« PreviousContinue »
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Then from that came the recommendation by Heller that you use an entirely different vehicle?
Mr. KIEB. That is correct.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Then the language we have here—well, of course, that could be used another way. And we need to develop a lightweight functional vehicle.
This was preliminary to moving into that from your standard vehicles ?
Mr. KIEB. That is correct, sir.
Mr. KIEB. As a matter of fact, at the time there was no such vehicle being manufactured in production-line type of manufacture.
And the ones that we could get at the beginning had to be more or less of a prototype vehicle. From that we developed a standard truck which has had wide acceptance beyond the Post Office Department. It has become a standard production-line vehicle.
We are now using a standard production-line chassis which can be made by any five of the major manufacturers, plus a standard body with slight modifications for the Post Office Department.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. That is beginning to get to the point where I waswhat I was trying to get to was whether or not there had been any discussions of prior implementation of the recommendations of Heller and whether or not those were useful in determining what type of unit you felt would be helpful or useful in this instance, in this project that you were undertaking ?
Mr. KiEB. No question about it.
The information that you were reading from before originates in a GSA report that is required under the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act and covers the period January 1 through June 30, 1952, in which the various trucks that you referred to are referred to as light trucks equipped for sit-stand operation.
Mr. KIEB. Perhaps I would have been sounder in view of that to have used the word "lighter" instead of "light.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. There is no conflict here, Mr. Kieb.
I was just trying to get in the record and before the committee the beginnings of the experiment and what had gone before and the preliminary negotiations that were carried on prior to the making of the contract between Heller and the Post Office Department.
What you say here is beyond the actual beginning of an adequate program. And I think what you are saying here, of course—and I am inclined to agree with you—is that the program that was being carried on was not adequate to develop what you developed.
Mr. KIEB. That is right.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. We simply want to get on the record exactly what the facts are.
Mr. Younger, do you have any questions?
Mr. PLAPINGER. Mr. Kieb, you say on page 3 at the second paragraph that 250 is not a large number on such a procurement as this. Have you ever previously, or have you since, procured more than 250 on an experimental basis?
Mr. KIEB. No.
Mr. KIEB. This 250 started out as a competitive bid contract, and we found there was only one manufacturer that could develop the type of vehicle that we were desirous of testing.
I do not recall-all of our truck purchases go out on a competitive basis to begin with.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Part of the concern of the committee is the fact that we are referring to negotiated procurement, whereas I understand the 300 trucks were on a competitive-bid basis. As you mentioned before, initially, the competitive bid was given to GSA for procurement.
Mr. KIEB. That is correct.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Through competitive advertised bid which is your normal procurement procedure.
Mr. KIEB. That is correct.
Mr. PLAPINGER. But that GSA raised questions about the restrictive nature of the specifications. Although the bids were received, GSA considered the price excessive. And in addition there was only one responsive bidder; is that correct?
Mr. KIEB. There was only one bidder that met the specifications required. And when we found we could not develop competition, then we bought it through an experimental research process.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Was there ever any consideration given to changing the specifications in view of the feeling of GSA that the specifications were restrictive?
Mr. KIEB. There was discussion of it. But the facts were that such a specification could not have produced competitive bids because what we were after was a lighter vehicle, lighter 4-wheeled vehicle, than any one manufactured at the time.
Mr. PLAPINGER. You recently procured, or in the last year, procured 2,000 vehicles.
Mr. KIEB. They are a much different vehicle than this one, sir.
Although what happened was that the specifications for them have been developed from this very experiment. And we have progressed in some areas so that we now can use a light standard production line chassis. And we have found that with body modifications and modifications of that chassis, by extending the chassis and using a heavier tire in the rear, we can accomplish this work.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Aren't many of the changes recommended by GSA on the original procurement of the 250 incorporated into the 2,000 ?
Mr. KIEB. I do not recall specifically. But I would say that they well could be and probably are.
Mr. PLAPINGER. In connection with your statement that 250 is not a large number, before the Appropriations Subcommittee on the 1957 Post Office Appropriations on January 11, 1956, Mr. Abrams, in explaining new vehicles' procurement, said that
Mr Chairman, on new types of vehicles, what we term "functional vehicles," the research and engineering department makes a comprehensive survey of
design, type, and utility of all types of vehicles and test runs of those vehicles. One or two or three of them are built, checking the engineering features and features that give advantage to the operator of that vehicle and makes recommendations then to facilities for procurement of those vehicles after full test of them.
Now, we have Mr. Abrams, whom I assume is an official of commensurate responsibility to yours, sir, talking of procurements of 1, 2, and 3 vehicles.
Mr. KIEB. He is the Assistant Postmaster General in Charge of Operations. And his job in my opinion has greater responsibilities than mine.
Mr. PLAPINGER. I am sure you are being very modest.
Mr. KIEB. But procurement is a functional responsibility of the Bureau of Facilities.
Now, Mr. Abrams was talking in terms of the program as they have tried to develop certain prototypes earlier. I am not sure when he made that statement.
Mr. PLAPINGER. January 11, 1956; it is in connection with appropriations.
Mr. KIEB. He may not have been familiar with this entire experiment.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. Is not the Industrial Engineering Section in his department ?
Mr. KIEB. Industrial engineering, when it was formed, was placed in the Bureau of Operations for convenience. As a matter of organizational fact, it is now in transition; and it is being taken out of the Bureau of Operations, which is responsible for the operation of post offices.
The Bureau of Operations is responsible for the operation of post offices.
The Bureau of Transportation-each of these headed by an Assistant Postmaster General-is in charge of transporting mail between post offices and foreign countries. The Bureau of Facilities is sort of a logistics service bureau which serves them and procures the equipment and the services which they need and provides them with a motor vehicle service which is now a self-contained administrative unit and charges the Bureau of Operations for the use of the vehicles.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. Was the Industrial Engineering Section not in Mr. Abram's division at the time of this experiment?
Mr. KIEB. It was.
Mr. KIEB. It is now in the process, the transition process, of being brought under the Deputy's office, so as to be an independent section.
Mr. PLAPINGER. At the time of the appropriations hearing, the transfer had not been effected ?
Mr. KIEB. It still has not been completely effected. The reorganization plans are being developed now.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. Would you say, Mr. Kieb, that Mr. Abrams speaks without knowledge ?
Mr. KIEB. I would say that Mr. Abrams had probably not recalled this experiment at the time.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Wouldn't that be a fairly good indication that he is thinking in terms of small procurements on an experimentation basis?
Mr. KIEB. As a matter of fact, our whole policy has been one of pilot operations and trying to develop in all of our research-trying
to develop a small pilot which would be generally applicable across the country in this enormous organization.
But in this particular series of experiments, 250 is a small pilot operation.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Not when you speak in terms of 1, 2, and 3, sir.
Mr. K1EB. He is only speaking in terms of different applications. I am talking to you in terms of the broad series of experiments that have been
conducted. And I have given you the results, some of the results, of them.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Mr. Kieb, at the bottom of page 3 and the top of page 4, you say that in 1953, the Government-owned fleet was composed of so many models, the lightest of which was 1 ton.
In the comparative cost data that was furnished us by the Department, there are numerous references to half ton 1951 Dodges. “Are you familiar with that, sir?
Mr. KIEB. No, I am not.
I am going to ask you if you will, to hold the question for Mr. Schlegel.
Mr. SCHLEGEL. I am able to answer it now.
The half-ton Dodges were mostly in the fleet at that time and were used on special delivery on a public-law assignment of 90 cents per hour. And we say the majority of the fleet was over 1 ton, if I remember the statement
Mr. PLAPINGER. No.
That statement is made later. But here it says the lightest of which was 1 ton.
Mr. SCHLEGEL. There were very few half tons. It was only the half-ton vehicles that were used on special delivery. We do not consider that a truck. It is a little panel delivery.
Mr. PLAPINGER. How many of the half-ton Dodges did you have?
Mr. SCHLEGEL. We got half-ton Dodges-well, in 1954 we got 1,500 more but they were dropped door, right-hand drive. Are you speaking of 1953 or prior to that? I couldn't tell you right offhand, sir
Mr. PLAPINGER. We are speaking of 1953.
Mr. SCHLEGEL. There were very few half tons in the fleet at that time?
Mr. PLAPINGER. But there were some?
I think the implication is that the majority of the fleet was of heavy trucks.
Mr. KIEB. May I interrupt there.
I say here there were 7 different categories of trucks in 11 different models, the lightest of which was 1 ton.
I am speaking now not of the 85,000 vehicles which include vehicle hire; I am speaking only of the Government-owned fleet.
And I think you are also. I am speaking of those that are in regular use and regular assignment, as against the possible introduction of 1 or 2 of scattered sizes.
Mr. PLAPINGER. These are from your own figures. And I am just curious in view of your statement: There is a half-ton Dodge in Jacksonville, Fla., used for 263 hours a month in August of 1954. That is a 1951 half-ton truck.
Mr. Kies. I am sure that in my use of the words I am speaking of the types of vehicles in categories, in the entire Government-owned fleet. There may be 1, 2, or 3.
Mr. PLAPINGER. These figures were submitted to us as comparative cost data with respect to three-quarter-ton Twin Coach vehicles and half-ton trucks and 1-ton trucks in the course of operation that run through August of 1954 through March of 1955.
Mr. KIEB. I am also satisfied that up until the time that we had this experiment pretty well underway and we had our cost-accounting system established that you will find many differences in estimated figures, in small numbers. But when you speak of the whole fleet or you speak in terms of the whole fleet, this statement is an accurate one.
Mr. PLAPINGER. It is either accurate or it is not accurate.
You say the lightest truck is 1 ton. The data furnished us shows there were a number of half-ton trucks.
Mr. KIEB. Let's take it in its context and its purpose.
I am trying to illustrate here in my statement that we needed a larger numbers of lighter vehicles than we had.
Mr. PLAPINGER. I have no quarrel with that, sir.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. You knew that before you purchased the 250; did you not?
Mr. KIEB. Yes, sir.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. You spoke of standard trucks. At some time you stated that you were getting standard trucks.
But just for the record, that does not apply to the 250 Twin Coach trucks
Mr. KIEB. It does not.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. As a matter of fact, you also spoke of them being widely used by private industry.
That does not apply to the Twin Coach trucks?
It applies to the model which has subsequently been developed from the beginnings of this experiment through all of the other experiments to this last procurement.
Mr. CHRISTENSEN. What information did you gain from your experiment which gave you any conclusions or any bases for purchasing the 2,000?
Mr. Kies. We found these trucks were used effectively to do a large portion of our motor-vehicle requirement, to meet their needs, and that we could, by using a more flexible, more highly maneuverable, lighter vehicle, reduce our operating costs and render better public service.
As a result of these experiments we developed the specifications that were used when we purchased 2,000. We went further than that, incidentally, and we took our specifications and distributed them to all major manufacturers, to be certain that we could get a competitive bid on this type of procurement.
Mr. PLAPINGER. Did you do that with respect to the 250 ?
At the time of the 250, they were sent to about 6 or 8; isn't that correct, Mr. Schlegel?
Mr. SCHLEGEL. I couldn't say, sir, that they were distributed. Because that was made by industrial engineers.
Mr. KIEB. It was advertised in the normal channels of procurement procedure.