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that this new Agency is going to continue to conduct a very major program in the aeronautics field, largely on behalf of the military.
Currently, the expenditures on that program are exceeding $100 million a year, and it is expected that those will continue. We are very concerned about doing anything here that could disrupt the unusually effective working relationships between the Department of Defense and this Agency in the field of aeronautical research.
Senator BRICKER. Well, then, this Agency really creates something comparable to a Cabinet post, rather than to one of the administrative agencies responsible to Congress?
Mr. FINAN. Well, we have quite a number of so-called independent agencies, Senator, which are headed by single executives. The Housing and Home Finance Agency is a good example. So is the Veterans' Administration. Small Business Administration is another. Prior to its conversion into an executive department, the old Federal Security Agency also had a single administrator.
Senator BRICKER. In those cases, though, the law pretty well laid down the formula under which they would carry on their functions, I think in a little bit more detail, a great deal more detail, than this bill.
Mr. FINAN. That may be true. It is a little hard to generalize about that.
Senator BRICKER. I know you can't generalize.
Mr. FINAN. But I think we all need to bear in mind that with the enactment of this legislation, this will not be the finish of the concern of the Congress with this program.
Senator BRICKER. No; we will be around here a long time.
Mr. FINAN. As events unfold, it is to be expected we will develop quite a body of law surrounding this program, I would assume.
Senator BRICKER. Those are the only factors then that weighed in your making this a single-man agency rather than a commission form?
Mr. FINAN. They were the only ones, but that is not to minimize the importance that we attach to them, Senator.
Senator BRICKER. I do not argue with you on that at all. It may be exactly the right thing to do. I am just trying to get the logic back of choosing one course instead of the other.
Mr. FINAN. Yes, sir.
QUICKER SUCCESS OF SPACE PROGRAM WITH NEW AGENCY Senator JOHNSON. Mr. Finan, in your opinion, will this bill get us into outer space more rapidly and more efficiently than our present setup?
Mr. FINAN. Well, without this bill, Senator, we are not going to be getting into outer space with a civilian program of any significance. The only civilian space program that currently is authorized is this temporary arrangement under the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense which terminates early next year.
Senator Johnson. Your answer, then, would be “Yes”?
Senator JOHNSON. I want to commend you on the quality and the candor of your response to all the questions that have been asked you. Unless counsel has some more questions, you are excused.
Thank you very much, Mr. Director. Mr. Ellsworth of the Civil Service Commission. Will you please come forward.
Our final witness this afternoon is Commissioner Harris Ellsworth of the Civil Service Commission.
Mr. Ellsworth, the measure before us presents some problems involving the classification system of our Government. We have called you to shed some light on these problems.
As background for your testimony, I am inserting in the record your biography.
(The biography referred to is as follows:) BIOGRAPHY OF HARRIS ELLSWORTH, CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES Civil SERVICE
COMMISSION Mr. Harris Ellsworth was born at Hoquiam, Wash., September 17, 1899. He attended public and high schools in Oregon and was graduated in journalism from University of Oregon in 1922.
Mr. Ellsworth worked on Oregon newspapers, in lumbering industry, as manager of Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, and associate professor in journalism at the University of Oregon, and as manager of a lumber industry publication; has been part owner of Roseburg News-Review since 1929; served as president of Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, Oregon Press Conference, and University of Oregon Alumni Association. He was appointed State senator near the end of the 1941 session of the Oregon Legislature; elected to the 78th Congress from the 4th Congressional District of Oregon and served continuously for seven terms until the end of the 84th Congress.
Mr. Ellsworth was a member of the congressional group which met with delegates of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg in 1951, was a member of the American congressional delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Conference in Paris, November 1956; He was appointed Chairman, United States Civil Service Commission, in 1957.
Senator Johnson. I desire to personally welcome you and the committee is ready for any statement you may care to make. I recall with a great deal of pleasure our service together in the other body, and I am delighted that you have seen fit to continue with your Government service.
STATEMENT OF HARRIS ELLSWORTH, CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; ACCOMPANIED BY WARREN B. IRONS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
Mr. ELLSWORTH. Thank you very much, Senator Johnson.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I do have a statement which is a very short one, and I will be glad to read it.
I appreciate the opportunity to comment on S. 3609 which would establish the National Aeronautics and Space Agency. My letter of May 5, 1958, to Chairman Johnson reported the Commission's position favoring enactment of the personnel provisions of this bill.
My special concern, and I am sure your interest in my testimony, bears on section 6 (b) (2) of the bill which exempts the new Agency from the Classification Act of 1949 and the Federal Employees Pay Act. This section authorizes the proposed NASA, subject to such regulations as the President may prescribe--and I quote from the bill-to
fix and adjust, as nearly as consistent with the public interest and on the basis of equal pay for equal work at rates which are reasonably comparable with prevailing rates paid by non-Federal employers for similar work, compensation of such officers and employees as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
I am sure that you have already been presented with ample evidence of the special and critical necessity for this most important activity to attract and retain the country's most outstanding personnel in order to continue and expand the research activity in this vital area.
When considering the personnel problems involved in staffing the Agency which S. 3609 would create, two important and compelling facts must be borne in mind. First, this Agency occupies a position of the highest possible importance in Government operations and will deal with some problems the solution of which lie as yet outside the knowledge and experience of man.
Second, there is a decided element of urgency in the mission of this proposed Agency. It must function with speed, accuracy, and efficiency, and must be as free from staffing problems and personnel difficulties as possible. In view of these facts the NASA must be able to adjust promptly and adequately to competitive salary rates in order to maintain an adequate and qualified work force for the support of this important mission.
The proposed pay provisions in this bill are intended to meet this need for timely and adequate pay adjustments. These provisions include at least two desirable restrictions. One calls for a welding of the principle of equal pay for equal work with the principle of reasonable comparability with prevailing pay. This will effectively guard internal job and pay alinement against undesirable dislocations.
The other requires that this authority be exercised under regulations prescribed by the President. This will assure that this authority will be exercised subject to externally imposed standards, and I believe we may presume that such standards will require the administration of this authority to be geared properly with relevant existing practices and procedures of pay fixing in the Government.
For example, it is my understanding the agency, even though exempt from the position classification provisions of the Classification Act, will nevertheless continue to classify its jobs in a manner fully consistent with job classification under this act, so that there will be no obscurity as to occupational classification and grade level allocation as between the positions in the NASA and positions which are subject to the Classification Act.
Moreover, it is my understanding that no additional organization will be established by this agency to obtain the necessary field data on pay rates paid by non-Federal employers, but instead will be able to rely on existing data-collecting organizations.
The principle of fixing rates of pay which compare reasonably with current compensation of non-Federal employees engaged in broadly comparable work is not new. I understand the NACA currently has nearly half its employees already compensated under a prevailing rate system with which it has had many years of experience.
This experience augurs well for the successful extension of this principle to the additional categories of positions which this legislation will authorize. The Agency in all respects except pay, that is to say except for the exemption from the Classification Act and the Federal Employees' Pay Act of 1945, will be subject to all of the civil service and personnel control laws which presently apply to the NACA.
In view of the special circumstances of this new space agency, I believe that special provisions for the establishment of pay rates such as have been proposed are warranted. With the emphasis that has been given to the principles of equal pay for equal work and other controlling principles we are confident that this pay plan can operate successfully.
This departure from the somewhat traditional rigid provisions of the Classification Act pay structure should permit the needed flexibility and responsiveness to prevailing pay practices which are thought to be so essential for the successful operation of this uniquely new program.
It has seemed to me for some time that the way in which the Government establishes the rates of pay for most of its white-collar workers is antiquated and not geared to the needs of Government personnel management as we know them today.
The efforts to meet the Government's salary needs by the establishment of rigid statutory pay scales for Classification Act and postal employees, and the difficulties that this imposes upon both the legislative and executive branches are very well known.
The pay system proposed in S. 3609 represents a different approach than heretofore made toward a relief from the difficulties and headaches connected with the present basis of setting most Government salaries by statute. Even though in itself this experiment may create new and different personnel management headaches it would seem to be a step worth taking; an experiment that should be made and, which I might add, being experimental, is quite in keeping with other objectives of this proposed legislation.
I am convinced that the authority proposed for NASA in section 6 (b) (2) of S. 3609 will provide a pilot operation in the personnel field which may help materially our efforts to develop a better way of setting salaries. I urge its adoption.
Senator JOHNSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. We appreciate your recommendations.
Counsel, do you have any questions?
CIVIL SERVICE NOT CONSULTED IN DRAFTING BILL
Mr. Ellsworth, was anyone in the Civil Service Commission consulted about the provisions of this bill before it was drafted?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. No. We did not have a part in the drafting of it.
NECESSITY FOR EXEMPTION Mr. VANCE. Is it your view that there is a compelling need for the exemption provisions which are contained in section 6 (b) (2)?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. We have been given to understand that there is a compelling need due to the nature of the agency, the urgency from the standpoint of time for their work, and the necessity that they not be hampered in any way whatsoever, and we accept that as being valid.
Mr. VANCE. Could you tell us what other agencies have such an exemption as far as they are concerned?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. This is the first and only time that this type of an exemption has been made. There are many other exemptions to the Classification Act. For instance, the TVA, Tennessee Valley Authority, has a different pay and employment situation, and so has the Atomic Energy Commission, and so has the Foreign Service of the State Department, and so on.
But this is the first time, so far as I know, wherein an agency will be given authority to pay on a prevailing rate basis, meaning a rate competitive with non-Federal employment.
EFFECT OF EXEMPTION ON OTHER AGENCIES Mr. VANCE. Do you have any views as to what the effect of such an exemptive provision might be with respect to other agencies? Might it not have a disruptive effect?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. That is a possibility I think we will have to reckon with. It is a fact, however, that the exceptions heretofore made, and I think there are nearly 40 of them, don't seem to have had any material effect on other agencies at the time they were made.
Then there is the second answer to that question, and that is that this Agency, relatively speaking, will be quite small and probably will not enter into competition with other Government agencies for personnel. The competition, I believe, will be with non-Federal employment.
Nr. VANCE. Mr. Chairman, if the pay scale is substantially higher in the Space Agency, let us say insofar as scientists are concerned, it would seem entirely possible that a scientist would prefer to work for the Space Agency rather than for another agency where his pay scale was much lower.
Mr. ELLSWORTH. Actually, Mr. Vance, I think that he probably would rather work for the Space Agency anyway because it is going to be and is already a very dramatic and I heard someone use the word today-exotic Agency.
Yes, it would make some difference. There is no question but what there would be a desire on the part of the employee to work for the new Agency. As a matter of fact, I think that is probably what was in mind in drafting the bill this way, that they want the choice of the very best of all scientists and technical people that they can get.
Mr. VANCE. Now, Mr. Chairman, do you support the provisions of section 6 (b) (2)?
Mr. ELLSWORTH. Yes, I do, Mr. Vance, and for the reasons given in my statement which to us are very cogent and very worthwhile reasons.
We in the Civil Service Commission-and I am sure the personnel people of many of the agencies, and I am sure the congressional committees would agree-feel that the present method of setting or arriving at pay schedules for the Government workers in the classified service is not adapted to a government which employs more than 2 million people. I mean it is a cumbersome and inflexible way of doing something.
We are seeing it even as of today when for 2 years pay adjustments for postal workers and the classified service have been before Congress