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South CAROLINA FARM BUREAU, INC.,
Anderson, S. C., April 29, 1950. Senator John L. McCLELLAN, Chairman, Senate Committee on Expenditures in Executive Departments,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR MCCLELLAN: A careful study of Reorganization Plan No. 4 and statement of the task force on agriculture, dated April 7, 1950, and transmitted to you by letter of same date and signed by Dean H. P. Rusk, chairman, seems to us to indicate clearly sufficient and sound reasons for rejecting the plan as submitted by the President of the United States and referred to your committee on March 13, 1950.
To state the case briefly as to basic reasons for rejection, the following points are respectfully made or reiterated:
1. From within any department no satisfactory reorganization is likely to be developed or put into operation. The Secretary is not apt to get results unless specifically directed by the President and Congress to conform to certain procedure. The President is not apt to so direct unless Congress insists.
2. “Section 2 (a) of the Reorganization Act of 1949 is a declaration of the purposes of reorganization rather than a plan or guide for reorganization.” Obviously, the Secretary should be given reasonable leeway in effecting the purposes; but he should also be required to follow a clearly delineated course of action.
3. “It is no reflection upon the motives or ability of the Secretary to say that the absence of more specific directives places him in a very weak position with regard to vested interests in the Department.”
4. Rejection of the proposed Reorganization Plan No. 4 as submitted by the President will afford an opportunity for later formulation of specific directives which are obviously necessary if desired results are to be expected.
The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation respectfully requests that your committee report unfavorably and diligently pursue a course that will assist in acceptance by the Senate of the resolution introduced by Senators Holland, Schoeppel, Johnston (South Carolina), and Thye.
It is our considered opinion that it is preferable to delay reorganization of the Department of Agriculture than to attempt such reorganization under a weak plan that promises reorganization in name only. Respectfully yours,
E. H. AGNEW, President.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much, Senator Johnston, for giving us the benefit of your views.
Senator JOHNSTON. I want to thank the chairman and the committee for being so kind to me, and I certainly appreciate your giving me a chance to be heard.
Senator Smith. Thank you, Senator. (Subsequent to his appearance, Senator Johnston addressed the following letter to Hon. Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, which is inserted here for the record:)
UNITED STATES SENATE,
May 15, 1953.
Washington 25, D. C. DEAR MR. BENSON: As you may know, I appeared on Wednesday, May 13, 1953, before the Subcommittee on Reorganization, Government Operations Committee, in support of Senate Resolution 100.
This resolution, of course, would have the Senate disapprove the proposals enbodied in Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953. I was against an almost identical plan when it was presented in 1950, on the grounds that it vested the Secretary of Agriculture with too much general authority and deprived the Congress of its right to appraise and approve departmental organizations.
I am anxious, however, to see reorganization take place within the Department wherever it is needed in the interest of economy and efficiency. Nevertheless, I do not feel that I can support Reorganization Plan No. 2 without
assurance along specific lines. With this in mind, I should greatly appreciate your views as to reorganization in the following areas.
First, I think it would be helpful to know whether the farmer-committee system of the Production and Marketing Administration will continue to exist and, if so, on what basis.
Second, I wonder whether agricultural conservation payments will be made through county agents of the Extension Service, through the Soil Conservation Service, through the PMA committee, system, or through other channels.
Third, it is vital to know, also, whether the locally organized soil conservation districts would be subordinated, e. g., to the land-grant colleges, the PMA committees, or the county agents.
Fourth, I should like to know whether you anticipate that the Soil Conservation Service will be placed under the Extension Service and, if so, will SCS technicians be made assistant county agents?
Fifth, in the event the PMA committee system were altered or abandoned, how would crop insurance be sold to farmers?
Sixth, would you place the county agents of the Cooperative Extension Service into the operations of action programs or would they be left in educational and demonstration work?
These are questions which, it seems to me, form the crux of the agricultural reorganization issue that is now before the Senate. I earnestly believe that your candid advice in clarifying this issue will do much to speed some type of authority for reorganizing the Department, whether that authority be the Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953, or some other enactment. With kindest regards, I am Sincerely yours,
Olin D. JOHNSTON. Senator Smith. Mr. J. T. Sanders, the legislative counsel of the National Grange, who was here yesterday, is here today. We will hear from you, Mr. Sanders,
Mr. Sanders, will you give your name and whom you represent to the committee for the record.
STATEMENT OF J. T. SANDERS, LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL, THE
Mr. SANDERS. Madam Chairman, members of the committee, my name is J. T. Sanders. I am the legislative counsel of the National Grange, and I appear on behalf of the National Grange.
I have a statement here, and I shall just read the statement, Madam Chairman.
Senator Smith. You may proceed.
Mr. SANDERS. Six departments of the Federal Government have been reorganized under the General Reorganization Act of 1949, and the National Grange has wholeheartedly supported all of these reorganization proposals that incorporated the essentials laid down by the Commission on Reorganization of the Executive Branch of the Government. Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1953 follows closely the basic principles laid down by the Commission on Reorganization of the Executive Branch of the Government, and we are in hearty agreement with it. We hope sincerely that the committee will facilitate its becoming effective as soon as possible.
The National Grange appeared before the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government when it was formulating its original recommendations. We also appeared before the Agricultural Task Force that was in charge of the special study on the problem of reorganization of the United States Department of Agriculture. We, therefore, have had a direct and active part in this movement for improving our Federal Government from the beginning.
We have formally and repeatedly approved of the general principles. of reorganization which the Commission proposed.
Two marked advantages have resulted, and will result, from carrying out the recommended reorganizations. In the first place, we believe that a much more effective, efficient administration of Federal functions will result from these reorganizations. Duplications and conflicts should be elimirfated. These are always frustrating to employees of the Government where they exist. Their reduction is certain to improve the morale and efficiency of the personnel. In the second place, we believe that reorganization has saved, and will save, much Government expense.
The proposed Reorganization Plan No. 2 for the United States Department of Agriculture is no exception to the general principles applicable to the reorganization already accomplished under the General Reorganization Act of 1949. At the present time 9 agencies of the Department of Agriculture are under the full jurisdiction of the Secretary, and 10 functions or agencies are under special legislative charter or authority and are subject to the Secretary's limited jurisdiction only. Obviously, if a Secretary is given the responsibility of administering efficiently such a divided house, he cannot render to the country, to Congress, and the President the most efficient service he is personally
rendering. The Commission on Reorganization of the Executive Branch of the Government put the case briefly when it said "no subordinate should have authority independent of his superior" and that every administrator "should have full authority over the reorganization of his Department."
The agencies in the Department over which the Secretary now has full administrative authority are the Agricultural Research Administration, the Production and Marketing Administration, the Commodity Exchange Authority, the Extension Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service, Office of Budget and Finance, the Office of Plant Management, the Library. The agencies over which his authority is legislatively limited are the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, the Forest Service, the Soil Conservation Service, the Farmers' Home Administration, the Rural Electrification Administration, and the Office of the Solicitor. All of these listed agencies would be brought under the Secretary's full jurisdiction, so far as personnel and duplication of functions are concerned, by the Reorganization Plan No. 2.
In addition to the above 6 agencies of limited jurisdiction, there are 4 other agencies in the Department over which the Secretary's authority is legally limited but which are not included in the plan now presented. These are the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, the Office of Hearing Examiners, and the Farm Credit Administration. Since I am sure the Secretary of Agriculture will explain in detail why these last four agencies are left out of the proposed reorganization plan, I shall not discuss these reasons, except that I would like to say that, in the case of the Farm Credit Administration, legislation dealing with this agency is now before the committees of the Congress, which explains in part why it is now omitted.
The National Grange, through a joint Farm Credit Committee of which the present Secretary of Agriculture was an original member, has collaborated closely over a period of 10 or 11 years with two other major national farm organizations and with Farm Credit Agency
representatives throughout the country more recently, in an effort to work out plans for reorganization of the Farm Credit Administration, which plans are now pending legislation.
We should like to call attention to some of the features incorporated in the present reorganization plan which were not included in the 1950 proposed plan No. 4.
These are the ones you enumerated, Madam Chairman, just a moment ago. But I shall repeat them.
In the first place, the present proposal has a specific provision written into it which obligates the Secretary to consult with general farm organization leaders and the appropriate committees of the Congress before he makes any major reorganization proposals.
I would like to say in that connection that it seems to us that we can get no efficiency out of government unless we have a trust in the administrators whom we employ to do the job, and we can get no efficiency unless that administrator has the power of eliminating duplications and ironing out difficulties that are found in the functions that he has to administer.
So it seems to us that there is every reason in the world to give an administrator the power to do these things if we expect to have efficient administration of our Government.
In the second place, as stated above, the present plan is different from that of 1950 in that the Farm Credit Administration is exempted from the operation of the plan which was not the case of the 1950 plan. In the third place, there are some important principles or objectives written into the current proposal that were not incorporated in the 1950 plan which we think are very important. They are: that the Secretary in undertaking any new reorganization must first seek, thereby, to simplify and make more efficient the functioning of the agency
In that connection it seems to us that under that provision he cannot undertake to do things just for political purposes unless the fundamental principle written inheres in his efforts. He must try to simplify and make more efficient the functioning of that agency.
Second, he must seek to place the administration of farm programs as close to the State and local levels as possible; and third, he must adapt the programs to regional State and local conditions. All of these are sound principles or objectives of good government that the National Grange has long stood for.
In conclusion I would like to emphasize that the sound reorganization of the Department of Agriculture, along the lines as laid down by the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, is long since overdue. We have great faith in the sincerity, the integrity, and the motives of the present Secretary, and believe that he should be given the full bipartisan support of all Vembers of the Congress in this matter.
We believe that the present proposal follows out in letter and spirit the general principles set out in the Reorganization Commission's recommendations. We sincerely trust that the committee will recommend approval of the plan No. 2 of 1953 as it has been submitted by the President.
Senator Smith. Thank you very much, Mr. Sanders.
I gather that you feel, or the people that you represent feel, that the changes are sufficient to support the plan that comes to the Congress at this time over the one that the National Grange was opposed to in 1950.
Mr. SANDERS. Yes. We feel that there are some basic differences in this plan which guarantee an opportunity for those on the outside that are interested in sound administration of the Department of Agriculture and its programs to have something to say when major reorganizations are proposed. And the other plan did not do that, Madam Chairman.
Senator Smith. You feel also that such authority as this plan gives the Secretary is necessary to eliminate the duplications and overlapping that have grown up in the Department?
Mr. SANDERS. Yes; we certainly do, and we feel that these duplications and overlappings are not easily foreseen. In other words, it is a continuing process to keep an organization like the Department running efficiently because changes occur; conditions occur which cause the functions to be performed somewhat differently. And we think that the reorganization of the Department is a continuing process which the administrator should have the right, within certain limits, set down by Congress, to perform.
Senator Smith. Do you not think that the Secretary has the authority under existing law to carry on that continuing correction, if that is what we may call it, of overlapping, duplicating, and inefficiencies?
Mr. SANDERS. Some of these functions he does, but some of them he does not, because certain legal limitations are placed upon him with regard to some of these organizations that are now not fully under his control.
For example, the Soil Conservation Service and PMA may seriously overlap and duplicate each other. But the Soil Conservation Service is without his jurisdiction in certain respects at the present time. It is one of those functions in the Department that he does not have full authority over at the present time.
Senator Smith. And he would have, under this plan?
Mr. SANDERS. Under this plan we think he would have, because that authority is given to him which is now limited under the law.
Senator Smith. Senator Dworshak?
I would like to recall this. I remember about the National Farm Bureau, but I am not certain about the Grange. Did you oppose the reorganization plan last year?
Mr. SANDERS. Yes, sir.
Senator McCLELLAN. Now you say that the difference in the pending plan and that of last year are sufficient in your judgment to justify the Grange's changing its position and supporting this plan, whereas it opposed the previous plan?
Mr. SANDERS. Yes, sir; that is correct.