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(2) the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Engineers of the Regular Army of the United States with respect to the reclamation and development of Anacostia Park; are hereby transferred to the Director of the Department of Public Works. (b) The Department of Construction, Sanitary Engineering, Inspection, and Highways, are hereby abolished.
Under these provisions, all functions now exercised by Army engineers, as Engineer Commissioner and Assistant Engineer Commissioners of the District of Columbia, would be transferred to a Director of the Department of Public Works who might be a civil engineer, of more or less experience and capacity, but who almost certainly would not have the experience and ability which has been devoted to the engineering affairs of the District of Columbia by the various men who have held the office of Engineer Commissioner and Assistant Engineer Commissioners from 1878 to the present day. These men have functioned to the greatest possible benefit of the District.
In its engineering affairs, that is, and with no public or official criticism, so far as the Board of Trade is aware, in that regard. We respectfully urge this provision of the bill be changed so as to require that the Director of Public Works shall be an officer of the Corps of Engineers of the United States Army, and that his assistants shall also come from that corps.
DEPARTMENT OF LIBRARIES
In title IX of the bill, S. 656, one of the 12 executive departments created is the Department of Libraries. In section 909 of title IX the functions of the Board of Library Trustees and of the Librarian are transferred to the Director of the Department of Libraries, and the office of Librarian is abolished.
This is contrary to the best recognized library experience and practice. If the bill should be enacted, its provisions regarding the public library should be such as, would continue the Board of Library Trustees and the office of Librarian, "together with all powers and duties as provided under existing law.”
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Section 910 (a) (1) provides that the functions of the District Unemployment Compensation Board be transferred to the Director of the Department of Labor.
We believe that the functions of the District Unemployment Compensation Board should not be made a part of the Department of Labor, nor that the Director of the Department of Labor should have the authority to appoint the public representative of such Board.
The District Unemployment Compensation Act is of great importance alike to employers and employees. Employers foot the entire bill so that employees may receive the benefits when unemployed through no fault of their own and thereby afford them temporary security between the time one job runs out and they secure another position. One of the stated purposes of the Federal unemployment compensation law is to provide incentives toward employment stabi
lization. In addition to the interests of employers and the employees in the administration of this law, it is a matter of broad public interest, and its administration should be in the hands of a disinterested board rather than the Director of a Department of Labor.
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION By the provisions of section 1002 (a), the present Public Utilities Commission is abolished and its functions are transferred to the new Public Utilities Commission created by subsection (c). .
Subsection (c) creates the new Public Utilities Commission of three members, all to be appointed by the Chairman of the District Council, with the approval of the Council. This method of appointment is a startling departure from the manner of appointing such commissions in the States, where they are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State senate. That procedure is long established and now generally accepted as a salutary method of establishing a commission to regulate public utilities which will impartially represent the interests of the citizens of the State and needs of the utility companies. As such a commission is a quasi-judicial body, the only proper authorities in the Federal District to appoint and confirm its members are the President of the United States and the Senate. If the bill is to pass, it would provide that one member of the Commission be an officer of the Corps of Engineers of the Army.
BOARD OF EDUCATION In title XI, sections 1101 and 1102 (a), a new Board of Education is created, consisting of seven members elected as provided in title XII, and the present Board of Education is abolished and its functions transferred to the new Board.
These sections do not define the qualifications for membership on the new Board of Education, which we suggest should not be less than 5 years domicile in the District preceding their election. Under the present law, members of the Board are required to have been residents in the District of Columbia for 5 years immediately preceding their nomination for office.
BOARD OF ELECTIONS In title XII, section 1201 (a) (1), there is created by the bill, S. 656, as an agency of the District government, a Board of Elections, consisting of five members who shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The further provisions of said section contemplate the appointment of the successors of the first Board of Elections in the same manner. This Board of Elections is given complete power over elections to the District Council and to the Board of Education, and thus a very powerful string, it might almost be called a rope, is tied to the so-called home rule tendered by Congress to the citizens of the District of Columbia in the bill, S. 656.
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Title XII, section 1201 (a) (2), provides that the members of the Board of Elections shall be appointed from among the qualified electors who reside and are domiciled in the District.
In contrast to this requirement, section 1206 provides that a qualified elector of the District shall be any person who has maintained a domicile, or a place of abode, in the District continuously since the beginning of the 1-year period ending on the day of the next election or, if such period has not begun, maintains a domicile or place of abode in the District, with other requirements specified as to citizenship, age, and so forth. It further contains the following:
Sec. 1206. (a) To be qualified to vote in the District, it is not intended that a person be required to relinquish his rights in another jurisdiction.
The effect of the above last-quoted provision of section 1206 will be to permit the civil-service employees of the United States Government, who have "a place of abode” in the District but consider themselves as only temporary residents thereof, not “domiciled” therein, to be at least the balance of power in the local elections of the District Council and the Board of Education. Such persons, under the provisions of the bill, would have the right to vote at such elections even though they come from American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, Panama Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, or Alaska, all of which are included in the provisions of the Civil Service Apportionment Act. This provision is an attempt to legalize dual voting, with one vote in the District of Columbia and the other in the voter's home State. Nothing could be more objectionable.
The Bureau of the Census report of the population for the metropolitan area of Washington shows a total population in 1950 of 1,472,109. It is estimated that 74 percent of that number are adults. The average number of Federal employees in the metropolitan area in 1950 was 223,749. We may safely assume that these employees are adults, although there may be some slight variation therefrom in fact.
The Bureau of the Census report for the year 1950 shows the population of the District of Columbia to be 802,178. Assuming the same percentage to be applicable to the District's population, there would be 593,602 adults in that population, of whom 148,697 would be Government employees and entitled to vote if this bill were enacteda large number of whom are voters in the States. There might be a few Government employees who recently came into the District and, therefore, could not vote.
This is a far cry from “self-government for the residents of the Nation's Capital," and from “the extension of the right of suffrage to the people of the District of Columbia”—I quote from the two platforms.
REGISTER OF WILLS AND CLERK OF PROBATE COURT
Section 1404, subparagraph (b), provides that the fees and emoluments from this office shall be deposited in the general fund of the District, which we think is as it should be. However, in the report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia on the bill, attention was called to an act passed in the last session of Congress transferring the Office of Register of Wills from the government of the District of Columbia to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts for budgetary and administrative purposes. We think that appropriate legislative action should be taken to make certain that the fees and emoluments of the Office continue to be placed to the credit of the District of Columbia, as the work of the Office is almost 100 percent local.
USE OF SURPLUS REVENUES
Section 2001(c)(3) provides that in any fiscal year in which the expenses of the District government are less than the amount of revenue received by the District—from all sources, including the United States—any amount appropriated shall, to the extent of any such surplus, be set aside by the Director of the Department of Finance, and shall be used exclusively for the construction, reconstruction, repair, and improvement of public schools in the District of Columbia. We think any such surplus should not be limited in its use to the public schools but should be available for any needed public works or other necessary municipal purpose.
Now in addition to these proposals which should worry property owners, there is still another excellent possibility. If we understand the Congress of the United States even reasonably well, we can be sure that the Federal payment of the District of Columbia will become an even more insignificant portion of expenses than it is today. Should Congress pass the Kefauver bill, the provision for the Federal payment contained therein would not be binding on future Congresses any more than were the 50-50 or 60–40 laws of a few years ago. It could be expected that the Congress, which appeared to divest itself of responsibility for the operation of the District, would similarly attempt to divest itself of responsibility for paying any portion of the District's expenses. We have been advised that certain Representatives in the House have drawn amendments eliminating any Federal payment to the District which will be offered when and if this bill is brought to the House floor.
I may say in Congress there have been terriffic fights to cut down the amount paid by the Federal Government to the government of the District. They cut it from 50–50 to 60–40, and then to a lump sum, and one time it went as low as $5 million, and we don't know where it would be if this present legislation should pass.
Senator CASE. At our last hearing there was one of the witnesses who testified that he thought that the people in the District would be persuaded that the passage of this bill would bind the Congress to a larger payment than is now being made. In fact, I think he used the phrase that it is being sold on that basis to certain people. Have you seen any evidence of that?
Mr. COLLADAY. Yes, I have. There has been a feeling created ithroughout the District in some channels at least that if we took
this bill, we would be sure of a large Federal payment on a fixed basis, but that would not be so because, as I have pointed out in the section of my statement that I have just read, the action of the present Congress on that subject would not be binding on the next Congress or any subsequent Congress, and they could change it as they might please.
Senator CASE. I pointed that out, that one Congress could not bind another, or you could never repeal an act. If there is any feeling in the District that any action by any Congress can of itself fix a payment for all time to come, that should be cleared up. The only way in which the Government, as I understand it, could be bound would be by a constitutional amendment.
Mr. COLLADAY. If there should be added to that portion of the present Constitution which vests exclusive legislative power in the Congress over the District of Columbia words to this effect, "of the expenses of which District the Federal Government shall pay from year to year a certain percent," then that would be binding; but anything short of that would not be.
Senator CASE. From what you know of the States of the Union, do you think it would be possible to secure ratification of the requisite number of States to such an amendment?
Mr. COLLADAY. I do not. I wouldn't have any hope of having it ratified. Shall I proceed?
Senator Case. That is all I have. The CHAIRMAN. Proceed. Mr. COLLADAY. Commission form of government satisfactory: The board of trade records itself as well satisfied with the high type of municipal government which has prevailed from 1878 to the present time in the commission form of government, the two civilian Commissioners and one engineer officer of the Army constituting the same. From our study of the several proposed so-called home-rule bills, we aré convinced that none of them offers a better form of government for the District of Columbia than it now has. Therefore, until some better proposal is brought forward, the board of trade will be opposed; and any such better proposal, in order to obtain the support of the board of trade, must have as one of its essential features voting representation in Congress and the right to vote for President and Vice President.
Congress necessarily is, and we believe always will be, the legislative body which, alone, can make final enactments of law for the District of Columbia, and no subordinate form of government will constitute "home rule,” “the right of suffrage," or "self-government” for the citizens of the District of Columbia that does not afford such representation.
Senator CASE. I would like to question you at that point.
Senator CASE. Have you given any study to the comparative treatment which the District of Columbia receives at the hands of Congress and that which is received by the Territories such as Hawaii and Alaska? Mr. COLLADAY. Yes, sir; I have. Senator CASE. And what conclusions have you formed therefrom?