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STEPS TAKEN TO MEET CONSTANTLY RISING WORKLOAD
During the last fiscal year, 1966, the Legislative Reference Service handled 117,000 inquiries as a total. Now, how do you handle a workload that has gone up fivefold with a staff that has hardly doubled ? We have tried to absorb some of the increased workload by devising new techniques and procedurers. For example, in some instances we have realined our staff. Several years ago we established a Natural Resources Division to concentrate on such subjects as agriculture, forestry, minerals, flood control, water pollution, and the like. More recently we established a Science Policy Research Division to provide assistance to Members in science and science-related areas. During the current fiscal year we established a Reference Division to handle most of the constitutent inquiries referred to the Service, and to handle the sort of inquiries we get from Members that can be answered very quickly, almost over the telephone.
To meet recurring inquiries on the same issue or general problem, we now make much use of the multilith process. When an issue gets hot and there are many requests for reports on the same sort of thing, we multilith a general report. Each month we send to each congressional office our "green sheet,” which lists the reports we multilithed during the past month. This sindicating] is the green sheet" that will be issued this week covering reports we issued last month.
I have a few reports here; let me give you some of the titles to illustrate the types of reports that we multilith:
This report is entitled "Precedents of the House of Representatives Relating to Exclusion, Expulsion, and Censure.” You realize, of course, that issues involved in the Powell case resulted in an influx of inquiries on this subject.
Here is another, "Federal Tax Sharing: Historical Development and Arguments For and Against Recent Proposals."
Here is another, “Wiretapping and Eavesdropping: An Appraisal of the Legal Issues Arising From Their Use."
Mr. ANDREWS. Do you prepare those reports on your own initiative or as a result of inquiries ?
Mr. Jayson. These are always started as the result of a request, and when we realize it is the kind of subject on which we will have other requests, in order to save time we will multilith the report.
Here is another, "Rail Rapid Transit for the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area," and one on “Compensation for Victims of Crimes of Violence," and so on.
As a result of our "green sheet,” which is sent automatically to congressional offices and committees monthly, more than 2,000 copies of our reports are distributed every month.
Another shortcut: We make very extensive use of xeroxing and photocopying of reports, articles, and materials to send to offices. Sometimes we find we do not have time to prepare a report of our own or that the fastest thing to do is to reproduce an article and send it to a Member's office. Last year our photocopying machines recorded over 50,000 reproductions. This year, as of the end of March, we had exceeded 650,000 reproductions, so that is rising rapidly.
We have organized teams of researchers to meet urgent issues and to turn out the more extensive studies requested of us. Our people have worked weekends and overtime throughout the year. We have
organized crash programs from time to time to meet part of exceptional backlogs. We have also turned to other departments of the Library for help from their staffs.
But when that is all said and done, we are still in rough shape because we simply have not had sufficient manpower to absorb the overall increase in our workload. We made a spot check of our arrearage on March 1 of this year. We found we had over 1,400 inquiries pending in our division. We asked our researchers to estimate the time it would take to answer them and we totaled up their information. We estimated we had a total backlog of almost 2,000 man-days of research work to complete.
WORKLOAD FLUCTUATIONS OVER THE YEAR I brought along a chart that we keep in our Inquiry Unit, where inquiries are received from Members and committees, where they are recorded, and then distributed to the research divisions. Each day the inquiries that have been recorded are totaled up, and at the end of the week the weekly total is posted on the chart. We have been keeping this chart for 7 years. It is not completely accurate because while it covers the recorded inquiries, it does not cover inquiries for multilith reports or spot telephone calls, which come in the thousands, but it is a very useful management tool.
There are three points reflected on this chart with regard to our workload that I want to call to your attention. The first is, you can observe an almost identical pattern of intake of workload over the year throughout the 7-year period. The peak workload period comes in February, March, and April; it levels off during the summer months, and then it picks up and rises sharply in the fall. You will notice the peaks and valleys follow each other every year.
The second point I want to make is that each year the peak load goes higher and higher. In calendar year 1966 we thought we had reached quite a record, but, already in 1967 it has gone much higher. In fact, the peak has gone off the chart into the margin and we thought it would go off the chart entirely. This indicates our workload will be like this (indicating] this year, with calendar 1967 well above 1966.
The third point I want to make is that the period during which the peak remains high has been lengthening every year. In other words, the period of sustained high volume activity grows longer each year.
The chart shows something about the increased workload but, of course, it does not tell the whole story. Personally I dislike to get too involved in statistics; while they are useful, they do not tell the whole story. For example, statistics do not record the fact, when we total up the inquiries over a year, that one inquiry may be a telephone call asking, "Who wrote the Frank Merriwell books?" or "Who is our Ambassador to France?” which are inquiries that can be answered immediately, on the phone. Compare that to a request for a report on Soviet space programs during the last 5 years. Here is an actual report that we prepared that covers the Soviet space programs from 1962 to 1963, their goals and purposes, achievements, plans, and international implications. This took many months of work by a team of people.
EXAMPLES OF RESEARCH REPORTS ISSUED
Mr. ANDREWS. Who made the request for that report?
Mr. Jayson. The Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences.
There are a great many of these. I have brought only a few as samples:
Congress and the Monopoly Problem, History of the Congressional Action in the Anti-Trust Field 1890–1966.
This was prepared for the Select Committee on Small Business. Election Law Guidebook.
Information of Importance to Candidates for Office of U.S. Representative in the 90th Congress.
Mr. ANDREWS. Who requested that?
Mr. Jayson. That was prepared for the Special Committee to Investigate Campaign Expenditures in 1966, the House committee.
Another is “Catalog of Federal Aids to State and Local Governments.” This is one of three volumes on that subject.
Mr. ANDREWS. Who requested that?
Mr. JAYSON. A subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Government Operations.
Here is a report on "Policy Planning for Aeronautical Research and Development." The theme was, while we are spending so much money on our space programs, are we ignoring aviation ?
“A Case Study of the Utilization of Federal Laboratory Resources." “Resolved: That the United States Should Substantially Reduce Its Foreign Policy Commitments," containing some of the debate material we prepare each year for the college and high school debate teams.
"Profile of Youth,” which is a rather extensive report based on questionnaires sent out to various agencies.
"Enactments by the 89th Congress Concerning Education and Training."
This is just part of the recent work done by the Legislative Reference Service, mostly for committees. This is representative of the heavy workload.
The statistics do not reflect the work we did in connection with the Bill Digest this year in trying to expand and improve its coverage. We have not only expanded its coverage and given it a new format, but we will have to continue to maintain it on this new basis. It will require an additional and continuous input of time and manpower to maintain the improved version from now on.
Mr. ANDREWS. Just what does this Bill Digest show—the gist of the bills that have been passed by Congress ?
Mr. Jayson. From the time the first bill is introduced in the hopper until the close of the session we have a staff that summarizes every public bill that has been introduced, sometimes with a sentence or paragraph or two, and sometimes with a full column. The Digest indicates the name of the Member who sponsored the bill, the number of the bill, the committee to which it was referred, and a very brief abstract of the bill. It is indexed so that if you want to know what bills are pending, for example, with reference to lobbying or with reference to lotteries, you can find them when you refer to the index under those headings.
Mr. ANDREWS. Does any other agency do that work?
Mr. JAYSON. No, sir. When you say "other agencies” I take that to mean Federal agencies.
Mr. ANDREWS. You say no other Government agency puts out a digest like that?
Mr. JAYSON. Not that I know of. Some Government agencies may be doing it with regard to bills in which they have an interest, for their own agency staff, but not across the board.
The Bill Digest also indicates the legislative action taken on each bill.
Mr. ANDREWS. How often do you get that out?
Mr. Jayson. Approximately every 2 weeks during the session. It takes a great deal of effort. This is one of our operations that we think might be automated. But there, again, the statistics do not show the whole story of what we do in that regard.
REORGANIZATION BILL IMPACT
Finally, the proposed Legislative Reorganization Act of 1967, which has already passed the Senate and is now pending in the House Rules Committee, is going to require the Legislative Reference Service to undertake a whole variety of new responsibilities and services to assist the Congress. I certainly would hope we could have sufficient staff on hand to meet our current workload before these new duties come into being.
The $378,000 increase we are asking for 46 new positions will go a long way toward getting us to that point.
Mr. ANDREWS. Forty-six positions will give you a total of 304?
Mr. ANDREWS. I note on page 145 of the justifications that last fall the Legislative Reference Service "had to negotiate downward the intake and scope of inquiries because of its inability to handle them adequately.” Will you explain that?
Mr. Jayson. A typical situation would be when a committee wants a survey of the State laws throughout the country. To make a survey of all the State laws with reference to a particular subject would involve time and effort that would perhaps run 2 weeks. In that case we will talk to the committee and see if we can give a spot check of eight or nine States rather than examine the law of all 50 States.
NEW DIVISION FOR CONSTITUENT INQUIRIES
Mr. ANDREWS. We note at page 152 of the justifications that a new reference division has been established. Please describe the service rendered by this division.
Mr. Jayson. The reference division was set up in order to handle almost all of the constituent inquiries and take them away from the subject divisions, because we felt that when these constituent inquiries were in the subject divisions we were eroding the time of our research specialists which was needed for their congressional inquiries. We set it up largely with reference librarians who could handle the constituent inquiries on a mass production basis. That division also handles the fast reference type inquiries from Members, those that can be answered from standard reference books and almanacs. This is an enlargement of a reference unit we already had. We have found it very successful. At the present time it is absorbing more than 75 percent of all the constituent inquiries that we receive and it is handling them in a very rapid and efficient fashion, answering more than 80 percent within the first 2 days of their receipt. In addition the division handles newspaper searches, requests for material from the Congressional Record, and inquiries that relate to tabulations which can be prepared by people at a lower grade level.
SPACE FOR NEW EMPLOYEES Mr. ANDREWS. Will you have adequate office space for 46 additional employees?
Mr. JAYSON. Our hope is that with the Library obtaining more rental space this year this will release certain space from the other departments of the Library and we would be able to absorb the space in that way. Space would be extremely tight.
Mr. ANDREWS. You do not plan to rent any space that would require moving your people out of the Library?
Mr. Jayson. Our service requires that we stay close to Congress.
Mr. ANDREWS. Where is the Legislative Reference Service now located in the Library?
Mr. JAYSON. It is spread out in the main building and in the annex and even that dispersion has an adverse effect on our staff.
Mr. ANDREWS. If you are granted funds for 46 additional employees, will your new employees move into the Library or move out to rented space?
Mr. Jayson. It would be our hope that they would move into the Library. We would, of course, have to crowd the people in; we crowd them in corners now.
Mr. ANDREWS. Do they get in each other's way?
Mr. Jayson. Not to the extent that it affects the workload adversely. Conditions are not ideal.
Mr. ANDREWS. Sometimes you crowd them so much it is hard for them to concentrate on their work?
Mr. Jayson. We have not reached that point.
Mr. ANDREWS. You are requesting $42,481 for in grade increases and other increases, is that correct?
Mr. JAYSON. Yes, sir. Mr. ANDREWS. And you show a decrease in pay above stated annual rate of $10,726, is that correct?
Mr. Jayson. Yes, because there is one less working day in 1968. Mr. ANDREWS. This $42,481 request is mandatory, is that correct !
Mr. Jayson. Yes, and it also involves the promotion program which we have in the service. We have a career promotion program for our professionals which requires that every professional's work be re viewed once a year, and if it is determined that the man is perform. ing at a level above his grade, he gets a promotion.