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That the last 3 years have brought an accelerated concentration of the more substantive type of inquiries is also evidenced by the sharp rise in the ratio of Member to constituent inquiries. In calendar 1964, the almost 40,000 Member (including committee) inquiries handled by the Service comprised 43 percent of the total volume of inquiries. In calendar 1967, Member inquiries rose to over 70,000 and comprised 53 percent of the total. A comparison of the last 3 years with 1964 is shown in table III:
TABLE III. -MEMBER-CONSTITUENT INQUIRIES COMPARED BY PERCENTAGES OF TOTAL
Percent of total
Percent of total
1964. 1965 1966. 1967.
92, 937 113, 628 114,037 132, 441
The Member and committee inquiries not only comprise the bulk of the heavy workload of the Service, but they are the category in which improvement in quality and timeliness of response are most needed, and this of course has been the major objective of the previously authorized increase in staff. To that end, a principal priority of use of new personnel was for the establishment of a new division (the Congressional Reference Division) in which most of the constituent inquiries were to be concentrated. It was expected that by diverting the mass of constituent inquiries to this new division, the researchers in the subject divisions would have that much more time available to work on Member and committee inquiries. The newly created Congressional Reference Division handled thousands of constituent inquiries during the past calendar year: more than 75 percent of all constituent inquiries cleared by the Service were cleared in this division. But we now find that the anticipated advantage to the subject divisions has been substantially diminished by the sharp increase in Member and committee inquiries during the same period. In short, most of the time gained by the researchers by relieving them of so many constituent inquiries has been absorbed by the increased volume of Member inquiries.
INCREASED WORKLOAD COMPARED TO INCREASED STAFF
The figures previously presented showing the unprecedented increase in workload during the past 3 years, characterized by a sharply rising concentration of Member inquiries, demonstrate that the estimate of overall staff need which was given to the Joint Committee on the Organization of the Congress in August 1963, and which was discussed thereafter with the appropriations committees
as the basis of a 2-year program to strengthen staff, is now definitely outdated. The estimate was based upon the Service's workload as of fiscal 1965. During fiscal 1965 the Service handled approximately 100,000 inquiries. But the fiscal 1968 total is expected to be in excess of 125,000, up 25 percent, with at least 55 percent in the Member category. Under the 2-year program, to the extent that it was authorized, staff was augmented by approximately 28 percent during this period. The plain fact is, however, that the benefits that it had been hoped would be gained through the 2-year program, even if it had been authorized in full, have already been substantially nullified by the increased demands upon the Service by congressional offices.
Nevertheless, the staff increase over the last 2 years has resulted in some improvement in quality and service. It has enabled the Service to cope with this greatly increased demand. It has permitted the Service to devote a greater proportion of its staff time to Member inquiries (viz in fiscal 1965, 80.9 percent of all research time was used in responding to Member inquiries; in 1967, despite an increase in the volume of constituent inquiries, the total research time devoted to Member inquiries rose to 84.4 percent). It has enlarged the Service's range of subject specialties, particularly in the area of science. It has permitted the development of the new Congressional Reference Division where most constituent inquiries are now handled. It made possible the improvement and expansion of the Digest of Public General Bills and Resolutions, and its production through use of automatic data processing methods. These improvements enhance its usefulness as a legislative tool.
But the fact remains that the gap between the overall increase in workload as compared to the overall increase in staff through the years since LRS was established is still a very wide one. During 19 of the 21 years since enactment of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, the number of research and ref. erence inquiries placed with the Service has exceeded that of each prior year. Increase in staff has lagged and continued to fall far behind increase in workload. Table IV compares the growth in inquiries and in staff on a percentage basis beginning with fiscal 1947, as the base year, through (estimated) 1968 Table V shows the total number of congressional inquiries answered by the Service during fiscal years 1947 through (estimated) 1968, the number of budg. eted positions in the Service in each of those years, and the percentages of increase in positions and in volume of inquiries over 1947. The figures show that while the staff has somewhat more than doubled over this period, the volume of inquiries has gone up more than fivefold.
TABLE V.—INCREASED WORKLOAD COMPARED TO INCREASED STAFF, 1947-68
The $215,094 increase requested by the Service would provide 29 positions to be distributed among the divisions to meet the increased demands from congressional offices for research assistance and to preserve and improve standards of quality.
The Foreign Affairs Division, which has been innundated with inquiries relating to the Vietnamese war and its many ramifications throughout the world (as well as increased requests for research on such problems as the future status of NATO, the effect of De Gaulle's policies, the crises in the Middle East and Cyprus, the complications in U.S. relations wth the Soviet Union and its satellites, etc.), would receive 3 positions : 1 analyst in international development, at GS-13; 1 analyst in international defense at GS-9; and 1 clerk-stenographer at GS-5.
The Education and Public Welfare Division, whose subject area has vastly enlarged by reason of the great expansion of related Federal programs in recent years (for example, in such matters of continually intensified congressional concern as social security, medicare, the war on poverty, veterans affairs, crime, narcotics and drugs, gun control, etc.), would receive 3 positions : 2 analysts in public welfare at GS-9 and 1 clerk-stenographer at GS-5.
The Science Policy Research Division, which is regularly receiving more inquiries than can be handled effectively and whose subject area has also been enlarging rapidly because of the wide range of congressional requests in this field (e.g., covering such topics as the future of the space program, technology transfer, weather modification, air pollution, aircraft noise, science and technology for crime control, automatic data processing, development of ocean resources, etc.), would receive 4 positions: 2 research assistants at GS-9; 1 clerkstenographer at GS-5; and 1 reference clerk at GS-4.
The Economics Division, which has had a heavy increase in demand for research on such topics as the impact of wage and price trends, analyses of specific tax proposals, balance of payments problems, consumer protection, the urban crisis, new methods of solving labor-management disputes, etc., would receive 1 analyst in economics at GS-9 and 1 statistical clerk at GS-7.
The new Congressional Reference Division, whose establishment has made possible the divorcement from the subject divisions of most constitutent inquiries and most general reference type inquiries received from Members and committees, and which handled an average of more than 5,000 inquiries each month last year, would receive 3 positions: 1 reference librarian at GS-9, and 2 reference assistants (1 at GS-7, and 1 at GS-5).
The other 14 positions would include a supervisor of the translating unit at GS-12 (the Service provided some 4,000 translations last year with only six budgeted positions-four translators, two clerks—in the unit, none designated as supervisor; a multilinguist supervisor would ease the translating workload and would provide knowledgeable coordination of the output); one legislative attorney at GS-11 for the American Law Division ; two analysts at GS-9 for the Government and General Research Division; one inquiries recorder at GS-8 (the rise in calls from congressional offices during the past year has exceeded physical capabilities of the present staff to record the inquiries) ; four clerical assistants at GS-3 to GS-5 for the Library Services Division, which is the support organization for the research staff, two of whom would assist in the maintenance and acquisition of the Service's collection of expendable materials and multilith copies of LRS reports in fiscal 1967 nearly 425,000 pieces had to be processed and stocked by subject and number for easy retrieval and prompt transmittal to congressional offices, a figure so high that the giveaway collection is deteriorating for lack of manpower to maintain its currency), and the other two for typing and sustaining the main clipping files (a large newspaper-like “morgue” of information on current affairs on which the researchers rely to provide the latest, most immediate information need for congressional inquiries); and five support positions (elerkstenographers, supply clerk, mail clerk) at GS-2 to GS-5 to provide essential housekeeping services which have been impaired by the continued rise in workload.
The present budget request does not include any funding to staff for the expansion of LRS contemplated under the pending Legislative Reorganization Act.
Mr. STEED. I might also point out that during the last 2 years, you had a total net staff increase of 58, is that correct?
Mr. Jayson. That is correct.
Give us a general outline of your problems and your work over there and the need for the increase.
GENERAL STATEMENT OF DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE SERVICE
Mr. Jayson. Mr. Chairman, we are requesting an increase of $325,000-plus, of which $215,094 represents the cost of establishing 29 new positions in the Legislative Reference Service. These would bring our total staff up to 310 positions.
The request has its basis in the dialog that we had with the joint committee on the organization of the Congress 3 years ago, in the summer of 1965, and the discussions we had with this committee at our last two budget hearings. The joint committee had completed an intensive review of our operations, our workload, and our problems. At that time--early in 1965—we were facing a rather serious situation. As a result of the steady and rapid increase in our workload during prior years, the changing demands on our service by the members and committees of Congress, the broader scope of our subject coverage responsibility, the rush and short-deadline and individualized requests that were pouring in on us, the increased volume of constituent inquiries—as a result of all these factors, the Legislative Reference Service found itself overwhelmed. It was fighting backlogs and arrearages, and the quality of the research was being downgraded in order to meet the demands for quantity.
In response to questions by the joint committee, Dr. Hugh Elsbree. my predecessor as Director of LRS, testified that to provide good quality and timely response for a research workload such as we then had on hand, the service would need a minimum staff of 300 positions
Subsequently, we appeared before the Appropriations Cominittees discussed these same problems, and sought approval to undertake a 2-year program to bring our staff up to a total of 304 positions. This committee, Mr. Chairman, and your colleagues in the other House, were most sympathetic. You acted favorably, but did not go all the way. During the past 2 years our staff was raised to 281 positions, which was most helpful to us, but the trouble is that during the 3 years since we discussed our problems with the joint committee, the Members of Congress have again increased their demands on us, and in a very substantial way.
During calendar year 1964—which was just behind us when we spoke to the joint committee—the service handled some 93,000 information and research requests from the membership. Three years later, during calendar year 1967, the year just past, we were asked to handle over 132,000 inquiries. That is an increase of some 40,000 inquiries over 1964. Our workload went up 43 percent within the short space of 3 years.
I think it is significant to note that three out of four of those 40,000 additional inquiries were member inquiries rather than constituent inquiries. Member inquiries, of course, represent our more substantive workload. In fact, the rise in member inquiries during this 3-year period, 1967 over 1954, was startling. It went up 76 percent.
This suggests that the estimated staff needs that we discussed with the joint committee, and later with this committee, as the basis for our 2-year program to strengthen staff, are no longer valid. The increase in our workload during the past 3 years—an increase over which we have very little control-has changed the picture sharply.
I will not say that conditions have not improved over the past 3 years, because we feel that they have. For one thing, we have been able to establish our new Congressional Reference Division in which we now concentrate over 75 percent of all constituent inquiries plus a good many fast reference type Member inquiries. For another, we have been able to cut into our arrea rages somewhat. In November 1965, for example, we had over 700 inguiries on hand that were 1 month old or older. We have cut that figure to less than half. Today it is down to about 300. And certainly the larger staff that we now have, as compared to 1965, has enabled us to handle the 40,000 additional inquiries that we received since then.
We have expanded and improved the coverage of our “Bill Digest." We have made a start toward automation. And we have done other things to make the organization more helpful to the Members.
But, overall, we find that the advantages we had hoped to gain through our 2-year program-and, of course, the primary objectives were better quality and timeliness of response in our research work, and to have enough researchers available to take care of urgent and serious requests—the anticipated advantages became unattainable because of the sharp rise in our workload during these past 3 years. We had thought, for instance, that by routing the mass of constituent inquiries away from our subject divisions, our researchers would have that much more time available to work on their legislative inquiries. But the increase in member inquiries simply replaced the constituent inquiries in the subject divisions.
I have no doubt that this new increase in workload is only a reflection of the increase in workload in the members' own offices in recent