« PreviousContinue »
Mr. BYRNS. Why does he pay his chauffeur more than the chauffeur of the Speaker?
Mr. SOUTH. I suppose he thinks he gets a better man and also that $80 is not enough to pay for a man who has to be at beck and call every day, and often at midnight.
Mr. Good. How old are these machines ?
Mr. South. Two years this month. They were both bought about two years ago in December, and that makes the repair bills
climb on them mighty rapidly.
Mr. STAFFORD. What make of machine is it?
Mr. South. The Speaker's car is a Cadillac, and I do not recall what the Vice President got. Each chose the machine they wanted.
Mr. STAFFORD. And you think $2,500 is about the proper amount?
Mr. South. Yes, sir; that will take care of it. We have handled the Speaker's car so he will not have to pay out very much, because he has been away a good deal; and when he has been away we have turned the chauffeur off and the machine has not been used.
Mr. BYRNS. What is the policy of the Vice President in that respect?
Mr. South. I can not say.
Mr. Byens. You are asking for an increase of $5,000 for stationery?
Mr. SOUTH. The reason for that is obvious. It ought to be $10,000, because stationery is now anywhere from 60 per cent to 100 and 200 and even 300 per cent higher on the various items, and we can not purchase the paper we got formerly for 3} or 4 cents a pound, the ordinary letter sheets which you use, now for less than 94 or 101 cents.
Mr. Byrns. You are also asking an increase in the item for miscellaneous items and expenses of select committees.
Mr. South. Yes; because we have heretofore had to ask for a little deficiency on account of this telegraph business. This past year we paid everything out of the regular appropriation until six or seven thousand dollars' worth of telegrams came in. That amounts to from $25,000 to $30,000 a year, and it simply eats up our contingent fund very rapidly.
Mr. Byrns. I notice you spent more than $81,000 in 1916.
Mr. Good. Mr. South, will you send up for the use of the committee a statement of the amount used by each one of the committees?
Mr. South. I think we can get that up for you in a reasonably short time. I do not know just how long it will take. We furnished it to the Committee on Accounts and whether we can find a copy of that now or not, I do not know.
Mr. Good. We would like to have it.
Mr. South. I will see if a duplicate can be found; otherwise we can prepare it again, although it may take a day or two.
LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE, ETC., APPROPRIATION BILL, 1918.
On page 35, Mr. Byrns, there was a blank left there for packing boxes, and I have inserted in my copy $4,450. We had a surplus this year which was turned back into the Treasury of two or three hundred dollars out of that appropriation, but I anticipate that next year, if the price of materials and hardware continues as high as it is now, it will cost us every cent of that amount for the next fiscal year.
FURNITURE AND REPAIR OF SAME.
Mr. BYRNs. For furniture and materials for repair of the same you are asking a slight increase.
Mr. SOUTH. That stands at $20,000.
Mr. South. We kept inside of that amount because we had to, but there are a number of things we have to buy out of this appropriation. For instance, we buy typewriters out of this appropriation. There has never been any law that justified the purchase of typewriters and it has always been taken out of this fund, and when the new Congress begins there will be so many new faces that it is going to require quite a large amount for that purpose.
Mr. STAFFORD. What arrangement have you with the various typewriter companies with reference to the exchange of old machines for new ones?
Mr. SOUTH. I was the first Government officer to make such an arrangement, and this committee passed a resolution binding all the others to the same arrangement. The typewriter people claim I have the best arrangement of any man in the United States, any company, big or little. In substance it is this: They guarantee the machines to be in working order and they are to do all adjusting free of charge for three years from date of purchase, and then they furnish me a price list of machines based on the standard length carriage and standard keyboard, etc. I pay $70 for Remingtons, Smith-Premiers, and Monarchs, all of which are controlled by one company. I pay $68.50 for a No. 5 Underwood and $62.50 for a No. 4 Underwood and $65 for a No. 5 L. C. Smith, which are all standard 10-inch carriage machines. Then I have an arrangement by which if within the threeyear period of their usefulness I turn them back I pay $27.50 in cash for a Remington, $25 for an Underwood, and I get the latest, up-todate, improved machine, which makes an average usable value per year of only eight and a third dollars on an Underwood and nine and à fraction dollars on the Remington or the Smith-Premier or the Monarch and about eight and a third dollars on the L. C. Smith. We get an up-to-date, new machine for those prices and only require them to do three years of service, which they can very easily do.
Mr. STAFFORD. You have no arrangement for their exchange after three years?
Mr. SOUTH. Yes, sir; I have a scale of prices then. For instance, this morning I was looking over the machines of the Ways and Means Committee, and they have five which they have had three or four months longer than the three-year period. After the three years the price diminishes rather rapidly. It begins at $45 exchange value on an average for a three-year machine. Under the clause you put in the appropriation bill about two years ago requiring that no department appropriated for under this bill should pay any greater price than paid by the lowest department for the year prior and requiring the several departments to report to Congress what they had paid, I took the averages, and it showed that the average purchase price of the 10 departments, where they did make such reports, was in the neighborhood of $15, and my average price was only $26 at that time, and they have all come to that.
LOCKSMITH. Mr. BYRNs. On page 23 you are asking to eliminate the language requiring the locksmith to be skilled in his trade.
Mr. South. I do not know why that is put in there. I did not put it in just that way myself. I think the purpose was the same as I notice indicated in several other places, to simply eliminate a lot of useless verbiage. I suppose they presumed we would not employ anybody who was not a skilled man in his trade, because it would be a very foolish thing to do. He is one of the most useful employees in this building, and his services are very much needed. We have a very competent man now. There are over 10,000 locks in this building and they are of various varieties, dating back from the building of the Capitol down to the present time, and it takes a man who knows how to fix a lock to hold this job, or else he would not be worth a cent.
Mr. Byrns. You are asking to eliminate the words “including one night operator” in the provision for telephone operators.
Mr. SOUTH. That is simply surplusage, because of necessity there must be one on duty to serve at night. That language was put in there two or three years ago by way of getting the appropriation. Now we have them on the annual list, and it is now merely surplusage.
Mr. Byrns. And to eliminate this language would give you more latitude in assigning them to any hours you thought best?
Mr. SOUTH. Yes. As a matter of fact, we do not pay any attention to that. We usually put a man on duty at night after midnight, instead of a women, because a man can stay there all night, and he sleeps on a cot beside the board.
Mr. BYRNs. Then, you are asking to increase from $500 to $900 the appropriation for substitute telephone operators when required.
Mr. South. The service has been increased so enormously, and it is being abused so outrageously that the work is climbing on them all the time, and we can not control it. It is the most taxing job, I reckon, in the United States to be a telephone operator in the Capitol. Every man must be served at once, or a large number of them will cuss at them, and the girls are very nervous and strung up all the time, because almost every woman thinks that if some Congressman gets mad she will be fired right away, and a lot of them are very harsh with the operators, and they are shot to pieces and sick and broken down a good deal, and this appropriation allows us to hire a substitute when any of the girls are off duty on account of illness.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1916.
CLERK HIRE, MEMBERS AND DELEGATES.
STATEMENTS OF MR. P. W. REEVES AND MR. JAMES H. COOK.
Mr. REEVES. Mr. Chairman, I have a short statement here of some facts I thought we would submit to you first, and then have one of the other boys say a few words:
Inasmuch as most of the departments of Government have deemed it necessary to make substantial increases in the salaries of the clerks, we, the secretaries to Members of Congress, petition your honorable body to give consideration to a few facts which we desire to submit:
1. Most of the clerks in the various departments here in Washington have made Washington their permanent home, and, therefore, are not compelled to go to the expense of packing and moving when Congress convenes or adjourns.
2. In view of the fact that a secretary to a Member of Congress works just as hard and just as many hours as a secretary to a Senator, we are of the opinion that we are entitled to more compensation than $1,500 when you take into consideration that each Senator is provided with from two to four clerks (with salaries ranging from $1,400 to $2,220).
That is according to whether they are chairman of committees or not. Of course, if they are, they get more.
We secretaries work from early in the morning till late at night, including holidays and a part of each Sunday; whereas the departmental clerks do not work on Sunday (or any part of Sunday) or holidays, and during the week only work from six to seven hours each day,
Furthermore, we have a very great expense in our mileage to and from our respective homes. There is also quite a bit of expense incident to our daily visits to the departments, for which, in a great many cases, we are not reimbursed by our Members.
Another item worthy of your consideration is in extending courtesies to visiting constituents in the absence of our Members, which, of course, incurs quite a little expense.
Very often we have constituents coming up from Texas who happen in when Mr. Black may be at his home or engaged in a campaign, and in nine cases out of ten they are friends of mine the same as they are friends of Mr. Black, and in such cases I do not feel like asking him to reimburse me for any such expense incurred.
Owing to the advance in prices for board and room and other living expenses, it is well nigh impossible to subsist on the salary of $1,500 which we now receive.
In my particular case--and I presume this is true in most of the other cases--I pay $10 more for the same room now that I had when I left here at the end of the last session. It is the same room I had and the same board I had, and, of course, the price has gone up all over town, and most of the boys have been hit in just the same way.
Mr. Cook. Mr. Chairman, there is one thing I would like to say: In the first session of the Sixty-fourth Congress the salaries of employees of the two cloakrooms were increased from $1,200 to $1,500, and while I want to say I heartily approve of the action taken and believe the workingman can not receive too much for his labor, at the same time you want to realize the difference in the work performed by the men in the cloakrooms and the clerks to Members. I do not believe there is any comparison whatever. He has no responsibility and his hours of labor are brief, as you know. When Congress adjourns his work is over. Now, those salaries were raised without any trouble whatever, and it was favored by Democrats and Republicans alike. Now, if the Members want to be fair and treat everybody impartially, it seems to me this increase in salary is no more than what we should receive.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Are you a married man or a single man? Mr. Cook. I am a married man. Mr. BUCHANAN. Can you live and maintain your family here on $1,500 a year?
Mr. Cook. It is absolutely necessary to do it unless you can secure, as we say, a side issue sometimes. My work is that of a newspaper man, and sometimes I am in position to do that.
There is one other point I would like to call to your attention, and that is the fact that the clerks to Members are not on the roll. Being on the roll means that a man is then protected with a certain amount of insurance. The elevator man and the policeman are carried on the roll, and if they die the Government pays their funeral expenses to the amount of $250 and their relatives receive an amount equal to six months' pay.
Mr. Byrns. I will say to you frankly that I believe you ought to be on the roll.
Mr. Cook. I do not see why the clerks can not be put on the roll. If they are not, they receive none of these advantages and benefits.
Mr. Reeves. Of course, we have merely come to you in a suggestive manner, and we would much prefer the matter, if it can possibly be done, be taken up through the committee and an amendment put on the legislative bill.
Mr. Cook. But if you can not do that, we hope for your kindly consideration when it does come up on the floor.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1916.
STATEMENTS OF SERGT. THOMAS S. PRICE, LIEUT. GEORGE
WHITE, AND R. V. WOLFE, PLAIN CLOTHES MAN.
Sergt. PRICE. Mr. Chairman, I have a very short petition here to present for your consideration in behalf of the police of the Capitol.
Mr. Byrns. This petition reads as follows: To the members of the Committee on Appropriations, Sirty-fourth Congress:
GENTLEMEN : Your petitioners, members of the Capitol police, respectfully present to your notice the following facts, which we trust will meet with a kindly consideration and favorable action at your hands.
First. The pay we receive is altogethe inadequate when you take into consideration the fact that we remain here the entire year and are denied many of the privileges which other employees of the House enjoy.
Second. Our work is of such a character that we are not exempt from work on Sundays and legal holidays, work for which employees in many other walks of life are paid extra, from one-third to one-half more.
Third. With three or four exceptions, the entire force is composed of married men, some of whom have large families. Everything, except our salaries, is proverbially high in Washington, and we need hardly add that at the present time the cost of living is rapidly soaring beyond our reach.