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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1922.
STATEMENTS OF MR. H. H. VOTAW, SUPERINTENDENT OF PRISONS,
AND MR. SEWALL KEY, ASSISTANT.
The CHAIRMAX. At the Atlanta (Ga.) Penitentiary, " for subsistence, including supplies from the prison stores,” etc., you ask $25,000. Please tell us why you want that amount.
Mr. VOTAW. You will notice that the estimate submitted was $195.000, and that we were given $165,000.
The ('HAIRMAX. It does not make any difference what the estimate was.
Mr. VOTAw. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You must try to live within the amount of the appropriation. What have you done with this, allotted it?
Nr. Votaw. There has been an increase in the population there. The average daily population during the first six months of the fiscal year was 2,157, an increase of 350.
The CHAIRMAN. How many were there when the estimate was made?
Mr. Votaw. I can not say, because it was submitted prior to my coming into office.
The CHAIRMAX. Your contention is that you can not get along with the existing appropriation?
Mr. Votaw. We can not feed the prisoners.
Mr. Votaw. Twenty-nine cents, approximately, to feed a man a day.
The CHAIRMAN. This year?
Mr. Vcraw. About 32 cents. As a matter of fact, I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, because when I was in Atlanta in January the warden then said that they were bringing it down a little. "I think it is now perhaps 28 cents.
The CHAIRMAX. You expended in 1921 $187,000!
The CHAIRMAX. You have three hundred and odd more prisoners than you had in 1921 ?
Mr. Votaw. For the first six months the average daily population was 330 greater than the preceding year—that is, for the first six months of 1921.
The Chairmax. Why do you estimate for $25,000 as just the amount you need?
Mr. VOTAW. I have to take some of these things which they prepare. This is what they say, by way of explanation: The amount
for the usual and ordinary items will be about the same as for the preceding six months. It will be seen, therefore, that a deficiency will arise in this subappropriation for approximately the amount of the special expenditures herein mentioned.
The CHAIRMAN. The expenditure there has nothing to do with feeding anybody?
Mr. VOTAw. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAX. Why do you not live within the appropriation on these other items? It is a question of whether you are going to make the appropriations or whether Congress is. You come in here with a deficiency on a matter which you could get along just as well without. We want everyone to understand that except on essential and imperative things the appropriation means the law. When you take the oath to obey the law, it means that you take an oath to obey the appropriations just as much as you do the Constitution of the United States. The practice in the past has been to go on and pay no attention whatever to the appropriation, just make such allotment or expenditure as you please and then come back here. We might as well have everybody understand that it is not going to be done. In the case of the Atlanta Penitentiary, where you are dealing with human necessities, that is a different proposition, but here you are dealing with inanimate things, buying buckets, putting in a stable here, something else there, or sending telegrams or telephones, or you are buying tools here and there. Of course, proper conservation of the amount appropriated involves living within it.
Mr. VOTAW. I appreciate that, Mr. Chairman. There has been an honest effort, and if you will notice some of the things we have had to buy. Here is a pump for water supply.
The C'HAIRMAN. We gave you some money for that purpose.
Mr. Key. That was for the waterworks system; for a new water tank, pipes, and connections; this is for a well.
The CHAIRMAX. It is the same; it belongs to the waterworks system.
Mr. Key. That estimate did not include this pump.
The CHAIRMAX. We did not know that. You were talking about the pump when you came and asked for some money for the water system. Did you not also state that you were sinking a well?
Mr. Key. We have been sinking wells there for very long, one after another, for a number of years, but the pump was not included in the estimate.
The CHAIRMAN. How much did that cost you?
Mr. KEY. $8,200, I think was the estimate. That was for a new tank, pipes, etc.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the state of your appropriation now?
Mr. Votaw. For the half of the year there has been expended $21.038.70.
The CHAIRMAN. That simply indicates that nobody pays any attention to the appropriation, does it not?
Mr. Key. Those things were authorized in that appropriation as absolutely essential, in our judgment, at the time we made them.
The CHAIRMAN. What authority have you for that?
Mr. Key. It was a question of getting water for the prisoners to drink.
The CHAIRMAN. You got that for $8.200 ?
Mr. Key. That was not a pump and was not included in the item that was estimated for the tank and the new pipes.
The CHAIRMAN. That was only $600, but after all the main thing is to realize that the appropriation is the law.
Mr. Key. We do, and there is, in my opinion, a conscientious effort to live within the appropriation.
The CHAIRMAN. But a conscientious effort is not worth much. We want you to live within it. No effort counts unless you complete it. We want you to know that we are not going to encourage any of these deficiencies. The law is the law, and nobody except Congress is going to make the appropriation.
Mr. Key. It was either a question of purchasing them or letting the public service and prisoners suffer.
The CHAIRMAN. You think it is one of the things that you have to do?
Mr. Kry. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAX. Do not do it. Just keep that in mind. We are not going to encourage or even condone any deficiency estimates. Do not submit them; live within the law. There is a provision in the deficiency law under which those who violate it can be removed from office and be fined and imprisoned. Dealing with the prison situation all the time you gentlemen should be very careful, because you can see what it means.
Mr. Key. This authorization was made by the Attorney General, made upon our recommendation, it is true.
The C'HAIRMAN. There is no authority to make an authorization except Congress. If this authorization was made in advance, it is equivalent to an appropriation. We just want it understood that you do not make appropriations, we make them, and until they are made you have no authority to do these things.
EQU'IPMENT COMMISSION, UNITED STATES PENITENTIARIES.
Mr. Votaw. There is one item on page 75.
The CHAIRMAN. We can not consider that. That is legislation. This committee has no legislative jurisdiction.
Mr. Votaw. The only reason this was submitted is, I formed, that when the Atlanta penitentiary textile mill was started they told me it was put in on a similar plan as this-attached to a deficiency bill.
The CHAIRMAN. That practice used to prevail, but it does not any longer.
Mr. Voraw. I did not know. This is a very pressing question.
Mr. Voraw. The reason this was submitted was because I was informed that it was the course pursued when the other mill was started in Atlanta.
The CHAIRMAN. I remember when that was started. That was a war-time measure.
Mr. Voraw. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAX. It was done as a matter of war expediency.
The CHAIRMAN. Anyway, the rules of the House have been changed so that we can not consider anything like this. We might as well tell you frankly about it.
Mr. Votaw. That is what I want, of course.
Mr. Key. At the suggestion of the Budget we put into reserve $70,000 from our appropriation.
The CHAIRMAN. I hope you will have it to turn into the Treasury.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 1922.
COURT OF CLAIMS.
STATEMENT OF MR. J. BRADLEY TANNER, CHIEF CLERK, UNITED
STATES COURT OF CLAIMS.
STATIONERY, REPAIRS, FUEL, ETC.
The CHAIRMAN. For stationery, court library, repairs, including repairs to bicycles, fuel, electric light, electric elevator, and other miscellaneous expenses, you are asking a deficiency appropriation of $1,800. Why do you need the $1,800?
Mr. TANNER. This $1,800 is for the ordinary current running expenses of the Court of Claims to carry us through to the 30th day of June, 1922. The Chairman. Why do you need more now than you have had at
Mr. TANNER. We had $6,800 last year and with the utmost economy it only just carried us through.
The CHAIRMAN. You never get away from anything you get after you once get it.
Mr. TANNER. Not if we require it.
Mr. TANNER. We require it for stationery, equipment, office supplies, fuel, and everything it takes to run the Court of Claims. The work in the Court of Claims is very similar to the work in the Department of Justice in regard to the proportion of the first half of the year to the second half of the year. During the summer most of the attorneys, both in the Department of Justice and elsewhere, are away on vacations or taking testimony and they do not start their work until they get back in the fall, when they begin bringing in testimony, and it is not until about January that we get most of our business, and from then on to the end of the year the business increases in every way right straight through, so that the proportion of our expenditures in the second half of the year is almost four to one in the first half.
The CHAIRMAN. For what particular thing do you want this $1,800 ?
Mr. TANNER. There is no particular thing; it is required right on down the line.