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to the Department of Agriculture by Reorganization Plan No. 1 which became effective July 1, 1939. By reason of the exception, it is not intended that the plan under consideration will affect the present status of the Farm Credit Administration in the Department in any manner. This exception of the Farm Credit Administration is one respect in which the present plan differs from Plan No. 4 of 1950.
The exceptions also include the Advisory Board of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Since that Board is created for the purpose of giving advice to the Secretary from sources outside the Department, it would obviously be inappropriate to transfer its functions to the Secretary of Agriculture.
PROVISION FOR DELEGATION OF FUNCTIONS
Section 4 of Reorganization Plan No. 2 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture from time to time to make such provision as he shall deem appropriate authorizing the performance by any other officer, or by any agency or employee of the Department of Agriculture of any function the Secretary, including any function transferred to him by the provisions of this reorganization plan.
This provision, together with the transfer to the Secretary of functions not now vested in him, gives him authority to redistribute the functions vested in the Secretary according to sound principles of public administration.
This section would permit the Secretary to delegate functions now exercised by the Judicial Officer of the Department under the Schwellenbach Act without regard to the restrictions of the act. However, the Schwellenbach Act is merely an authority to delegate functions, and the plan therefore does not affect the fundamental nature of the functions of the Judicial Officer since they are not now in him by any authority independent of the Secretary's delegation.
The authority conferred upon the Secretary of Agriculture by plan No. 2 of 1953 is substantially the same as that conferred upon the heads of other departments by reorganization plans which have heretofore become effective under the Reorganization Act of 1949. Such plans include those for the Post Office Department (plan No. 3 of 1949), the Department of Justice (plan No. 2 of 1950), the Interior Department (plan No. 3 of 1950), the Department of Commerce (plan No. 5 of 1950), the Department of Labor (plan No. 6 of 1950), and the Treasury Department (plan No. 26 of 1950).
It would seem the Department of Agriculture should be accorded the same opportunities to provide for effective control and efficient administration that have been granted by the Congress to these other executive departments.
I have attached as appendix A to my statement a copy of section 1 (a) (Transfer of functions to the Secretary) and Section 4 (a) (Delegation of functions) of the pending plan and the corresponding provisions in the six other plans now effective. The committee may wish to include this in the record; perhaps it is already a part of your record.
Senator Smith. Without objection, it will be included in the record, at the conclusion of your prepared statement.
Secretary Benson. Thank you.
PUBLIC CONSIDERATION OF MAJOR CHANGES
Secretary Benson. The authority provided in the present plan for redistribution of functions is subject to express qualifications. The first qualification provides, to the extent deemed practicable by the Secretary, for public notice and opportunity for interested persons and groups to present their views with respect to any major changes in the assignment of functions which may be made pursuant to the authority conferred by the plan.
In discussing this matter we have repeatedly stated that it is our intention to consult with members of Congress and with the farm organizations and other interested groups. We do not expect to make any major changes in organization without full consultation and advice.
To give assurance that this intention will be followed, the present plan provides in section 4 (b) that in case of any proposed major change, appropriate advance public notice shall be given, to the extent deemed practicable, and interested persons and groups shall be afforded appropriate opportunity to place before the Department their views with respect to the proposed redistribution of functions.
It is not intended by this provision that redistributions of functions shall be accompanied by formal rulemaking procedure. For example, it is not contemplated that such notices would be published in the Federal Register. But it is contemplated that full publicity would be given to the matter through press releases and through direct notification to major farm organizations. It would also be our purpose to advise and consult with the appropriate committees of Congress and leaders in agriculture.
By these means we would insure full consideration of every major move pursuant to the plan. It is recognized that in some cases there may be substantial difference of opinion regarding a particular step to be taken. We would expect to develop and receive a full expression of views on all sides of any such controversy. Pending such consideration of any subject, we intend to keep an open mind and avoid reaching any definite conclusions.
Therefore, we cannot attempt to anticipate at this time what the final decisions in respect to any particular phase of the Department's activities may be. Those provisions for notice and opportunity for submission of views were not contained in plan No. 4 of 1950.
A further qualification of the authority of the Secretary to redistribute functions is contained in section 4 (c) of the plan. This provision states three specific objectives intended to be accomplished under the plan.
It provides in substance: * * * the Secretary shall
(1) seek to simplify and make efficient the operations of the Department of Agriculture;
(2) seek to place the administration of farm programs close to the State and local levels;
(3) seek to adapt the administration of the programs of the Department to regional, State, and local conditions. These requirements point the direction that any changes made pursuant to the plan must take. They constitute additional differences between the present plan and plan No. 4 of 1950.
Section 5 of the plan authorizes transfers of records, property and personnel and unexpended balances of appropriations and other funds in connection with the transfer of any functions which may be made within the Department. This section includes a specific requirement that any unexpended balances so transferred shall be used only for the purpose for which such appropriation was originally made.
Section 4 (4) of the Reorganization Act of 1949, as amended, contains a similar requirement and this limitation upon expenditures of appropriations is doubtless applicable to any plan transmitted pursuant to the act.
However, the express statement of the requirement in the plan itself adds emphasis and should give assurance that appropriations will not be diverted from their original purposes.
Plan No. 4 of 1950 did not contain a limitation of this character and a substantial part of the criticism directed against it was occasioned by the failure to include in the plan such an express limitation.
If I may, I should like to summarize these major differences at this point. The major ones are:
First, the present plan does not transfer to the Secretary of Agriculture the functions and agencies of the Farm Credit Administration which were transferred to the Secretary under plan No. 4.
Secondly, provision for notice and opportunity for presentation of views is now included in the present plan, requiring public notice of major changes with opportunity to interested persons and groups for presentation of their views. There was no such provision in plan No.4.
Third, the directions with respect to the redelegation of functions. In the present plan, in any redistribution of functions, the Secretary shall seek to simplify and make efficient any operations, seek to place the administration of farm programs close to the State and local levels, and seek to adapt the administration of programs to regional, State, and local conditions. There were no such provisions in plan No. 4 of 1950.
The fourth major difference is the limitation on transfers of appropriations. Under the present plan, any unexpended balances of appropriations transferred shall be used only for the purposes for which such appropriation was originally made by the Congress. In plan No. 4 of 1950, there was no provision in the plan, although the Reorganization Act imposed such limitation.
ABOLITION OF FUNCTIONS NOT AUTHORIZED
It has been suggested by some that if the pending plan becomes effective, the Secretary would be authorized to abolish in whole or in part any function of the Department and thereby frustrate the will of Congress.
As the chairman said at the hearing on May 13, no such authority is contained in the present plan. A function may be transferred from one agency to another and provision for the performance of the function by some other officer or employee may be made. But no function can be abolished in whole or in part.
It is true that a plan under the Reorganization Act of 1949 may authorize the abolition of functions. Section 3 of the act refers to
(2) the abolition of all or any part of the functions of any agency.
Section 8 defines the term “reorganization” as meaningany transfer, consolidation, coordination, authorization, or abolition, referred to in section 3. So it would be possible to include in a plan of reorganization provision for the abolition of some function of a department.
However, this plan does not contain any such provision. This particular portion of the statutory authority is not used in any way in the pending i lan.
If a provision for abolition of a function is contained in a reorganization plan, section 3 of the act requires:
The President in his message transmitting a reorganization plan, shall specify with respect to each abolition of a function included in the plan the statutory authority for the exercise of such function, * * *.
The message transmitting plan No. 2 of 1953 does not contain any reference whatever to the abolition of any function.
Therefore, it is clear that this reorganization plan does not give the Secretary or anyone else in the Department of Agriculture any new or enlarged discretion with respect to what functions must be performed. All that is given the Secretary is some additional discretion in choosing tools by which the functions prescribed by Congress will be performed. No present function of the Department can be abolished in whole or in part pursuant to any authority contained in this plan.
IMPROVEMENTS THROUGH REORGANIZATION Careful study of the problem has convinced us that the procedure contemplated by the present plan is the most practicable way to bring about improved organization of the Department.
On January 1, 1953, there were 55,586 full-time and 11,820 parttime employees on the payroll of the Department of Agriculture. In addition, we have estimated that there are some 112,000 other persons participating in the committee systems provided for the various departmental programs.
It would hardly be practicable to provide for the organization of such a large department in any single order or other document. As the President's Committee on Administrative Management pointed out in 1937, on page 37 of the study already noted:
The work of reorganization is a continuing task growing out of and intimately related to the day-to-day work of the executive agencies. It is a task that cannot be done once and for all. It will require continuing attention. * * * In each instance the reorganization of the work will require careful research as to functions, processes, objects, and personnel, and the arrangements in each particular case will require not only advance consideration but experimental adjustment.
Thus, the reorganization of a department such as this must be a continuing program.
Each step must be taken as the need arises. That is the reorganization procedure provided by Reorganization Plan No. 2. Under it we are confident that we can bring about improved and efficient operation of the Department, elimination of duplication and more economical operation.
It is impossible at this time to give any detailed estimates of the amounts of savings that may be accomplished or of specific areas in which economy can be effected. But we are certain that savings will be accomplished without diminishing services to farmers; and that
the savings will be greater under a procedure for reorganization pursuant to the present plan than could be accomplished without it.
As an illustration of the character of savings which we expect to achieve we may mention some that have already been effected under existing authority. These savings, of course, may not materialize to the exact dollar; and I should not like to have you regard them as final accomplishments. They have been reflected in revised budget estimates for fiscal 1954.
Two commodity offices of the Production and Marketing Administration are being closed and the workload is being dispersed among the remaining offices. It is estimated that annual savings will approximate $559,000, beginning with the fiscal year 1954.
The Soil Conservation Service has recently completed certain major realinements of its functions for the purpose of improving efficiency of operation. The position of district conservationist has been abolished and the position of area conservationist established with certain fundamental differences in the character of the job. By enlarging the geographical scope of the job and decreasing the number of positions, there has been a reduction from 572 to 339 man-years, making a saving of positions totaling approximately 233 man-years. These are now being used for direct technical assistance to farmers and ranchers, thus getting greater conservation work on the land for each dollar expended.
The PMA State and county committeemen are being placed on a when-actually-employed basis with a limit on total time to be worked by committeemen. The operation of each State office will be directed by an administrative officer under policies determined by the State committee. Each county office is to be operated by a county office manager under policies determined by the county committee.
Savings due to the elimination of full-time employment of committeemen are estimated to approximate $625,000 on an annual basis.
The responsibility for the flood prevention and river basin programs has been transferred to the Soil Conservation Service. This transfer was announced effective April 1, 1953, by Department Memorandum No. 1325. It is believed that the annual savings resulting from this change will approximate $120,000
All staff activities related to responsibilities delegated to the Production and Marketing Administration under the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended, are being combined into one organizational unit and the staff is being reduced. It is estimated that this will result in savings of $325,000 on an annual basis.
The field offices for service activities of Production and Marketing Administration are being reduced from 5 to 3. Several small program offices are being closed. It is estimated that these changes will result in savings of about $260,000 on an annual basis.
PROVISION FOR ADDITIONAL ASSISTANT SECRETARIES
Sections 2 and 3 of the plan call for two additional Assistant Secretaries of Agriculture and one Administrative Assistant Secretary. While these will be new positions and new titles, they do not represent an actual increase of personnel. It is expected that one of the Assistant Secretaries will serve as head of the Commodity Marketing and