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Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Goff, looking into the future, would next Monday and Tuesday inconvenience you? Mr. GOFF. I am scheduled to go to North and South Carolina-oh,

I am going to Newcastle, Pa., over the weekend. I can be here Monday.

Mr. MOLLOHAN. Let's adjourn until Monday morning at 10 o'clock, and the room will be room 1537.

Mr. GOFF. We have another member of the Heller Associates staff here who will be in a position to answer any additional questions, I believe, and I would like permission to excuse Mr. Gunther because he is on another job. If he could be excused, you could call him back if something comes up.

Mr. MOLLOHAN. All right.

Mr. Gunther, we are grateful to you for coming this morning. You have been very helpful. Thank you very much.

. (Whereupon, the subcommittee adjourned at 12:30 p. m., to reconvene at 10 a. m., Monday, June 11, 1956.)

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT PROCUREMENT OF

MOTOR VEHICLES

TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 1956

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON LEGAL AND MONETARY AFFAIRS
OF THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS,

Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m., in room 1537 New House Office Building, Representative Robert H. Mollohan presiding

Present: Representatives Mollohan, Meader, Younger, and Minshall.

Also present: Jerome Plapinger, committee counsel; Hal M. Christensen, associate committee counsel; and Elizabeth D. Heater, subcommittee clerk.

Mr. MOLLOHAN. A quorum being present, the subcommittee will come to order.

The purpose of our meeting this morning is to continue our inquiry into the matter of the purchase of certain vehicles used in an experiment by the Post Office Department.

Mr. Goff, did you have anything additional that you wanted to present on your own?

Mr. GOFF. Yes.

Mr. Chairman, at our meeting the other day, we presented the implementation of this experiment from the consultant's standpoint by Mr. Gunther. I think the orderly way to present it would be to give you now a statement of the implementation of the experiment from the Department's standpoint.

Mr. Kieb is here. Mr. Kieb is the Assistant Postmaster General in Charge of the Bureau of Facilities.

He has a short statement which I think will give you the picture. Then you could question him. And then we could have Mr. Kallio and others who had to do with the actual procurement of the vehicles in question.

So, if it is satisfactory to the chairman, we would like to call then on Mr. Ormonde A. Kieb, Assistant Postmaster General.

Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Kieb, will you proceed in your own way, please.

47

STATEMENT OF ORMONDE A. KIEB, ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GEN

ERAL, BUREAU OF FACILITIES; ACCOMPANIED BY WILHO KALLIO, CHIEF OF PROCUREMENT; M. W. BANTON, FORMER CHIEF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER; ROY D. SCHLEGEL, DIRECTOR OF MOTOR VEHICLES; DANIEL M. O'DONOGHUE, ATTORNEY; CHARLES P. GRADDICK, ASSISTANT INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER; AND ROBERT E. O'DONOVAN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION

Mr. KIEB. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today and your courtesy in hearing me, even though I was not part of the regular agenda.

Mr. MOLLOHAN. We are glad to have you, Mr. Kieb.

Mr. Goff has suggested that this committee would like to hear from the responsible head of the Motor Vehicle Service about the implementation of motor vehicle experiments.

There has been nothing unusual in this purchase of 250 experimental vehicles beyond the actual beginning of an adequate research program which both the Hoover Commission and Congress had been urging the Department to begin in previous years. Beyond this point, the determination to conduct the research, its methods, its purposes, justification, and the research program itself was carried on under the direction of the newly formed office of the industrial engineer with the valuable assistance and guidance of Heller Associates under a research contract.

The procurement of the vehicles was handled in usual procedure by Mr. O'Donovan and later by Mr. Kallio, the procurement agents in the Bureau of Facilities at the time, both of whom are here and prepared to supply this committee with such information as may be indicated.

As to the nature of the experiment, it was basically for carrier route studies, but also light vehicle specifications, practical capacity specifications and durability tests as well as other uses for light vehicles were studied and the development of such criteria as would provide the basis for the introduction of light vehicles into the post office fleet was necessary.

Factors of utilization, maneuverability, capital costs, economy of operation, sound specifications under varying conditions and locations, in sufficient numbers as to develop sound average criteria was its goal.

As to the number of vehicles used in this series of experiments, 250 is not large, nor is $750,000 a large amount to spend as a capital investment when you consider these figures in relation to the post office operation. Very few people realize the magnitude of the United States postal service.

Its annual operating cost is approximately $21, billion. It employs over 500,000 people, all the time. It carries 56 billion pieces of inail annually in all directions, to and from 38,000 named post offices plus their many stations and branches, plus combined bulk mail handling facilities. These are located in every city, town, and hamlet in the continental United States as well as in our so-called Territories and possessions.

To do this huge material handling job the Department uses almost every known means of transportation including an estimated 85,000 motortrucks, of which approximately 25,000 are Government-owned and operate over 2771/2 million miles a year.

In 1953 the Government-owned fleet was composed of approximately 7 different categories of trucks in 11 different models, the lightest of which was 1 ton and the heaviest a few 35-foot tractor trailer rigs.

We knew the bulk of mail handling problems in most locations was not weight but volume; not long haul but short haul with many stops and starts. We knew many manual operations would have to be mechanized if modern efficiencies were to be obtained.

To tackle a research problem of this magnitude, surely 550 vehicles, or less thn two-thirds of 1 percent of the total trucks in use, were a minimum to obtain significant results in a reasonably short time. Mr. MOLLOHAN. May I stop you for just a moment.

You say 550. Do you mean that? Mr. KIEB. I mean 550 as a group of experimental vehicles, as applied to the number of trucks in use.

Mr. MOLLOHAN. Go ahead. I see they are three-quarter ton.

Mr. KIEB. As a result of the series of research and development projects, which started with the purchase of 250 light three-quarterton trucks and another of about 300 one-quarter ton, three-wheeled mailsters, many substantial improvements in our operation have been achieved and more are underway.

The experimental use of these vehicles was not limited to route studies, these same vehicles were used:

(a) To study the replacement of hired vehicles on mounted routes.

(6) To determine the feasibility of these light vehicles for collection, relay work, station to station and special delivery services.

(c) To study the practicability and safety of right-hand drive vehicles in many services.

(d) To study chassis, motor, and body specifications.

(e) To test the applicability of overhead rear doors and two different body capacities on the same basic chassis.

(f) To test the practicability of walk-around and walk-in bodies with sliding side doors.

(9) To test lighter weight components of all kinds, particularly the elimination of dual tread tires.

(h) To develop actual reliable cost operating data against the older type, heavier, special built post office vehicle.

The results have been very satisfactory to date. For instance:

(a) In 1953, the Government-owned fleet of 18,000 vehicles had less than 30 percent of 1-ton size or less and the fleet averaged an operating cost of 17.3 cents per mile, excluding depreciation and other fixed charges.

Today, counting delivery of recent procurement, the fleet will be composed of over 60 percent of trucks of 1 ton or less capacity, with an average cost per mile for the entire fleet, on a comparable basis of about 7 cents per mile, and if we include depreciation and fixed charges, only 12 to 13 cents per mile.

(6) Our vehicle hire account has been reduced from about 13.5 million in 1954 to 5.0 million in fiscal year 1957.

(c) The new light vehicles are composed now of a standard production line chassis built by any of five competitive firms which can be adjusted by lengthening the frame or using heavier tires to accom

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