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Mr. MILLER. Well, I merely made the inquiry because I want to be fair, and I can not assume from what I have seen in the testimony and have read in the newspapers that such an order was .erer officially drawn up, but the testimony and the reports that we get seem to show that there was a piece of paper in the files of the Federal Board for Vocational Education somewhere which contained upon it the language of this so-called hard-boiled order, and whether it was actually issued or not, I mention it to bring before you gentlemen to-day the so-called state of mind of some of the gentlemen who have the administering of this law dealing with disabled soldiers, because I think the state of mind of some of their employees has a great deal to do with this difficulty.
The fact that their advisers can only be paid $2,400 a year as a maximum has been dwelt on here to-day. just want to touch on that in what I say. You can not get the right kind of men for $2,400 a year to act as advisers to these men that are coming up for advice unless you can get a man who has been through it himselfin other words, if you please, an ex-service man. If more ex-service men could in any way be employed by this board in dealing with their comrades, a whole lot of this trouble could be avoided because I note in the testimony, and particularly that of my friend, Mr. Wickersham, of the New York department of the legion, and Mrs. Jacobs, a number of instances are brought up which show that in some of these offices there are a number of employees who can not begin to appre riate the state of mind of the fellows who have been wounded and disabled, and it all goes back to the point I brought out in my opening statement that the American people as a whole do not appreciate and realize what these fellows have been through from the time they were hit at the front until they have come back through all of the hospitals and troopships and hospital ships till they get back on this side.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know whether it has been the policy of the board to employ ex-service men to assist them?
Mr. MILLER. I have not been able to find in what testimony I have read and what inquiries I have made that they have been over diligent in getting ex-service people in positions where they will come in contact with the disabled man.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you think of the resolution introduced by Congressman Green of Iowa, that the board be increased by an additional member, requiring that member to be an ex-service man?
Mr. Miller. The Green bill is a bill that the American Legion looks with favor upon, but that is only one man at he head, Doctor, who would be here in Washington with the board. You have got to have more men sprinkled out in the offices throughout the country who are ex-service men in order for them to have in their own mind a state of mind that will cause them when an ex-service man comes in, to know just what it is that he needs.
The CHAIRMAN. One of vour recommendations, then, would be to employ ex-service men to make the contact ?
Mr. MILLER. To employ more ex-service men to make the contact with the disabled soldier.
The CHAIRMAN. Now I do not know, but I am under the impression that that is being done. However, no member of the board or anyone employed under the board has been before the committee yet.
Mr. MILLER. Now, I do not want to go back over too much that may have been said by some of my predecessors, but it was said here in some of the testimony, I think, that was brought out, that Mrs. Jacobs took it upon herself, representing the Red Cross, to assist as many of these fellows as she possibly could, and nobody can read over her testimony or talk to her without realizing that there is a serious gulf there between the people who do represent the Federal board throughout the country and the wounded man that comes in to receive attention.
The CHAIRMAN. May I state that I have information that Mrs. Jacobs did not represent the Red Cross, and she was asked on the witness stand whether she represented the Red Cross and she said she did not.
Mr. MILLER. Well, whatever she represents, we believe that it has been done in a spirit of good will and helpfulness, and think that she accomplished a little—what little she accomplished was in a good cause. I will not go over the testimony she gave you here, but merely desire to accentuate the fact that a number of employees of the board are not in the proper state of mind nor have they had the proper experience to equip them to receive the disabled man so that he goes away from them feeling that he has gotten everything that he should have in the way of treatment and support.
Now, a second recommendation that we would make, therefore, would be that these employees of the Federal board receive more pay, if with the increase in that pay a proper safeguard is placed on the legislation so that ex-service men, preferably those who have been wounded themselves, receive employment, and that a raise in the salaries will not merely automatically boost the pay of a whole lot of people who may be incompetent at $2,400 a year and would not be any more competent at $3,000 or $3,600 a year. In other words, if you do follow the suggestion and enable the heads of the Vocational Board to make it more attractive for the right kind of men to come into the service, properly safeguard it so that you will get those men and not merely provide for an automatic increase of the salaries of employees now working for them.
The CHAIRMAN. That defect is in the law rather than in the administration ?
Mr. MILLER. Yes. With that, Dr. Fess, I am ready for you to ask me whatever questions you want.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you wish to ask the witness some questions, Judge Towner.
Mr. TOWNER. Yes. Mr. Miller, one of the recommendations that you have urged upon the committee is that there should be more employees.
Mr. MILLER. Yes.
Mr. TowNER. So that this long waiting for attention and action would be eliminated as much as possible?
Mr. MILLER. More and better paid employees.
Mr. TOWNER. The proposition has been suggested here, and I would like to have your opinion upon it, that instead of having 12 regional sections, divisions with central headquarters, that the matter should be a greater extent decentralized, and that contact with the soldiers should be made nearer their homes, that the larger divisions should be broken up into smaller ones and by that means more prompt attention could be given, and, perhaps, more sympathetic atention could be secured. What do you say to that proposition?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir. On October 9, 1919, testifying before the Committee on Rules, our first recommendation was the decentralization of the board's organization, broader powers, and more responsibilities to be given to the district officers, and directed attention to the duplication of work by those officers of the central office at Washington, that such duplication should cease.
Mr. TOWNER. How would you arrange the matter so that it would be necessary that these men should make a report to some central authority, or that there should be a central authority? You would not abolish the board, would you?
Mr. MILLER. No. We are not asking that the board be abolished. In a moment I was going to refer to a bill we introduced with reference to the consolidation of the board with the public health and with the war risk.
Mr. TOWNER. I would be glad to have your comment upon that proposition.
Mr. MILLER. The legion has drawn up a bill. It was introduced by Mr. Rogers, of Massachusetts, providing for the consolidation of the rehabilitation section of the Federal Board for Vocational Education, the Public Health Service, and the War Risk Insurance Bureau, all under one Cabinet position. We name in the bill the Secretary of the Treasury as the Cabinet officer to have all of this under him. That is in accordance with the resolutions we passed at Minneapolis and which has been introduced.
I will give you the number of the bill; I do not seem to have it here at hand.
Mr. TOWNER. Yes; I know the bill to which you refer. Your idea is to eliminate some of the delay in action on these cases.
Mr. MILLER. It would eliminate a great deal of what is commonly known as governmental red tape and would make one responsible head for all these agencies dealing with the disabled men under one head. It is H. R. 13407.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you please send that to the reporter so that it may be included in the record ?
Mr. MILLER. Yes. Mark that Exhibit B. That bill has the hearty support of the American Legion and we would like it to follow, if possible, the Darrow bill, even if necessary to bring out a special rule on it.
[II. R. 13407, Sixty-sixth Congress, second session.]
A BILL To transfer to the Bureau of War Risk Insurance of the Treasury Department the
care of the discharged sick or disabled soldiers, sailors, and marines, provided by the United States Public Health Service, and to transfer the vocational rehabilitation of disabled persons discharged from the military or naval forces of the United States from the Federal Board for Vocational Education to the Bureau of War Risk Insurance of the Treasury Department.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatires of the United States of America in ('orgress assembled, That the functions heretofore imposed upon the United States Public Health Service of the Treasury Depart
ment by an act approved March 3, 1919, to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to provide hospitals and sanitarium facilities for discharged sick or disabled soldiers, sailors, or marines, shall hereafter be performed by the Bureau of War Risk Insurance of the Treasury Department.
Sec. 2. That the functions heretofore imposed upon the Federal Board for Vocational Education by the act entitled "An act to provide for vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons disch red from the military or naval forces of the l'nited States, and for other purposes," approved June 27, 1918, as amended by the act approved July 11, 1919, shall hereafter be performed by the Bureau of War Risk Insurance of the Treasury Department.
Sec. 3. That all sums heretofore appropriated for the purpose of carryit g out the provisions of said acts shall, so far as unexpended, be made availabe for said Bureau of War Risk Insurance in the same manner as they have hitherto been available for the said t'nited States Public Health Service and for said Federal Board for Vocational Education.
SEC. 4. That all records, tiles, documents, and corresponder ce of whatever nature which are now in the possession of said United States Public Health Service and of said Federal Board for Vocational Education as a result of its admii istration of said acts shall be transferred to said Bureau of War Risk Insurar ce. SEC. 5. That this act shall take effect thirty days after its passage.
Mr. TOWNER. I would like to have you discuss this proposition a little further with regard to decentralization, taking, for instance, the case of New York, where at one headquarters the city of New York and the State of New York, together with the entire States of New Jersey and Connecticut, is in the immediate control and direction of one office in New York City. Is that wise action, do you think, in the interests of the soldiers ?
Mr. MILLER. To have it decentralized ?
Mr. MILLER. We believe that the territory covered by that New York office is so vast and that it contains within its limits so many thousands of these men, because that section of the country supplied more than its quota of men, and the divisions and units from that territory were long engaged in battle, that the State of New York should be divided up, if necessary, into two districts in order that we can have all the cases cleared up, get them in their training, and get them on their way, so that the whole matter can be closed up. you do not close up these cases you are going to arouse a feeling of discontent among some of the men that will not make them as good citizens and will create a feeling of what we call “ bolshevism amongst them.
Mr. TOWNER. I quite agree with you about the prime necessity of trying to rehabilitate the boys and passing on their cases as rapidly as possible. I would like to have your opinion on this suggestion, which has been made, that the congressional districts be made throughout the country with the exception of where they are in large cities, that the congressional districts should be made the unit with, perhaps, one representative of the vocation board in each congressional district, who should call to his aid the various soldiers' associations, such as the American Legion and the Red Cross and others who would be voluntarily interested in assisting in the work in order that they might have more immediate contact with the soldiers and therefore be able to pass upon them more quickly and pass upon them more intelligently and more sympathetically than they
do to-day and advise them when they are required to report. What have you to say upon that proposition?
Mr. MILLER. And have in each congressional district an office that has authority to act ?
Mr. TOWNER. Yes.
Mr. MILLER. I will say, Judge Towner, I just jotted some figures down as you were talking, to see what it would cost. If you could put through anything like that, we realize that in a great many of the congressional districts, of course, with only say, a hundred thousand or more men spread throughout the country who need this attention, there would probably be little work for some of them to do. It might, of course, be used as a means of rewarding people for political favor. But if in only a few congressional districts where the conditions are congested, it would aid in clearing up these cases and get the men on their way, we would heartily indorse it, in spite of the wastage of money that might be in other congressional districts.
It would be a very happy way of handling the situation. It would not cost, comparatively speaking, very much. You would not want a cheap man in each district. You would have to have a fairly well paid man and in each congressional district he could get co- peration from the American Legion and from soldiers' organizations very effectively. If it were done, he could through the posts find out each man in the district and the American Legion is not selfish in helping the ex-service man, no matter to what organization he belongs, and with each post in each congressional district working in that way it would not be very long before you would have the man started on his way or it would be shown that he did not want to be started on his way and his case could be disposed of.
Mr. TOWNER. There would probably be a loss, of course. There would be a considerable loss because large cities would not need and it would not be practicable to have men in each congressional district in the larger cities.
Mr. MILLER. No.
Mr. TOWNER. It would probably need about 400 men, more or less, that, as representatives of the board, and that man probably could be paid or work by some volunteer and cooperation among the various people who would be interested in it. In your judgment, would that very largely increase the cost of the work?
Mr. MILLER. No. If you had 400 men and paid them $3,000 a year and kept them on the whole year, it would only cost $1,200,000.
The CHAIRMAN. It would not take 400 men.
Mr. MILLER. It would be money well spent and would be an excellent idea.
Mr. TOWNER. You said also among your recommendations that there should be more pay for employees. I am in entire agreement with you upon that proposition.
Mr. MILLER. Not that we are particularly interested, I say to you frankly, in the pay the employees receive, but we want to get better men for the care of the disabled men.
Mr. TOWNER. That is, of course, the whole proposition.
Mr. MILLER. We are not here to secure increases for people in the civil service.