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The Federal Government is competing with agencies all over the country, with local and State governments, educational institutions, business, and industry. Beginners from library schools are going directly into these other positions because compensation is higher, there is a wider variety of fringe benefits, a shorter workweek, and other advantages. This competition is not limited to the new library school graduate. A number of the top library personnel have gone to business and industry within the last year, being advanced above the top civil-service grade. Industry has discovered that there is such competence in government libraries and is stealing the librarians away. These people are sorely missed and difficult to replace.
There is now a tremendous production in scientific and technical material, not only in the English language but all the languages of Europe and Asia. Greater and greater skill is required of librarians to keep all this information under control for the scientist. The skills required are not only bibliographical but also an understanding of electronic devices for recording and controlling information.
The Federal Government must again achieve the position of prestige it held for many years and be able to attract, recruit, and retain high-caliber men and women for its library positions. Unless this can be attained, the libraries in the Federal Government cannot continue to render the quality of service needed by their various clienteles. The purpose of the library is to make recorded knowledgeprinted, near print, and audiovisual materials-available to its particular clientele within the subject fields they require. To render this service, the librarian selects and organizes, catalogs, and classifies these materials for convenient use; interprets and guides the use of these materials; and provides lending, reference, bibliographic, and research service to the individuals and groups it serves—the scientist, the researcher, the technologist, the lawyer, the engineer-in fact, ali people in all professions and occupations and in all walks of life.
In closing, may I say that the American Library Association believes that librarians should be included in the professions covered by S. 1326, and urges this subcommittee to amend the bill to include on page 20 under the heading, “Classification," GS-1410-0, Library Series.
I appreciate the opportunity to present this testimony relating to S. 1326. Thank you.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you, Miss Bennett. I would like to ask a question for the record of the committee staff. Is there any technical, historical, or legal reason why librarians could not be included in S. 1326, as Miss Bennett proposes?
Mr. KERLIN. There is no reason why any group could not be included, no technical reason. · Senator NEUBERGER. Why are librarians not included, then? · Mr. KERLIN. Senator, as indicated the other day, there are a great many groups that feel they should have been included but who . were not.
Senator NEUBERGER. Well, I just want to ask this, then. Mr. Kerlin and Mr. Brawley. There is no reason why the subcommittee cannot consider very seriously including librarians, for example, because that is the immediate problem before us in S. 1326? Mr. BRAWLEY. That is absolutely correct. Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you very much.
Miss BENNETT. Thank you.
Our next witness will be Theodore H. Freter, chairman, legislative committee, Association of Senior Engineers, Bureau of Ships, Department of the Navy.
STATEMENT OF THEODORE H. FRETER, CHAIRMAN, LEGISLATIVE
COMMITTEE, ASSOCIATION OF SENIOR ENGINEERS, BUREAU OF SHIPS, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
Mr. FRETER. The Association of Senior Engineers of the Bureau of Ships is composed of over 500 employees of the Bureau of Ships; most of them are in grades GS-12 and above.
The association was founded in 1946, and continues to exist "to promote and protect the best interests of the Government of the United States at all times, to promote the general welfare of the membership professionally and socially, to foster a spirit of good fellowship and cooperation, and to maintain high standards of professional ethics'and competence" (art. 1 of the constitution).
This organization has never before concerned itself with labor-management relations, salary, hours, and fringe benefits, leaving such matters to other, more appropriate organizations.
Now, however, we are very much concerned with the serious plight of all Government employees who, with their own income static at a relatively low level, must watch prices and almost all other employees' wages steadily rising.
We consider upward salary adjustments of all postal and classified employees to be long overdue.
But it is as professional men that we appear before you now. We are especially concerned over the steady exodus from the Bureau of competent, trained engineers and other professional personnel.
It will be noted from exhibit 1 that of the 157 engineers and scientists voluntarily leaving the Bureau during 1956, 133 did so for jobrelated reasons, most of which are directly related to salary.
Exhibit 2 is even more revealing. Of the 151 recorded, only 17 were under grade GS-11. The remaining 140 constitute experienced and trained professional personnel. In essence, this means that the Government, by failing to provide reasonable salaries for its professional employees, is constituting itself a training ground for industry. In this connection, it is reasonable to suppose that many of those leaving the Bureau for more lucrative jobs elsewhere in the Government are merely delaying their further move to industry, securing, in the meantime, additional experience at Government expense.
Because of this exodus of experienced personnel, the remaining senior employees must spend much of their time and energy training replacements, thus seriously lowering their productive time. This results in overtime, ulcers, and a search for another job.
The Association of Senior Engineers recognizes the very real need for economy in Government, but doubts seriously that this is the way to attain it.
It is respectfully submitted that simple justice as well as enlightened self-interest cry out for increased salaries for all postal and classified employees, and especially for those in scarce categories such as engineers, scientists, and other professional personnel.
EXHIBIT 1.—Engineer-scientist, 1956 voluntary separation report Employees
0 to 1.
5 plus_----Tenure in Bureau
0 to 1--
18 to 22_ 23 to 2728 to 32_33 to 37 38 to 42 43 to 47 48 to 52. 53 to 57--58 to 62-----
63 plus.--Reason for leaving:
More interesting job----------
None-----1 This report does not include employees who resigned by mall, were involuntarily separated, retired, resigned in lieu of adverse administrative action, "summer only employees, or military furloughs.
EXHIBIT 2.—Losses of engineers and scientists, Bureau of Ships, January
December 1956 LOSSES BY GRADE (EXCLUDES RETIREMENT, DEATH, AND MILITARY SERVICE)
160 of the 98 going to other Government went to aeronautical or ordnance activities where many un. doubtedly receive the differential being paid aeronautical research personnel.
Senator NEUBERGER. Mr. H. B. Whitmore, Patent Office Society. Mr. Whitmore.
STATEMENT BY H. B. WHITMORE FOR THE PATENT OFFICE
SOCIETY, ON S. 734 AND S. 1326 Mr. WHITMORE. Thank you for this opportunity to tell you what we have learned about one portion of the picture you are piecing together.
The purpose of our studies was to learn why the turnover in examiner personnel in the Patent Office has been so high-to learn the effect of this turnover on Patent Office operations, and what can be done about it. Our studies included attitudes of the younger examiners toward their work, and toward the Patent Office. They covered salary levels within the Patent Office, and salary levels for outside positions of comparable educational and experience requirements in private corporations.
The study covers: (1) examining positions and their requirements; (2) reasons for the high rate of examiner losses; (3) the effect of these losses on Office operations; and (4) possible measures to cut these losses, to obtain the better work at lower cost that goes with more experienced and efficient expert personnel.
I. EXAMINER POSITIONS AND THEIR REQUIREMENTS The purpose of the patent system is to stimulate the progress of science and the industrial arts. The Patent Office serves this purpose by granting patents to inventors while retaining for the public full rights to already existing knowledge. In this work, the critical function of the more than 1,000 examiner personnel is to define the line between this area of patentability to inventors and the area of public rights, with full justice to both.
The examiner must constantly deal on even terms with inventors working on the frontiers of engineering and scientific progress, in areas of technology usually unknown to the public, often secret. Collectively, the examiners must be able to understand and to evaluate new developments in all fields of applied science and technology. College training in science or engineering is elemental.
But this scientific and engineering training is only the beginning.
In addition, the examiner must have legal training. There is constant need to weigh evidence, to evaluate conflicting contentions; to understand and diligently define the often shadowy line between the rights of the inventor and the rights of the public. There must be evaluation not only technological but judicial, adequate to insure that the final product of the Patent Office, the patent grant, is just, valid, and enforceable in the eyes of the law. For this, legal training is of utmost importance, indispensable for the higher examiner positions.
A third factor is experience, in the procedures of patent prosecution, and in the fields of knowledge within which the examiner works. From the time when the average untrained beginner turns out 3 cases a week to the time 2 or 3 years later when he approaches 6 or 8, there is need for constant training, supervision, and advice. The Patent Office estimates that the cost of training a new examiner, above his contribution to the work of the Office, approximates $7,000.
The combined years of engineering or scientific training, years of legal training, and years of specialized experience within the Patent Office are needed before the examiner can be freed to do largely independent work, before he achieves that maturity, wide knowledge, and judicial competence which are vital to the basic purposes of the Patent Office.
II. REASONS FOR HIGH RATE OF EXAMINER LOSSES
In an office where experience and long career service are so important, it comes as a shock that the annual turnover rate in examiner assistants today is averaging close to 23 percent. Why is it so high?
In the past, the somewhat low level of Federal salaries was largely offset by advantages in annual leave, retirement benefits, security of position, satisfaction with the work, and the prestige of public service in respected positions. Today, only the doubtful advantage of annual leave remains. Prestige, retirement benefits, security of position are equaled or outweighed by private practice and employment.
Satisfaction with the work is at a low ebb. A recent questionnaire to examiners with less than 6 years' time in the Patent Office showed that only an alarmingly low 13 percent definitely intend to remain in the office. The difficulties that go with excessive turnover have led to great dissatisfaction with working conditions, management policies, lack of adequate supervision, and other work control procedures. Looking to the future, 75 percent find compensation inadequate. Of 127 new examiners employed by the Patent Office in 1951, only 17 remain.
Many factors contribute to the loss; but the controlling factor is unquestionably salary levels, now fallen so far behind salaries for comparable work outside that younger men, with most of life before them and little vested interest in retirement benefits, face the fact that