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Gen. BLACK. No; it is not over.
Gen. BLACK. Because we have to keep the run of this work and on account of the making of new records and the study of new efficiencies. It is contemplated there will be but from one to three months between the reports of the various departments. The law provides that this efficiency record shall show as facts, as nearly as may be established, the efficiency at the time of a promotion of each and every clerk who is to be promoted, so that it is a constant job. It is not a job that is done and then abandoned, but is one that is changing perpetually, and every change has to be noted and considered in making up the efficiency record.
Mr. GILLETT. You do not make up the record ?
Gen. BLACK. Yes; we make up and keep those records for our guidance in regard to these promotions. We are the people who have to use those records to see they are not abused and not forgotten.
Mr. GILLETT. As I understand it, you make up the system and give it to them, and then the different departments keep it?
Gen. BLACK. No; they report back and forth every month, or other agreed period.
Mr. GILLETT. You do not have any supervision or power over them?
Gen. BLACK. Yes; we necessarily have a supervisory duty. We may not have power, but we have a duty in regard to it-to see they keep to the system.
Mr. GILLETT. If you do not have any power, how can you see to it?
Gen. Black. We would go to the President. That would be our recourse. We would say a certain department is going wrong if they did not come up to the law. The law says they must keep it, and we would say to the President, “ They are not keeping it.” If they did not correct on his intimation, then the law could be brought to bear upon them.
Mr. GILLETT. But all the law says is that copies of all records shall be furnished by the department to the Civil Service Commission. It does not give you any power that I can see, although I will admit it does seem to me somebody, at least, ought to have some power.
Gen. BLACK. We have that power through the President. All the rules in regard to this service are enforced by the President through the commission, so that we have a duty all along. Now, I was not undertaking or thinking that the efficiency matter was going to be discussed. I supposed we were discussing why we wanted more people and telling you what I thought the efficiency work would require. I believe it will require the constant services of every man we have asked for, and we may have to come to you for more.
Mr. McILHENNY. Not only for the actual physical work, but if we are going to establish this system on the soundest possible basis, we must have, in addition to anything we have asked for in this appropriation, appropriations for experts to go into the department to supplement such knowledge as we have, and to study the departmental methods to arrive at the proper conclusions as to what the efficiency in that department is.
Mr. Johnson. Suppose in some division a man is promoted from $1,600 to $1,800, and, of course, that would enable somebody to be
promoted from $1,400 to $1,600, and from $1,200 to $1,400, and so on, would that be reported to the commission, and would you go to the efficiency records of all the clerks who had been promoted to see whether or not they were entitled to promotion!
Gen. BLACK. That is the proposition. Mr. JOHNSON. And if the man's efficiency record did not entitle him to the promotion, what would you do?
Gen. BLACK. If we found that record was being traversed, abandoned, or colored we would have a duty immediately.
Mr. GILLETT. What would your duty be, General ?
Gen. BLACK. To call the attention of the department to the fact that an error was made in the appointment or the promotion, and if the department did not correct it, then it would have to go to the President.
Mr. McILHENNY. Just exactly as we have a duty now. The department improperly promotes a man who has come in under one class of examination to a position which required another class of examination. The law provides that they shall not promote without such necessary test as may be established by the commission, but the department makes the promotion. It reports back to the commission on its monthly report of changes in the department, and the commission, looking up the record of the man to find out wl.ather or not that promotion is permissible, finds it is not permissible, and it writes to the department, “Your promotion can not be allowed," and then it is required of the department that the man go back.
Mr. GILLETT. Do such cases happen now?
Gen. Black. Mr. Chairman, I pointed out to you first as reasons for this additional increase the fact that the number of officers placed under the jurisdiction of the commission for the purpose of examination and appointment has been greatly increased. In addition to that there have been laid upon the commission a great many duties by the orders of the President, which we are called upon to perform. Then in the matter we were speaking of-the preparation of the efficiency records and their keep and maintenance and constant application—that was laid upon us by the Congress and not by the President alone, and in regard to a number of other things—they are not all enumerated here in detail—the duties of the commission have been constantly increased in one way or another, It is a growing plant, and we do not find anything that is abandoned or obsolete in the whole business. We must meet every new work and every new appointment and every new condition of the increased work, and that is the reason we have asked for the increased force.
Mr. McILHENNY. The additions are far in advance of the ability of the commission to properly administer by reason of those conditions. It is frankly up to you gentlemen as to whether or not we shall properly administer. With all of the disposition in the world, we are so hampered by lack of means that we can not properly administer the duties imposed upon us, and it remains entirely with you gentlemen whether or not the work shall be brought to the highest point of officiency or whether we shall just wobble along as best we can and do as much as we can and leave the rest undone.
Gen. BLACK. Now, Mr. Chairman, still bearing upon this question of the increase and looking to what we have asked for, there is an application for the appointment, of persons to act as inspectors. We are to-day in charge of a work that reaches all over continental America and into some of the islands, and whenever we want to make an inspection of a case that has features in it and that seems to rise to the dignity of requiring an investigation, we have to deplete the little force we have here, and that is crippling, or we have to ask the Post Office Department or the Treasury Department to assist us. The consequence is we get the colored views of the department brought into our own work. There are in the United States 12 civil-service districts, and each one of them has a trained man of the commission in charge and stationed in the field–New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and all of the other 12 headquarters. They have their local headquarters in those districts; they have their little staff. I think that the biggest staff is in New York, with about half a dozen people, including typewriters, stenographers, and assistant district secretary, and the smallest probably has about three. We do not send one man anywhere into the field that we do not have to. Beginning with the first district, there are in that district 235 local boards of examiners, and the number of members is 511. All of those men have to be dealt with by the district secretary stationed at Boston. I will pass on down to the seventh district. In that district there are 205 boards of examiners, and the number of men composing them is 608, and all of them have to be dealt with by our district secretary at Chicago; and going to the other side of the continent, at San Francisco, there are in that district 155 boards, and there are 367 members of those boards. Those members are detailed to us from the various departments. They are in the service, but there are not in our service. And so on through the whole 12 there is this number of boards and that number of men, until there are in the United States to-day 2,130 boards, with 5,121 members, and there are, in addition to that, in the engineering, Indian, irrigation and allotment, lighthouse, ordnance, quartermaster, military park, reclamation, and miscellaneous, 160 other boards, which are made up of 728 members. Those boards, therefore, all together amount to 2,348, and there are in them 6,146 members. These boards are scattered everywhere where there is a reclamation service or where there is a conservation service or a city to be supplied, or where there is a town where Federal officers have to be examined and appointed. I do not know how many there are in your district, Mr. Chairman. If I had thought of it I would have gotten the number to have brought it home to you. But these men are at work all the time. They are making their examinations daily or weekly or monthly, as may be required, and all of their work has to go to these district secretaries or comes to the commission here, and when brought here it has to be tabulated and examined and the registers established, and when not brought here that work has to be brought to the district secretary's office. There is not a single step that we are taking now in this matter of organization that our experience shows that we can afford to neglect. We have to use all these men, and we have to use all of the steps that are employed in order to get rigidly correct examination; and I might point out to you that in a report made by the First Assistant Postmaster General in my
hearing some two years ago, he stated that in all of the vast Rural Mail Service of the United States there were only in the course of a year about 225 who were removed for any sort of misdemeanor or peculation. That shows how clean we are getting them. And in regard to the field service, there are scarcely ever any complaints of the way in which the boards do their duty and scarcely ever any complaint on the part of the citizen as to the result of the work of the board.
In other words, the machine is clean, competent, and very inexpensive. Of that vast mass of men, almost the only ones who are paid out of the funds appropriated for the Civil Service Commission are the 12 district secretaries. That is another point which goes to show how extensive the work is and how badly in need of inspectors we are, because if it should happen that complaints came in from anywhere of political activity or personal interference or of religious influence being exercised in appointments, we would have to depend, perhaps, upon the parties implicated, or have to dislodge some man from some local district and send him there, whereas if we had these inspectors trained and developed we would send them and they would supervise for us and look after the work of the board. They would see what had been done and what there was to the complaint. Mr. Chairman, to-day, as an illustration, in Chicago there is a great investigation going on. Dan Campbell is the head of the greatest post office in the United States except it may be the post office at New York, and in some respects it is greater than that. They have there in Chicago a reform association. That reform association brought charges against Campbell. The commission felt that it was not in a position to detach one of its own members, in view of the imminence of the coming of Congress and the tremendous work that has been thrown upon us, and so we were obliged to detach, and did detail, two men; first, our secretary, Mr. Doyle, and our district secretary, Mr. Newton, a very able man. If we had had a single inspector trained in the work we could have sent there to have taken Doyle's place in this investigation, it would have been well for us.
Mr. GILLETT. Such an investigation will not take long, will it?
Gen. BLACK. It will take several weeks. Thirty-five witnesses have been summoned, so far as we have been able to find out. Mr. Gillett, when it comes to political charges that are brought before the Civil Service Commission it is everything from an overt act to the faintest dream of a suspicion, and we have to take them all. We do not know who is dreaming or who is telling the truth.
Mr. McILHENNY. A representative of the Civil Service Reform League recently, in making his set of charges before the commission, consumed 10 hours. Now, this investigation has already extended over two weeks, and I believe, very likely, that it will extend over another four weeks. I have gone out on investigations where it took me two months of from 8 to 10 hours a day of hard work. All the time Mr. Doyle, for instance, is in Chicago his work as secretary of the commission is piling up and we are without his services.
Mr. GILLETT. In a case of that kind, does Mr. Doyle sit as judge and report to you?
Gen. BLACK. He sits as referee and reports all the testimony to use
Mr. McILHENNY. He gathers the evidence for the adjudication of the commission, and that is the class of men we need.
[See also p. 32.] Gen. BLACK. I want to go back again to the matter of increases. I have here a little statement, the substance of which I want to submit to you. You gave us for the year ending June 30, 1912, $2,000 for expert examinations. Here is the result of a search of the records as to how the commission used the money, and we use all our money in that way: We spent, out of that $2,000, $621.36 during this current year, and we spent it in this fashion: We would take an examiner of chemicals, a high expert in his business, whose judgment we absolutely needed in regard to the establishment of a register of chemists. We put before him 62 sets of papers. He took four days to examine those 62 sets, and we paid him $40, and that was as high à sum as we have paid any man at any time under that appropriation for these expert examinations, and we are just as stingy about it as we know how to be.
Mr. McILHENNY. If we had a man of that sort on our roll, we could not retain him for less than $10,000 a year.
Gen. BLACK. I can give you another instance. Here is the case of an examiner named C. H. Eckels, an expert in dairy farming. He is a man who was called upon to examine applicants as to dairy farming. It is a great industry and needs skilled men. Mr. Eckels examined 38 sets of papers and was seven and one-half days at it, and charged us $10 a day. We had not a force that could examine them. I want to give you another instance-E. H. Farrington, who had four sets, and took a day and a third, and charged $8 a day in examining the eligibles upon the subject of butter making and dairy manufacturing. Here is another matter that is of great interest, and that is knowledge of plant pathology: We had no man on our force who could give a scientific judgment upon applicants for positions as pathological scientist, and so we had to employ L. R. Jones, and we had him engaged for seven days and paid him $10 a day, and so on through the list. I will leave this for the record. We need those men and we spend the money as stingily as though it were our own, and perhaps a little more so.
The paper referred to is in the words and figures following: Memorandum concerning services of expert examiners prior to July 1, 1912. Thomas F. Hunt, agronomist in oat investigations, assistant farm
superintendent. Subject : Agronomy and allied subjects, 42 sets -W. A. Noyes, examiner of chemicals. Subject: Chemical examinations, 62 sets, 4 days_
$40.00 J. F. Duggar, assistant horticulturist and horticulturist. Subject: Knowledge of agriculture in the Southern States, 4 days..
40.00 John C. Whitten, horticulturist. Subject: Knowledge of horticulture, 5 papers; vegetable gardening, 3 theses, 1 day
10.00 C. F. Hirshfeld, assistant mechanical engineer. Subject : Qualifications in high-grade mechanical engineering, 16 sets, 2 days.
20.00 L. R. Jones, forest pathologist. Subject: Knowledge of plant pathology, 7 days..
70.00 Henry S. Munroe, assistant mining engineer. Subject: Knowledge of mining engineering, 30 sets, 31 days ---
35. 00 Francis J. Pond. Subject : Knowledge of chemistry, 27 days.
22. S5 W. A. Stocking, dairyman (qualified in market-milk work). Subject :
Knowledge of dairying and market-milk investigations.