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The average length of service for all employees in the P. W. A. is 3.3 years—3.62 for central office employees and 3.1 for those in the field.
In taking a list of personnel, we have had 4,960 people who have served 1 year or more; 4,107 have served a year and a half; 2,917 have served 2 years; 1,474 have served 5 years; 713 have served 6 years; and 263 have served 672 years. The first figure which I gave you includes the other as they are all over 1 year. I think as a matter of fairness to these people who have served well and faithfully and who through lack of administrative funds are forced to seek other employment, they should be incorporated under the Civil Service.
I would like to insert in the record the statement which I made relative to the length of service of the employees who have been furloughed.
The CHAIRMAN. It will be inserted.
Federal Works Agency, Public Works Administration
100.0 77.7 56. 3 53.8 61.6 47.4 41.5 34, 1 26.1 18.7 10. 2 3.4
NOTE.-The above tabulation covers 4,960 furloughed and active employees (Washington, 1, 936; field, 3,024). Resident engineer inspectors and clerical employees assigned to dockets not included.
Years Average length of service for all employees.
3. 30 Central office.....
3. 62 Field...
Mr. CLARK. I don't want to use up your time, and there isn't much I can add. I think it is a good thing to have this civil service applicable to even this emergency agency in order to give standing to those who are in it. I don't think that there will be any harm done to those who have already been listed. These employees which we have here after this length of time are specialized in the type and kind of work expected of them. I think I might say that the P. W. A. has been a liberal education to its employees; one which ably supplements any other education and which would qualify them for civil service status, even though you didn't have the formal examination to prove it.
Have you anything, Mr. Sarre?
STATEMENT OF A. J. SARRE, PERSONNEL DIRECTOR, FEDERAL
Mr. SARRE. Senator Bulow, the Administrator regrets that through a previous commitment which took him out of the city he could not be here. He has a twofold concern in this question:
The first, was that presented by Colonel Harrington of the Work Projects Administration, those employees who are not included under the terms of the act; the second concern is with this Colonel Clark has just discussed so ably. A group in Public Works Administration who have been furloughed, and will not have an opportunity to secure a status under the act unless some special arrangement is provided to take care of them. If they can be given a status under this act it will then be possible for them to qualify for work in line with their experience in Government service.
There are in this group three other administrations. You have heard from two. The Public Roads Administration has approximately 44 employees who would be affected unfavorably unless some arrangement can be worked out to provide a status for furloughed employees.
The Public Buildings Administration will have approximately 393.
Now in the case of these men and women employed in the Public Buildings Administration, their service as emergency employees has covered on an average of 4 years. They are technical and professional people, engineers and architects, clericals, of a professional nature.
The United States Housing Administration has approximately 151 noncivil-service people now on furlough, able and loyal, who have given good service.
If it is possible the Administrator is asking that some means be worked out whereby these furloughed employees who have served so well in the five administrations of the Federal Works Agency might be given an opportunity to secure a status and be considered for employment by Government departments and agencies under civil service.
That, Mr. Chairman, closes the case for our group unless there are some questions you might like to ask.
The CHAIRMAN. I was just wondering if the reporter got your official position here.
Mr. SARRE. He has it. Personnel Director, Federal Works Agency.
The CHAIRMAN. I don't know of anything at this time. Thank you for coming. Now, Mr. Babcock.
STATEMENT OF E. CLAUDE BABCOCK—Resumed
Mr. BABCOCK. E. Claude Babcock. Mr. Chairman, at the last committee meeting at which I appeared when other witnesses were heard, we were talking about the detrimental effect of the passage of H. R. 960 in its present form on the emergency employees of the Government who would be affected by its terms.
I shed some tears and perhaps somebody might call them crocodile tears about the effects of H. R. 960 on the emergency employees.
As a matter of fact the association I represent has no members except civil-service members who have competitive classified status. Our real objection to H. R. 960 in its present form is based upon this thought: H. R. 960 provides a means, a good or bad means, and personally, I think it isn't as good a means as could be provided-it provides means of including in the classified civil service a great group of people who were originally appointed, regardless of how efficient they are, they were originally appointed because of elements other than their capacity to do the job. I don't mean that they are not capable of doing the job but in many cases they were appointed not because of that ability but because of other elements of a political, fraternal, collegiate, or other nature.
Now these people have that influence. Their maintenance on the pay roll of the Federal Government in nonprotected jobs is proof of the current existence of that influence.
Now the civil-service employees of the United States Government do not object to their maintenance on the pay rolls. The civilservice employees, if I can reflect their sentiments, do not object to the extension to them of civil-service protection. The civil-service employees of the Government would be very happy indeed to see the civil-service system extended to cover these agencies for which appointees should have originally been made from civil-service lists. But, if this act is passed, and if the President executes the powers granted to him under the act then we will have in the competitive classified civil service in the United States a tremendous group of influenced—of persons appointed through influence of one character or another-at the same time when we do have in the public service of the United States a total group of employees far beyond the number of employees which has ever been necessary in the past and a group of employees which may and probably will be reduced.
Now those of us in the civil service who went through the calamitous so-called economy legislation of 1931, 1932, and 1933—and let me say in passing, that this is not political talk-we saw scurrying around in the Capital City and out in the field service ill considered, unhappy pieces, and scraps of legislative business for the purpose of determining what should be the order of reduction of force. We had the ill considered antimarriage clause so-called. We had a provision which was passed hastily which provided for the increase of the retirement roll which resulted in the bearing down upon the retirement roll of about 8,000 or so employees of the Government, older standard employees of the Government. They were supposed not to go on it except at their own volition but as a matter of fact in a great many cases they went on it through pressure. Of course it was false economy to place a lot of people on the retirement roll and then immediately fill their jobs on the active pay rolls. The cost of that was tremendous and it is still going on.
I am getting around to say this, Mr. Chairman, we have today in the public service a totally unacceptable method of reducing the force. I think that there is no difference of opinion among employees with respect to that now. Now our force, whenever it is desired to reduce it, is reduced through the application of a highly theoretical nonpractical separation rating system, so-called efficiency ratings.
Efficiency ratings sound good in theory. In practice they are absolutely bad for the public service, they are bad for the administration, they are bad, too, for the administrators, they are bad for subordinate administrators, and they are very bad for the employees. Efficiency ratings I have never heard an employee defend them. I hope if there is any defense of efficiency ratings, the persons who want to defend them will come on the stand here and tell the committee, because if we can obtain from the committee, Mr. Chairman, an amendment to the method of separating surplus employees, then any objection that I know of to the passage of this bill, by the permanent employees of the Government, will have disappeared.
In other words, if we can get the insertion in the fundamental public law of the seniority method of dismissal when you must reduce the force, then our people have no fear of this legislation. Here is the proposition today, briefly:
We have 939,000 employees in the civilian executive service. It has been up in the last 2 or 3 months to the peak of all times, and it is the only down now because the Christmas rush is over, but it is the highest it has ever been at this stage of the year, I believe.
We know we are approaching an election. We saw an election proceed in 1932. We saw both political parties take the stump and advocate the slashing of Government employees. We saw Congress come into session mandated by the public to slice the public pay roll.
These are not theories, and this isn't a political statement I am making. I hope you believe it. They came in here with that mandate to slash the public pay roll, just as they are going to be mandated again, we feel. This campaign gets hot, and I think it may very possibly involve the question of the size of the public service. If it does involve the size of the public service, then we have a fact to face and not a political question. When that fact is faced, we have to consider what is going to happen to our people, and of course I am interested in the people who came in the hard way.
In the 1932 election Congress came in here mandated to slash the force; they slashed it. People were thrown off the pay roll practically without any consideration for their futures. They were thrown off the pay roll under this so-called efficiency rating system I am telling you about.
Now I don't want to take the time of the committee, Mr. Chairman, I would appreciate your courtesy if you would permit me just to discuss for a minute or two what this efficiency rating system is and suggest to the committee, if we may, that it be wiped out and that there be installed in its place a system which has been successful not only in every big private industry in the United States but which is now successful for the biggest single group of employees of the Government of the United States.
In other words, it is now in and it is now working for the vast Postal Service.
Now, we want nothing, we are asking for nothing from the committee, when they are considering this bill to extend the civil service to this vast group of politically appointed people, but when the time comes for reduction of force that separation be brought about by the seniority method so there will not be favoritism.
Now, all the industries do that. Under the present system we have this condition, the Classification Act of 1923 as amended provides that under certain regulations to be drawn up by the administrating authority so-called separation ratings shall be formulated when they want to reduce the force. Subordinate administrators way down to the straw-boss level rate their employees. Not one man or one woman but scores of these straw-boss superiors rate their employees. They give them efficiency ratings, so-called. Then those efficiency ratings are brought together and separations from the service are made on the basis of who has the lowest rating.
I say that it takes no stretch of the imagination to see that even granting that these straw bosses use every ethical approach, even granting that they do their best to render justice and they don't always—but even granting that they do, no two men can rate their employees so that their ratings are justly comparable. After all, one supervisor rates his people, another supervisor rates his people, and when you come to compare the ratings made by these two separate supervisors you do not get a just result.
Now, it wouldn't be so bad if there were a sizable or reasonable method of review.
Now, you will find in this bill—and it is a confession, the fact that it is in this bill and in there through administrative recommendation-it is confession of the inefficiency of the so-called "efficiency rating method.” In this bill
they propose to set up a board to offer an opportunity to appeal from those ratings of efficiency.
Now, why is that? And what is the result? An efficiency rating is an estimate by a supervisor that the employee is fair or that the employee is good or that the employee is unsatisfactory or that the employee is excellent or that the employee is very good. It is an estimate by a supervisor based on certain tabulated facts.
Now, how in the world can an appeal be set up, an efficient appellant system be set up to review the discretionary authority based on internal workings in the mind of the supervisors?
Now, we have boards of appeal on efficiency ratings today in the departments, they just don't amount to anything. They can't. The trouble is that when you have your employee rated by this subordinate supervisor and appeal made, his rating must be taken to a supervisor who knows less about the work of the employee than the subordinate supervisor does. So the further you appeal the further you get away from the work.
What has been the outcome? You have more trouble in the Federal service arguing about efficiency ratings than any other single. thing. I think everybody will agree to that. They don't mean anything for promotions, they rate the employees whom they want to promote with high efficiency ratings in order to promote them. In some cases they just file the efficiency ratings away in a filing cabinet and promote anybody they want to.
We have a good many industries in the United States which em. ploy thousands of workers. I know of no big industry where they use this method of separation from the service. In all the big industries they separate the junior employees, the old standard stock union creed and argument is, let the last man who is hired be the first man fired.