Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr: FLEMMING. The point that you have in mind, Mr. Kaplan, is that if a person is not nominated to the Commission for a noncompetitive examination, you feel that he is out.

Mr. KAPLAN. That is correct, and I think that was the whole theory of the Ramspeck bill.

Mr. FLEMMING. What language in the bill indicates that?

Mr. KAPLAN. The whole intent of the bill and the whole purpose of it, as expressed in its whole concept, is that persons ought to be required to take a qualifying examination in order to be continued in the service, otherwise we see no particular point in requiring the persons to take a noncompetitive examination to continue in the service and drop them after 6 months if they fail, because that puts a premium on the head of the department in continuing the employee without requiring him to take any examination at all.

Mr. FLEMMING. There is nothing in the bill requiring the Administrator to drop him; the only thing in the bill that requires dismissal is when the incumbent fails to pass the noncompetitive examination.

Mr. KAPLAN. I suppose that may be one construction of it, but if my recollection serves me correctly, I do not believe it is what the House committee had in mind, nor what the House had in mind when it adopted the bill, nor was it the concept of this bill that it would give the department that right to continue employees without requiring them to take any examination at all and let them go on virtually forever in the unclassified service.

Mr. FLEMMING. Only in that particular position, of course.
Mr. VIPOND. In that position. They cannot move around.

Mr. KAPLAN. If that is so the purpose of this bill might be defeated by the head of a department never requiring his appointees to submit to a noncompetitive examination. I just raise that point for your consideration. We do not so understand the proposal.

Mr. MITCHELL. May I say, that point ought to be clarified.
Mr. KAPLAN. Yes, I think it ought to be clarified.

Mr. MITCHELL. Personally, I am inclined to agree with Mr. Kaplan, that it ought to be clarified. Our idea was otherwise.

Mr. KAPLAN. If that is the interpretation, or construction to be placed on the Ramspeck bill, then it will defeat its purpose. No employee would want to subject himself to a noncompetitive examination at the likelihood or the risk of being dropped from the service after 6 months of service. By continuing in the service without taking any examination at all he could go on forever.

Mrs. McMilliN. Without any status: That is a disadvantage.

Mr. KAPLAN. That is a disadvantage, that is true, but really it would not extend the classified service as we are planning under any such scheme.

Mrs. McMillin. Do you think the language on page 2 should be clarified ?

Mr. KAPLAN. I think the language on page 2 should be clarified. There ought to be a limitation on the time that he is able to serve in the unclassified service. There must be a termination of service or we will never classify the service. They will just manipulate it all the time.

Senator Byrd. Suppose you take the noncompetitive examination and fail. Can you later take it again?

Mrs. MOMILLIN. You can take an open competitive examination.

Mr. FLEMMING. The employee has to be terminated within 6 months.

Mrs. McMILLIN. They are actually out of it then.

Senator BYRD. They can get into it again if they take a competitive examination ?

Mrs. McMILLIN. Yes.

Mr. KAPLAN. As a matter of fact, Mr. Chairman, the reason the original provision in the Ramspeck bill was changed from requiring a competitive examination, and the reason that the committee did not adopt, as I recall it, the provisions of covering in without any examination was the criticism that some members of the House committee had made, that they would oppose any proposal to cover in all the employees without any examination whatever. The non-competitiveexamination provision was designed to preclude persons who were utterly unfit to continue—and there may be some—from continuing in the service after the classification is effected. It is only fair that the committee may consider that phase of it.

Mr. FLEMMING. May I say, Mr. Chairman, I am in complete agreement with Mr. Kaplan's objectives. I do not want my discussion to be interpreted as disagreeing with the objectives he has in mind. It is simply a dispute as to what the language of the bill calls for.

Mr. KAPLAN. I appreciate that. That is why I am bringing it to the attention of the committee, so the committee may give consideration to the clarification.

Mr. FLEMMING. Our own staff, in analyzing the bill, arrived at a different conclusion than you arrive at in analyzing it, so I think it ought to be clarified.

Mr. KAPLAN. The other point is in connection with this quota problem. We feel very strongly that this amendment that has been put in the bill, the Keller-Nichols amendment adopted by the House, is going to lead to great difficulty in administering the law and applying it. As a matter of fact-perhaps I am just sticking my neck out in saying this—if we had our way we would have a real merit system by getting rid of the quota law entirely, because we believe it negatives the whole principle of the merit system which is to get the best qualified people for Government service that it is possible for us to get.

I appreciate there are some arguments to be made for the other side, in order not to infiltrate the Government service and have all employees come from one section of the country. I believe even without the quota system we should have sufficient representation from all over the country, because I do not believe any part of the country has a monopoly of brains, aptitude, and capacity. I believe it would relieve the Civil Service Commission of many headaches. I believe it would relieve the Congress of many complicating difficulties and impositions if the quota rule were gradually eliminated rather than extended. Certainly this proposal that has been made by the House, in this amendment, aside from its impracticability of application, is going to be utterly unfair to so many people now serving in the Government service.

It is only natural that we get more applicants for the routine positions in Government service from neighboring States. That is true of practically every State capital that I know of, and it is true certainly of the State of New York, it is true of Ohio, Illinois, California, and elsewhere. The people in the surrounding contiguous counties are bound to be the ones who will take the examinations.

Many of them go to the territory around the State capital in order to be available for appointment, and I do not care what system you adopt, that will inevitably be the result.

We have in some of the State capitals eligible lists that run into the thousands. They sometimes have to get down to 968 on the list for a stenographer before they get one to accept. Why? Because no one in the southern tier of the State, the eastern or western tier of the State, will accept appointment as stenographer at the capital at the low salary paid by the State, relatively speaking, with the travel expense, being away from home, and so on. So that quota system very often defeats itself, and it certainly would defeat itself in the existing service, from our observation, for many years.

I will not take the time to go into the other phases, because I think these are the high spots of the program. We are entirely in accord with the Ramspeck bill, other than the quota provision in it, and the clarification.

The CHAIRMAN. Have you any questions, Senator Byrd?
Senator BYRD. I agree with him, especially about the quota system.

Mr. KAPLAN. Senator Byrd better agree with me. He used to be on the council of the National Civil Service League. Thank you very much, indeed.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there anyody who is here from out of town who wants to be heard ?

(No response.)

The CHAIRMAN. Is there anybody here that wants to be heard for whom it would not be convenient to come back Friday?

Mr. Rives MARTIN. I wrote you a letter some weeks ago and Senator McKellar's office informed me yesterday to come up here today. I really haven't anything to say except what is contained in the letter, but I thought if somebody wanted to ask me any questions about it, I would come here and try to answer them.

The CHAIRMAN. You may make such a statement as you care to make.

Mr. MARTIN. I haven't any statement to make other than what I wrote you in the letter.

The CHAIRMAN. Your letter will be made a part of the hearing.
Mr. MARTIN. I see. Well, I have nothing to add to that.

(Mr. Rives Martin's letter follows:)
Senator WILLIAM J. Bulow,
Chairman, Senate Committee on Civil Service,

Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: On the advice of Senator K, D. McKellar, whose constituent I am, I write this to call to the attention of your committee a situation of vital importance to myself and a considerable number of other persons in the Government service who will be affected by H. R. 960 (the Ramspeck bill). In addressing you I speak only for myself and without consulting any other interested party.

I am a permanent cripple, having had both legs amputated about 30 years ago because of a bone disease. In spite of this handicap, however, I have earned my own living for the past 25 years, drive my own car, and am sufficiently active for all practical purposes.

In 1933 I received, through the recommendation of Senator McKellar, an appointment as a clerk in Public Works Administration and have been with this organization ever since. I have earned some promotion and am now a senior voucher clerk (Executive Order 5, $1,620; efficiency rating “Very good") in charge of a unit. I have not, any year since entering Government service, used the full, amount of leave, either sick or annual. For all practical purposes, I am fit to fill my job. Nevertheless, I could not pass the civil-service physical examination.

Results of the President's Civil Service order of June 1938 indicate that Government employees in circumstances similar to mine would lose their jobs through no fault of their own if H. R. 960 became law in its present form. I learn through the newspapers that, of the first 538 applications for classification under the President's order, 133 were denied and, of these, 107, or 80 per. cent, were for physical reasons.

The President seems to have recognized that this situation worked a hardship on certain individuals, because he issued an amendatory order. I am advised, however, by Mr. Jerry Kluttz, author of the column "Nine to Four-thirty," appearing in the Washington News, that this amended order is not generally applicable. Please note attached copy of his letter in response to an inquiry from me. Whether his opinion is correct or not, I am, of course, not in a position to judge.

My argument is that, if an employee has been doing his job satisfactorily for a number of years without requiring more than the authorized amount of sick leave, that is sufficient proof that he is physically fit to do the work. Therefore, it would be an extreme injustice to deprive such employee of a job he has satisfactorily filled because of some arbitrary standard of physical condition which takes no account of his demonstrated ability to do the work. Also, it would be an extraordinary hardship to unnecessarily deprive such person of his job because he would naturally find more than normal difficulty in obtaining another.

In view of the foregoing I earnestly plead that your committee will consider the advisability of providing in H. R. 960 that persons who have demonstrated their physical fitness to hold a job by actually doing the work for a stated length of time shall be taken into the classified civil service without physical examination further than is necessary to assure that they have no physical or mental disease which would make their association dangerous or detrimental to their fellow employees. If, however, for actuarial reasons connected with retirement compensation, your committee considers it necessary to require certain physical standards, then I urge that the bill provide that those who have demonstrated their physical fitness as indicated above, shall not be deprived of their jobs or opportunities for advancement because of inability to meet the physical requirements of the classified civil service.

If my newspaper information is correct the President exempted one person from the physical requirements for entry into the classified civil service for the specific purpose that she should have the benefit of retirement compensation. If such action is proper in one case, it is so in all similar cases and relief should not depend on ability of the individual to bring his case to the personal attention of the President.

I do not want to unnecessarily consume the time of your committee, but, if it is desirable and you will notify me when to do so, I will appear before them to present my point of view in person. It would probably scare me stiff to undergo such an experience, but I am willing to do so not only for my own sake but for the many others who, I am sure, are in like circumstances. Respectfully,

Rives MARTIN, Greenbelt, Ma. The CHAIRMAN. Is there anybody else that wants to be heard today?

STATEMENT OF JOSEPH S. MCDONAGH, LEGISLATIVE REPRE

SENTATIVE, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS

Mr. McDONAGH. My name is Joseph S. McDonagh. Mr. Herbert Rivers is in with me on a joint statement. The statement, Mr. Chairman, is in reference to the exemption of the Tennessee Valley Authority from this bill. It is addressed to the Honorable William J. Bulow, chairman, Senate Committee on Civil Service. It is as follows:

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The 15 operating unions on the Tennessee Valley Authority properties have requested us to appear before your committee and urgently request that the Tennessee Valley Authority employees be not included in the current proposal to blanket thousands of Government employees under civil service.

The Tennessee Valley Trades and Labor Council met in Knoxville April 5 and took unanimous action toward this end. The council represents 10,000 employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority who have collective bargaining relations with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

This action is taken without prejudice to civil service. No one, least of all labor, can do anything but support the aims and accomplishments of civil service. We understand that it exists to guarantee tenure to employees; to insure a competent, well-trained force of civil servants for the Government; and to eliminate favoritism due to the rise and fall of political fortunes. All of these are essential aims and accomplishments necessary to the ongoing life of our Government. We can assure you that these principal aims of civil service are already accomplished at the Tennessee Valley Authority by the employee and personnel system set up there.

Our principal reason for requesting the exclusion of Tennessee Valley Authority employees from civil service rests upon the fact that Tennessee Valley Authority employees have additional advantages under the present system of relationships. These chiefly are collective bargaining and a modern series of relationships based fully upon cooperative management relations. For example, the Tennessee Valley Authority Council has just presented to Tennessee Valley Authority management a collective-bargaining agreement which insures all the merits of civil service together with an opportunity of participation in management hitherto unachieved in any government agency.

May we point out forcibly to this committee that the Tennessee Valley Authority is government corporation unlike any other government agency. When it was established in 1934, it represented an experiment under the Constitution of the United States. The success of this experiment involved public interest to a high degree.

We can assure this committee that insofar as employee relations go there has indeed been a successful achievement which has attracted national attention and even international attention. We believe that this system of employee relations should be permitted to work out its full purpose and aim in the coming years and that in being allowed to do, it will redound to the advancement of the Tennessee Valley Authority and to the national government.

May we suggest to this committee that it examine a recent pamphlet pub. lished by the National Popular Government League entitled “The TVA Labor Relations Policy at Work."

Respectfully submitted by the 14 groups representing the employees down there, and I will incorporate the names :

American Federation of Labor.
American Federation of Government Employees.
Hotel and Restaurant Employees International Alliance.
International Union of Hod Carriers and Construction Workers.
International Brotherhood of Electric Workers.
Boilermakers Union.
Bricklayers, Masons, and Plasterers International Union of America.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.
International Association of Machinists.
International Association of Bridge, Steel, and Ornamental Ironworkers.
International Union of Operating Engineers.
International Union of Mill, Mine and Smelter Workers.
National Federation of Federal Employees.
Tennessee Valley Workers Council.

We have also a copy of a telegram that was sent by a group to the
chairman of the committee, dated April 9, 1940. It is as follows:
Hon. WILLIAM J. BULOW,
Chairman Senate Committee on Civil Service,

Washington, D. C.: The Tennessee Valley Trades and Labor Council, representing 8,000 employees on all Tennessee Valley Authority properties, in session April 5 unanimously voted to request your committee to exclude the Tennessee Valley em

« PreviousContinue »