Page images

The CHAIRMAN. In view of the fact that other witnesses who have been subpænaed are not able to be present to-day-Mr. Friedman can not be here and Mr. Wadsworth can not come until to-morrowthe committee will have to adjourn until 10 o'clock to-morrow morning. We will not have any afternoon session.

We would like to have the full membership of the committee tomorrow so that in case these witnesses come we can arrange for an afternoon session and, if necessary, an evening session.

The committee will stand adjourned until 10 o'clock to-morrow. Mr. Campbell, I wish you would wait to see Mr. Platt.

(Thereupon, at 11 o'clock p. m., the committee adjourned to meet again at 10 o'clock, Friday, April 9, 1920.) After hearing was over Mr. Campbell dictated the following:

The Red Cross paid for some treatment free of charge. They paid for some osteopathic treatments which I claim did not do me a whole lot of good.



Washington, Friday, April 9, 1920. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. Simeon D. Fess (chairman) presiding.



(The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.)

The CHAIRMAN. Give the stenographer your full name and your present address.

Mr. WADSWORTH, Francis. George Wadsworth, Southold, Long Island, N. Y.

The CHAIRMAN. What connection, if any, have you had with the rehabilitation work of the soldiers?

Mr. WADSWORTH. I took up work with the Federal Board for Vocational Education October 1, 1918, as supervisor of training for district 4, which includes Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. I remained in that position until December 25 or thereabouts, when I was sent by the Federal Board to France and England to cooperate in publicity work among our disabled boys overseas. On my return to the United States, I was assigned to work in the New York office and placed in the position of supervisor of placement, and after holding this position for about two months I was asked to take a position as supervisor of training for the New York district, which position I held until October 1, 1919.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wadsworth, you have noticed the charges made against the board, have you?

Mr. WADSWORTH. I have noted a variety of charges that have been made against the board.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you qualified to speak on these charges for or against ?

Mr. WADSWORTH. I doubt if I should appear in the position of making charges for or against the board. I should prefer to appear as giving information for the improvement of the work toward the disabled soldier.

The CHAIRMAN. Without regard to the charges?
Mr. WADSWORTH. Without regard to the charges.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee would be very glad to have your view upon the matter of the improvement of the service.

Mr. WADSWORTH. Have I permission to present, in a more or less consecutive form, my relations to the original organization of the board and its work?

The CHAIRMAN. The committee would be very glad to have any observations that you have to make.

Mr. WADSWORTH. I took occasion within two weeks of the time of severing my connection with the board to write up briefly what I thought were important factors with regard to the rehabilitation work, and with your permission I will read some of them.

The CHAIRMAN. If there is no objection on the part of the committee, and I am sure there will not be. We are very glad to have you place that in the record, all of it, or just such parts as you want to read.

Mr. WADSWORTH. I would prefer, if I may, to use this material I have here, some notes which I have, as part of my general statement.

The CHAIRMAN. That will be satisfactory. The committee will probably ask you questions as you proceed.

Mr. WADSWORTH. I labeled this, for want of a better name: “L'. S. Experiment in Rehabilitation of Disabled Soldiers."

The CHAIRMAN. What date is this?
Mr. Wadsworth. This was written about October 15, 1919.

The CHAIRMAN. After you had severed your connection with the board?

The CHAIRMAN. May I ask you what your present work is?

Mr. Wadsworth. I am the educational secretary of the NassauSuffolk County Y. M. C. A., which includes practically the whole of Long Island.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.

Mr. WADSWORTH. The Smith-Sears Act was passed by Congress July 27, 1918. Under this act the Federal board proceeded to organize the department of rehabilitation and to establish procedure in accordance with the provisions of the law.

The CHAIRMAN. What is the date that you give of the SmithSears Act?

Mr. WADSWORTH. July 27, 1918.
The CHAIRMAN. June 27.
Mr. WaDsWORTH. Pardon me.

One of the first steps in initiating the work of rehabilitation was to secure a group of men who were authorized to study the rehabilitation work in Canada. At this time Canada had her reeducation program in operation, having started in 1916.

The men sent to Canada returned to the United States, and under the direction of Mr. Kidner and Dr. Miller, both of whom had had much to do with the organization and administration of the rehabili. tation problem in Canada, proceeded to lay out a plan of work for the United States.

Organization: The general organization for purposes of administration involved the establishment of a central office and 14 district offices, the offices being located with due regard to centers of population and transportation facilities. The central office was located in Washington, and I do not need to give the distriøt offices, I assume, inasmuch as they are well known.


Mr. WADSWORTH. The work of the staff of the central office was organized under the following heads—I can omit that, or, if it is desirable, I can give the heads of the departments.

The CHAIRMAN. For the sake of the record, you may give them.

Mr. Wadsworth. First, chief of division; second, superintendent of cooperation; third, superintendent of case work; fourth, superintendent of medical care; fifth, superintendent of records and returns; sixth, superintendent of advisement and training; seventh, superintendent of placement, with disbursing officer and minor executives.

The general duties of the several superintendents were outlined in the procedure adopted by the board, specific duties to be assigned by the chief of the division.

Unit organization: The 14 district offices were organized along parallel lines to that of the central office, and officers whose functions correspond with similar officers in the central office were selected.

The CHAIRMAN. I notice you are very careful not to go very rapidly. This is an official reporter. He will take it as fast as you will give it.

Mr. Wadsworth. The plan under which the Federal board selected the personnel at the beginning was sound and resulted in the selection of men qualified by training and experience for the work required. The plan, in brief, was as follows:

Careful study was made of the resources of the country to discover men with training and experience along vocational education lines. From this group men were selected and invited to Washington for a two weeks' school of instruction.

The school of instruction was under the direction of agents of the board, and in the course of the period of instruction excellent opportunity was afforded to study the personal characteristics of the candidate for appointment and at the same time to give them instruction as to the procedure in handling cases and in the administration of the district offices.

When men were determined upon as having satisfactory qualifications they were called by the personnel officer of the board and interviewed with respect to salary requirements and the type of service that they would be willing to undertake. Temporary appointments were made, the man being given a rating of “special agent” until such time as he should have passed the civil-service examinations to secure ratings of: (a) District vocational officer, (b) supervisor of advisement and training, (c) supervisor of placement, etc.

The CHAIRMAN. You refer to men who were appointed to help to administer the law ?

Mr. WADSWORTH. Yes; originally.
The CĐAIRMAX. Were all of them civil-service men?

Mr. WADSWORTH. They were appointed as special agents and given, as I understand it, six months' time in which to qualify under the civil service.

The CHAIRMAN. If they did not qualify, would they reject them?

Mr. WADSWORTH. I do not think they would reject them, providing there was another examination coming shortly after that time. They would be extended a month or two months or three months, until they could qualify under the new examination.

The CHAIRMAN. Is it your understanding that no one was appointed to administer or help administer the law that were not rated by the civil service.

Mr. WADSWORTH. I do not so understand. My own feeling in regard to the matter was that I must qualify within a record time, and I did.

The CHAIRMAN. That question has been raised is the reason I ask.

Mr. WADSWORTH. I think there are men who have served with the board for a long time without qualifying, but I am not prepared to state it authoritatively. That is just my opinion.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.

Mr. WADSWORTH. With regard to salaries, the plan appeared to be that in each case a man called from his regular employment was given an increase of $500 over the salary which he was receiving at the time of appointment, providing no salary, with the exception of the chief of the division, should exceed $4,000 per year. This increase was made so as to attract good men to the service of the board and at the same time cover costs incident to changing from one position to another.

A careful review of the men selected under this process, I am quite confident, will show that in the main these men have been retained by the board in responsible positions and have rendered effective and efficient service.

The rapid expansion of the work of the board made it necessary to secure a large number of employees quickly. The original plan, therefore, which involved two weeks' period of instruction, was discontinued, and men were selected on the basis of recommendations made to central office by district vocational officers. Such men secured their training on the job in the various district offices. Under this procedure many men were appointed to positions with the board whose qualifications were not so thoroughly scrutinized as in the case of the group selected under the plan outlined above. The result of this letting down of the standards of eligibility for appointment decreased the efficiency of the service in proportion to the weakness of the men selected.

The frequent changes in procedure and the general reduction of salaries which was made July 1, 1919, has, however, resulted in a large labor turnover, with the result that men who by reason of their service with the board had become efficient in handling cases are returning to their former occupations. The loss of the men who were selected originally by reason of their training and experience and who had become thoroughly proficient through their service with the Federal board in handling cases has severely handicapped and materially retarded the work of the board.

Advisement policy: Originally the plan for advisement was based upon the assumption that the men discharged from the military and naval service suffering from disability incurred in line of duty should be discharged through reconstruction hospitals.

It was our understanding that the Government planned to establish 16 such hospitals. In arranging, therefore, for the vocational advisement of disabled soldiers, sailors, and marines it was decided to place a sufficient number of advisers in each of the reconstruction hospitals to survey and advise all men prior to discharge from the

« PreviousContinue »