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In relation to section 7 of proposed H. R. 960, I would suggest study of the proposition that there be set up among the employees in each district local boards of conciliation for adjustments of complaints against abuses of authority, discrimination, or those growing out of just plain ignorance of administrative procedure.
I would suggest in that respect, and I think that the average gauger favors the bill that was introduced by the late Senator Lodge before his death, and while I listened very attentively to the objection that was made by Mr. Rice, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, of which I was a former member, I believe Mr. Logan's bill covers that a little bit more fully.
If there are any questions along what I have said, sir-I realize I may have said it rather poorly-I would be glad to answer them.
The CHAIRMAN. I have no questions. Thank you.
Mr. Vipond wants to make a statement. STATEMENT OF KENNETH C. VIPOND, ASSISTANT CHIEF EXAM
INER AND BUDGET OFFICER, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSIONResumed
Mr. VIPOND. Mr. Chairman, one of the earlier witnesses today covered several phases of the provisions appearing in H. R. 960.
I wanted to make a statement for the record concerning two of them.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Proceed.
Mr. VIPOND. The first is concerning what was apparently alleged to be the Commission's Annapolis Naval Academy physical plan for entrance to the civil service.
Of course that isn't so. The Commission has a very liberal physical standard. Possibly 10 percent of the persons recommended under the Executive order of June 24, 1938, did not meet the liberal physical standards that are set up for the Government's service. Those standards vary with the type of position. For the position of guard there will be a higher physical standard than for the position of clerk. The vision standard is not high. The eyesight may be corrected by glasses and only up to 50 or 60 percent in one eye is required after correction with glasses. Flat feet are not a physical bar except for positions where the person has to be on his feet all the time. It is never considered at all in connection with clerical or similar positions.
In every way the Commission's physical standards are most liberal.
We found that some persons who had had long service in the Government did not meet the physical standards on a liberal construction of those standards, and the Commission itself went to the President and recommended an order which he approved where the person who has had long and faithful service with the Government, may be given a classified status even though he doesn't meet the physical standards.
The second point I wanted to cover is the statement that this bill transfers from Congress to the President the power to fix compensation of the positions which may be brought under the compensation schedules of the Classification Act of 1923 if this bill becomes law.
That isn't the fact. The only authority that this bill gives the President is to extend provisions in the existing Classification Act after the provisions have been studied by the Civil Service Commission and report made to the President. All the President can do is to extend the existing rates of pay that Congress fixed in three dif. ferent acts (the first act in 1923, a later act, the Welch Act, and the third act, the Brookhart Act); and these rates that Congress has fixed the President can apply to those new services that may be brought within the classified service by operation of title II.
Thank you very much.
If not, we have some additional witnesses who have requested to be heard Friday, so the committee will recess until Friday morning at 10 o'clock.
(Thereupon, at 1:10 p. m. the committee recessed until Friday, April 26, 1940, at 10 a. m.)
EXTENDING CLASSIFIED CIVIL SERVICE
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 1940
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 a. m., in room 249 Senate Office Building, Senator William J. Bulow, chairman, presiding.
Present: Senators Bulow (chairman), Mead, and Frazier. Also present : Mr. Kenneth C. Vipond, Assistant Chief Examiner, Civil Service Commission.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
STATEMENT OF MRS. MARGARET HOPKINS WORRELL, LEAGUE OF
THE AMERICAN CIVIL SERVICE
Mrs. WORRELL. Mr. Chairman, my name is Margaret Hopkins Worrell, president of the League of the American Civil Service.
This bill (H. R. 960) covers into the civil service some 300,000 persons, most of whom are employed in emergency or temporary offices, bureaus, corporations, and commissions, which, when created, the Congress particularly stipulated that employees therein were to be excluded from civil-service status.
Those positions, for the most part, could not be obtained even with the endorsement of their Members of Congress, alone, unless endorsed by the Democratic committeeman from their place of residence, and in the majority of cases the salaries paid these supposedly temporary employees were higher than salaries of employees years in the service and still unable to advance to such salaries. Naturally the morale was not helped, and those who came in by competitive examination will certainly resent the blanketing in of such a large number of those employees.
Mr. Ramspeck says:
In view of the fact the members of corporations and emergency agencies are to be covered in we would like that explained. Of course, we know that the President has blanketed in by Executive order most agencies that he had the power to bring in, and this bill is to empower him to bring the agencies heretofore excluded by act of Congress.
In the hearing before the House committee Mr. Ramspeck says: We have a practical situation here of a couple hundred thousand people who are occupying positions, and the question is how to get these positions under civil service for the future. That is one problem, and that is a practical, political problem.
I think it was brought out in the House hearing that there are many employees in our permanent departments not under civil service, but who have served many years, and if any examination is to be given they certainly should be exempt, for they have proved their efficiency and an examination might be the means of them losing their positions. It is noteworthy that many very competent employees fail to pass examinations, but are perfectly capable of filling the positions they hold. Therefore if these temporary employees are to be blanketed in at all let them come in without any examination. Then if some are cited as inefficient let the civil service give them a test. Furthermore, that only an American citizen should be employed in Government service.
We believe that unless and until the Congress exacts legislation making emergency agencies a permanent component of the Government that persons occupying positions therein should not be blanketed in, but, on the other hand, employees of all permanent departments of the Government should be placed under civil service.
It is presumed that all you gentlemen have constituents who are neither typists or stenographers, but are perfectly capable of filling clerical positions, and we would like to inquire why the Civil Service Commission discontinued the competitive examinations for clerks, which have not been held for years. Examinations are given for typists, stenographers, file-clerks, but the clerical field is discriminated against, and this should not be.
It was stated by Mr. Mitchell (p. 18) in the hearing before the House committee, in reply to the following question by Mr. Beckwith:
Well, would you not have had to have examinations back at the time of the inception of these agencies?
Mr. MITCHELL. No, because we had registers that applied to practically all of the positions.
Mr. BECKWORTH. Did you have enough people on the register to fill all these positions ?
Mr. MITCHELL. Yes, except where special duties were necessary because of the nature of that particular agency, and in that case probably the President might have had to issue an Executive order making a temporary exception of the filling of certain key positions.
Now what we would like explained is just why persons who had taken competitive examinations and were on the civil service register by the thousands—enough, as Mr. Mitchell says, "to fill all these positions,” except a few key places, why were they not given these positions? If they had been we wouldn't have this situation before us today. As you know, the civil-service register usually runs out in 1 year, and doubtless thousands of eligibles with civil-service status formerly on the register are now looking for positions without being able to obtain them. Wouldn't it be wise to give all those who had taken and passed a competitive examination within the last 5 years the preference in lieu of the failure of any of these temporary employees in noncompetitive examinations?
It has been stated that thousands of low-salaried positions are to be exempted. We believe such positions should be specifically set forth in the act.
And now a word regarding section 7, which provides for the establishment of one or more boards of review on efficiency ratings of Government employees. This is nothing new, for Government departments have had these boards ever since the efficiency-rating system was established, and without satisfaction to Government employees. They soon learn that the supervisors or chiefs are always right, and there is no use to appeal to such a board of review. Therefore, gentlemen, if you would like to do something of real benefit for employees, strike out section 7 and insert provisions for an independent Board of Appeal, entirely divorced from the departments and Civil Service Commission, to whom employees may appeal for adjustment of grievances such as set forth in the bill introduced by Dr. Sirovich in 1934 (H. R. 6672), and in 1939 (H. R. 4092). The Board should be empowered to employ a permanent corps of examiners for certain specified districts to take testimony on both sides, under oath, and submit the same to the Board of Appeal here in Washington for adjudication and final decision. Such Board might be modeled on the one established in the Interior Department by act of Congress of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 855–856), to determine the heirs of deceased Indians and probate their wills, which has proved very effective.
The bogeyman of the unconstitutionality of such an independent Board of Appeal has been raised several times and I would like to have that part of the Constitution pointed out to me.
All I can find is in article I, section 8, clause 19, of the Constitution of the United States, which reads as follows:
Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States or in any department or office thereunder
And in clause 9, which reads: To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court. In article II, section 2, clause 2, it says thatThe Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The power of the President to exempt positions from the provisions of the civil service and the power of the departments to appoint or dismiss employees is a statutory authority-not constitutional.
If such a Board is unconstitutional, then the National Labor Relations Board and the Social Security Board are unconstitutional and I refer you particularly to section 205, page 12, of the social-security law, where the powers of the Board are set forth.
In conclusion, I would like to say that Mr. Riley has made some splendid suggestions worthy of consideration and Mr. Babcock has given you a fine picture of certain conditions in Government service and we agree with what he has advocated with the exceptions set forth herein and we do not approve this act as written, but do approve of the personnel of all permanent establishments of the Government being placed under civil service.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you. Miss Scanlon.
STATEMENT OF MISS THERESA F. SCANLON
Miss SCANLON. I appear before your committee in behalf of former Federal employees, many of whom are desirous of being reinstated in the Government service and have been meeting with no success in obtaining appointments.