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“Provided, That the provisions of this act shall not apply to mechanics, artisans, their helpers and assistants, laborers, or any other employees whose duties are of similar character, and required in carrying on the various manufacturing or constructing operations of the Government.”
It has been the established rule of the Ordnance Department, in fixing the wages to be paid to mechanics and artisans, to pay the same wage that is paid in the vicinity of any given ordnance establishment for the like character of work. This rule is quite essential and necessary in order to retain in the employ of the Government high-class workmen of the various kinds and classes. Section 7 of the act of August 26, 1912, above referred to, operates to prevent this department from increasing the wage of a class of mechanics or laborers should at any time the wages paid for similar work in the vicinity of the ordnance establishment concerned be increased. This would materially hamper the operations of this department, as it would be difficult to retain employees
at a rate of pay which might be materially less than that which obtains outside of the Government Service.
Sincerely, yours, R. BIRNIE,
WEDNESDAY, NovEMBER 27, 1912. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
STATEMENTS OF HON. JAMES WILSON, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE; MR. JOSEPH A. ARNOLD, CHIEF OF PUBLICATIONS DIVISION; AND MR. A. ZAPPONE, DISBURSING CLERK.
DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Wilson, the last legislative bill provided that public documents should be mailed from the Government Printing Office instead of from the various departments. Secretary WILSON. Yes, sir. Mr. JoHNSON. As your department has a great deal of such matter to mail, we were anxious to know how this new law is working down there. Secretary WILSON. I have brought with me this morning the gentleman who is in charge of that particular work, and he can give you the details of the workings under the new law. I will ask \!. Arnold to answer your question. Mr. JoHNSON. Mr. Arnold, what is your experience under that law Ż Mr. ARNOLD. It should be borne in mind that to comply with the law we turned over to the superintendent of documents, prior to October 1, 1912, 5,500,000 copies of publications. That was unloading a pretty big job upon the Public Printer. Mr. GILLETT. Where were those documents stored then } Mr. ARNOLD. They were stored in a building occupied by the Division of Publications, near the main building of the Department of Agriculture. Since that time it has been our practice to make orders on the Public Printer for the mailing of publications instead of mailing them ourselves, as we did before. Our experience up to this time is that there has been and is now some delay in the execution of our orders for the mailing of publications. I say that without any criticism of the Printing Office, because it is not possible that the plant which the Public Printer has installed can yet be in full operation, but at the present time I must say that there has been some complaint on account of delay in getting out the publications and because of the confusion and mistakes in the publications that were sent out. Mr. Johnson. As far as your information goes, how long is it after an order is sent to the Government Printing Office before the matter is mailed out? Mr. ARNOLD. Up to this time it seems to have required from about two to three weeks. I do not say that is the case with all things, but I think that is a safe statement. Mr. GILLETT. How do you get at that? How do you know how long it requires? Mr. ARNOLD. The Printing Office returns our order with the date of mailing stamped upon it. When we receive a request for a publication we make an order on the Public Printer, and we write to the applicant a form letter—simply addressed to him—stating that an order has been made on the Public Printer for the mailing of the publication he requests. Mr. GILLETT. Do you send the original letter to the Public Printer or do you write him a new letter? Mr. ARNOLD. We send the original letter to the Public Printer with an addressed frank label or envelope, indicating thereon the publications that in our judgment should be sent in compliance with the request. Mr. GILLETT. Does that original letter come back to you or is it filed by you? Mr. ARNOLD. That letter goes back to the person who asks for the publication. Mr. GILLETT. Are you sure that is the way it is handled? Mr. ARNOLD. That is the way we do, and I understand that is the practice pursued up there. Mr. GILLETT. The original letter of request is returned to the writer? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; that was our practice, so that the man could see what he asked for and did not get and what part of his request had been complied with. Mr. GILLETT. You do not have in your files any record of that except your letters answering the requests for the publications? That is all the record you have? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir. Mr. GILLETT. Do you keep copies of your answers? Mr. ARNOLD. That is simply a form letter with the man's name written in. Mr. GILLETT. Do you keep of that letter a copy, or do you have any record of it at all in your department? Mr. ARNOLD. No, sir. Mr. GILLETT. When a osman writes to you for a publication, you write a letter in reply Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; we keep your letters and all of the correspondence relating to it. But you must understand that there are received at the Department of Agriculture about 4,000 letters a day relating to publications. Mr. GILLETT. Aside from the congressional letters?
Mr. ARNOLD. No, sir; including the congressional letters, which number about 800. Mr. GILLETT. And how many are received from other sources? Mr. ARNOLD. In addition to the 800 or more congressional letters in reference to publications, the department receives about 3,200 requests daily for miscellaneous publications. Mr. GILLETT, I, notice, that you answer very politely our letters, and I wondered if you did that invariably, because it struck me that it would cause a prodigous amount of correspondence for you. Mr. ARNOLD. Well, we have always taken the ground that you gentlemen are entitled to the courtesy of a reply, so that you will know what action has been taken. That correspondence is kept during the session of Congress, but no longer. r. GILLETT. Then, when we send you an addressed frank label, you simply send it over to the Public Printer? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; we send that along to the Public Printer. You know, however, that we keep an account of the bulletins that are sent out under your orders. We have a regular book of accounts with the Members of Congress. We make out an order and that is sent down with the frank. It is a printed order with the numbers filled in, and then when that order is executed by the Printing Office it will be returned to our office. Mr. GILLETT. Did you start right in as soon as the law was enacted doing that work this way? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; we have not distributed any publications intended for public distribution since the 1st of October. Mr. GILLETT. Did there grow up any accumulation, so that the Public Printer would have more work at the first than he will have from now on ? Mr. ARNOLD. I think that is likely. There were a few days preceding October 1 when there was some confusion in his office and in our own, which was due to the transfer. Mr. GILLETT. How long did that confusion last? How much accumulation was there that arose? Mr. ARNOLD. There was at least a week's accumulation there, I should say, that could not be avoided. I do not think there was any delay in the congressional orders or correspondence, because we gave that the preference, but the miscellaneous mailing was delayed to about that extent. Mr. GILLETT. That would be likely to occur at the very beginning, but the completion of their organization would remedy much of that. Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir. Mr. BURLEsoN. That accounted in a measure for the delay you have referred to ? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; it was a big undertaking for the Public Printer; there is no question about that; and I have understood that he was not fully prepared for it. Mr. BURLEsox. Is there any difference in the conditions now and those at the beginning as to the time it takes to get the documents out? Mr. ARNOLD. I think there is a little prompter attention now. There is prompter attention particularly with regard to mailing from the regular lists. You will remember that we turned over all the regular mailing lists—those that were on stencils, constituting our regular lists—and on which the names aggregated about 600,000. The plan now is that when we issue a requisition for a publication we send with it a scheme of distribution indicating what portions of the lists now in the possession of the Public Printer are to be used in the mailing of that particular document, so that when that publication is printed the distribution takes place automatically from those lists we have indicated. Mr. BURLESON. What lists are those ? Mr. ARNOLD. They are the regular mailing lists of the bureaus and offices of the department. Each bureau, division, and office of the department has a limited mailing list. Mr. BURLESON. How much do they amount to in all? Mr. ARNOLD. The total number of names on these lists is about 600,000. That does not mean that we ever send a publication of any kind to all of those lists. The bureau lists are divided up by occupations and professions, so that when a bulletin is submitted by the bureau for publication the bureau indicates that particular portion of its list to which that bulletin would be of particular interest, and only that portion of the list is used. Mr. BURLESON. That is entirely separate, of course, from the congressional list Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; that is entirely separate. There is no congressional list. The congressional distribution is what we call the miscellaneous applicants. There is no regular list to which Farmers’ Bulletins are sent. Mr. BURLEsoN. Is there any method of preventing a conflict between the congressional list and those regular lists, or is the regular list composed of a different class of people from those on the congressional list? Mr. ARNOLD. It contains the names of a different class of people entirely. Mr. BURLEsox. What class of people is represented on the bureaus' lists? Mr. ARNOLD. These lists are made up of people who are engaged in or who are particularly interested in the line of work of that particular bureau. Mr. BURLEsox. Do you mean teachers and institutions? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; and investigators. For instance, cattle raisers and stock raisers generally want only the publications of the Bureau of Animal Industry, and it is the same way with any other list. Now, the miscellaneous distribution of publications is far greater than the distribution on the lists. During the last year we distributed 34,000,000 copies of publications of all kinds, and about one-fourth only of that number went to regular mailing lists, the balance being distributed to miscellaneous applicants who were not on any list but who simply heard of the publications and wrote and asked for them. That is by far the greater part of our work—this miscellaneous distribution of documents. Mr. BURLEsoN. Do you include that in the congressional distribution? Mr. ARNOLD. No, sir; I do not include the congressional distribution in that. Mr. BURLESON. Is the miscellaneous distribution larger than the congressional distribution?
Mr. ARNOLD. I think it is larger, although it is not much larger. The congressional distribution is increasing very rapidly. I think the congressional distribution last year was although I am stating this from memory—about 12,000,000 copies, and it is growing all the time. Mr. BURLESON. Have you any particular suggestions to make as to the operation of this new law? We would be glad to get your Opinion. Mr. ARNOLD. It hardly occurred to me that I would be called upon to make any recommendation in regard to it. . It is my business to .. out your recommendations and those of the Secretary of AgriCulture. Mr. BURLESON. Your department has far more publications than any other department, I presume. Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; I think more than all the others combined; that is my understanding. Mr. BURLESON. I think the committee would like to know how a department which has such extensive work in that line looks upon the change. Mr. ARNOLD. We have had the distribution all these years, as you know, and I think it has been done strictly according to the law. When we take into consideration the growth of the department and the nature of its work, I believe that the dissemination of the information belongs to that department. I think so. Mr. BURLESON. While that may be the fact, that, of course, does not prove that it is the best way of doing it. Mr. ARNOLD. It does not. Along that line, with the Secretary’s permission, I will offer one suggestion in regard to this matter, and that is that the regular mailing list should be retained by the Printing Office. I believe when the equipment is fully installed, when the new machines are in use, that the distribution to the regular mailing list can be done very promptly and very efficiently there. Mr. BURLESON. You say that these lists contain 600,000 names? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir. Now, the most troublesome matter, I imagine, and I think the Public Printer would admit it, is handling the great volume of miscellaneous requests. These requests for publications—that is, in what we call the miscellaneous distribution—are sent down by thousands each day. Now, the question might be worthy of consideration whether or not the miscellaneous distribution of farmers' bulletins, the distribution being largely in the judgment of the bureau, should be left to the department, leaving the Public Printer to handle only those regular mailing lists. Mr. BURLEsoN. Would it save any handling to have them do it rather than you? Mr. ARNOLD. Yes, sir; it would save carting the documents out there and back. I understand that when the system is in full operation the Printing Office is to be constituted a subpost-office mailing station, and that when a publication comes from the press it will go through some machine where it will be wrapped and addressed, and then conducted through a pneumatic tube to the station. That seems to be an admirable arrangement with regard to the distribution of documents from the list, but it will not work that way in the distribution to miscellaneous applicants, of which there are 3,000 or 4,000