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General ROBINSON. We will get to the details in a few minutes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. All right.
General ROBINSON. Section 4: Since a number of offices and agencies are abolished, it is essential that the Commissioners have the necessary authority to establish new offices and agencies, to be filled by appointment by the Board of Commissioners. Such authority is granted under section 4, which in addition includes provision for 15 super grades.
In order to attract competent personnel it is vital that certain of our top-level positions carry the salary and prestige of comparable positions in municipal governments of comparable size. A number of existing agencies will be consolidated, resulting in a comparatively small number of departments. The success of the reorganization plan will, to a considerable extent, depend upon the ability to fill these key positions with the best qualified personnel. In order to do so it is necessary to provide more adequate salaries for such positions. Thus, the order provides for these 15 positions. The compensation of these officials will be fixed under the Classification Act of 1949 as amended, but without regard to the numerical limitations on positions set forth in section 505 of that act.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words you are going to have authority to employ as many people as you want to in any grade up to grade 15? Genereal ROBINSON. We have that now, sir. The CHAIRMAN. You have that authority now? General ROBINSON. Yes, sir, to the extent that funds are available to pay them.
The CHAIRMAN. That does not interfere with the authority you have had heretofore? General ROBINSON. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. There has never been any limitation, I assume, on the number of employees you could have in the District. All those employees are all civil-service employees, as I understand it.
General ROBINSON. Yes, sir, with the exception of employees covered by special laws such as policemen, firemen, and a few others. Expenditures for salaries are limited in appropriation acts.
This provision will enable the Chairman of the Civil Service Commision or the President, as the case may be, to fix rates of pay for these offices in excess of the rates established for grade 15 of the general schedule established by the Classification Act, whenever standards of the classification laws so permit. However, in each case it will still be necessary to satisfy the Civil Service Commission, both that the responsibilities and duties merit the classification and that the individual to fill the position is qualified and competent to do so. The reorganization plan in no way affects the pay of the Commissioners themselves.
Creation of these new positions makes it possible to establish strong departments, each headed by a director, who will be responsible to the Board of Commissioners and will have full responsibility for the administration of all activities of his department. Such departments will be the basis for a modern streamlined pattern of organization and operations with clear and direct channels of responsibilty and supervision from the lowest level up to the department head, and through him to the Board of Commissioners. The creation of this new framework of departments is a necesarsy step in carrying out the over-all reorganization of the District. It permits a clarification of lines of responsibility throughout the government, thus simplifying and making more effective and uniform the management control. This is essential for the best possible administration. The specific organization of such departments is not prescribed, but is the responsibility of the Commissioners.
Also included in section 4 is a provision to increase the allowable pay of the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief—the new titles to be given to the Major and Superintendent of Police and Chief Engineer of the Fire Department under the provisions of this order-so that these two officials may receive such compensation as the Board of Commissioners may fix, at a rate not to exceed $12,800 per annum. This is an increase from the rate of $11,130 now in effect and is necessary to bring the compensation of these offices to the level paid in comparable municipalities.
One of the most important aspects of any reorganization plan has to do with the assistants to the Engineer Commissioner. These are officers of the Corps of Engineers, detailed to the District government by the President, under the provisions of our Organic Act as amended. Under present law such assistants have only such powers as are delegated to them by the Engineer Commissioner. However, for many years various duties have been assigned such assistants by the Board of Commissioners, on recommendation of the Engineer Commissioner. Such delegation is highly desirable and should continue, but it appears that it would be better to have this power defined in substantive legislation. In addition, such legislation is required to give the senior officer of the Army so detailed as assistant to the Engineer Commissioner the necessary authority in order that he may be the Acting Engineer Commissioner in the event that office is vacant for any reason.
It is equally essential to permit the assignment of special duties to the assistants to the Engineer Commissioner under the reorganization in such a way that the positions so held may be comparable to positions classified by the Civil Service Commission under the Classification Act of 1949, as amended; the proper classification and compensation may be determined for the job, and each such assistant may be paid the necessary differential in addition to his Army pay and allowances to compensate him at a rate for such office equal to that provided under the Classification Act.
Such a provision is necessary for the proper organization of those activities under the Engineer Commissioner. Since the present status of the assistants has the effect of downgrading all the positions under the Engineer Commissioner, it handicaps the District in filling those positions, lowers the effectiveness of such organizations, and greatly hampers any reorganization. It is the intention of the Board of Commissioners to seek special legislation for these very important elements of their reorganization plan.
Section 5: Section 5 gives to the Board of Commissioners the necessary authority for reorganization from time to time on a continuing basis to meet changing conditions. It gives them broad authority to effect transfers between agencies of the government of the District of Columbia of personnel, property, records, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allowances, and other funds available or to be made available.
The CHAIRMAN. Do I understand by that you would have authority, after Congress had appropriated money for one specific agency and function, to transfer those funds to some other agency and to some other service of the District ?
General ROBINSON. No, sir; the transfer of funds can be done only in connection with reorganization, and the money will have to be used for the purpose specified by Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the appropriation follows the function. 1 General ROBINSON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. If you abolish an office to which the funds have been appropriated, and then you transfer those functions to some other office or agency, then the appropriated funds follow the function. Is that correct?
General ROBINSON. That is entirely correct. There is no authority in this plan for transfer between appropriations except in connection with reorganization; nor is the Reorganization Act of 1949 broad enough to permit incorporating such a provision in the plan.
Section 8 is implementation of the plan.
It should be understood that Reorganization Plan No. 5 does not spell out an organization but gives the Board of Commissioners the authority to reorganize as necessary. A statement is therefore in order as to the detailed plan which the Board of Commissioners intends to implement if the President's submittal becomes law; how the detailed plan was evolved; the principles upon which it is based; and a proposed timetable for its accomplishment.
There is submitted herewith an organization chart showing 15 departments and their grouping.
I believe a copy of this chart has been furnished to the members of the committee, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. It may be printed in the record at this point. (The chart referred to is herewith inserted.) General ROBINSON. Also submitted is a list showing a proposed asasignment of the 95 agencies to those 15 departments.
The CHAIRMAN. Instead of the 95 agencies, as I understand it, you are creating 15 departments? General ROBINSON. Fifteen departments and two offices, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Fifteen departments and two offices?
The CHAIRMAN. This document is a detailed explanation of the establishment of these 15 departments and 2 offices?
General ROBINSON. It is the detailed assignment of agencies, and thus functions, to the 15 departments.
The CHAIRMAN. If you would like to have that incorporated, it may be placed in the record at this point.
(The material referred to is as follows:)
PROPOSED ASSIGNMENT OF 95 AGENCIES TO 15 DEPARTMENTS AND 2 OFFICES
The plan contemplates an executive office, 15 departments, and 2 separate offices (chief clerk and surveyor) as outlined below. The functional arrangement of the offices and agencies under these departments is tentative, and is subject to realinement should subsequent study or developments indicate the desirability thereof. In addition, the subordination of certain agencies, such as the Board of Parole, the Board of Tax Appeals, and the various examining and licensing boards for the professions and occupations, is for administrative and housekeeping purposes only and such boards will retain autonomy of operations.