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7. The Postmaster General has pointedly informed all postal employees that they must be on his “team."
That is a matter of record, Mr. Chairman. When postmasterships are shifted to unilateral action, it will be no problem understanding that with such personal political machine, as contrasted with semipolitical, all postmasters personally must be beholden to the Postmaster General. Is this the kind of reform the Hoover Commission, the national administration, and the Congress are ready to embrace?
The ČHAIRMAN. A number of witnesses testifying in support of these plans on behalf of the administration, have complained that if a Congressman or Senator recommended somebody for an appointive position there would be a divided allegiance and a divided loyalty. He probably would be more loyal, they think, to the Congressman or Senator who recommended him, and therefore he could not feel the obligation as strongly as he should to be loyal to the appointing power.
Now, this would simply mean, as you have pointed out, that they would have to be completely loyal and subservient, so to speak, maybe even politically—it could mean that-to the Postmaster General or to the administration in power.
Mr. RILEY. Well, you can go one step further, Mr. Chairman, and say that if you happen to be a Senator of the minority faith, I don't think he gets a great deal of consideration even today.
That puts the whole thing right back to the State committee in the State concerned. So that I don't see that this plan would offer any improvement whatsoever.
Continuing that point No. 7, with such a personal machine of nearly 22,000, any man so minded could win any and all elections, Hatch Act or no Hatch Act.
And, Mr. Chairman, as for plans 3 and 4, we have no objections to offer to either.
I would like to make some informal observations. One has to do with the comment in your staff report on page 8, where the Library of Congress, American Law Section, of the Legislative Reference Service, is quoted, pointing out that in all the years, in the last 20 years, to quote the letter in part:
We have examined all reorganization plans submitted under the acts of 1932, 1933, 1939, 1945, and 1949, without finding any instance in which the entire plan comprised merely a change in the method of appointment of personnel from appointment by the President with Senate confirmation to appointment by the head of a department or agency.
Now, the lesson I draw from that observation, Mr. Chairman, is that there has been no great interest on the part of the executive branch or the Post Office Department in any plan purporting to do the same sort of thing which they say plan No. 2 would do. Now, as a quickie device here on the home stretch of the Congress in an election year, when many of our minds are trained in opposite directions or in other directions, we are confronted with this plan all of a sudden.
Why a plan such as this, with thec loud over the legality of it, is submitted, and why the President has permitted himself to be the man to submit this thing, I think raises considerable question.
I think somebody who is in better position to answer that question should come up with it.
Now, further on the general subject of reorganization, if you refer to the Government manual, the current issue, 1951 and 1952, in appendix A occurring on page 585, you will find there a list of reorganizations, mergers, abolitions, and transfers of Government functions since 1933, and that is early in 1933, which would take in the Credit Act, which would take in the Economy Act. As I recall, merely thinking from memory here, I am pretty sure that the Economy Act carried provision for the Executive to submit arbitrarily, of his own direction, reorganization plans and abolitions and transfers and mergers.
Now, Mr. Hoover, as I recall, was the President at that time. He was the Chairman of this Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government. Even Mr. Hoover in those days didn't seem to have enough interest in this proposition to do anything about it himself. The same holds true for Mr. Roosevelt. And so we come down to the point where I find the first reorganization effected under such powers did not come about until perhaps 9 or 10 years later. So that I think there is a great deal of the element of good faith involved in this thing.
As has been pointed out, and well so, functions, and not persons and jobs, are the pawns in this game of reorganization. Yet we have these ringers brought in on us all of a sudden, and we find we are working with jobs and persons and not functions and not abolitions and not even substitutions. * Nor does this plan have the good faith of using that expression or that device of substitution.
There has been some discussion here before you on the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act, of course, deals with administrative jobs. I see nothing in this plan, and nothing in law, which would prohibit the Postmaster General from designating those jobs no longer as administrative jobs but as executive or policy-making jobs, policy making in each locality which would take them far above into the stratosphere above and away from the Hatch Act.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that is a possibility under this plan? Mr. Riley. I offer it as some thinking in that direction. I say it is entitled to be explored. By just a stroke of the pen or a verbal order or any other way I can see in my mind's eye and to my own satisfaction where the Postmaster General can do just that.
Further, I think that this plan constitutes a rank abuse of the term "civil service.” Civil service has been taking a beating for many years. Anything you wanted to do or anything you didn't want to do, you could use civil service as an excuse for doing it or not doing it.
If you go back to the time when the act of 1938 was under discussion, the conference report on that, you will find a great deal of praise for the upcoming act at that time. I referred to it awhile ago as the Ramspeck-O'Mahoney Act, and that is what it is. The proponents of that bill said that that was going to end all of our difficulties and we were just going to have perfume spread all over us, and we would smell very sweet, because we would have a perfect system.
Now, that is the system we have today. If that system is not perfect, or if it is not good, the Congress thought it was. The proponents.
thought it was. If that is civil service, if that be civil service, then what is this plan all about?
My own observation is that this is a personal-patronage plan, nothing more and nothing less.
The CHAIRMAN. Instead of permitting patronage to be distributed, as it is now, under existing law, it concentrates it all in the Postmaster General or the party in power.
Mr. RILEY. You are bringing it all down to one corner of the table, where nobody can have a say except one man.
The CHAIRMAN. That is your view of the plan. Mr. RILEY. Yes. I make the further forecast, Mr. Chairman, that within 5 years after this plan goes through, if it does go through, the Congress will be trying to unwind this thing and bring some sense out of it.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Monroney?
Senator MONRONEY. I find it a little hard to go along with you on the idea that the plan that we now have is a real civil-service plan, when a sitting Congressman from that district can say definitely which one of the top three, veterans' preference considered, is going to be postmaster. I do not think that is real civil service.
Mr. RILEY. Senator, please do not construe my testimony as saying that is real civil service. I say if it is; and the proponents say it is. I do not endorse that whatsoever.
However, I have been on Capitol Hill the better part of 20 years, and I believe I know good from bad. I get credit for that, anyway.
Senator MONRONEY. You think the present system is worse than the system before?
Mr. RILÉY. I am not endorsing the present system. I am saying that this plan is not offering anything better than what you have.
I will say this much, Mr. Chairman, that if you will give proper, . recognition to postal employees in the career service, and allow them to become postmasters, instead of this constant appointment of the policemen of the department, better known as the postal inspectors, then I think you will begin to have a civil service.
Senator MONRONEY. Well, I do not know of any inspector that has been made a postmaster in any of the first-class offices. I may be misinformed, but I know that is the case in Oklahoma.
Mr. Riley. You have one right across the Capitol Plaza here. Mr. North is a postal inspector. You have them throughout the service.
Senator MONRONEY. I do not think you ought to rule out the postal inspectors. Mr. RILEY. I didn't say rule them out.
Senator MONRONEY. You named one. Who are some of the others in first-class offices?
I only know Oklahoma. I do not believe there is a single postal inspector that is serving in any of the hundreds of post offices in the State of Oklahoma.
Mr. RILEY. Well, I used to live in Oklahoma, and I think that Oklahoma gets some very good people in public service. I don't know. It has been some years since I lived there, Senator, so I can't speak. You have better information than I have.
But I can say this much, that the higher echelon, the high brass of the Post Office Department, is stacked, packed, and really filled up
with former postal inspectors, and that is just a matter of taking the Congressional Directory and going down the list.
Senator MONRONEY. But I think if you took every postal inspector, you would not have enough postal inspectors to go around to fill more than 5 percent of the postmaster jobs, if you got every one of them in.
Mr. RILEY. That is the danger you run. We may run out of postal inspectors. SUPPLEMENTARY STATEMENT OF GEORGE D. RILEY, MEMBER, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE
COMMITTEE, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR In support of my statement that the present administration of the Post Office Department is overloaded with post office inspectors, I submit the following observations:
One of the difficulties met by postmasters and other employees of the Post Office Department under the administration of the present Postmaster General is that the inspection force of 815 men has been moving in and assuming more and more authority in local post offices. In their usurpation of the postmaster's authority, they have had the complete support of the Postmaster General and his staff. That is easily understood because most of the key positions in the Post Office Department are held by former post office inspectors.
It is ridiculous to assume that all of the brains in the postal service are in the inspection force, inasmuch as numerically they comprise less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the entire postal service. To assume that inspectors are experts in all fields of postal operations is patently absurd. To become a post office inspector, an employee must have 5 years of service in the postal service. He then takes an examination consisting chiefly of the postal laws and regulations and an investigation is made of his character. To illustrate exactly how it happens, let us take for example an employee who enters the postal service as a postal transport clerk. After 5 years of experience in this division of the postal service, he takes the necessary examination and becomes an inspector. Following his appointment, he is sent to some city other than his regular home and a very definite attempt is made to sever his ties and to discourage fraternization between post office inspectors and the postal employees. Following this rigid police training, in his early years of appointment, he is used principally on depredations and on auditing the accounts of postmasters in small post offices. Following a few years of this police and secretarial work, he suddenly blossoms out as a postal expert. He visits the post offices and tells men who have been handling and supervising the delivery and distribution of mail for many years how to perform their duties. A great deal of the confusion that exists in the post office today comes from the fact that these men have assumed too much authority and are permitted to function as experts on subjects on which they are almost totally ignorant.
Under the present administration in the Post Office Department, a small corps of inspectors control all of the appointments. It is almost impossible for a postmaster or a supervisory official or any other employee of the Post Office Department to secure promotion to the highest positions in the Post Office Department. These jobs are held mainly by post office inspectors. When the top echelon is selected from such a small group, it is obvious that the procedure is wrong.
There has been a growing tendency to select post office inspectors for postmaster positions, starting with those in the larger cities. This practice is limited to some extent because of the residence requirements of the Civil Service Commission in establishing eligibility to take postmaster examinations. However, the postmaster at Washington, D. C., the postmaster at Indianapolis, Ind., and both the postmaster and assistant postmaster at Cleveland, Ohio, have come from the inspector ranks. There are a number of other inspectors who have been promoted to postmaster positions, but I do not have a complete list at the present time. In Auburn, N. Y., at the present time a post office inspector by the name of Stevens, who is assigned to Syracuse, is residing in Auburn and drives back and forth between the two cities. The purpose of his residence in Auburn, according to reports, is to meet the residence requirement for postmaster so that he will be eligible to succeed the present postmaster who retires on June 30
Postmaster General Jesse M. Donaldson and Deputy Postmaster General Vincent C. Burke, the two top officials of the Post Office Department, are former post office inspectors. In the Bureau of Post Office Operations, which is the most important Bureau in the Post Office Department and which directs the operations of every single post office in the country, the head of that Bureau, Assistant Postmaster General Joseph J. Lawler is not an inspector. However, he is so surrounded by post office inspectors that he is permitted to exercise little or no authority. The Executive Director of the Bureau of Post Office Operations is Clinton B. Uttley, a former post office inspector; the two Assistant Executive Directors, Tom C. Cargill and Fred U. Mills, are both former post office inspectors. Out of the 13 remaining high officials in the Bureau, 7 of them are former post office inspectors, and it is worthy of note that they hold most important positions in the Bureau of Post Office Operations. In this entire set-up, there is only one official who actually came from one of the post offices around the country to the Department, and that is Hugh S. Xoonan, who holds the position of Assistant Director in the Division of City Delivery Service. There isn't a single official outside of Noonan in the Bureau of Post Office Operations who has had experience in actually supervising the work of men in local post offices. The administration of the postal service under Postmaster General Donaldson is daily assuming all the aspects essentially of a police administration.
Senator MONRONEY. I am just assuming that if what you say is true you would still be infiltrating the postal service with 5 percent of the inspectors if you took every single one and left none for the inspecting job, whereas what you are putting in is a bunch of political appointees who are supposedly friends of the Congressmen, and for whom the Congressman is responsible, and if the mail does not get delivered, then he loses that area.
Mr. RILEY. Mr. Chairman, I am not going to attack the political appointees, because I know they originate from the favor or the support of men who have been put in office by the people. I just won't go for that one.
Senator MONRONEY. Then you are approving the spoils system?
Mr. RILEY. I am not approving anything. I said I wasn't attacking anything. I am not approving the present system. I am disapproving plan No. 2, because I see the potentials it is going to lead to.
Senator MONRONEY. I do not know how you could get more Hatch det violations, which you spoke of a while ago, out of the career service appointments than you would out of having the Congressmen or the Senators, where you do not have a sitting majority Congressman, or where you have neither, the men being recommended by the political organizations.
How you can square that one with logic, I cannot understand.
Mr. RILEY. I am not going to be in a position of defending the present system, Mr. Chairman. I am not saying that at all. I am attacking this plan No.2.
Senator MONRONEY. I do not see how you could anticipate more Hatch det violations.
Mr. RILEY. I am giving the potentials, of course.
The CHAIRMAX. I do not think you quite understand. Senator Monroney.
You stated a while ago, that if this plan went into effect, the Postmaster General, by issuing an order to that effect, could change the status of postmasters from that of civil service employees to executives, administrators. polier-making officials; therefore the Hatch Act would not apply to them. That is what you were saying, as I understood you.