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2. Lines of authority and responsibility are confused, uncertain, and sometimes nonexistent; some agencies are largely autonomous, and some are wholly uncontrolled, and many duplicate others.—The Board of Commissioners heads the District government and is responsible for its administration, but in reality it lacks the necessary authority to exercise effective supervision over many District agencies. A considerable number of agencies have substantial policymaking authority independent of the Board of Commissioners—in some cases including power to prescribe regulations on the general public. Though the "executive power" is vested in the Board, the actual extent of its authority is often so uncertain as to preclude effective supervision over many agencies. For some it consists mainly of the power to review and revise budget estimates, but for a considerable number even budgetary control is lacking, since the agencies are financed from fees which are available for their expenditure without appropriation. Furthermore, the very multiplicity of agencies impairs executive control, obscures responsibility, and confuses the Congress, the community, and the District employees themselves as to the conduct of District affairs. This condition is aggravated by the fact that more than half the agencies of the District government are headed by boards or commissions, which under almost any arrangement tend to divide responsibility and complicate supervision. Among these are some of the most important agencies of the District government in terms of expenditures and the impact of their programs on the community.
3. In several areas related programs are scattered among a considerable array of separate agencies.—The fiscal functions of the District government are divided among five agencies-the Auditor, Assessor, Collector of Taxes, Disbursing Officer, and Budget Officer-whereas, in other cities, most of these activities are normally administered by a single department of finance. Engineering and public works activities are divided among eight different departments and agencies—the Department of Highways, Department of Sanitary Engineering, Department of Construction, Department of Inspection, Surveyor, Water Registrar, Central Permit Bureau, and Chief Clerk, Public Works—together with part of a ninth agency, the Department of Vehicles and Traffic. Activities relating to employment in private industry are scattered among five agencies, and the field of business regulation is broken up among a long list of boards, commissions, and other agpuries.
4. The District lacks a chief executive officer-the first essential of efficient administration.—The necessity of a chief executive officer is a basic principle of organization, both in government and in business. The Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia is no adequate substitute for such a chief executive. Not only are boards and commissions cumbersome as executive agencies, but in this case the Board has normally left administrative supervision largely to its individaul members for assigned groups of agencies. However, three Commissioners individually acting as executives for three segments of the government do not in practice add up to a single executive head for the government of the District. Characteristically, the Commissioners have tended to become preoccupied with the affairs of their particular agencies and to give inadequate attention to the rest of the government. This tends to break the District government into three parts and to produce a three-headed organization.
5. The Board of Commissioners combines both policy-making and policyexecuting functions.—Policy-making requires the deliberation upon and the bringing together of varying viewpoints and interests. In a large city that calls for a body of several members, freed from administrative detail, who can view the problems of government as a whole instead of being preoccupied with any single segment or with administrative detail. On the other hand, administration calls for a single executive who not only can give direction to but who can be held clearly responsible for the efficient, economical administration of local governmental activities. The latter administrative responsibility involves detailed day-to-day transactions which interfere with adequate attention to the broader policy-making problems. This is the fundamental dilemma of the commission form of local government in the District of Columbia.
6. The Board of Commissioners is too small to be an adequate local policymaking body.—A body of three persons, only two of whom are selected from the citizens of the community, is altogether too small for the determination of local governmental policies, programs and regulations in a jurisdiction of over 800,000 people. It is certainly not realistic to believe that such a board can provide the diversity of experience or give the proper attention to supervision of the multiplicity of local affairs in a community of this size. In no other city of comparable size in this country is the governing body composed of less than eight members, all of whom are local citizens.
APPENDIX C HISTORY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Article I, section 8, of the Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power
"To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States. * * *"
In accordance with this provision, Congress on July 16, 1790 (1 Stat. 130; 4 U. S. C. 6), and on March 3, 1791, passed acts establishing the District of Columbia.
Virginia and Maryland ceded land for the territory. When the seat of Government was permanently established in 1800, both the corporation of the city of Alexandria, incorporated by Virginia, and the corporation of the city of Georgetown, incorporated by Maryland, were included. In 1846 Congress gave back to Virginia its portion, retaining the Maryland portion which covers approximately 70 square miles. Until 1846, when Virginia's portion, Alexandria City and County, was returned, the District included the corporation of Washington, the corporation of Alexandria, the corporation of Georgetown, and the counties of Washington and Alexandria.
In 1802 the first government of the District of Columbia consisted of a mayor, appointed by the President of the United States, and a city council elected by the residents. The city council was given the right in 1812 to elect the mayor of Washington, and in 1820 the election was put in the hands of the people. In 1871, however, Congress acted to abolish the corporations of Washington and Georgetown and the levy court of Washington County in favor of a Territorial form of government.
The new form of administration was composed of a governor, a board of public works, and a legislative assembly consisting of a council and a house of delegates. Also at that time, and until March 4, 1875, the District of Columbia was represented in the lower House of Congress by a delegate. The governor and the members of the board of public works and of the council were appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The 22 members of the house of delegates and the Delegate to Congress were elected by the people.
After June 20, 1874, a change was made, and the District was governed by three Commissioners appointed by the President. This temporary form of government lasted until July 1, 1878, when the permanent commission government was established. The act of Congress of June 11, 1878 (20 Stat. 102), creating the present District government, makes no provision for the franchise.
The following is a copy of a letter from the Director of the Bureau of the Budget setting forth his views on Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952, providing for reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia :
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAT OF THE BUDGET,
Washington 25, D. C., May 12, 1952. Hon. John L. MCCLELLAN, Chairman, Senate Committee on Gorernment Operations,
Senate Office Building, Washington 25, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: In reply to your request, I am setting forth my views on R'organization Plan No. 5 of 1972, which provides the basis for achieving a much-needed reconstruction of the government of the District of Columbia. The District has one of the most complicated and confusing local governmental organizations in the country. In part, this is attributable to the unusual expanse of functions to be administered--Covering the areas of State and county as well
as municipal government. But to a greater degree it is due to three-quarters of a century of unplanned development.
Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952 does not itself reconstruct the government of the District of Columbia ; rather, it empowers the Board of Commissioners to effect such a reconstruction. It does this by (a) transferring to the Board of Commissioners as the central governing body the functions of some 95 agencies-one-fourth of them internal units of larger agencies-of the District government listed in section 1 of the plan, including the functions of all officers, employees, and units of those agencies; (b) abolishing those agencies effective not later than June 30, 1953; and (c) authorizing the Board to provide for the performance of any of its functions (including both those already vested in it by statute and those transferred to or vested in it by the reorganization plan) by any individual member of the Board or by any other officer, employee, or agency of the District government except the courts. The combination of those three provisions provides complete flexibility of organization with respect to by far the greater part of the administrative machinery of the District government and gives the Board of Commissioners complete control over both the organization and the administration of all the functions presently vested in the 95 named agencies.
The only parts of the District government which the Commissioners will not have authority to reorganize under the plan are the Board of Commissioners itself, the courts, and some 13 statutory agencies not included in the list in section 1 of the plan. The principal of the excepted agencies are the Board of Education and the Board of Library Trustees, which in most cities are autonomous or semiautonomous; the National Guard, which is a part of the District government in only a limited sense; the Public Utilities Commission and the Zoning Commission, which are major regulatory bodies; and the Recreation Board.
With respect to the functions already possessed by the Board of Commissioners or transferred to or vested in it by the plan, the only restrictions on the authority of the Board to reorganize are four limitations imposed by section 3 (b) of the plan on its power to delegate its functions. These limitations forbid the Board to delegate to any other officer, employee, or agency: (1) any of the Board's functions with respect to making and adopting regulations other than those pertaining to the administration of, or procedure before, any agency of the District government; (2) the approval of any contract in excess of $25,000; (3) the appointment and removal of the head of any agency responsible directly to the Board of Commissioners; and (4) the approval of the District budget. These limitations are intended to prevent the delegation of functions which should be performed only by the Board itself as the head of the District government.
Concerning the third of these limitations, it is important to note that it forbids the delegation of the appointing and removing power only with respect to the heads of agencies which are directly responsible to the Board of Commissioners. It does not preclude delegating the power to appoint and remove the head of any agency who reports to and is supervised by another officer or body. Consequently, it permits the Board to delegate to the head of a department the appointment and removal of the heads of the bureaus, divisions, and other agencies within his department.
In order to facilities the reconstruction of the District government by the Commissioners and the concentration of activities into a reasonable number of new departments and agencies, section 4 of the plan establishes so many new agencies and offices as the Board of Commissioners from time to time determines. Each of the new offices will be filled by appointment either by the Board or by another officer or body to which it delegates the appointing power under section 3 of tbe plan.
The new officers will receive compensation at rates fixed in accordance with the Federal classification laws, as now or hereafter amended. By action of the United States Civil Service Commission or the President the compensation or not over 15 of the new offices may be fixed without regard to the numerical limitations on supergrade positions set forth in section 505 of the Classification Act of 1949. This is necessary in order to provide salaries for a few department heads and other key offices which will make it possible to obtain persons of the ability and experience essential to the effective administration of those positions. The plan also establishes new offices of Chief of Police and Fire Chief and fixes suitable rates of compensation for them.
Another feature of the plan is the abolition of the office of People's Counsel and its functions. This office was created to represent the public interest in the
presentation of cases before the Public Utilities Commission. The responsiWildes u mne office substantially duplicate the basic responsibilities of the Commission for protecting the public interest with respect to public utility matters and the duties performed by its staff and an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the presentation of evidence and the examination of witnesses at hearings before the Commission. Because of this duplication, the office has been left vacant throughout much of its existence.
Under the reorganization plan the Board of Commissioners will have the necessary authority to correct most of the basic defects in the organization of the District government outside the areas administered by the 13 agencies excluded from the plan.
Specifically, the plan gives the Board of Commissioners the necessary authority to take the following steps for improving the administration of the District government:
1. Concentrating the activities of the 95 agencies and units listed by the plan into a reasonable number of departments.
2. Eliminating needless boards and commissions.
4. Establishing clear lines of authority and responsibility running from the Board of Commissioners down through the administrative structure to the lowest units.
5. Providing sound systems and effective central controls with respect to fiscal, personnel, procurement, and property administration in the District government within the procedural requirements imposed by statute.
6. Providing effective machinery for the over-all supervision and direction of District agencies. These benefits are long overdue. I urge that your committee recommend that the Congress permit Reorganization Plan No. 5 to become effective. Sincerely yours,
F. J. LAWTON, Director. The CHAIRMAN. Commissioner Donohue, will you come forward, please?
Good morning, Commissioner. Do you have a prepared statement ?
STATEMENT OF F. JOSEPH DONOHUE, ACTING PRESIDENT, BOARD
OF COMMISSIONERS, GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Commissioner DONOHUE. No, I do not, Senator. I would like to make a brief preliminary statement, and then call upon General Robinson, who is prepared to present the plan in full.
Mr. Chairman, I am F. Joseph Donohue, the Acting President of the Board of Commissioners.
Shortly after my appointment to office, some 14 months ago, the matter of the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia was first called to my attention, as the result of a letter, which I think was received not only by me but my two brothers on the Board of Commissioners, from Senator Case, of South Dakota, inviting the attention of the Board of Commissioners to the fact that prior to my appointment, at least, there had been presented for the consideration of the Board of Commissioners a plan for the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia, which had been prepared by our very able budget officer, Mr. Walter Fowler.
In response to that letter, and after having consulted with General Robinson, who had meanwhile been also appointed to the Board of Commissioners, we told Senator Case that we had but recently been appointed to the Board of Commissioners, that we intended to forthwith study the so-called Fowler Plan of Reorganization of the Government of the District of Columbia, and that we would reply to Senator Case in due course.
Thereupon, early in August, General Robinson, our Engineer Commissioner, and his staff, began an analysis of a plan for the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia, taking advantage not only of the skill and experience of the personnel of the government of the District of Columbia but taking advantage, too, of the countless tomes of material which, over a period of 50 years, as a result of many studies of the government of the District of Columbia, were available for that purpose.
In consequence, when, on the first day of November of last year, the Board of Commissioners was informed by the Bureau of the Budget, the Federal Bureau of the Budget, for the first time, that it was the intention of the President of the United States, under the Reorganization Act of 1949, to submit a plan for the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia, and asking us to submit such a plan within 30 days thereof, fortunately we were not taken by surprise, because the countless hours of effort which had already been expended by General Robinson and his staff put us in a position where we were able, not within the 30 days which were allocated to us by the Federal Bureau of the Budget, but within 47 days thereafter, to send to the Bureau of the Budget for the consideration of the President a plan for the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia.
Sometime subsequently, we called for a series of public hearings, and every detail of the plan which had been submitted by the Board of Commissioners for the consideration of the President was fully discussed in the press, and at a public hearing, at which a substantial number of representative Washington citizens were present, the details of the plan were explained and a full consideration given to the condiuons and to the subject matter of the entire plan.
Sometime subsequently, the Board of Commissioners was informed, in a conference with the representatives of the Federal Bureau of the Budget, that they, too, had prepared for the consideration of the President a plan for the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia, which substantially differed from the plan which had been prepared and submitted by the Board of Commissioners.
The CHAIRMAN. Who had submitted it?
The CHAIRMAN. And you had submitted the plan prepared by the District ?
Commissioner DONOHUE. Yes, sir. The substantial difference between the two plans being that it was the purpose of the Board of Commissioners, as the result of experience in this city since the year 1874, under the commission form of government, to maintain and preserve that form of government, for many reasons, which will be discussed subsequently by General Robinson.
On the contrary, the essence of the plan as presented by the Bureau of the Budget for the consideration of the President was that it would substitute, in lieu of the present three-man full-time Board of Com
1 Public Law 109, 81st Cong. See appendix, p. 105.