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Mr. STAFFORD. You stated a while ago that if granted these promotions your clerks would keep the work current. What would be the motive for keeping the work current, then, that is absent to-day?
Mr. BAITY. I would have more clerks to keep the work current. Mr. STAFFORD. It would not be by reason of working overtime? Mr. Baity. No, sir.
Mr. STAFFORD. You also made the statement that they would be imbued with a spirit to work additional time.
Mr. Baity. I did not have that in mind, but that would obtain.
Mr. STAFFORD. Have any modern methods been installed in your office recently to reduce the amount of clerical work?
Mr. Barty. We changed the system of work and have been satisfied with the results. I suppose you have in mind our adoption of comptometer machines in making calculations. That has proven a success.
Mr. STAFFORD. That has resulted in saving the time of the clerks?
Mr. Baity. Yes, sir. We are now making all of the calculations upon the comptometer machines with considerably fewer clerks than were required before.
Mr. STAFFORD. How many superannuated clerks have died in the past vear?
Mr. BAITY. I think three or four.
Mr. STAFFORD. There are over 60 still in the department over 75 years of age?
Mr. Baity. Yes, sir; their average age is over 75.
Mr. STAFFORD. Will you state the character of the contracts that were made by the Army authorities that you think were not in proper form, or contracts that may have been censurable in some particular?
Mr. BAITY. Well, when I made that statement a while ago I had in mind, for instance, the movement of large numbers of troops. They wanted to get them to the border as quickly as possible and they would order a train. The soldiers would be sent down there in trains, and there is always a lowest possible rate for transportation, and the arrangements were not always made in the same manner that they might have been made if the man who made the contract had had time to go carefully into it and get the lowest possible rate.
Mr. STAFFORD. Was that contract made by State officials, or was it made with the authorization of the War Department?
Mr. BAITY. Thev are made by the War Department.
Mr. Stafford. You say that you are proceeding at present to correct those excess charges?
Mr. Baity. We always do that. This particular circumstance is nothing new. That is our duty, and we uncover a lot of things.
Mr. STAFFORD. These railroads will receive the minimum charge rather than what was specified in the contract ?
Mr. Baity. Yes, sir. We have recovered many thousands of dollars in that way.
Mr. STAFFORD. Are there any other instances where there have been overcharges due to the pressure for time occasioned by the demands for troops on the border?
Mr. Barry. No, sir; I would not say specifically so; but, as a general proposition, you understand, all business is generally conducted in a more satisfactory way under normal conditions than it is when you have a rush time on. I am not charging anyone with neglect
or anything of that sort, but it just happens that way when conditions are pressing.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1916.
OFFICE OF AUDITOR FOR SAVY DEPARTMENT.
STATEMENT OF MR. EDWARD L. LUCKOW, AUDITOR FOR THE
Mr. Byrys. You are asking for an increase of nine in your present force and to omit one laborer.
Mr. LUCKOW. A net increase of eight altogether, four of them to be employed an comptometer operators, and the others, outside of one extra messenger, are to be regular clerks.
Mr. BYRNS. What is the occasion for the increase?
Mr. Luckow. I guess I can tell you briefly. In 1911 our force was reduced by 17 clerks, and at that time the naval appropriation amounted to $131,000,000. The appropriations since have gradually grown until the past year it reached $152,000,000, and still we have been able to keep abreast with the work fairly well—that is, the current work with the reduced force. Now, however, a condition is confronting us, and we will no longer be able to continue with the present force and keep up with the work on account of the great in
For instance, in the number of enlisted men in the Vary, there has been a material increase.
In the past three years there has been an increase of 6,664 up to last March, and it would now run over 7,000 more enlisted men, I think, than we had three years ago. There has also been a substantial increase in the Marine Corps. The work has been multiplying
in all the branches, and this increase is asked for simply to keep • abreast of the work as it is at the present time. I have some pride in the matter of keeping the force down, and that is one reason why we have been able to get along up to the present time with a reduced force, as compared with the force in 1911, when the naval appropriation was only $131,000,000. The reason we have been able to keep the work up as near as we have is because we have rearranged the office and the force, and by applying more modern methods we have been able to keep up with the work fairly well. We have installed, beginning with the 1st of August, comptometer machines-new computing machines, with which you are perhaps familiar—and they have already proven a success, and they will be a greater success in the future, because one of those calculating machines will do the work of about three computers, ordinarily. However, we must have experts on those machines.
Mr. BYRNS. How many of them have you?
Mr. Luckow. We have got to have at least four experts, and that is all we ask for. We are putting from two to four of our regular force on the machines, but we must have at least four experts, because there is not much use of having the machines unless you can put experts on them, and one of those machines with an expert or a competent operator will do as much work as three average clerks will by mental process.
Mr. Byrxs. What grade of clerk do you put on those machines?
Mr. Luckow. Two $1,200 clerks whom we have had learning the · machines, and then two clerks have been using other calculating machines, and they are two clerks at $900. Therefore, it is only with the improved methods and by making the best possible use of our entire force, including messengers and laborers, who are doing semiclerical work, that we have been able to keep up with the work in spite of the increase in the naval appropriation. In addition to that, we all realize that in another year the appropriation will be much greater. I think, as I remember it now, the naval appropriation will be between $317,000,000 and $320,000,000, but we are not figuring on that now.
We are simply trying to put the office in such condition that we can take care of the work and have it up to date. When the avalanche caused by the recent much greater appropriation may strike us, of course, we are not prepared to say what it will do, but it naturally follows that there will be considerable increase in the work of the office when the new appropriation takes effect, but it has not as yet taken effect.
Mr. Byrns. Then, you say this estimate for an increased force is not made with a view to the increase of work that will come by reason of the increased appropriation?
Mr. Luckow. No; it is because we have been running behind on account of the increase of the work in the last five years.
Mr. Byens. What is the condition of the work in your office now with reference to being current or up to date?
Mr. Luckow. We are not current. We are practically, you might say, three-quarters of a year behind; in other words, I will say we have on hand now perhaps 200 more accounts up for settlement than we had on hand a year ago.
Mr. Byrxs. How about your work at the present time; are you able to keep it up to its present condition, or are you falling further behind ?
Mr. Luckow. We have been gradually falling behind. However, since installing these comptometers and having, temporarily, experts on them, who are paid out of the contingent fund of the Treasury, we have been able to catch up to a small degree. We hope by this increase, within a year, to be practically up to date.
Mr. Byrns. Have you any details to or from your office?
Mr. Luckow. We have, off and on. At present we have two from the Register of the Treasury—one lady and one gentleman.
Mr. Byrns. None from your office?
Mr. Luckow. One at $1,800 and one at $900 from the office of the Register of the Treasury. Occasionally we are called upon to send details from our office, but at the present time there is no one detailed. The reason we are called upon to send a clerk on detail is because that clerk is familiar with a certain grade of work in the Treasury Department and has done it in the past, so when such a condition arises and they get behind, they ask for a particular clerk to be detailed to some branch of the department to do that particular work.
Mr. Byrys. Did I understand you to say you were three-quarters behind in your work?
Mr. LUCKOW. We have been; yes.
Mr. LUCKOW. We are gradually catching up. It is difficult to state just what the status of the work is, because when we put in these machines on the 1st of August we also reorganized the whole office force; in other words, we have adopted a new system of accounting, and we are trying that out now. It has been in vogue since the 1st of August, but has not been in effect long enough to really give you any satisfactory information as to what has been done or what we hope to do; but there is a tendency in the direction of catching up, and I think if we can continue as we are going now, in the course of a year we will catch up and be up to date, and that is why I have asked for these four comptometer operators, because the persons engaged on that work now are only temporary clerks, and they are paid out of the contingent fund of the Treasury. They are there because there is no use having these comptometers, which is really the latest caleulating machine on the market, unless you have experts or near experts to operate them; and just as soon as a condition can be brought about by appropriations so we can have regular clerks—that is, four comptometer operators—the others will be dropped who are now temporarily on the rolls.
Mr. Bynns. Then you have now four temporary clerks on these machines
Mr. Luckow. No; I beg your pardon; we have three now, but we . need four trained operators.
Mr. Byrns. What class clerks do you propose to put on these machines?
Mr. LUCKOW. Two at $1,200 and two at $1,000. We also have two $1,200 clerks on those machines from our regular force.
Mr. BYRNs. And two at $900 ?
Mr. Luckow. Yes; from our regular force; because we have to provide for emergencies in case of absence by annual leave or sickness. We have to figure on those machines being in operation all the time because that, in a way, is the source of supply. The work is parceled out, and if the comptometer operators are behind, then everything else lags, according to the new system we have adopted. We used to give an individual clerk a whole account, but now we split it up, and the computing is done by these people who operate these machines, rather than have a clerk do it by mental process.
Mr. Byrxs. Why do you need an additional assistant chief of division?
Mr. Luckow. We do not. He is performing the duties now. He has been the Chief or Assistant Chief in the Claims Division for many years and has rendered valuable service, and all through the different branches of the service in the Treasury Department, and I believe in other departments as well, the chiefs and assistant chiefs are getting $2,000. That is true in our oflice, with the exception of this one assistant chief in the Claims Division, and he really should have the same pay that the other assistant chiefs and chiefs get, and here was an opportunity to recognize him, because by asking for that increase, instead of an $1,800 clerk, it leaves a vacancy there, so we can promote one clerk to $1,800 and another from $1,600 to $1,800 and one from $1,100 to $1,600, and so on. He should have
been recognized long ago, because he is the only assistant chief I know of who is not getting $2,000.
Mr. STAFFORD. You do not differentiate in salary between the chief of division and the assistant chief of division?
Mr. Luckow. No; the chief gets $2,000, and the assistant chief should get $2,000.
Mr. STAFFORD. If your office was in the perfect condition that you aim to have it, how long would it take for an account to be audited before the contractor would receive his money!
Mr. Luckow. That depends on circumstances, Mr. Stafford; sometimes we have to hold up an account because the vouchers may be faulty. There may be some errors or little discrepancies occurring here and there in it.
Mr. STAFFORD. Assuming everything is regular, what length of time would be consumed in auditing an account if you had an adequate force?
Mr. Luckow. It may be a few days and it may be as long as four months, depending on circumstances and what it might be necessary to look up and check up.
Mr. STAFFORD. I suppose there are complaints registered because you are so far behind in the auditing of the accounts?
Mr. Luckow. No; not as a rule; we overcome that, because if anyone seems anxious and is inclined to complain we make it special. We mark the account special or the claim special, and it goes through much quicker.
Mr. STAFFORD. Of course, it is not fair to the contractor to hold up his payments for three-quarters. Mr. LUCKOW. No, sir.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1916.
OFFICE OF AUDITOR FOR THE INTERIOR DEPJRTMENT.
STATEMENT OF MR. OSCAR A. PRICE, AUDITOR FOR THE
Mr. Byrxs. Mr. Price, the only change in the estimates that you have submitted is in the position known as expert accountant at $2,000.
Mr. PRICE. Yes, sir; that is the only change, except the dropping of the lump-sum appropriation for the rental of mechanical devices.
Mr. BYRNS. Will you tell the committee why you want an expert accountant?
Mr. PRICE. In May of this year I reorganized the office in the manner of the settlement of accounts. Previous to that time an account would go to one clerk who would finish it completely throug. all of the preliminaries and make the final statement.
I orgaliized the office or bureau in sections—a recording section, a computing section, a checking section, an individual Indian money section, a reviewing section, and a stating section, graded the work and assigned the clerks accordingly. In doing this I took one of my clerks and told him of my plan and put him in charge of it. He is