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to be employed on account of the War Risk Insurance Bureau's maze of red tape, and so forth, and it would be six or eight or nine months before they heard from their compensation.
Then Mr. Hoopingarner resigned. Mr. Barnes discussed with Hoopingarner and me until he became familiar with the work of the office. Then Mr. Barnes became ill and asked for leave of absence, and it left Mr. Wirt there. Mr. Wirt was in charge at the time he left the office. The last difficulty I had with my supervisors and the office generally was this as to whether or not to put a man in placement training at a less salary than any other man received. What I mean by that is, say, for instance, the helper in a machine shop. At the time this new guide came out, Mr. Taylor came down from Washington. He said to all the members of the placement staff: “You go out and get these men to work even if you only get them $1 a week.” I said then, " That theory is wrong.” He said: “ This has been thoroughly discussed in Washington and that is the direction."
The CHAIRMAN. The committee would be very glad to have your view of it. I know they would for the reason that on first impulse, without going into it, that would be my idea, to put them out at anything they could get, and if you are an authority I would like to have you state whether that is the policy.
Mr. McGOVERN. It is based on the theory of rehabilitation which is carried through by the lives of the most successful men that I have known and that is to help them to depend upon themselves. They wanted no favor, or to depend upon no one. We are taking these poor fellows and trying to put them where they can get their own jobs and make their own living.
The CHAIRMAN. If you put a man out at anything, that might lead to exploiting these boys!
Mr. McGOVERN. It would lead to exploitation, and, in addition, I believe it would weaken his moral fiber.
The CHAIRMAN. Both of those are very important and should be avoided, if they would produce that result.
Mr. McGovern. The first thing that man gets, mind, placement is the finishing step in rehabilitation, according to the present theory of the Federal board. Now, after you have trained a man to make his own living and to be independent, you go to work and put him on his feet. He goes into the job that he is adapted for and works for less than some one else. That is the theory on which I opposed this ruling. It would be much easier to get a man in, but I was not looking for the easy way. What I wanted to do, as a placement officer, was to put that man at the very earliest possible moment on his own two feet.
The CHAIRMAN. Your desire there would be inspired with the desire of benefit to the rehabilitated soldier as much as to the general standard of wage?
Mr. McGOVERN. Absolutely. My theory of the care of the man is based on the common law of my State, that is, it has been amended since but as the law was, as it at that time came from England.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. McGovern. From what I knew about it, and that was received from my father and grandfather, who were both contractors, when we had a man injured we used to take care of him until he got well and then gave him a job which he could do. It was just a little bit of strain on him and we paid him the regular wages the same as anybody else. He felt a lot better after that. Some of the other contractors did not treat their men like that. We did and they did not get the results, as they did not take the interest that they did
The CHAIRMAN. You are in a very important field there, the field of philosophy as to the effect of such placement upon the soldier himself. I thought, first, that your position was because it would unstabilize the wage in that particular line of work. That was not it?
Mr. McGOVERN. No.
Mr. McGovern. By no means. There was one thing that led me to that also. I swore to tell the whole truth and that is what I will tell.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. McGOVERN. In one of the largest department stores of New York I went in to the employment manager instead of going to the head; that was the custom at that time and that was a direction of mine. Just as the employment manager told me, we do not allow sentiment to interfere with our business. That is one of the biggest department stores in the city of New York. I thought at first that that was harsh and unjust, and I wanted to fight, and I went back to the office and wanted the office to fight, but they would not. But still that employment manager was right. That is where I got my first lesson there as to the truth of my own theory, that the man who is as good as anybody else that he should be worth as much as anybody else, that if he could not get it that he could not go in there with a crutch. What is the use of going in there with a crutch! He could throw the crutch away. Things were getting worse and worse between me and the supervisor. My objection was if I found a man there who had a position, I did not know much about him and was not going to call him until about that time there was one. Then I proposed that steps be taken in connection with the laws of New York by contact with the civil-service positions and such things as that, or the compensation laws and procedure governing settlement of compensation claims so that the crippled men had a fair chance.
The employment manager objected to employing men who were handicapped, because, as he said, it increased their compensation liability and also on account of the public liability. That man should be directed so that there could not be any bars or steps in his way, and we should find out the sentiment of the people as to their place, so that we would be fair to the men and fair to the other people. Many of these men, not many men, but I will say about one or two out of a hundred, expect to take civil-service examination, because they figured they could not compete in civil life with other men.
Then after that along came a request from Mr. Smith, who was director of rehabilitation, that I resign.
The CHAIRMAN. Was that U. Grant Smith ?
Mr. McGOVERN. No; U. Grant Smith was a man who worked like myself and with me; he was one of the few men in the board that I worked right along with.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is this Mr. Smith you mentioned?
Mr. McGOVERN. He was director of the rehabilitation division. He wrote requesting my resignation and I went and saw Mr. Griffin and I said, "Griffin, I am not going to resign unless somebody shows me that I am wrong and that I am at fault and that I have not done my duty.” So Dr. Smith came down and we had a talk. I told Dr. Smith just about what I thought of the work and then I had an opportunity to tell him what I thought of him. I found it advisable to dress in a careless way so as to get to the hearts of my men. Now, behind my back that man critized me. He did not come to me. He didn't ask me why but behind my back he went at that. I told him, “ Mr. Smith, I believe that I am protected by civil service in this position; the matter of salary so lang as this work is successful is immaterial. You can drop, if you like, my salary down to $500 or $1,000.” He made a proposition then toward the end of it that I accept a substantial reduction in salary. I got a letter then from Smith, stating that the conversation had no effect, and I did not resign and nobody notified me that I was through. Then Mr. Lamkin came through as acting district vocational officer. Mr. Lamkin one day said to me, called me over and said, “ McGovern, do you know you have been dropped?” I said, “I did not know anything about it.” He said, “I have received word that you are dropped from the rolls of the Federal board," I said, " That is absolutely news to
I have a copy of Mr. Lamkin's letter, which he sent to Washington. I just walked out of the office. I said, “ If I am dropped, I am through.” I told Mr. Lamkin then what had told Dr. Smith. I found Mr. Lamkin a very fine man and I told Mr. Lamkin I did not want to work with men with whom I am not in harmony and I did not want to work in a failure. Another thing, just before Mr. Lamkin and I had this conversation I saw a moving picture taken by the Federal board. Now, it happened that one of the men in that moving picture was a man that had been under my care, as was two or three weeks trying to get him a job. I do not remember the exact title, but the picture shows this man assisting another man to handle a heavy piece of machinery. Now, that man's trouble and the reason for his being under the Federal board was epilepsy. I said when somebody finds out that that man was an epileptic and was handling a heavy piece of machinery which was apt to make a cripple out of the chap, when they find that out I am going to be clear: I will not be with anybody that makes such a mistake as that.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you mean that the epileptic was placed in charge of the heavy machinery?
Mr. McGovern. If you will get the picture you will see that. I am not sure what they have done with the picture. It is one of those internal combustion engines and they use it at the receiving station at Lakewood. He is holding one part of it there and taking it out of the machine and the other chap is taking hold of the other end. The peculiar thing about this is, that while I was talking to Dr.
Smith, I was just quietly laughing to myself, and he told me I did not know anything about rehabilitation. I had in my pocket at the time copies of two assignments. The assignments are these. I had known about it. I would like to leave these with the committee. This is dated June 23, 1919, from the Supervisor of Placement, to Mr. McGovern, Special Agent, Silverstein, Max, No. 1888 Belmont Ave., New York City. “Our records show that the above-named young man is employed as an elevator operator by the American Real Estate Co., 22 East Twenty-second Street, New York City. The nature of his disability is epilepsy. Kindly call on Mr. Silverstein at his place of employment and investigate his placement and make a report as to the suitability of his employment." Charles B. Barnes, Supervisor of Placement.
The CHAIRMAN. He was operating elevators ?
Mr. McGovern. Yes, sir; and his disability was epilepsy. I said to him there is no use of sending me out on that. Here is another case (referring to pocket memorandum book]. I told them there is
110 use of sending me out and wasting the time. There are lots of •things that can be done. You could get me on the telephone and take that man off.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that the original copy?
Mr. McGOVERN. Yes, sir. I have it here. I said, " get me on the telephone and take this man off.”
Mr. TOWNER. What did he say?
Mr. King. Was it represented to the public in that picture that this man was a cripple?
Mr. McGOVERN. Yes; sure-I do not like to reveal these men as epileptics, because I have found that among epileptics there is no real opportunity for the public to detect it unless you tell them that. This other man was named Sam Morris.
This belongs to the Government but I kept it just because I have a letter of recommendation, also which I wrote to the President which I expected would produce an inquiry. As I told you, I wanted to have this quietly, so no man would be discouraged, and when I saw the thing coming I thought I had better go in and do my part like the rest and see that these men were taken care of.
This sindicating] is another. My report is in writing, and that just went in the office to-day. This is addressed to me; it is the same ihing: Silverstein, Max: race, white; case No. 17883–2; 1888 Belmont Avenue, New York; epileptic; education, seventh grade; dependents, parents; employer at time of enlistment, Universal Film Manufaciuring Co. What did he do? Laboratory worker in motion picture company; wages, $35 a week.
This sindicating) is an assignment; it is 1/25—two days after. This man is a young man working as an elevator operator at 1145 Broadway, New York City. He is an epileptic. His present position is not suitable on account of having epilepsy. Please obtain suitable employment for him as soon as possible.
I had another case, an epileptic case, and I expected through charity or benevolence of a gentleman in the vicinity who was very wealthy to secure what I believe he was more suitably fitted for. This man has a very fine place, has a beautiful garden where he experiments, and I thought it might be possible to get this man employment there, but through the urgent cases that came in and the refusal of the supervisor I was never able to take that up. My reason for not wanting to take epileptics to employment around machinery was the fact that a doctor in the department at New York had told me there was no suitable place for an epileptic except in an institution. That was just because he was 30 years in the charity department of a New York hospital. Still I did not give up hope of doing something for him.
There is one other case I will read. William G. Clark; race, white; 155 East Forty-seventh Street, New York City; broken arches; flat feet; third-grade education; dependents, none; employment at time of enlistment, with U. Hart, 31 Third Avenue, New York City; wages, $20 per week; bachelor 14 years. This man, as you would ordinarily find, does not seem to be very seriously handicapped; used as a butler.
That is practically impossible for that man to go back. This man was a volunteer in the service; 42 years of age when he went in. He went out and worked on a job which was obtained by the Red Cross until he failed, and then they brought him back. I finally succeeded in getting him a position with the Yale Club. I went over to the Yale Club and saw the man in charge there and he had worked at the Yale Club some time before. I said they do not seem to be able to do anything for Mr. Clark. This man worked faithfully for his country and he is broken. I walked with him along the streets and he was unable to go across the street in New York City on the car track, as the traffic was very heavy and it was not safe for him on the streets. He could not work anywhere except inside, because he could not be sure in walking when he would have to stop.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not entirely clear to me that the work of a butler would be impossible for him.
Mr. McGOVERN. He would have to stand on his feet and walk so much.
The CHAIRMAN. He would not have much outdoor service?
Mr. McGOVERN. No; he would not have. But he could not take that position because he could not stand very long on his feet. He could not stand any great length of time, as he had not only flat feet but broken arches, and the trouble was to try to get him in a suitable position.
The CHAIRMAN. The position ought to be one of more sedentary habits. Mr. McGOVERN. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. What was the position with the Yale Club? Mr. McGovern. Valet. That was the only work that we could get for him. He would go on there at night and would have to press clothes, and would have 10 or 12 suits to press. That was his principal duty; and another night he would have only one or two. He would not have much, and he would have enough that he could get along all right and that it would do until he could get strong, and I believed he should have an opportunity to learn an occupation wherein he could sit down most of the time, especially as he is 42