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FRIDAY, JULY 14, 1950.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATIONS
JOE B. BATES, Kentucky, Chairman SIDNEY R. YATES, Illinois
LOWELL STOCKMAN, Oregon FOSTER FURCOLO, Massachusetts EARL WILSON, Indiana
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
JOHN RUSSELL YOUNG, COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COLUMBIA LEE F. DANTE, ASSISTANT CORPORATION COUNSEL, DISTRICT OF
Mr. Bates. We will take up the supplemental estimates for fiscal year 1951 and prior fiscal years, as contained in House Document No. 640.
We will first take up the item of $6,000 for the Executive Office.
Mr. FOWLER. Mr. Chairman, the $6,000 is for the Executive Office. That sum will be needed in connection with the recent action of the Civil Service Commission increasing the Commissioners' salaries. This is an additional amount and comes about by reason of the action of the Civil Service Commission in upgrading the Commissioners' salaries to GS-17. That means it will require for that small Office the sum of $2,000 for each civilian Commissioner, to meet that increase.
In addition to that, in the Budget Office, I have an employee who has been with us for quite a number of years and is now around 62. He contemplates retirement September 30th. His salary approximates $6,000. It will be necessary for us to have $2,000 to pay him for his accumulated leave. That is the reason we are asking for the $6,000. It is an amount of money that our small Office cannot absorb.
You are passing the Civilian Defense, I understand. The next item, then, would be the Office of the Administrator of Rent Control. Robert F. Cogswell will justify the item. It is shown on page 14.
OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATOR OF RENT CONTROL
ROBERT F. COGSWELL, ADMINISTRATOR OF RENT CONTROL
Mr. Bates. The next item is for the Office of Administrator of Rent Control in the amount of $113,100. You may proceed, Mr. Cogswell
Mr. CogsweLL. Mr. Chairman, I do not have a copy of that before me. Our appropriation request when it was prepared some months ago was fixed on a yearly basis. Then you may recall that the question of whether or not our act would be continued was held in abeyance almost until the very last 10 days of June. Then the question was whether it would be for 6 months, with a recommendation from the Commissioners to extend it for a year, or whether it would be 7 months and the recommendation then to be made to Congress.
It was finally passed with a seven months' extension, with the right of Congress to continue it, if they felt it necessary after January 31, 1951.
The appropriation request is the same as that for last year with the exception that an item of approximately $34,000 for terminal leave was inserted because of the fact that it is doubtful whether the act would be continued unless the present emergency, which has happened since we were talking about the extension of the act, creates more anxiety.
I might explain to the committee that $34,000 looks to be quite a large amount of money, but we have several things which have to be taken into consideration.
First, this represents terminal leave accumulated over a period of 9 years.
The Office of the Administrator of Rent Control was a war agency, and during the war considerable difficulty was encountered in maintaining the staff due to the fact that personnel was very difficult to obtain. As a result, it became necessary for me to issue orders that leave would not be granted to any personnel for a longer period than 10 days or 2 weeks. In fact, at times it was necessary to refuse to grant any leave at all. As a result, leave has accumulated as shown here.
I might say in this connection that a number of employees in the office have lost their accumulated leave because of the limitation provided in connection with the accumulation of annual leave. The total would be considerably more but for the fact that in the recent years there has been quite a turn-over of personnel in the office, ranging from the general counsel down to the messenger.
Just prior to the Korean incident, I had been informed that one of the examiners was seriously considering an offer to leave, and now I have this situation: Two men in the office, one an examiner and one an investigator—the only investigator—are both in the Active Reserve, one in the Air Force and the other in the Marines. In fact, the one in the Marines is down at Camp Lejeune. They may be called at any time.
It is my understanding that if they are called then the terminal leave which may be due them has to be paid. So, the question of
having this terminal leave in here is brought about by reason of the fact that if we are not extended on January 31, 1951, that will have to be paid.
Now, I might also add that since this trouble has started the number of cases filed in the office has increased considerably. Of course, in general, a great many landlords thought that rent control would not be continued. For example, in June we had 531 cases filed, which is quite a low number. However, between the 1st of July and yesterday we have had 619 filed, and I had an owner in to see me only a few days ago who is now preparing papers to file 400.
Several of the larger apartment buildings through their counsel have informed me unofficially that they are going to do it. If this situation gets worse I know from past experience that we will get a deluge of petitions for increases in rent, because everyone will want to get at the top of the pile in relation to having them disposed of.
I think that is the general over-all statement, Mr. Chairman. If you have any questions I will try to answer them, sir.
COMPARISON OF APPROPRIATIONS
Mr. Bates. Last year I believe you had $135,500. Was that the amount of money you had last year?
Mr. COGSWELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. Bates. For 7 months this year you are asking $113,100, is that right?
Mr. Cogswell. Yes, sir; I think that is right. As I say, the District Building had to make that up at the last minute.
Mr. FOWLER. $113,100. That is right.
Mr. BATES. That makes your request, based on an annual basis, almost double last year. How do you justify that?
Mr. COGSWELL. I think that is brought about, Mr. Chairman, by reason of the fact that there is the leave of $34,000 included in there. We have no more employees than we had last year, and it might be that there are some in-grade promotions.
With regard to this $2,260 for communications services, how do you plan to use that, Mr. Cogswell?
Mr. COGSWELL. That is telephone service, Mr. Chairman. That is telephone and postage stamps. We have to use mail stamps.
Mr. YATES. You say you have the same number of employees proposed for this next year as you had last year?
Mr. COGSWELL. For 7 months, with this statement as I made to the chairman a moment ago that probably a number of them will leave. They had been planning to leave, because it was thought we would not be extended.
Then we have two men in the active Reserve, one in the Air Force and one in the Marines, who may be called out at any time.
My suggestion, Mr. Chairman, if I might make it, would be that since we are limited to 6 or 7 months here you should permit us to have this appropriation. Then if things should suddenly slide off on the one hand, at the end of that time if I honestly do not think it should be continued here I will say so the same way I said so with reference to rooming houses.
Mr. BATES. As I understand it, this $34,000 for annual leave plus the $11,300 a month for the 7 months would make it exactly what you had last year.
Mr. YATES. You do not contemplate any pay increases other than those warranted by law, do you?
Mr. COGSWELL. No.
HARRY S. WENDER, CHAIRMAN, RECREATION BOARD.
OPERATION OF PUBLIC GOLF COURSES
Mr. FOWLER. If we go over to page 21 we might take up recreation, if that is satisfactory. The school people are a little delayed.
Mr. BATES. Mr. Christiansen, we would be happy to hear from you at this time, with reference to your request for $275,000 to operate the public golf courses.
Mr. CHRISTIANSEN. Mr. Wender, the Chairman of the Board, would like to make a brief introductory statement.
Mr. WENDER. Mr. Chairman, if I may make a brief statement, I have a funeral to attend at 11 o'clock. I would like to say a few words and then turn over our proceeding to Mr. Christiansen and Mr. Schwab, the Vice Chairman of our Board.
Mr. BATES. You may proceed.
Mr. WENDER. May I say with respect to this request for an appropriation that during the 8 years and several months' period of our Recreation Board's existence we have constantly striven to accomplish the mandate put upon us by the Congress to operate all the recreation facilities in the District of Columbia. Included in those facilities are the golf courses. There is no point in going into detail as to the problems that have beset the Recreation Board with respect to the golf courses, but I am happy to report to this committee that we have at last achieved an accord with the Department of the Interior, and they are as much in support of this proposal as we are, because they do recognize that the Recreation Board is a proper agency to supervise, operate, and manage the golf courses of Washington.
All the problems involving ideologies are resolved, and they are convinced, as we are and as the District Commissioners are, that we have the know-how and the facilities to do the job.
Mr. Yates. When you say they have been resolved, what do you mean?
Mr. WENDER. I mean, sir, that long since the problem involving segregation has been disposed of. It was long ago agreed upon that the operation of the golf courses would be on an unsegregated basis. That has been an understood principle for several years, and it has been quite a job to undertake negotiation between Mr. I eoffler and Mr. Leoffler's organization, who are now the concessioners in control of the golf courses. Those things have been virtually resolved.
There is attached to the memorandum you have here a draft of an agreement which the Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia, Mr. Dante, and the representatives of the Department of the Interior are working on, toward an agreement that will enable us to take the courses over.
The last financial details have not been determined. We did not feel we were qualified to do so, because we had no money with which to bargain. You can be assured that the Commissioners must approve any agreement that we will enter into, because that is a part of the understanding that we have with the District Commissioners regarding this appropriation.
Furthermore, we will get the very best deal on behalf of the District Government that can be gotten.
Mr. Bates. I take it you mean by that the Interior Department has not at this time approved the plan.
Mr. WENDER. The Commissioners have approved the appropriation, but none of us have approved this draft agreement because it is now in the process of being concluded. I believe you have a copy attached to your appendix.
That has been discussed with our representatives in the last few days. The Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia has recommended some changes. Those are now under consideration, about the same by the lawyers for the Federal Government.
This is a matter of negotiation which I think will be disposed of very shortly. However, you can recognize that there cannot be any agreement and will not be any agreement unless there is some money. They are not going to turn anything over to us unless we can take over the financial management of the courses.
Let me say in support of this, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, that I do not know of any better financial deal that the District government could enter into. At the very least we stand to take in above costs of management some $75,000 to $100,000 a year, and possibly better. We have been most conservative in the figures that we submitted to you, and Mr. Schwab, who has done a tremendous job on our Board in going into this very carefully, is an accomplished businessman, and real-estate operator, and an expert on these accounting matters. He has gone into it most carefully. We are convinced that we can pay back this loan, which, in effect, will be a loan from the District government to the Recreation Board, quite easily.
We feel that we will be able to substantially improve the golf courses, give better golf cheaper, and give better service with less irritation to the public.
I know that the committee is familiar with the many different kinds of hearings that various committees of the Congress, both on this