-garden plant to educate the men?
Mr. Rollins. In the case of a great many of them that might be a help.
Mr. Robsion. I believe you further stated that there were Japanese, Germans, and Italians in this botanic garden who could not understand English and were being taught?
Mr. ROLLINS. I did not say the Jap. He can understand English perfectly and wants to take a commercial course.
Mr. Rossion. He is at the botanic garden? Mr. ROLLINS. Yes, sir. He went down one Saturday morning and thought he was going to get a commercial course. He went down there, and Mr. Pyles sent him to a Japanese exporter on Twenty-third Street. The exporter said he was to work with the truck in the warehouse, and he picked up and said that is not a commercial school.
Mr. ROBSION. They are undertaking to instruct men there in English when they cannot understand English?
Mr. ROLLINS. No; they can not. There are a lot of them that can not understand English. Some of them cannot understand English at all, and some have only been to the fifth or sixth grade, and the lectures in botany and the Greek words float over their heads. Mr. ROBsion. How long have those 50 men been there! Mr. ROLLINS. Two or three have been there over a year.
Mr. RobsIox. You say there is one man there who did not want to take that training and it is not suited to him, and he has been there about a year.
Mr. ROLLINS. I said there was such a man named O'Neil, I do not know how long he has been there. He has been there a long time.
Mr. Robsion. What was your general impression of the board in New York? You were a representative of these men. You met them and dealt with them.
Mr. Rollins. I would hate to give you my opinion.
Mr. Rollins. My opinion is this, that every time I went to see them they shifted me from one man to another and that man would say, “ I will see you in a moment," and he would go on talking about dances and parties, and I was having to wait until he talked about the dance to his fellow clerks, and when he got through he would talk to me. If you go there in the afternoon, he would talk about the party he was going to go to that night.
Mr. Robsion. You believe the board is inefficient?
Mr. Rollins. Yes, sir. I was in the Government service myself, and I know the Government clerks; they do not kill themselves with work. But that is the worst place I ever did see.
Mr. Robsion. How many clerks were there?
Mr. Robsion. When you were in Washington, you said some clerk helped you to get your case through when you went to see some one at the central office.
Mr. ROLLINS. Mr. C . Grant Smith.
Mr. ROLLINS. He told me my case had gone through two weeks before, and I guess I would have waited yet if this fellow had not given me the tip to go up and see him.
Mr. Robson. Had you left your correct address?
Mr. Robsion. What explanation did Mr. Smith offer for your report not having been sent out?
Mr. ROLLINS. He blamed it on the Baltimore office. He said he had notified the Baltimore office and it was up to them to notify me.
Mr. RobsION. Are you prejudiced against the board?
Mr. Robsión. Are you giving the facts and the situation just as you see them and just as they are?
Mr. ROLLIXS. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rollins. No, sir. I do not think you could hardly overdraw the condition of the Botanic Gardens at all.
Mr. Rorsion. Your statement is that these 25 or 27 men that ought not to be there have caused not only a loss and waste of time to them and the Government, but it has hindered the other 25 men from being properly organized and getting the benefit of the training. Is that true?
Mr. Rollins. Yes, sir; it just upsets the whole school. These men would be listening to the lecture and three or four men talking and you could not get anything out of the lecture that way.
Mr. Robsion. Is there any indication whether this situation will be improved in the near future; I mean outside of mere promises ?
Mr. Rollins. I just got the promise that they would take them away, but that promise was made a month ago, and they are still there.
Mr. Robsion. That is all I have.
Mr. Sears. Who did you see in the main office in Washington besides Mr. Smith ? Mr. ROLLINS. I went to see another man there—I couldn't
who he was. I don't know his name now—I don't remember.
Mr. SEARS. Was he a clerk? Mr. Rollins. No; I think he had something to do with the-well, with advising, you know, sending out men. He was an advisor. He was the one that advised me to go to the Botanical Gardens, in New York.
Mr. SEARS. You do not know who that was?
Mr. SEARs. You said you worked for a month-I don't want to tire you, but after you came out of Walter Reed, I believe, you said you worked for a month?
Mr. ROLLINS. No; I said I went to work in the register's office of the Treasury. I worked from the 17th of July until the 1st of January. I resigned on the 1st of January, after I got my vocational training through.
Mr. SEARs. Well, what did you get while you were working at the Treasury, how much?
Mr. Rollins. Well, I got $1,000 a year. I was rated $1,000 a year, and then the $210 bonus.
Mr. SEARS. And you stayed from the 17th of July until when?
Mr. Rollins. Until I got my training through, and then I thought the main trouble was over, until I got to New York,
Mr. Sears. You had a position at $1,000 a year. What were you doing particularly?
Mr. ROLLINS. I was a clerk in the register's office.
Mr. SEARs. You said you worked—had you ever worked in the department here before!
Mr. Rollins. Well, yes; for the Government.
Mr. ROLLINS. Well, I worked in the parks. I worked for the public buildings and grounds.
Mr. SEARs. Along the line of work that you wanted to take up?
Mr. Rollins. Yes, sir; I was in Battle Creek, Mich., and I heard that the Third Infantry was going to be the first to go into Europe, and I came from Battle Creek to Fort Myer, Va., and enlisted.
The CHAIRMAN. You are excused, Mr. Rollins.
The committee will stand adjourned until 10 o'clock to-morrow morning; and I would like to have the witnesses who are here and expect to testify to come in, and we will hear you at 10 o'clock. Then, any other witnesses that appear, we will have them in the afternoon.
Mr. Donovan. Before adjourning, I would like to state that I have to attend to-morrow morning a meeting of the War Expenditures Committee at 10 o'clock, and I will not be able to be here. I will come when that session is concluded.
Mr. LITTLEDALE. There is one gentleman here that we would like to have you hear this evening, if you can, Mr. Chairman, as he can not come back.
STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN 0. ROBINSON, TODDVILLE, MD.
(The witness was sworn by the chairman.)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Robinson, you may make your statement, and make it as brief as you can.
Mr. ROBINSON. Will you speak a little louder, please?
The CHAIRMAN. You may make your statement to the committee, and make it as briefly as you can. The adjourning time is here, and we are staying for your sake only.
Mr. Robinson. Well, my first experience with the board was about July, I think.
The CHAIRMAN. This year?
Mr. Robinson. 1919. But my experience has been so long ago that I have almost forgotten it; of course I have all this data at home, but they wrote me to come to their office in Baltimore
Mr. REED (interposing). Did you say 1918?
Mr. ROBINSON. Yes. And they interviewed me and asked me what I would prefer to take up, so I decided my course and about a month afterwards they called me in again and interviewed me about this course and kept calling me and telling me that I would not have to return, but I imagine I was in there about six times, and they finally told me my case was decided, and a member of that board wrote me
Mr. SEARS (interposing). You said you were there several times. Where?
Mr. ROBINSON. In the Baltimore office. A member of the boardand I don't want to give his name, because I think he was one of the few men of that board that has the spirit of that law for the disabled soldiers-he wrote me a letter stating that my case had been approved, and I would be notified of the same in a few days, but I was never officially notified, only through this one member of the board, and I called in again at the office, and they looked up—or finally the training department told me that they had approved my case for two years' training at the Maryland State Agricultural College, and