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REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. 5 OF 1952
THURSDAY, MAY 15, 1952
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to call, in room 357, Senate Office Building, Senator John L. McClellan (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators McClellan, Moody, Mrs. Smith" of Maine, Schoeppel, and Dworshak.
Also present: Senator Case; Walter L. Reynolds, chief clerk; Ann M. Grickis, assistant chief clerk; and Miles Scull, Jr., professional staff member.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We have scheduled for today hearings on Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952.
Before calling any witnesses, the Chair will insert in the record at this point a copy of Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952, together with the message of the President transmitting it to the Congress.
The Chair also submits for the record at this time a copy of Staff Memorandum No. 82–2–33, analyzing the plan, and will also insert in the record at this point a copy of letter from the Director of the Bureau of the Budget setting forth his views on the plan.
They may be printed in that order.
[H. Doc. No. 447, 820 Cong., 2d sess.] MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TRANSMITTING REORGANI
ZATION PLAN NO. 5 OF 1952, PREPARED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF
I transmit herewith Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952, prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Reorganization Act of 1949. This plan will enable the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia to bring about a basic simplification and improvement of the government of the District of Columbia.
While the plan will reorganize the District government, it does not, and cannot under the authority conferred by the Reorganization Act, provide for home rule. As is well known, I strongly believe that the citizens of the District of Columbia are entitled to self-government. I have repeatedly recommended, and I again recommend, enactment of legislation to provide home rule for the District of Columbia. Local self-government is both the right and the responsibility of free men. The denial of self-government does not befit the National Capital of the world's largest and most powerful democracy. Not only is the lack of self-government an injustice to the people of the District of Columbia, but it imposes a needless burden on the Congress and it tends to controvert the principles for which this country stands before the world.
Vigorous efforts have been made in the last four sessions of the Congress to obtain legislation providing home rule and a modern and effective governmental organization for the District of Columbia. It has been my hope that these two much-needed reforms could be accomplished in one measure. But each time the combination of the two has been used to help to defeat the legislation. As a result, the Senate last year separated the issues and passed a bill dealing only with home rule.
While I consider both home rule and reorganization essential for the District, the structure of the District government has become so complicated, confused, and obsolete that a thorough reorganization cannot further be delayed. I have concluded that the Reorganization Act of 1949 affords the most appropriate procedure for accomplishing the needed organizational improvements.
The present organization of the District government is the product of almost 80 years of piecemeal, planless growth. It has its origin in an act of 1874 which terminated self-government in the District. That act established an appointive, three-member Commission to conduct the affairs of the District until a new permanent plan of local government could be developed. Four years later, no plan having been formulated, this interim, emergency arrangement was modified slightly and made permanent. Since then the population and the functions of the District have multiplied and the structure of the District government has grown continually more complex; yet little has been done to effect a significant improvement in the organization and bring it into line with present-day requirements,
The failure to modernize the District government has not been for want of careful surveys and well-developed plans. In no community has the local government been subject to fuller or more frequent analysis. Within the last 25 years there have been no less than six comprehensive studies of the organization of the District government. While the recommendations growing out of these studies have differed in detail, all have agreed on the necessity of integrating the many activities performed by the District government.
The present organization of the District government is seriously deficient in a number of respects. The first and most obvious defect is the extraordinary number of agencies among which the business of the District is scattered. There are no less than 80 separate agencies in the government of the District of Columbia-one-third more than all the departments and agencies now in the executive branch of the Federal Government. Some of the agencies have been created by law and others by action of the Commissioners. Generally those established by the Commissioners have been recognized later in appropriation acts. Many of the activities and functions have been expanded or modified by subsequent congressional action. As a result, through the years, the legal status of many agencies has become extremely complicated and obscure.
Many District agencies are almost completely autonomous and uncontrolled. Among those agencies are about 50 boards or commissions, a considerable number of which are not even subject to budgetary control by the Board of Commissioners or the Congress; they have their own funds and operate with permanently appropriated receipts. While the Board of Commissioners is nominally the executive head of the District government, its authority over agencies ranges from complete control to virtually no control.
This plan constitutes an important first step in strengthening the organization of the government of the District of Columbia. By transferring to the Board of Commissioners the functions of most of the existing agencies, abolishing those agencies, and granting the Board broad authority to delegate its functions, the plan permits a major realinement of the administrative structure of the District government. It is the intention of the Board of Commissioners to assign the functions of many of the existing agencies to a much smaller number of departments.
A few District agencies are excluded from the operation of the plan. Principal of these are the judicial agencies, which are not subject to the Reorganization Act, the National Guard, the Board of Library Trustees, the Board of Education, the Zoning Board, the Recreation Board, and the Public Utilities Commission.
The plan empowers the Board of Commissioners to provide for the performance of most of its executive functions by officers, agencies, and employees of the District government. This provision authorizes appropriate delegation of authority, both with and without the right of redelegation as the Commissioners may decide, and the withdrawal or modification of such delegation at any time. Regulatory functions vested in the Commissioners by statute are to be retained in the Board of Commissioners, as well as budget control, approval of contracts
in excess of $25,000, and the appointment and removal of the heads of agencies reporting directly to the Board of Commissioners. Under all delegations the Board will, of course, retain ultimate authority and responsibility.
Like the head of any large organization, the Board of Commissioners should be given adequate top-level assistance in carrying on the operations of the District government. The success of the reorganization plan will to a considerable extent depend upon the ability to fill key positions with the best qualified persons. In order to do so it is necessary to make provision for more adequate salaries for such officers. The plan provides that not to exceed 15 officers may be compensated without regard to the numerical limitations on positions set forth in section 505 of the Classification Act of 1949, as amended. This provision will enable the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, or the President as the case may be, to approve rates of pay for these officers in excess of the rates established in the Classification Act of 1949 for grade GS-15 whenever standards of the classification laws so permit.
After investigation I have found and hereby declare that each reorganization included in Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1952 is necessary to accomplish one or more of the purposes set forth in section 2 (a) of the Reorganization Act of 1949.
I have found and hereby declare that it is necessary to include in the accompanying reorganization plan, by reason of reorganizations made thereby, provisions for the appointment and compensation of officers specified therein. The rates of compensation fixed for these officers are not in excess of those which I have found to prevail in respect of comparable officers in the executive branch of the Federal Government.
The plan abolishes the office of People's Counsel and its functions (sec. 3 of the act of December 15, 1926, D. C. Code, 1940 edition, sec. 43–205). These functions duplicate responsibilities of the Public Utilities Commission.
The Board of Commissioners will carry out the basic reorganization made possible by this plan as soon as practicable without disrupting the operation of the District government and will complete the reorganization no later than June 30, 1953. Thereafter organizational adjustments can be made as conditions require.
The primary benefits from this reorganization plan will take the form of improvements in administration and service. Many benefits in improved operations are to be expected in future years which will result in a reduction of expenditures as compared with those that would be otherwise necessary. Any itemization of these reductions, in advance of actual experience under this plan, is not practicable.
HARRY S. TRUMAN. THE WHITE HOUSE, May 1, 1952.
REORGANIZATION PLAN No. 5 OF 1952
(Prepared by the President and transmitted to the Senate and the House of Representa
tives in Congress assembled, May 1, 1952, pursuant to the provisions of the Reorganization Act of 1949, approved June 20, 1949)
GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
SECTION 1. Functions transferred to the Board of Commissioners.—There are hereby transferred to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (hereafter in this reorganization plan referred to as the Board of Commissioners) all functions of the following named offices and agencies of the Government of the District of Columbia, including in the case of each the functions of all officers, employees, and subordinate agencies:
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
Board of Examiners of Veterinary Medicine
Office of the Water Registrar
Water Division SEC. 2. Abolition of agencies.-(a) The offices and agencies listed in section 1 hereof, including the offices of the heads of such agencies, are abolished. The provisions of the foregoing sentence with respect to any such office or agency shall become effective at such time as the Board of Commissioners shall specify, but in no event later than June 30, 1953.
(b) The Office of People's Counsel, established by section 3 of the act of December 15, 1926 (D. C. Code, 1940 edition, sec. 43–205), and its functions are abolished.
(c) The Board of Commissioners shall make such provisions as the said Board inay deem necessary with respect to winding up the affairs of any office or agency abolished by the provisions of this section.
Sec. 3. Performance of functions of Board.-(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Board of Commissioners is hereby authorized to make from time to time such provisions as it deems appropriate to authorize the performance of any of its functions, including any function transferred to or otherwise vested in the Board of Commissioners by this reorganization plan, by any member of the Board of Commissioners, or by any other officer, employee, or agency of the Government of the District of Columbia, except the courts thereof.
(b) The Board of Commissioners shall not provide for the performance by any member of the Board of Commissioners, or by any other officer, employee, or agency of: (1) any function vested in the said Board by Act of Congress with respect to making and adopting regulations except those pertaining to the administration of or procedure before any agency of the Government of the District of Columbia ; (2) the function of approving any contract in excess of $25,000; (3) the function of appointing or removing the head of any agency responsible directly to the Board of Commissioners; or (4) the function of approving the budget for the District of Columbia.
SEC. 4. Establishment of new offices.-(a) There are hereby established in the Government of the District of Columbia so many agencies and offices, and with such names or titles, as the Board of Commissioners shall from time to time determine. The said offices shall be filled by appointment by, or under the authority of, the Board of Commissioners. Each officer so appointed shall perform the functions delegated to him in accordance with this reorganization plan and shall receive compensation to be fixed in accordance with the classification laws, as now or hereafter amended, except that the compensation for not to exceed fifteen such offices at any one time may be fixed without regard to the numerical limitations on positions set forth in section 505 of the Classification Act of 1949 (5 U. S. C. 1105).
(b) There are hereby established in the Government of the District of Columbia two new offices, one of which shall have the title of “Chief of Police" and the other. the title of "Fire Chief.” The Chief of Police and the Fire Chief shall each be appointed by the Board of Commissioners and shall each receive compensation fixed by the said Board at a rate of not in excess of $12,800 per annum.
SEC. 5. Transfer of personnel, property, records, and funds. With respect to personnel, property, records, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other funds, available or to be made available, relating to functions transferred, or authorized to be delegated, by the provisions hereof, the Board of Commissioners from time to time may effect such transfers between agencies