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neither the Tennessee Valley Authority nor other agencies should be excepted from the pending bill, Commissioner Flemming presented to this committee sexeral general considerations which should, of course, be weighed in the light of the specific Tennessee Valley Authority situation and the various factors discussed above. These included the matter of over-all personnel costs, the possi. bility of competition among operating agencies for personnel, and the likelihood of preserving due emphasis outside of the traditional civil-service system upon the competitive merit principle. An additional related consideration presented by questions of Senator George and other members of the committee relates to the future security of the Tennessee Valley Authority merit system under its present merit law. It is the Authority's belief that these considerations are properly resolved in the case of Tennessee Valley Authority in favor of continuing its present merit system and its exception from the pending bill.
The matter of personnel costs.-The view that over-all costs would be reduced by Federal centralization of personnel controls is a speculative judgment. It is the Authority's view that such centralization as applied to the Tennessee Valley Authority may prove very costly, for the reasons which have been cited for the Authority's belief in the wisdom of continuing the present special Tennessee Valley Authority merit system. Even when the problem is confined to the cost of civil service and personnel administration, accurate comparisons are impossible. This fact was pointed out in the course of the testimony of an official of the Civil Service Commission who presented per capita cost figures to this committee. As Senator Mead quite properly observed, the figures cited by Mr. Vipond were not comparable because it would be necessary to add to the expenditures of the Civil Service Commission all the personnel costs of all the departments and operating agencies being served.
In the Tennessee Valley Authority, personnel administration includes the functions which under the civil service are divided. It would also be necessary to add the costs of an adequate personnel program where none had been developed during the period cited, and the costs which the Civil Service Commission would bave desired in order to maintain its service on a current basis. To obtain comparability, it would also be necessary to subtract from each set of figures the costs of personnel activities having no counterpart in the other. In the Tennessee Valley Authority, for example, there have been included within personnel administration a number of functions having no comparability to functions under the usual civil-service organization, such as an extensive labor relations program, the provision of educational, library, and recreational services at the various construction camps and villages for workers and their families who must live at points remote from larger population centers.
It may be noted in passing that Mr. Vipond incorrectly assumed that certain functions performed by the Commission were not performed in the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Authority does have regulations to prevent nepotism which are even more strict than the members-of-family law; military and naval syervice is reviewed and considered on the basis of merit as a part of the Authority's examining process; and the Authority has a retirement system which was being developed during the period to which Mr. Vipond's comments were related.
Additional analyses would also be necessary. Obviously, per capita personnel costs unrelated to turn-over of personnel or to types and variety of positions, such as were presented to this committee by Mr. Vipond, are not meaningful. If it were possible after such a process to obtain comparable per capita figures, any difference would in any event be due, as Mr. Vipond did point out, to the fact that per capita costs are likely to decrease as total number of personnel increases, at least until a point of diminishing returns is reached. It should only be added that any eraluation of personnel costs assumes that cost and qualitative standards for an adequate personnel program have been established. As every personnel official knows, no authoritative studies have ever been made which as yet provide any accepted conclusions. Finally, it may be observed that the Tennessee Valley Authority Investigating Committee and Dr. Leonard White, who studied the matter for that committee, found that the Authority's personnel costs were not excessive and that the functions performed were with one or two minor exceptions fully justified by the increased efficiencies gained.
C'ompetition among agencies.-A general consideration, which would be entitled to great weight if it were applicable to the Tennessee Valley Authority, is the desirability of avoiding competition among Federal agencies for employees based upon varying rates of compensation for similar classes of posi
tions. As stated above, the Authority's classification system, while adapted to its own requirements, is consistent with Federal policy. On this point, the joint investigating committee reported: "The classification and salary system of the Authority follows closely the Classification Act and was developed with the assistance of Dr. Ismar Baruch, Chief of the Classification Division of the United States Civil Service Commission" (Report of Investigating Committee,
Likelihood of preserving due emphasis on competitive merit principle.—The view was expressed by Commissioner Flemming in testimony before this committee that it was, of course, possible for an operating department to maintain a competitive merit system, but that there was greater likelihood of preserving that system under the Civil Service Commission. However true this may be as a general proposition applying to operating agencies which are unprotected by law, it should be observed that the Tennessee Valley Authority has a special merit law, that its statute is unique in this respect, and that this law has been effectively implemented. Furthermore, the merit principle is under its law applied throughout the Tennessee Valley Authority organization; operating executives are therefore appreciative of its value.
As Mr. Flemming appropriately pointed out, the Civil Service Commission, like any personnel agency, encounters conflicts between the ideal of the widest possible competition among applicants and the particular operating require. ments for which recruitment is being undertaken. This conflict can, of course, be resolved only by the provision of funds and staff adequate to complete the examining process within the period of time required by the efficiency of the operation involved. As a matter of fact, when too long a time elapses: between the filing of applications and the establishment of employment registers, it is doubtful whether open competition in a realistic sense has been preserved. The Authority has been able to maintain its recruitment facilities on a current basis and has developed its procedures to provide the area of competition appropriate to the particular employment opportunities which its program affords. The administrative, professional, and technical personnel have been recruited from practically all States; skilled and unskilled workmen on construction have been recruited through assembled examinations within geographical areas around the construction projects, wide enough to provide the supply of skills required. As was pointed out by Mr. Vipond, the Civil Service Commission would solve the geographical problem in the same way.
Security of Tennessee Valley Authority merit system.--The question has been asked whether changing membership of the Board of Directors of the Authority might threaten the preservation of the Authority's merit system in the future. It is the Authority's belief that the agency is adequately protected against such dangers. The members of the Authority's Board are appointed for staggered terms of office. Persons appointed to the Board must, under the statute, believe in the wisdom and feasibilit of the act including secti 6, which provides :
“In the appointment of officials and the selection of employees for said Corporation, and in the promotion of any such employees or officials, no political test or qualification shall be permitted or given consideration, but all such appointments and promotions shall be given and made on the basis of merit and efficiency. Any member of said board who is found by the President of the United States to be guilty of a violation of this section shall be removed from office by the President of the United States, and any appointee of said board who is found by the board to be guilty of a violation of this section shall be removed from office by said board."
It would seem that the qualifications prescribed by the act for directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, their overlapping terms of office, the procedure of appointment and of confirmation by the Senate, the unique merit law and the mandatory penalty for its violation, all guarantee the continued faithful administration of the enterprise by its Board.
STATEMENT OF GRADY C. DURHAM, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
EMPLOYEES OF COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE Deputy collectors of internal revenue throughout the United States constitute the only major group of employees engaged in the Federal revenue collectios
service who are specifically exempt from the provisions of classified civil service. Such is the case, as a result of a war-time measure enacted by Congress in order to enable emergency expansion of the field collection service of the Bureau of Internal Revenue during the World War and immediately thereafter when many new forms of taxes were levied. Why such should continue has never been satisfactorily explained to these employees or to the taxpaying public. We therefore respectfully submit that:
(1) No more essential or exacting work than that performed by deputy collectors of internal revenue can be found in the executive branch of our Government.
(2) Long years of training and application of the revenue laws, many of which are of an intricate nature, are required of these employees, and their honesty, fealty, and integrity must be and is beyond reproach.
(3) Anomalous as it may seem, deputy collectors of internal revenue collect the very taxes that afford economic security to others through the social-security laws of our land, yet have no assurances of permanent tenure or economic security themselves.
(4) The taxpaying public is entitled to and prefers to discuss its internalrevenue problems, many of which are of a personal and confidential nature, with experienced and competent employees who are familiar with the applicable laws and who are capable of adjusting any differences equitably and without delay.
(5) Deputy collectors of internal revenue should not be swerved by political expediency in the administration of the revenue laws and the extension of civilservice provisions to include them should follow as a companion measure of legislation designed to effect removal of Government employees from active politics.
For the foregoing reasons, the National Association of Employees of Collectors of Internal Revenue urges the enactment of the Ramspeck bill by the Congress of the United States. Deputy collectors of internal revenue have no fear of fair and equitable civil-service examinations, based upon the nature of their duties. We firmly believe, however, that proper consideration should be given to the long years of efficient service performed by these employees, and that the best interests of the Government would be served by providing for noncompetitive examinations, thus obviating the possibility of any disruption of the orderly routine of this important branch of the service.
ELISABETH CHRISTMAN, SECRETARY-TREASURER,
APRIL 19, 1940. Hon. WILLIAM J. BULOW, Chairman, Senate Committee on Civil Service,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. Dear Senator Bulow : The National Women's Trade Union League of America, with a direct and affiliated membership of more than a million, endorses H. R. 960, the Ramspeck bill extending civil service and classification, which is now before the Senate Civil Service Committee.
We are an advocate of the merit service in Government service, and we believe that the Ramspeck bill offers the best and most realistic solution to extending civil service to all Federal positions now exempt by the Congress. We recommend that the following provisions be eliminated from H. R. 960 before it is reported out of committee :
1.The Keller-Nichols quota amendment because it is unworkable; it works an injustice on loyal and efficient employees; and it will raise costs to the Government by displacing a large group of employees and will make necessary the training of new employees.
2. The restriction which keeps administrative workers "in or connected with" the Work Projects Administration from coming under the bill, because it singles out a small group of loyal Government servants and penalizes them without regard to their efficiency or length of service, and because it disre. gards the advantages of having Work Projects Administration administrative workers under civil service.
3. The clause which provides that employees who fail to pass the noncompetitive examination must be removed within 6 months. We recommend that the language of the President's Executive orders of June 24, 1938, be adopted so
that the department head may have discretion to retain valuable workers who are unable to pass the examination. These employees would not be eligible for promotion or transfer, but would be retained indefinitely in status quo. This is made necessary by the fact that many people are psychologically unable to pass an examination, particularly when their job is at stake.
The removal of these three restrictions will make the extension of civil service under H. R. 960 a more easily workable process. Those who are actively in. terested in an improved merit system and civil service have asked the committee that these restrictions be removed.
We urge that the Senate committee conclude its hearings and report out H. R. 960 during the week of April 22. We believe that the bill should have the opportunity to be fully discussed on the floor of the Senate during this session. It is the greatest single piece of merit legislation since establishment of the civil service itself.
The National Women's Trade Union League would appreciate having this letter included in the printed record of hearings on the bill. Faithfully yours,
STATEMENT OF BYRON C. BIGGS
WASHINGTON, D. C., April 11, 1940. Hon. WILLIAM J. BULOW, Chairman, Civil Service Committee,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR : In connection with consideration by the Senate Civil Service Committee of the bill to permit the extension of the classified civil service (H. R. 960), I would like to present for your consideration some observations relative to defects now existing in the civil-service system and some recommendations for improvement. I have reference particularly to methods of examination and certification now used by the Civil Service Commission in connection with certain positions paying $2,000 and over.
It is bighly important that consideration be given to the methods of examination and certification in the process of recruitment and in connection with transfers for the purposes of promotion within the service. Examination and certification are key factors in the administration of the Civil Service Act and the civil-service rules. The Civil Service Act provides for the use of examinations that must be competitive and practical in nature as far as the conditions of good administration will warrant, and that certification must be made from among the highest on the appropriate registers.
Much discussion of the civil service involves issues that are no longer de. batable. Public satisfaction with the principle of the competitive classified civil service has become general and the extension of the so-called merit system appears to be widely approved. However, the names "classified civil service" and the "merit system" are not necessarily synonomous. The term "merit system" has undoubtedly a slogan value, but it is necessary at all times to see that the system which is evolving does not overshadow the merit factor. It is necessary to see that the enthusiasm of a bureaucracy for expanding its activities in directions where it should not go, and where it is not prepared to function, is held in check. In respect to criticism of the work of the Commission I quote from the report of the President's Committee on Administrative Management bearing the title Personnel Administration in the Federal Service: "Throughout the executive branch, and in other well-informed circles, there is a lively sense of dissatisfaction with much of the work of the Commission. That dissatisfaction might become considerably more vocal were it not for the fact that any criticism of the work of the Commission is usually construed as an attack upon the merit system, rather than an honest disapproval of the way in which the Commission performs its functions" (p. 24).
Supporters of the merit system are not generally aware that examinations announced as competitive may in fact not be competitive in nature, that subjective rather than objective examinations may be given, or are being given, and that, in the discretion of the Commission, certification need not be made from the three highest on a register, as formerly provided for in the civil-service rules. The latter applies particularly to the situation when there are a number of general registers and no special register available for the position to be
filled—a situation which is becoming more common, and which, I understand is desired by the Commission. We now have the oral examination involving personal characteristics as a controlling factor in determining eligibility for a place on a register, in addition to, or in lieu of, the oral interview with the appointing officer after certification.
We now have a policy of selective certification to supplement, if not to supplant, the old rule of the three highest. It may be that the new program is necessary for the development of a classified civil service above the lower grades and that the public will approve of such a program, but it should be clearly recognized for what it is and for the situation that is growing out of it. It means that a great deal of the process of recruitment, involving examination and certification, is coming within an area governed by the personal judgment or wishes of the members of the examining boards and of the certifying officers. The use of the oral examination has grown up recently in some local civilservice commissions and the United States Civil Service Commission. Where it is used to determine eligibility it represents a violation of the spirit of the merit system as is generally known, and it requires a very loose interpretation of the Civil Service Act to say that it is within the law. Serious opposition has developed to its use by State and city commissions. Last month the court of appeals of the State of New York in the matter of Bridgeman v. Kern invalidated an oral examination by which the lowest eligible for a position on a register was declared to be the only candidate eligible for the position on the basis of the candidate's broad social viewpoint, whatever that may mean.
The importance of the methods of examination was emphasized by former United States Civil Service Commissioner, Samuel H. Ordway, Jr., before the President's Committee on Civil Service Improvement on November 2, 1939, when he stated that heretofore one of the chief obstacles to bringing the higher grades of the services under the competitive classified civil service has been the difficulties involved in giving adequate examinations. However, he added, this difficulty has been largely overcome by the use of the new technique in giving oral examinations. When questioned by members of the committee as to how such methods provide a fair and objective test, Mr. Ordway gave a far from convincing answer. The oral examination is generally looked upon with disfavor by writers on the subject of public administration. The following are a number of the recognized objections to this type of examination :
1. It is largely subjective, depending upon the personal judgment, bias, and prejudices of the examiners.
It deals with personal traits that are intangible, that cannot be measured. No standard or unit of measure has been devised for measuring objectively such personal characteristics as initiative, perserverence, variety of human experience, ability to accept responsibility, ability to obtain cooperation with others, judgment, and appreciation of ethical and moral values. It is questionable whether a candidate whose experience, as related by him, includes a number of problems involving questions of ethics and morals, the decisions on which the members of the oral board might be capable of passing judgment, would be a better qualified employee than one whose experience has been more clear cut in this respect and in which such problems were kept at a minimum.
3. The candidate appears in person and is known to the examiners before he is rated.
4. A subjective judgment of an examiner may carry more weight than any amount of demonstrated knowledge or ability as shown by a written test, or as demonstrated by past performance.
5. The value of the examination depends in large degree upon the ability and integrity of the members of the examining board.
6. New methods of conducting an examination, such as recording the procedure and providing one or more lawyers on the examining board, do not furnish an adequate substitute for objective measurement. There is a tendency to confuse these totally different factors.
7. Since there appears to be no standard of measurement for the items under examination, there is no basis for a review by the Board of Appeals and Review, except to substitute the uncontrolled opinion of the members of the Board for that of the examiners.
Although the candidate is told the personal traits on which he is to be examined, he is not at any time told the standard on which he is to be examined in respect to such qualities. On page 18 of the Commission's Annual Report for the year ending June 30, 1939, it is stated that in order to make the oral