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6. The National Zoological Park was omitted, because it is a national museum under the Smithsonian Institution.
7. The Redevelopment Land Agency was omitted because of its legislative background, its status as a public corporation, and its fiscal arrangements with the Housing and Home Fnance Agency. The Apprenticeship Council was also omitted for fiscal reasons.
8. The Temporary Home for Soldiers and Sailors was omitted because it is a private institution, although it is in a Federal building, receives District appropriations, and is supervised to a limited degree by the Board of Public Welfare.
Reference is made to the question raised by Senator Case (p. 25 of the hearings) as to why the phrase "by the Congress" was omitted in section 3. The omission was intentional, since such a phrase appeared unnecessary. The only powers exercised by the District government are those authorized by the Congress, and under the Reorganization Act no agencies can be authorized to exercise any function which is not expressly authorized by law.
The testimony concerning the powers of the Commissioners (p. 26 of the hearings) is correct as far as the plan is concerned. However, it is important to understand that the Commissioners have many other powers delegated to them by Congress which are not specifically referred to in this plan—such as the authority to appoint and dismiss employees, make regulations, hear appeals, issue and revoke licenses, etc. The Commissioners would lose none of these powers, but would have the right under the plan to delegate these subject to the limitations stated, and to create agencies to perform these subject to the availability of funds. While the plan prescribes no limitation on the number of agencies which could be created by the Commissioners, the functions which such agencies can perform are those prescribed by law, and thus are limited by congressional action, and no additional functions can be developed by this reorganization plan.
The testimony concerning the People's Counsel (p. 34 of the hearings) does not adequately answer the chairman's query as to the duties of this position. These duties are (1) represent and appear for the people of the District at all hearings of the Public Utilities Commission and in all judicial proceedings involving the public interest under the Commissioners' jurisdiction; (2) represent and appear for petitioners appearing before the Commission on matters of rates or charges; and (3) investigate the service given by, the rates charged by, and the evaluation of the properties of the public utilities under the Commissioners' jurisdiction.
Since the Corporation Counsel of the District is the General Counsel of the Commission, and since a primary purpose of the Commission is to insure safe and adequate utility service for residents of the District at reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates, the office of the People's Counsel appears an unnecessary duplication,
The CHAIRMAN. At the previous hearing there was some question raised as to whether the Advisory Council would be permitted to initiate matters for presentation to the Board.
Have you covered that point?
The CHAIRMAN. That is a point that, as I recall, there was some question raised about. I do not know that it was seriously challenged, but Senator Case, I think, referred to it in his testimony this morning, that the Advisory Council should be privileged to initiate recommendations as well as advice upon matters that the Commissioners refer to it.
General ROBINSON. I have that here. That is not in this particular enclosure that I have asked to be incorporated in the record.
But I would like to read on in my prepared statement. Mr. Chairman, I would also like to take this opportunity to make a few supplementary remarks concerning the activities of the Citizens' Advisory Council. The Board of Commissioners has no desire or intent to put blinders, as it were, on this body in order to narrow its field of vision. We recognize that its primary purpose must be to
study and advise on specific problems referred to it by the Board of Commissioners. But we also recognize the importance of permitting this Council to submit recommendations on other matters of its own choosing, from time to time. It is expected that the Council will work closely with the Board, and of course we will give it all necessary assistance, including such reasonable technical help, clerical assistance, records, and other information as are requested concerning any matter properly before the Council for consideration including any matter initiated by the Council. · The Board feels, however, that in the interests of good administration, the reports and recommendations of the Council, acting as an advisory body for the Commissioners, should be furnished only to the Board of Commissioners. Thereafter, as the Board may determine, such reports or recommendations can be made available to other agencies, either within or outside the District government. This restriction on the activities of the Council as an official part of the District government would not, of course, be a restriction on the independence of action of any individual serving on the Council.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I believe it might be wise if I could also clarify the position and intent of the Board of Commissioners with respect to the Board of Tax Appeals and the District Unemployment Compensation Board, both of which are included in the list of 95 agencies to be integrated.
1. The Board of Tax Appeals, established by act of Congress of August 17, 1937, consists of one person, appointed by the Board of Commissioners for a 4-year term. His functions are to hear and decide appeals of taxpayers concerning assessments for personalproperty, sales, inheritance, estate, business-privilege, gross-receipts, gross-earnings, insurance-premiums, or motor-vehicle and certain other specified tax or taxes. He is authorized to affirm, cancel, reduce, or increase such assessments. The Board is an administrative agency, which is quasi-judicial in nature, but is not a court. Appeal is to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which has exclusive jurisdiction to review the decisions of the Board.
2. The District Unemployment Compensation Board, established by act of Congress of August 28, 1935, consists of the three Commissioners of the District, and a representative each of employees and employers appointed by the Board of Commissioners for a 3-year term. The operating head is the Executive Director appointed by the Board. The Board prescribes regulations for collection and payment of employer contributions and payment of unemployment benefits; and, through its Executive Director, operates the unemploymentcompensation program in the District. Appeal is to the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia.
The Commissioners have no intention of changing the basic functions and responsibilties of these two boards. The necessary authority will be delegated to each to permit them to perform these. Such delegation will be broad and without the right of appeal to the Commissioners. In this respect the Commissioners certainly have no desire and in fact lack the legal authority to change the present procedure established by Congress of appeal to the courts. However, for these two Boards, as for other District agencies, it is essential to good management that the organization be flexible and that the
Commissioners properly supervise and control administrative, housekeeping, and fiscal functions and activities.
In the case of the Board of Tax Appeals there is before Congress a bill to make this Board independent of the assessing agencies of the District; and also to provide for the appointment of a substitute member whenever the present member is disqualified either by disability or personal interest. The afore-mentioned purposes of that bill can be accomplished under our reorganization plan, and it is the intent of the Board of Commissioners so to do. Other provisions of the bill before Congress would not be affected by Reorganization Plan No. 5.
That concludes my statement.
to hear any testimony from Mr. Fowler, the Budget Officer?
General ROBINSON. I believe he is not present, sir. We.can send for him if you wish.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not believe he is on the list of witnesses.
Senator DWORSHAK. It may not be pertinent, but I note that the budget of the District for this year shows that there has been an increase of 50 percent in the last 4 years.
I wonder whether there may be some comment about that increase. It may not be a pertinent part of this reorganization plan, but I am inquisitive to know whether there is the opportunity of getting a material reduction in the cost of the District of Columbia under this plan.
General ROBINSON. Of course, the justification for the budget has been on the record before both the House and the Senate Appropriations Committees.
With respect to economies, it is impossible to assign any dollar value to them. However, from our knowledge of the District government, there are many fields in which we feel that economies can be effected; and it is our intention, under the plan, to set up a strong administrative officer and a department of general administration, under whom will be a management section, and to use that tool, as provided by this plan, to investigate a number of potential fields of economy.
I might list a few of them:
The consolidation and centralization of approximately 30 separate accounts and funds which are maintained by as many different agencies. We wish to investigate that.
More effective budgetary and expenditure controls, which we feel are now inadequate, because of the large number of separate agencies which exist today and which report their budget requests separately. Many of these are completely independent of the Commissioners now, as far as any control or supervision of their expenditures is concerned, although their accounts generally are audited by the District.
It is our intention to have this department also investigate the possibility of reductions in overstaffed departments; also, to look into the question of whether or not economies can be secured by centralized purchasing, supply and property control, now somewhat scattered.
Also, there is a field for economy in the consolidation of housekeeping functions; and we have discussed also the possibility of consolidating of equipment functions, with particular reference to repair and maintenance.
It is my personal opinion that over the next years we will more than pay, pay many times over, for the initial $100,000 which we have already requested of the Congress to implement this plan.
Senator DWORSHAK. I appreciate, General, that you cannot be held personally responsible for this drastice increase in the cost of the District government, because you have been on the District government just about a year. But you would admit that an increase of 50 percent in the past 4 years seems to be excessive. There may be some justifiable reasons, but if I were a taxpayer in the District I would think that that increase is much greater than might be justified by normal developments, even in the face of inflationary threats.
General ROBINSON. There are many reasons for that, of course. Among them are a number of pay increases and additional personnel privileges granted by Congress.
Senator DWORSHAK. I was going to ask you what that might total. Do you know what the increases in personnel come to?
General ROBINSON. I can furnish that, sir, I would rather not state a figure for the record here, because I am afraid it would be inaccurate.
Senator DWORSHAK. It would not be the almost $50 million though, that we have of increase in the past 4 years?
General ROBINSON. No, sir. I believe that the justification for the increase, or at least the reasons for the increase if not the justifications, can be furnished you for your information if you desire.
Senator DWORSHAK. I know that the general pattern of Federal salary increases is followed by the District. So that is more or less beyond the control of the Commissioners. But I do not think that that would account for a major portion of the $50 million increase in 4 or 5 years.
General ROBINSON. It accounts for quite a substantial portion, sir. And we went to the 5-day week within the last several years. Whether it was within that period you mention, I do not recall.
Senator DWORSHAK. Would you think that those increases would amount to about half of that over-all increase ? General ROBINSON. I cannot answer that offhand, sir.
Senator DWORSHAK. You mentioned that the savings would take care of the $100,000 expense in putting this plan into operation. I certainly hope, and I am sure you share that hope, that it will be possible to effect greater economy and efficiency, so that there may be a downward trend in the cost of the District government, rather than a continuous increase as we have had for a number of years. • General ROBINSON. We are certainly interested in economies.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, General.
The CHAIRMAN. We have 14 other witnesses who want to testify. I understand some of them have very brief statements, merely wanting to appear on behalf of certain organizations and endorse the plan as a matter of record.
I do not know when we will be able to resume hearings after today. So if the witnesses, as we call them now, will cooperate by making their testimony as brief as consistent with their views, we will appreciate it, and it will enable us to hear more of them before we recess this morning.
The first witness is Mrs. Bartlett. Will you come forward, please ?
STATEMENT OF MRS. HENRY A. BARTLETT, CHAIRMAN, CITIZENS
EMERGENCY COMMITTEE ON REORGANIZATION, AND VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERATION OF CITIZENS ASSOCIATIONS
Mrs. BARTLETT. Mr. Chairman, I am Mrs. Henry A. Bartlett, chairman of the Citizens Emergency Committee on Reorganization of the District of Columbia Government, and vice president of the Federation of Citizens Associations. I have a prepared statement.
Following a joint invitation issued by the Federation of Citizens Associations, the Federation of Civic Associations, and the board of trade, representatives of major civic, business, veteran, labor, and professional groups assembled on April 16, 1952, to unanimously adopt the following resolution:
We are opposed to any plan of reorganization being adopted without the citizens first knowing the contents of the plan.
We are not in favor of the city manager form of government.
An open letter to the President of the United States was published as a result of this meeting, the expenses involved being shared by the organizations represented. A petition to the President was also prepared following this meeting..
Attached are copies of the published letter and of the petition.
The CHAIRMAN. The open letter to the President referred to was submitted by Commissioner Donahue and appears on page 17. Mrs. BARTLETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. (The petition referred to is as follows:)
APRIL 22, 1952. To the President of the United States:
Inasmuch as you have always indicated your desire that the citizens of Washington be heard on matters affecting their government, we, the undersigned, as representatives of interested organizations in the District of Columbia, present this petition to you concerning the proposed reorganization of our municipal government.
By unanimous action taken on Wednesday, April 16, 1952, delegates from civic and business groups passed the following resolution : .
We are opposed to any plan of reorganization being adopted without the citizens first knowing the contents of the plan;
We are not in favor of the city manager form of government;
The action of the emergency committee formed at this time was prompted by the disclosure of only the very general terms of a plan by the Bureau of the Budget for the reorganization of the government of the District of Columbia. The citizens of Washington are now faced with the prospect of a reorganization being imposed upon them about which they know little or nothing, and about which they will have no opportunity to be heard prior to its forwarding to the Congress. Also, it cannot be amended once it is submitted to Congress.
Furthermore, the few facts we do know about the Bureau of the Budget proposals lead us to entertain grave doubts as to the soundness of the city managercouncil plan and to express our strong opposition to it. As citizens of long residence in Washington, aware of its peculiar problems, and interested in the greatest degree of effective cooperation within the National Capital, we sincerely contend that this proposal is a questionable experiment which would result in confusion rather than progress in our government.
On the other hand, we offer our wholehearted support of the plan for reorganization as submitted by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. Since its release, we have had ample opportunity to study, evaluate, and criticize the Commissioner's plan. Many of our suggestions have been embodied in it. We are convinced that these proposals constitute a forward step in the evolution of better government for the people of this community.