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Mr. Glover. I might say that we can not get along with any less than $1,200,000. We have figured it out very carefully.
The CHAIRMAN. You can not get along with any less?
Mr. Glover. No, sir; we would only have to come back to you gentlemen again if the appropriation was any.less.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER, 10, 1921.
PRINTING AND BINDING.
STATEMENT OF MR. T. J. HOWELL, ASSISTANT CHIEF CLERK,
POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.
The CHAIRMAN. For printing and binding for the Post Office Department, exclusive of the money-order office, you are asking a deficiency appropriation of $150,000. Your current appropriation for this purpose is $600,000. It was definitely stated when this appropriation of $600,000 was made that that amount would be all that would be needed, but you are now back here asking for $150,000 additional. I suppose the committee would like to know why it is, in the face of the statement before the committee when the appropriation of $600,000 was made that it was all the money that you would need, you are now asking this additional amount.
Mr. HOWELL. I would like to make a general statement, Mr. Chairman, and then answer any questions you may desire to ask. Our appropriation for 1921 was $800,000, and we expended of that the sum of $734,307.77, leaving an unexpended balance of $65,692.23. However, there was unbilled work on hand in the Government Printing Office amounting to $100,283.13. In other words, if the Government Printing Office had completed all of the work that it had on hand and under requisition, we would have had a deficiency of $34,590.90 instead of an unexpended balance of $65,692.23. The present status of our appropriation is this: The total allotment for printing and binding is $600,000, and the Public Printer has rendered bills amounting to $131,899.30. He estimates the unbilled work at $166,406.43, making a total of $298,305.73, which leaves a balance in our allotment of $310,694.27. This deficiency is necessary at this particular time due principally to the provision in the sundry civil act for 1922 which limits the expenditures for public printing and binding during the first and second quarters of the present fiscal year to not over one-half of the total allotment. T'he department's allotment for printing and binding for the present fiscal year amounts to $600,000. When requisitions for printing and binding are sent to the Government Printing Office an estimate as to their cost is immediately prepared and a charge made against the department's allotment.
Therefore, under the provisions of law above referred to, the department can only send requisitions covering work amounting to $300,000 during the first six months of the present fiscal year, regardless of the time when such work is completed and delivered. For instance, take the situation last year. At the end of the first six months of
the last fiscal year the Government Printing Office had rendered bills covering work completed and delivered amounting to $299,017.86, and they estimated that the unbilled work on hand at that time amounted to $195,467.56, or a total of billed and unbilled work amounting to $494,485.42, which was more than half of our allotment. We have found from experience that it is expedient to anticipate our requirements for blanks and forms from three to six months, and for that reason it is necessary for us to send requisitions for printing and binding to the Government Printing Office amounting to more than one-half of the department's allotment, although the department does not expect to secure the actual delivery of the work amounting to more than one-half of the allotment. If this provision of law had been construed to mean that only work amounting to one-half of the department's allotment should be completed and delivered during the first six months of the present fiscal year, we would not have come for this deficiency at this time, although we will require a deficiency, in any event, for the present fiscal year. Our expenditures last year were $734,307.77.
The CHAIRMAN. How much of that represents cost incurred in printing reports of the bureau chiefs and the Assistant Postmasters General, and all that sort of stuff that you ought not to have?
Mr. HOWELL. To show you what rapid strides we have made, and the business-like way we are handling our printing, I will say that some time ago we discontinued the printing of the separate annual reports of the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Assistant Postmasters General, the chief inspector, purchasing agent, and solicitor, and we now issue only one report, known as the report of the Postmaster General, which is printed at an expense of less than $2,300 a year. We print only 5,000 copies of that report. As a further illustration of the way we are handling the printing situation, I will say that we found that as long as each branch of the service or bureau had the power to devise its own forms, duplication and lack of uniformity were bound to exist. Therefore, we appointed a committee on forms and blanks, composed of representatives of the various bureaus and offices of the department, which committee reviews and revises the various forms and blanks necessary in he conduct of the departmental and Postal Service, in order that all duplications, wastage of paper, and other unnecessary expenses may be obviated.
During the last fiscal year this committee, with the approval of the chief clerk's office, made 1,352 changes in forms and blanks which resulted in a net saving of $140,251.75. This amount covers only the initial requisitions on which changes occurred and the saving thus effected will endure as long as the forms remain unchanged. The amount of the saving to be made on future orders will depend upon the fluctuations of the paper market. Some of the changes made were as follows: 401 forms reduced in size; 28 requisitions reduced in quantity; 640 forms reduced in quality without impairing serviceability; 21 stock forms discontinued; 9 forms consolidated into one; 5 forms consolidated into one; 3 forms consolidated into 1; and 40 special forms eliminated.
The CHAIRMAN. What I can not understand is this: The department came up and asked for $600,000, and stated that it was all that would be needed, and now you come and ask for $150,000.
Mr. HOWELL. As I have said, we expended during 1921 $734,000.
The CHAIRMAN. But you knew that when you came up for the last appropriation.
Mr. HOWELL. No, Mr. Chairman, we did not. The estimate was submitted on October 15, 1920, in accordance with law, and the hearings on it were held on December 11, 1920, over six months before the close of he fiscal year in question--1921. Furthermore, on account of the new law which was enacted and which compelled the department to send to the Government Printing Office work that was formerly performed in the field printing offices, it was necessary to increase our allotment to take care of this work.
Under this law we can now only do emergency work in the field printing offices. As soon as that law was passed we secured an estimate as to the amount of that printing from the Government Printing Office, and it reached a total of something like $283,000.
The CHAIRMAN. $283,000 for the work that was formerly done in the field printing offices?
Mr. Howell. Yes, sir. Now, we have thrown that printing into the Government Printing Office, and the reason we did not submit any greater estimate for 1921 was due to the fact that at the time the estimate was submitted we did not know just what the reduction in the cost of printing and paper would amount to, and we were unable to get a very accurate line on the amount of the printing that was formerly performed in the field printing offices.
The CHAIRMAN. În 1920 you had only $300,000 in your regular appropriation, but I see that you did get a deficiency appropriation of $300,000. The cost of paper and the cost of printing and supplies were just as high then as now. How do
you account for this higher expenditure with lower costs?
Mr. HOWELL. It is accounted for in this way: Our original allotment for printing, before there was a real increase in the cost of paper and printing, was $300,000, and then we had to have $300,000 more, on account of the new law, making $600,000. The cost of paper and printing naturally increased, and we figure the decrease in the cost during the present year will be offset by the increase in consumption.
The CHAIRMAN. Let us see what the reduction in the cost of paper has been.
Mr. HOWELL. I do not have the figures on that, but I will be glad to insert them in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. You have had some figures on that, and you can tell us approximately what the reduction has been.' Has there been any reduction?
Mr. Howell. Yes, sir; there have been reductions. The decrease in the cost of paper during the present fiscal year as compared with the last fiscal year will average between 20 and 25 per cent. However, the total net reduction in the cost of a job of printing will not average 20 or 25 per cent. We selected at random 11 jobs covering like forms and like quantities and aggregating a total of 13,791,000 copies, and a comparison of their total cost during the last fiscal year with the present fiscal year discloses an average decrease amounting to 94 per cent. The CHAIRMAN. Do you take bids from the Public Printer ? Mr. HOWELL. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. Why is that?
Mr. HOWELL. Because under this new law we are required to send all of our work to the Government Printing Office, except emergency work that we have authority to do in our field printing offices.
The CHAIRMAN. You have to pay whatever they charge?
The CHAIRMAN. Does he not have to bid on other work that he does for other departments?
Mr. HOWELL. Not under this new law.
The CHAIRMAN. If this cost seems high, is it due to the law, or is it due to your extravagance in the ordering of printing?
Mr. HOWELL. I think that the statement I just made about the business-like way in which we handle our printing will show that we are not extravagant.
The CHAIRMAN. You can order a larger amount of stuff than you need.
Mr. HOWELL. Most of our printing is for stock forms and blanks used throughout the Postal Service in the various post offices. For instance, during the fiscal year 1920 in stock forms alone we used 423,500,000.
The CHAIRMAN. How much stock of the various blanks and forms have you now on hand ?
Mr. HOWELL. Of the various blanks and forms I would say that we have on an average a stock for from five to six months. Of course, on some smali requisitions it is economy for us to order a year's supply at a time instead of going back three or four times a year.
The CHAIRMAN. You have a stock on hand for six months, more or less, under this appropriation.
Mr. HOWELL. Yes, sir; of what is known as stock forms. However, we do not have any stock of specially printed forms. They are printed as required. There is one point I want to bring out, and that is that at the present time we have sent requisitions to the Government Printing Office amounting to $300,000 or one-half of our allotment and the only way we can secure any printing covering new work or specially printed forms from now until December 31 is to suspend work on requisitions already placed, on which in most instances the work has been started, and utilize the money that has already been debited to our allotment to take care of new work and specially printed forms. This is an unbusinesslike and uneconomical procedure and one which delays and retards the work because it is apparent that if we suspend the work on a requisition now in order to get some other work through it has the effect of holding up the requisition we suspend until January 1, thus delaying the work called for by that particular requisition six weeks.
Mr. BYRNs. As I understand it, you can not make a requisition upon the Government Printing Office for an amount of printing exceeding half of the appropriation during the first six months, or that is the way the law has been construed?
Mr. HOWELL. That is the way the law has been construed.
Mr. BYRNs. And the Postmaster General has no authority to waive that?
Mr. HOWELL. The Postmaster General has no discretion in the matter whatever. That is the way the Public Printer has construed the law, and, of course, we must follow the construction that the Public Printer puts upon it.
The CHAIRMAN. That provision of law prohibits you from spending more than half of your appropriation in the first six months of the year?
Mr. Howell. Yes, sir; that is the way the Public Printer construes the law, and, of course, it is not his fault. The point is this, that we will not get actual delivery of probably more than half of the amount of our total allotment, but the Public Printer charges our allotment with the estimated cost of a job just as soon as the requisition comes in. He does that, as I understand it, before he actually starts work on the job.
The CHAIRMAN. He charges you with it before he does the work? Mr. HOWELL. He sends us an estimate of the probable cost of the job, and he then makes the charge against our allotment.
Mr. Byrns. Of course, you must make your requisitions in advance. For instance, you make requisitions in November and December for forms or whatever printing you may need for use in January or February following, and, as I understand it, that is charged against your first six months' allotment?
Mr. HOWELL. Yes, sir. Any requisition that we send in from July to December will be charged against our first six months' allotment, without regard to the time when the work is started or delivered.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not paid for until it is delivered ?
Mr. HOWELL. The Public Printer will not take any more work from us, or, rather, he will take it, but he will not start to work on it. Our service is so large that we must anticipate our requirements, and when the full allotment is taken up, if we have a requisition involving an important job of, say, 5,000 copies of a form, we have to ask him to suspend certain other requisitions involving, perhaps, a large number of forms, so that we can take the money set aside for that job in order to get this other work done.
The CHAIRMAN. He has rendered bills amounting to only $131,000 out of your $600,000 appropriation?
Mr. HOWELL. That is all. That represents work already completed and delivered.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not pay for it until it is completed and delivered ?
Mr. HOWELL. We have no objection to that at all, but the Public Printer charges us as soon as he receives the requisition and before putting it on the press. He has a force of estimators who estimate the total cost of the job, and, as I understand, it is immediately sent to the accounting section and charged against our allotment.
The CHAIRMAN. They can not do that.
Mr. HOWELL. That is the way he construes the law, and he claims that it is due to the law under which he is operating the Government Printing Office.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not see any reason for this request for a deficiency under these conditions.
Mr. HOWELL. To tell the honest truth, even without the conditions that we are laboring under, we can not tell the actual amount we will require for the present fiscal year, but we do need relief at