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Mr. BENSON. The present organization of the Department is shown by the chart attached to the memorandum of March 10, 1953. An enlarged reproduction of that chart is displayed before you. You will note that the programs and operations of the Department are divided among four major groups:
Research, extension, and land use
Agricultural credit services The other two, departmental administration and Office of the Solicitor, are auxiliary agencies of the Department and exist for the purpose of servicing these major groups, the line agencies of the Department. All programs and activities conducted by the Department are thus presently assigned to 1 of these 4 major groups.
I should like to comment briefly on the group designated as “Foreign Agricultural Service.” Heretofore the work of the Department dealing with foreign trade and foreign agriculture has been handled through an Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations. This Office was originally assigned in the organization announced on January 21, 1953, to the Research, Extension, and Land Use Group. A special study of the subject was undertaken by my staff. In that work we had the benefit of the services of Mr. F. R. Wilcox, assistant general manager of Sunkist Growers—formerly known as California Fruit Growers Exchange—and a former employee of the Department, who came here at our request to assist us in this study.
We came to the conclusion that it is highly desirable to place much greater emphasis upon foreign trade matters. With the substantial surpluses accumulating in some of our important crops, it is of the utmost importance to find outlets in foreign markets. It is also of great importance to make a continuing study and close observation of agricultural production and exports in foreign areas, in connection with our price support and other programs. These matters are of such tremendous importance that we concluded they must be handled through a major operating group whose primary function was to deal with these problems rather than through other agencies or groups in which the subjects relating to foreign trade would tend to become incidental to their activities dealing with our own domestic agriculture.
This regrouping was not intended as a reorganization pursuant to the Reorganization Act of 1949. Rather it was a coordinating plan for grouping the various agencies of the Department for purposes of more efficient supervision. Such action was dictated by sound principles of public administration. Its purpose was to prescribe clearly defined administrative channels for reporting to the Secretary, to reduce the number of people reporting directly to him, and to assure an adequate coordination and review of common problems within a given subject matter area.
There was no transfer of functions from one agency within the Department to another. All of the agencies continued to retain their status as separate agencies. However, the Agricultural Conservation Programs Branch of the Production and Marketing Administration was transferred from that Administration and set up as a separate agency within the Research Extension and Land Use Group. This was done for the purpose of more effectively coordinating the agricultural conservation program with the activities of other agencies concerned with soil and water conservation and utilization.
A principal purpose of Reorganization Plan No. 2 now before you is to enable us to make reasonable changes, from time to time, within the several agencies, including areas heretofore closed to us, by transfers of certain functions from one agency to another, by consolidation or merger of agency units where practicable and by any other means which will promote economy, eliminate duplication, and increase efficiency. Fundamentally the plan is an authorization to the Secretary of Agriculture to make reasonable redistribution of functions of the various agencies, officers, and employees of the Department to meet changing conditions so as to accomplish the foregoing objectives.
TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS TO THE SECRETARY
Section 1 of the plan transfers to the Secretary of Agriculture, with certain exceptions to be noted, all functions not now vested in him of all other officers and of all agencies and employees of the Department of Agriculture. There are presently in the Department some 20 agencies. Of these, one-half have been created in such manner that their functions are vested in the Secretary and he has the present power to redistribute or delegate them. These agencies are
Agricultural Research Administration
Library With respect to the other agencies covered by this plan, many functions are vested, by statute or by prior reorganization plans under earlier statutes, in the agency itself or in the head or some other officer of the agency. With respect to such functions the Secretary does not now have adequate authority of transfer, consolidation, or distribution. Such agencies include
Bureau of Agricultural Economics
Office of the Solicitor
This situation not only prevents such reassignments of functions as might be necessary to bring about greater economy and efficiency but it also raises questions as to the authority and responsibility of the Secretary of Agriculture, as head of the Department, to direct and control the agencies under his jurisdiction. By vesting functions in the Secretary, the plan will permit the establishment of clear lines of authority and responsibility, an objective upon which the Hoover Commission placed great stress.
PLAN FOLLOWS BASIC HOOVER COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS
The opening three paragraphs on the first page of the Hoover Commission Report on Ĝeneral Management of the Executive Branch
In this part of its report, the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government deals with the essentials of effective organization of the executive branch. Without these essentials, all other steps to improve organization and management are doomed to failure.
The President, and under him his chief lieutenants, the department heads, must be held responsible and accountable to the people and the Congress for the conduct of the executive branch.
Responsibility and accountability are impossible without authority—the power to direct. The exercise of authority is impossible without a clear line of command from the top to the bottom, and a return line of responsibility and accountability from the bottom to the top.
The Commission stated that, to remedy this situation is the first and essential step in the search for efficiency and economy in the executive branch of the Federal Government.
The same report included three specific recommendations as follows:
RECOMMENDATION No. 14 (p. 34) Under the President, the heads of departments must hold full responsibility for the conduct of their departments. There must be a clear line of authority reaching down through every step of the organization and no subordinate should have authority independent from that of his superior.
RECOMMENDATION No. 18 (pp. 37–38) Each department head should receive from the Congress administrative authority to organize his department and to place him in control of its administration.
RECOMMENDATION No. 20 (p. 41) We recommend that the department head should be given authority to determine the organization within his department.
In the Commission's report on the Department of Agriculture, it referred to the first report on general management, from which the foregoing quotations are taken, as follows:
We have urged in our first report that the foundation of good departmental administration is that the Secretary shall have authority from the Congress to organize and control his organization, and that separate authorities to subordinates be eliminated.
The proposed transfer of functions to the Secretary of Agriculture is thus in substantial conformity with these basic recommendations of the Hoover Commission.
The earlier President's Committee on Administrative Management which reported in 1937 had reached similar conclusions. In the Report of the Committee, With Studies of Administrative Management in the Federal Government, 1937, page 37, the following significant conclusion appears:
The work of reorganization is a continuing task growing out of and intimately related to the day-to-day work of the executive agencies. It is a task that cannot be done once and for all. It will require continuing attention. The assignment of the multitude of present activities to appropriate departments is not something which can be carried out ruthlessly on a wholesale blueprint basis without doing serious damage to the work and without destroying executive responsibility. * * * In other words, the task of reorganization is inherently executive in character and must be entrusted to the Executive as a continuing function.
EXCEPTIONS TO TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS
Reorganization Plan No. 2 provides certain exceptions to the transfer of functions to the Secretary. These exceptions are set forth in paragraph (b) of section 1. The functions of hearing examiners are ex epted in accordance with the intent of the Administrative Procedure Act. This exception. is consistent with the status of hearing examiners in other departments and agencies.
The corporations of the Department, together with their boards of directors and officers, are excepted because they have a different legal status than other constituent agencies of the Department. These corporations have independent legal personalities and conduct business transactions in their own names. Their powers and functions are specified by charters. The corporations so excepted are
Commodity Credit Corporation
Federal Farm Mortgage Corporation There is also the specific exception of the Farm Credit Administration and any agency, officer, or entity of, under, or subject to the supervision of the said Administration. The exception of the entities supervised by it is for the same reasons which prompted the exception of the corporations of the Department. These entities include
The banks for cooperatives, 12 regional and 1 central; the Fed
eral intermediate credit banks, 12 in number; the Federal land banks, 12 in number; the production credit corporations, 12 in number; the national farm loan associations, 1,164 in
number; and the production credit associations, 499 in number. The Farm Credit Administration itself was excepted since it was anticipated at the time the plan was transmitted that general legislation covering this field would be placed before the Congress at an early date. This proposal has since been introduced by Senators Aiken and Ellender in the Senate as S. 1505 and by Congressman Hope in the House as H. R. 5335. The bill is one on which representatives of farm organizations have been collaborating for a considerable time. It seems inappropriate that the Farm Credit Administration should be included in the plan of reorganization when general legislation covering the entire subject is before the Congress for its consideration.
The Farm Cerdit Administration and its functions were transferred to the Department of Agriculture by Reorganization Plan No. 1 which became effective July 1, 1939. By reason of the exception, it is not intended that the plan under consideration will affect the present status of the Farm Credit Administration in the Department in any manner. This exception of the Farm Credit Administration is one respect in which the present plan differs from Plan No. 4 of 1950.
The exceptions also include the Advisory Board of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Since that Board is created for the purpose of
giving advice to the Secretary from sources outside the Department, it would obviously be inappropriate to transfer its functions to the Secretary of Agriculture.
PROVISION FOR DELEGATION OF FUNCTIONS
Section 4 of Reorganization Plan No. 2 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture from time to time to make such provision as he shall deem appropriate authorizing the performance by any other officer, or by any agency or employee, of the Department of Agriculture of any function of the Secretary, including any function transferred to him by the provisions of this reorganization plan. This provision, together with the transfer to the Secretary of functions not now vested in him, gives him authority to redistribute the functions vested in the Secretary according to sound principles of public administration.
This section would permit the Secretary to delegate functions now exercised by the judicial officer of the Department under the Schwellenbach Act without regard to the restrictions of that act. However, the Schwellenbach Act is merely an authority to delegate functions, and the plan therefore does not affect the fundamental nature of the functions of the judicial officer since they are not now in him by any authority independent of the Secretary's delegation.
The authority conferred upon the Secretary of Agriculture by plan No. 2 of 1953 is substantially the same as that conferred upon the heads of other departments by reorganization plans which have heretofore become effective under the Reorganization Act of 1949. Such plans include those for the Post Office Department (plan No. 3 of 1949), the Department of Justice (plan No. 2 of 1950), the Interior Department (plan No. 3 of 1950), the Department of Commerce (plan No. 5 of 1950), the Department of Labor (plan No. 6 of 1950), and the Treasury Department (plan No. 26 of 1950). It would seem the Department of Agriculture should be accorded the same opportunities to provide for effective control and efficient administration that have been granted by the Congress to these other executive departments.
I have attached as appendix A to my statement a copy of section 1 (a) (transfer of functions to the Secretary) and section 4 (a) (delegation of functions) of the pending plan and the corresponding provisions in the six other plans now effective. The committee may wish to include this in the record; perhaps it is already a part of your record.
If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would like to add a short interpolation at this point.
At the hearings before your committee on Thursday, May 21, it was urged that the plan you are now considering is in violation of the spirit and intent of the Reorganization Act. As I have just pointed out, this plan is similar to the plans already in effect for the reorganization of six of the other executive departments. Each of these other plans contained a provision (1) for transfer of functions to the head of the department, (2) for continuing authority to the head of the department to delegate his functions or provide for their performance by any other officer or by any agency or employee of the respective departments, and (3) for incidental transfers.