페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

that is the detail that is submitted in accordance with this act, and it will go in the legislative bill instead of in the other bill. Mr. BURLESON. Your previous appropriation for clerks and pension agents goes out, does it not ? Mr. THOMPson. Yes, sir. Mr. GILLETT. What was the amount of the saving? Mr. THOMPSON. The difference between the agent's salary and the difference in clerk hire amounts to nearly $100,000.

INSTALLATION OF CARD-INDEX SYSTEM.

Mr. Johnso N. The next item is for completing the installation of the card-index system of the records of the Pension Office, $5,000. Will that complete the work? Mr. BURLEsoN. It was stated last year that $5,000 would complete the work. - Mr. DAVENPORT. I will have to state that I know very little about that item. Mr. JoHNSON. The testimony before us before was that the appropriation of $5,000 we gave would complete the work.

SPECIAL EXAMINERS.

Do you still need these 45 special examiners provided for in the next section ? Mr. DAVENPORT. Yes, sir. Mr. JoHNSON. When do you think you will be able to dispense with the services of those men—at any time in the near future? Mr. DAVENPORT. They are just the same as the ordinary clerks. They are on the statutory roll, and I can not tell how long we will need them. Mr. Johnson. What work do they do? Mr. DAVENPORT. They travel through the country looking up evidence in claims that the applicants can not prove themselves. We take the burden upon ourselves to help them out where there is an element of doubt. Mr. BURLEsoN. Mr. Davenport, does it not strike you that 60 years after a war we might dispense with the service of these men, or cut it down, to say the least ! Does it strike you that way—just as a cold-blooded business proposition? Mr. BURLEso N. Just coming down to the raw, don't you think so Mr. DAVENPORT. Do you mean to strike it out ! Mr. BURLEsox. Can't we dispense with some of them : Mr. DAVEN Port. We are reducing it just as fast as we can. That force has been reduced from 150 down to 45 in the last few years. Mr. BURLESON. But you are not making very fast reductions now, are you? Mr. DAVENPORT. We are cutting that force down as low as we can. Mr. THOMPSON. These special examiners are engaged largely in investigating complaints against pensioners. Some one will write us a letter saying that a widow has remarried and continues to draw her pension. We send that letter out to a special examiner to investigate. o BURLESON. You might need 1 or 2, but do you need 45%

Mr. THOMPSON. Yes, sir. They work largely in Spanish War cases, because of the adverse records.

Mr. BURLESON. Couldn't you get along with 20 or 25?

Mr. THOMPSON. We have more than 100 men in the field all the time, and this only provides for 45. The others are made up by details of clerks from the bureau.

Mr. DAVENPORT. The new law provides that anyone unfit for manual labor shall have a pension of $30 per month. Now, of course they furnish all the evidence to show that, but there are many times when we can not take that evidence, and we send a special examiner to get at the true facts. It is keeping these men pretty busy at this time.

Mr. BURLESON. Of course, if it is necessary we want you to have them, but it does strike me that that should be reduced.

Mr. THOMFSON. There is great difficulty experienced by widows in establishing pensicn claims on account of the soldier having lived in another part of the country and having married there. The widow files her claim and it appears that the soldier had been previously married. She is unable to prove the death of his former wife, and it frequently happens that there are two widows filing claims for pension. It is absolutely necessary to send examiners out to investigate cases of this kind and to find out who is entitled to the pension. There are probably five or six thousand claims in the field undergoing investigation.

VACANCIES.

Mr. JOHNSON. I want to call your attention again to the matter appearing on page 217. Do you propose that we shall insert in the bill a provision that during the fiscal year 1914 not more than 25 per cent of the vacancies occurring in the classified service of the Bureau of Pensions shall be filled except by promotion or demotion from among those in the classified service in the bureau? Does that mean that the force is so large that you can dispense with the services of these people? The matter I refer to appears at the bottom of the page in small type.

Mr. DAVENPORT. After the estimate was made out and sent to the Secretary of the Interior he sent for me and we went over the estimates, and it was at his suggestion that that clause was put in that cnly 25 per cent of the vacancies occurring in the classified service should be filled. There is also another clause in our estimate that he asked to have taken out, and I agreed to it. That is in regard to the temporary clerks extending beyond June 30, 1913. That was after I had gone over it with the Acting Secretary, and this other provision was placed in it since then. I did not know anything about that until a day or two ago.

Mr. JOHNSON. How many vacancies do you have a year over there?

Mr. DAVENPORT. It is difficult to tell; but it is anywhere from 25 to 50, I presume.

Mr. JOHNSON. How many people are on the roll in the Pension Office ?

Mr. DAVENPORT. About 1,500 in all, including the temporary clerks.

Mr. Johnson. How many of them go out, on an average, in one year!

Mr. DAVENPORT. Well, there have not been many who have gone out. There was none to go out last year, because when I was before the committee, in anticipation of the pension legislation, it was unsafe to drop anyone, but the year before we were dropping them from the office.

SHERWOOD ACT.

Mr. Johnson. Has the work of the office been greatly increased by the Sherwood bill?

Mr. DAVENPORT. Yes, sir; greatly increased. We have 500,000 new claims, and there are more coming in every day,

Mr. Johnson. What progress are you making in disposing of these claims?

Mr. DAVENPORT. Sometimes we issue over 2,400 new certificates in a day. That is more than was ever done before.

Mr. GILLETT. Does this new law bring up many doubtful cases that require much discussion and investigation?

Mr. DAVENPORT. There is one class of cases under that law that is quite difficult to handle. There is one clause which provides a pension for a soldier who is unable to perform manual labor at the rate of $30 per month. Now, that class is very hard to handle, and we have rejected a great many of those claims. They have been appealed, and there are 200 or 300 of them on appeal now.

Mr. BURLESON. What does the Secretary do, as a general thing-stand by you or turn you down?

Mr. DAVENPORT. Both.
Mr. BURLESON. I said as a general thing.

APPEALS.

[See also p. 165.]

Mr. DAVENPORT. I have always contended that there should be no right of appeal except on questions of law.

Mr. BURLESON. I agree with you on that. I do not believe there should be any appeal on questions of fact. You know more about it and con see the witnesses and can talk to them, and I agree with

you on that.

Mr. Johnson. You have a force in your office that has handled pension claims so long that they ought to be very competent to pass upon all questions of fact that arise.

Mr. DAVENPORT. I have a little section, called the appeal section, where we have the best men in the office, and when we have a case taken up on appeal these people go over it first. If we have no doubt abont it the case goes forward to the Secretary.

Mr. GILLETT. You mean that when an appeal from you is taken you recrnsider the case before it is sent up?

Mr. DAVENPORT. Yes, sir; we do that to be careful about it. But we often get overruled. However, that is a matter of opinion. Lawyers always disagree, and particularly doctors. As I said before, I do not think there should be any appeal on questions of fact. If we are wrong on our interpretation of the law, we do not care anything about that. We expect that, but appeals are frequently taken in cases where the pensioner is getting $6 or $12 a month and

applies for an increase. If we refuse on a consideration of the facts, he appeals to the Secretary. Mr. BURLESON. Let us put a provision in here that there shall be no appeals except on questions of law. Mr. DAVEN Port. I certainly wish you would. Mr. BURLEsoN. Will you draw a provision? Mr. DAVENPORT. I will send you a little note on that line. I was talking about that with the assistant secretaries, and they said that that practice was wrong of allowing appeals on questions of fact. Mr. THOMPSON. As it is now, a man applies for an increase of pension; and if it is disallowed, it is appealed to the Secretary. Mr. DAVENPORT. That interrupts the work of 8 or 10 good men on what is called the board of appeals. This was abolished by Congress, but it still goes on just the same. It is under another name, Mr. Burleson. Mr. BURLESON. Yes, sir; I see that a good many things are taken out in the law that the department people put back in another place. Mr. DAVEN Port. You do not see it at the Bureau of Pensions. We have the law at the Pension Bureau and nothing else.

TRANSFERS.

Mr. THOMPson. On page 218 the language, “no transfers to the Pension Office existing July 1, 1912, shall be returned to said office.” was omitted in the estimates. Mr. JoHNSON. That has been carried in the bill for years. Mr. THOMPson. Yes, sir; but it does not mean anything. It evidently was intended when Mr. Ware was the commissioner—I remember when it was first inserted—to cover this situation: There were quite a number of clerks on detail to the Secretary’s office, and they put that in the bill at that time. What was meant was clerks on detail. A person transferred from the office is out of the office entirely, so it really did not mean anything. Mr. GILLETT. Was it not because of the fact that the department would not want to keep one of your men who was inefficient? They would not want him and they would shunt him back on you. Was it not to stop that practice? Mr. THOMPson. They are on detail; they are not transferred at all. If the clerk is transferred he is out of that branch of the service entirely. RE!) UCTION IN FORCE.

Mr. Johnson. I wish you would tell me again about that 25 per cent reduction. What is it that you want?

Mr. Trio Mesos. I was present at the conversation with the Secretary in which this clause came up which appears on page 218. The Secretary was trying to determine what was meant about the transfer clause, and we told him how it happened to be in there. Then the Secretary wanted to know if after our work was reduced we would not require fewer clerks. We told him if there was a reduction made in the force, the reduction would occur on the 1st of July, and that we could not stand any reduction at that time. Then he proposed this; that is, to put in this clause providing that not more than 25 per cent of the vacancies occurring in the classified service of the bureau shall be filled except by promotion or demotion from

among those in the classified service in the bureau. In this way the force will reduce itself without having to discharge anyone.

Mr. Johnson. That is what they all ought to do—reduce the forces by death and resignation.

Mr. THOMPSON. The Secretary proposed to fill no vacancies whatever, but the commissioner called attention to the fact that some clerk might be compelled to resign because of bad health, and then when he is restored to health he might desire to be reinstated. Now, he might be a number one clerk and his services might be needed in the bureau, and it was to cover such cases as that that he asked to have that clause put in that not more than 25 per cent of the vacancies should be filled. Probably 50 vacancies will occur within a year.

CLERKS AT AGENCIES.

I have here a list of the clerks at the United States pension agencies, with a statement of their salaries.

Mr. JOHNSON. Just insert it in the record. (The matter referred to is as follows:)

Clerks, United States pension agencies.

[blocks in formation]

Mr. Johnson. You have a lump-sum appropriation of $300,000 in the sundry civil bill ?

Mr. DAVENPORT. Yes, sir.

Mr. JOHNSON. Will it be necessary to make any other appropriation than that provided for in this bill after the 1st of next July?

Mr. DAVENPORT. I can not tell. Of course, we are getting along with the work pretty well. We have some fine clerks, but I can not tell you how close up we will get by the 1st of July, but I think we will be up all right. I think we can dispense with them by that time.

Mr. GILLETT. Do you mean that you can drop all those clerks?

Mr. DAVENPORT. Yes, sir. I hate to drop anybody, but I think we can get along without them.

PATENT OFFICE.

STATEMENT OF MR. EDWARD B. MOORE, COMMISSIONER OF

PATENTS. Mr. Johnson. The item appears on page 222 of the bill. Now, Mr. Moore, do you prefer to make your statement in your own way or do you prefer for us to ask you questions about each item as we come to it?

« 이전계속 »