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bill. Now, is there any purpose ir: the Indian Bureau, notwithstanding the fact that we are taking these clerks up and providing specifically for them, to ask the Indian Affairs Committee to allow you to have lump-sum appropriations?
Mr. ABBOTT. No, sir; there is not; and we have been careful to eliminate that idea, so as to come in strict conformity with the spirit as well as the letter of this law.
Mr. Johnson. I notice you have one man on your pay roll at $3,600. What position has he? He must be a very valuable man.
Mr. ABBOTT. He is the forester.
Mr. A BBOTT. Yes; he is a Yale man and a graduate of several forestry schools and has had experience in the Forestry Service. He has had field experience as well as technical instruction. I doubt if we could secure the services of a man of equal qualifications for less money.
Mr. Johnson. These people are all in the classified service, are they not?
Mr. ABBOTT. Yes.
Mr. JOHNSON. Is there any further statement you would like to submit?
INCREASE OF CLERICAL FORCE.
[See also p. 192.]
Mr. ABBOTT. Mr. Chairman, I would like to urge just as strongly as possible the need of the increase of our clerical force in the office. Taking a long view in the future of this business, as our reservations beccme allotted and broken up, it means a very rapid multiplication .of individual Indian accounts connected with the sale of land, the rental of allotments, the deposit of individual accounts in bank, the bonding of those banks, and the taking care of the accounts in the Indian Bureau; and the increase of clerks we are asking for is necessary, not alone for the present work, but for the increase of work that we can see coming on in the future.
One other very great source of increased work comes from the Secretary of the Interior taking over the determination of heirs to Indian lands. That was in accordance with the act of June 25, 1910. We are just getting started on that work. It is highly important work. It requires, and we are asking from the Indian Committee, an appropriation of $100,000 to employ men to determine Indian heirships.
We are asking for $10,000 out of that fund to employ lawyers to handle the cases in the office. This work is going to increase very greatly, and some of the clerks we are asking for, perhaps 20 per cent of them, will be assigned to handling this work; for instance, the stenographic force, in writing up these complicated cases. The increase of this individual work is going to call for a gradual increase in the clerical help in the Indian Bureau from year to year
for some time in the future, and the work will be very seriously handicapped if we do not have the increase we have asked for. Mr. Joh NSON. In 1908 you had $197,720, and you are now asking us for $346,000, which is an increase of $149,000 since 1908. Mr. MERITT. That did not include the clerks employed out of lumpsum appropriations. Mr. Joh NSON. I do not know how much of that lump-sum appropriation you had at that time. We discovered in the hearings of last winter that there were clerks in the office who were being paid out of a lump-sum appropriation, and that was the cause of the legIslation we put in this bill, because the purpose of Congress is to provide in this bill for all clerical services within the District of Columbia, so we will know when we look at this bill how much we are paying for that purpose and how many people are employed: and, of course, if the Committee on Military Affairs and the Committee on Naval Affairs and Indian Affairs and various other committees that have the power to appropriate money give lump-sum appropriations for clerical services in the District of Columbia, it is impossible for us to keep a check on it. Mr. ABBOTT. That is a very excellent plan. Mr. MERITT. May I add just one word & We have over 1,000 heirship cases pending in the office now, and more coming in all the time, and those cases are accumulating, and the Indian lands can not be sold as long as the heirship cases are not determined. So it is holding up land sales, retarding the development of the Indians, and if we could get these heirship cases disposed of the heirship land could be sold to citizens who would make homes and develop that land and the Indians could get the proceeds from those sales and build homes on their own allotments, and could thereby become advanced in civilization. Mr. ABBOTT. I would like to add, in connection with my statement, that during the last year we had a total of 1,555 days of overtime of clerks in the Indian Office. Mr. GILLETT. How many clerks have you? Mr. ABBOTT. About 248. Mr. Johnson. That would be about seven days’ overtime for each clerk. Mr. Abbott. Yes; and our Accounts Division is crowded so each quarter that the clerks all have to work overtime in order to get their accounts out, and the property accounts have simply been sidetracked very largely for other pressing work. For instance, this year we made a very desperate effort to pay supply claims promptly. Heretofore it has required from 30 days to four and five and sometimes six months to pay contractors for supplies, and we are buying about $3,000,000 or $4,000,000 worth of supplies. The result has been that bidders take into consideration that delay when they make their bids, and we have to pay, the bill in the end. This year we have changed our system a little and have sidetracked other work until we are settling those claims now within 15 days after they reach the office, but other work has to suffer. I do not think there is any better investment than having a force that can handle the work that comes to the bureau promptly. Our individual Indian accounts, for instance, we handle now within three days of the time they reach the office, but that is at a sacrifice of some other matters; and
while I recognize the danger, if you do not hold the bureau down, of getting more people than are necessary to do the work, yet on the other hand there is a danger, especially when we are facing the known proposition of a steadily increased amount of work because of the increased individualization of Indian affairs, and we would not be doing our duty if we did not point out to you the necessity of having all the time enough men in the bureau to handle this work and handle it promptly.
STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES L. DAVENPORT, COMMISSIONER,
ACCOMPANIED BY MR. A. H. THOMPSON, CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF FINANCE.
TRANSFER OF LABOR FORCE.
Mr. Johnson. In the first item you are asking us to reenact current law. If we should accept the reorganization scheme of the Secretary's office, which proposes to take some of your people away from you, you would be glad for us to drop them. But do you not think it is best for these people to be allowed to stay there just as you have them now?
Mr. DAVENPORT. The first page, Mr. Chairman, contains the estimates made out by the Pension Bureau, and all the matter on the other side of the page is something I know nothing about. I do not think it is right at all. I can not make myself believe it is proper.
Mr. JOHNSON. Do you not think you can get better service out of them if they are under your control?
Mr. DAVEN PORT. I know we can, without any question.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Davenport, on page 217 it is proposed to organize a force of clerks, which becomes necessary by reason of the abolition of the pension agencies over the country.
Mr. DAVENPORT. Yes, sir.
Mr. JOHNSON. Are all the people provided for in this proposed reorganization now engaged in some capacity in the Pension Department?
Mr. DAVENPORT. They are all engaged in the agencies, Mr. Chair
Mr. Johnson. Are the people you propose in this force, who are now on the rolls, getting the same compensation you propose to give them?
Mr. DAVENPORT. Just the same.
Mr. Johnson. What is the man now doing who is to be the disbursing clerk at a salary of $4.000?
Mr. DAVENPORT. I do not know who is going to fill that position. He has not been appointed.
Mr. Johnson. That is exactly what I asked. Is this intended to take care of people already in the service in some other capacity?
Mr. DAVENPORT. I was thinking of the clerks and did not think of the disbursing officer. The disbursing clerk and deputy disburs
ing clerks have not yet been appointed. They will have to be appointed in the near future.
Mr. THOMPSON. You understand, Mr. Chairman, that the disbursing clerk is to take the place of the 18 pension agents ?
Mr. Johnson. Yes; I understand that. We have abolished all the agencies throughout the country, and the money is to be disbursed from here, and by reason of that legislation this force is to be organized. The question I am asking is whether this force is to be made up of men who are already on the pay roll, but perhaps under some other designation; and if so, are they on the pay roll at substantially the same salaries proposed here?
Mr. DAVENPORT. There is no one on the pay roll at $4,000. That is entirely a new place, and simply takes the place of one pension agent. You will find the appropriations drop all the pension agents, and this takes the place of one agent as disbursing clerk.
Mr. Johnson. Is it proposed, Mr. Davenport, to bring from the pension agencies to Washington clerks who are now employed in those agencies if they desire to come?
Mr. DAVENPORT. All that desire to come and are efficient. There are some very old clerks we would not think of bringing here.
Mr. JOHNSON. What proportion of the clerks in the agencies do you anticipate will come to Washington, or have you any data that would enable you to state?
Mr. DAVENPORT. More will come than are appropriated for.
Mr. THOMPSON. As I recall, we have 300 clerks in the pension agency service, and this estimate calls for 250, which is about 50 less.
Mr. JOHNSON. About 250 of them will come to Washington ?
Mr. JOHNSON. Until you operate a while under this new plan you can not estimate with any accuracy whether you will need 250 or 150 clerks, can you?
Mr. THOMPSON. We will need at least 250. We are quite sure of that. We have never given pension agency accounts an administrative audit. That has been done in the office of the auditor. Their accounts current have gone to the auditor for examination. The last legislative bill provides that all administrative examinations shall be made independent of the disbursing officer in the Executive Office, and the comptroller now holds that it is necessary to give these accounts administrative examinations in the office of the Commissioner of Pensions, and it will require perhaps about 40 clerks, as far as we can estimate, to do that work which has heretofore been done in the auditor's office. The auditor will discontinue what is called an administrative examination and devote his attention strictly to auditing. Pension checks have not heretofore gone to the auditor's office, although all other disbursing officers' checks have gone to the auditor's office and been assembled in the accounts. The comptroller now holds it is necessary for the pension checks to go there, too.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Davenport, going from the disbursing clerk and the deputy disbursing clerk, have you the people at $2,100 and $1,980 and $1,800 proposed here already on the pay roll?
Mr. DAVENPORT. They are all on the pay roll.
Mr. DAVENPORT. Yes, sir.
Mr. BURLESON. You are not trying simply to provide places for these clerks because you think they ought to be provided for, but you are looking into this question with a view to the necessities of the Government and what is essential to be done in order to give an efficient administration to the affairs of the office ?
Mr. DAVENPORT. That is just right, Mr. Burleson. We do not spend a dollar we do not have to in the Pension Bureau. I have never asked for a thing that was not absolutely necessary.
Mr. BURLESON. The language here is, “ Deputy disbursing clerk, who shall act as chief clerk, $2,750,” and at another place you have a chief clerk at $2,500. Why should this man receive $2,750 when your chief clerk gets $2,500 ?
Mr. DAVENPORT. Mr. Burleson, we do not pay any of our clerks $2,750. This is a new office created the same as the $4.000 position.
Mr. BURLESON. Why did you fix that salary at $2,750, when you know chief clerks are paid $2,000 and $2.500!
Mr. DAVENPORT. Simply because he will be a deputy who must act as disbursing clerk, and it is a very responsible position, and he has to give a bond the same as the disbursing clerk.
Mr. BURLESON. It occurs to me that these salaries are high.
Mr. THOMFSON. The deputy disbursing clerk of the Treasury Department is paid $2,750. This will be the largest disbursing office under the Government; and, as I said, the deputy disbursing clerk of the Treasury receives a salary of $2,750, and his responsibility dces not compare with this position. There will be 250 clerks in that disbursing cffice, and this man who acts as chief clerk and disbursing clerk and takes the place of the pension agent when he is away must assume largely the executive responsibilities of running that office.
Mr. Johnson. You have a disbursing office there now, have you not?
Mr. THOMPSON. Not at all, sir.
Mr. Johnson. Is there not one pension agent here, and is he not a disbursing officer
Mr. THOMFSON. Yes; that is true. He is the disbursing officer of that office, at a salary of $4,000, and his chief clerk gets $2,100.
Mr. Johnson. Instead of organizing this new division why not just simply 'give the man who is now disbursing from Washington whatever pensions are paid from Washington an additional force so as to be able to take care of all the additional work?
Mr. BURLESON. Is he paid out of a lump-sum appropriation?
Mr. GILLETT. We abolished all of those agents and provided for a new officer, at what salary?
Mr. THOMPSON. At $4,000.
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes, sir; the bill itself fixes the salary. His is the only salary that is fixed. The clerks in the agencies have been paid from a lump-sum appropriation, and the last act requires that estimates in detail shall be submitted for the fiscal year 1914, and