« PreviousContinue »
Galloway, Dr. George B., letter of April 2, 1949, from, to Hon. William
HOME RULE AND REORGANIZATION FOR THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MONDAY, MARCH 28, 1949
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:30 a. m. in the District of Columbia Committee room, Capitol Building, Senator Estes Kefauver (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senators Kefauver and Smith of Maine.
I have asked, and he will testify again later on, Dr. George B. Galloway of the Legislative Reference Service, who was on the staff of the Auchincloss committee in the last Congress, which did such a monumental job in analyzing the problems of the District of Columbia and in coming forth with an excellent legislative proposal, which, because of the log jam in the House of Representatives, never came up for final consideration, to prepare and read into the record an analysis of this bill as compared with the Auchincloss proposal and the proposal of the Democratic Central Committee of the District of Columbia, and of the Home Rule Committee and other organizations, I believe, which have made proposals.
Any comments that you want to make on any parts of this bill, we will be very glad to have.
STATEMENT OF DR. GEORGE B. GALLOWAY, LEGISLATIVE
Dr. GALLOWAY. Mr. Chairman, my name is George B. Galloway. I am senior specialist in American Government in the Legislative Reference Service. During the Eightieth Congress I was staff director of the Subcommittee on Home Rule and Reorganization of the House Committee on the District of Columbia.
At your request I will present to the committee a comparative analysis of
the Kefauver and Auchincloss bills, pointing out several minor respects in which they differ, and five major points of difference.
For purposes of clarity, I will refer to the bills as the Senate bill and the House bill.
In the first place, the Senate bill reduces the Council from 12 to 9 members. This will have the advantage of shortening the ballot.
Second, the Senate bill provides a higher rate of compensation for, and expenses for, the Chairman of the District Council, presumably to compensate him for the extra cost of his office. The extra pay for the Chairman is $5,000, compared with $3,000 for the other members of the council; and he would be allowed expenses of $3,000 a year.
In the third place, the Senate bill changes the title of the head of the Council from Mayor to Chairman. The House bill authorizes the Council to remove the Manager, while the Senate bill limits the contract for his employment to 2 years.
In my opinion the bill should provide that the Manager should be removable at any time. There is an apparent inconsistency in the Senate bill in this respect, for if the Manager is to be employed at the pleasure of the Council, and if at the same time he is to have a contract of employment running for 2 years, how could he be removed sooner than that in the event that he loses the confidence of the Council ?
The Senate bill drops the proviso in the House bill applying civilservice laws and regulations to the Manager's appointments and removals. The Senate bill also extends the appointment and removal power of the Manager to positions formerly held by members of the Board of Commissioners.
Furthermore, the Senate bill omits sections of the House bill providing for an Acting District Manager and for a District Archives, provisions which in my opinion are not essential.
Again the Senate bill reduces the budget title from some 17 to 5 sections, leaving budgetary details to be fixed by the council, dropping congressional review of the District budget, and providing for its adoption not later than June 15 instead of April 30, changes which in my opinion are an improvement over the House bill.
Furthermore, the Senate bill reduces the borrowing title from 14 to 5 sections by dropping the provisions for the maturity, payment, and redemption of bonds, by raising the debt limit from 3 to 5 percent of the assessed value of taxable real property in the District, and by dropping the requirement that bond issues be approved by Congress. These changes are also, I think, an improvement, Mr. Chairman, over the House bill.
Furthermore, the Senate bill reduces part 1 of the financial administration title from 12 to 8 sections by authorizing the Council to provide by ordinance for the activities which are spelled out in detail in this title of the House bill, a simplification of these provisions.
Again, part 3 of title VIII provides for the adjustment of Federal and District expenses so as to reimburse the creditor government for the net cost of intergovernmental services. No similar provision is found in the House bill, except for the support of the Federal courts in the District and for payments to the retirement fund.
Both bills streamline the administrative structure of the District government into two functional departments with the following two differences. First, the Senate bill requires the cost of maintaining and improving National Park Service facilities used by the District Recreation Department for public recreation programs to be borne by the District of Columbia; whereas the House bill makes such cost a Federal expense. And, second, councilmanic resolutions authorizing the Director of Public Works to acquire land for recreational use over the disapproval of the Planning Commission would require two-thirds vote under the Senate bill, instead of a three-fourths vote under the House bill, because of the change in the size of the Council from 12 to 9 members.
Furthermore, title X of the Senate bill which deals with certain agencies not directly under the manager is identical with title 12 of the House bill, with the following single exception, that under the Senate bill the first appointees to the Public Utilities Commission would be by the Chairman of the Council instead of by the President of the United States. This seems all right, because the incumbent Commissioners have already been appointed by the President.
Furthermore, the Senate bill reduces the size of the Board of Education from eight to seven members. It increases the compensation of its members from $10 to $20 per meeting attended, and it omits the section of the House bill denying free instruction in the District public schools for nonresident pupils. This provision also has the advantage of shortening the local ballot.
The elections title of both bills are the same, except for about 10 differences which I will point out to the committee. There are necessary changes, first, in the time of the elections. Second, the Senate bill provides only for general and not for primary elections, which will reduce the cost of elections in the District.
Third, the Senate bill does not provide for the election of a Delegate to Congress, on which I will comment further a little later. Fourth, the Senate bill does not provide for numbering the places on the Council and the Board of Education, a provision of the House bill which is a hang-over from an earlier version of the Auchincloss bill, which divided the District into four election areas.
Five, both of these bills provide for staggered 4-year terms of office for both the Council and the Board of Education, but the number to be elected alternately to the Council is changed from 6 and 6 to 4 and 5 as the result of the reduction in the size of the Council from 12 to 9; while the number to be elected alternately to the Board of Education is changed from 4 and 4 to 3 and 4, with the corresponding reduction in the size of that Board from 8 to 7.
Furthermore, under the Senate bill candidates are to be elected by a plurality instead of by a majority of the votes cast. The effect of this may narrow the difference in the votes received by the winning and losing candidates, especially in the early years of the new scheme of arrangements where many candidates may offer themselves for both these bodies.
Seven, in defining the resident qualification of electors, the Senate bill uses the language, “Any person who has maintained a domicile or place of abode in the District," whereas the House bill says, "All persons who have resided or have been domiciled in the District," an inconsequential change, I take it.
Furthermore, the Senate bill omits the literacy test for registration required by the House bill. Such a test in my opinion is unnecessary in the most literate city in the United States.
The Senate bill omits the requirement of the House bill for the execution of a registration affidavit, which we put in the House bill as a further safeguard of the suffrage. Finally, the final difference between these two bills, so far as the method of elections is concerned, is that the Senate bill omits the provisions of the House bill for keeping the registry open for å stated period, for keeping the registry accurate and current, and for purging the registration lists, matters which can be left to the board of elections.