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ACCORDINGLY, WE ARE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTING THAT YOUR COMMITTEE CONSIDER THE LANGUAGE IN MR. EAGLEBURGER'S LETTER OF May 13 WHICH WOULD PERMIT US FLEXIBILITY IN TAKING THE
REDUCTION IN OUR PERSONNEL.
WE STRONGLY PREFER THIS ALTER
NATIVE OVER THE RESTRICTIVE LANGUAGE WHICH WE UNDERSTAND
THE DEPARTMENT'S PROPOSAL ACCEPTS THE APPLICATION
SAVINGS BUT REQUESTS THAT WE BE ALLOWED TO MANAGE THE REDUC
TION OF OUR PERSONNEL COMPLEMENT IN A PRUDENT MANNER WHICH
WILL ALLOW US TO MEET THE CHANGING WORKLOADS AND PRIORITIES. THERE PRESENTLY EXISTS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT, MR. CHAIRMAN,
THE MECHANISM FOR ACCOMPLISHING THIS SELECTIVE PERSONNEL
REDUCTION, IT IS THE PRIORITIES POLICY GROUP (PPG),
RESOURCES AND TO INSURE THEIR ALLOCATION CONSISTENT WITH
MR. CHAIRMAN, THAT CONCLUDES MY PREPARED STATEMENT. WE WILL BE PLEASED TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU OR THE COMMITTEE
STATEMENT SL MMARIZED
Mr. THOMAS. If I may, sir, I would just like to summarize my statement.
Senator PASTORE. All right.
Mr. THOMAS. There are three points, Mr. Chairman, I would like to make. As you said, we have reviewed each appropriation reduction and its impact, and have determined that we will not appeal those reductions.
We are bringing to you a budget amendment which you mentioned in the amount of $5.5 million, which was deferred by the House without prejudice.
It contains $1 million for developmental costs of the travel document issuance system for the Passport Office: $1 million for miniaturization of the passport files, and $3.5 million for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
I have with me in support of that amendment, Mr. Loren Lawrence, the Acting Administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs; Miss Frances Knight, Director of the Passport Office; and Mr. Sam Lewis, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs.
Senator PASTORE. Now address yourself to the restrictive language.
OPPOSITION TO HOUSE PERSONNEL REDUCTION LANGUAGE
Mr. THOMAS. All right, Mr. Chairman. The Department, as you know, sir, has agreed to accept the $2 million reduction. Our problem is strictly with the language which is, in our judgment, very restrictive. It would leave us no management flexibility to allocate our resources from lower priority activities to new or changing higher priority activities.
Senator PASTORE. In other words, what you are actually telling me is that, with the reduction of the $2 million, if you had more liberal language, you would still bring about the recommendation of the House to fill one out of every five vacancies, but you would want the choice of where you do it?
Mr. THOMAS. No, Mr. Chairman. Although we are perfectly willing to take a $2 million reduction in our personnel level, we would prefer more flexibility to reduce our total complement by the number of positions that amount to $2 million.
Senator PASTORE. And what would that come to?
Mr. THOMAS. Sir, it probably would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 to 200 positions based on our estimates to date.
Senator PASTORE. 150 to 200 positions? Mr. THOMAS. Yes, sir. Senator PASTORE. And what effect would the House action have? Mr. Thomas. The House action would effect a reduction of 376, Mr. Chairman.
Senator PASTORE. In other words, you feel that that restriction goes a bit too far?
Mr. Thomas. Absolutely, Mr. Chairman, without question, particularly when you consider the increased workload we have in terrorism and the protection of our diplomats; and our consular and passport workload.
I might add, Mr. Chairman, as you know, that we requested no new positions pursuant to our previous determination in the Department that we would not ask for additional positions for fiscal year 1977.
Senator PASTORE. But how many people are on the Department of State payroll?
Mr. THOMAS. We have at the present time, sir, 14,256 positions authorized
Senator PASTORE. And you think 376 is too many?
Mr. THOMAS. Yes, sir, when you consider that the Department of State today has a net decrease of 340 positions in the "Salaries and expenses” appropriation over the last 10 years.
All we are asking for, sir, is an opportunity to do in essence what this committee has encouraged us to do.
Senator PASTORE. And then if it has to be done any further, I guess they could do it next time. I think mathematically it is pretty hard to give a precise answer as to exactly what the effects of it would be, what the repercussions of it might be. But you are willing to take the $2 million cut in personnel?
Mr. THOMAS. Yes, sir, we are, reluctantly.
Senator PASTORE. That will at least amount to 150 to 200 fewer jobs?
Mr. THOMAS. Yes, sir, it will.
Mr. THOMAS. Yes, sir, I think Mr. Chairman, what we are really saying is that we would like the opportunity to have more flexibility in this matter. Accordingly, we respectfully request your consideration of the suggested language in Mr. Eagleburger's letter to you which would permit us to reduce personnel on a selective basis rather than on an arbitrary basis.
[The letter follows:]
DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE
May 13, 1976
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The State, Justice, Commerce Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee has completed action on the Department of State's fiscal year 1977 appropriations request. Although the Subcommittee's report has not been reviewed by the Full Committee, we have been informed that, because of time constraints, the Subcommittee did not consider the Department's pending fiscal year 1977 Budget Amendment acknowledged by the Congress as House Document 94-475.
The Budget amendment requests appropriation of $5.5 million of which $2.0 million is for a Travel Document and Issuance System (TDIS) and a files miniaturization project for the United States Passport Office. The TDIS system will provide more efficient and convenient service to the American travelling public. The files miniaturization project is to establish a modern, efficient files storage and retrieval system essential for effective passport and related operations. Senate Appropriations Committee approval of this $2.0 million for passport operations would be consistent with the Senate passed and House reported fiscal year 1977 Bills to authorize appropriations for the Department of State.
Also included in the amendment is an appropriation request for $3.5 million for contribution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This would partially offset United States arrearages to UNESCO and permit us to regain our vote (lost as of January 1, 1976 because of outstanding arrearages) at the upcoming General Conference this fall. By having a voting presence, the United States will be in a better position to press for needed changes so the President can make the requisite certification to Congress that UNESCO has changed its policies of a political nature. Senate Appropriations Committee approval of $3.5 million for UNESCO would be consistent with the Senate passed Bill to authorize appropriations to the Department of State for fiscal year 1977.
Following a careful review of the House Appropriation Subcommittee a
action on our fiscal year 1977 appropriations request in relation to essential program requirements and the need for continued fiscal restraints, the Department has determined to accept the Subcommittee's recommended appropriation levels. However, the Department strongly opposes
the restriction in the House Appropriations Subcommittee report, related to the Salaries and Expenses appropriation, which would allow the filling of only one out of five vacancies above the GS-6 or equivalent level which occur as a result of voluntary retirement or resignation.
The Department considers this language too restrictive because it will have a serious adverse affect on meeting our increasing workloads (terrorist prevention and consular services in particular) and leave no management flexibility to program resources to meet new high priority needs. The fiscal year 1977 budget already represents a $4.5 million reduction in the cost of continuing operations. Moreover, the Department requested no new positions and no discretionary increases for the upcoming fiscal year. While we do need new positions in 1977 (already requirements for 160 positions have been validated), the Department chose to meet these needs through improved management of existing resources.
During the past decade, despite workload increases, the Department has had an overall net decrease of 340 positions in the Salaries and Expenses appropriation. The House Subcommittee language would require an estimated reduction of 376 positions and $2,672,000. This further reduction of positions not only would have a disruptive impact on our personnel structure, but would be administratively difficult and costly to accomplish under the House formula.
Accordingly, we request that your committee reject this restrictive provision in our Salaries and Expenses appropriation with appropriate language in the Senate Appropriations Committee report. I have enclosed suggested draft language for this purpose which does not argue against personnel reductions -- only that the Department be permitted to accomplish these personnel reductions in the most efficient manner.
Departmental representatives are available at the convenience of your committee to discuss these requests in greater detail.
Lawrence s. Eaglebfrger