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Mr. WHITTINGTON. Whenever there is an adjudication of a claim that is supposed to be by the Board, and if at present, a person believes his claim adjudicated adversely, that review is considered by the Commission itself?
Mr. RILEY. That is right. It is reviewing its own actions.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. How long has the organization of which you speak been in existence ?
Mr. Riley. My organization has been in existence about 14 months. Mr. WHITTINGTON. What is the name of your organization? Mr. RILEY. The name of the organization is Government Employees' Council of the American Federation of Labor. Mr. WHITTINGTON. It has been organized for about 14 months? Mr. RILEY. Yes, sir; I think it was organized April of 1945.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Before that time, was there any organization that was affiliated with the American Federation of Labor ?
Mr. RILEY. The unions, as such.
Mr. RILEY. According to the time, whenever the unions were formed.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I am talking about the unions.
Mr. RILEY. I can set no date. There is Mr. Burns, he could tell you, I think.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. When was the first one formed ?
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT OF JAMES B. BURNS, NATIONAL PRESI
DENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
Mr. BURNS. The postal employees were organized 40 or 50 years
Mr. WHITTINGTON. They do not belong to the American Federation of Labor or the Congress of Industrial Organizations?
Mr. BURNS. They were organized about 40 or 50 years ago.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. It is the oldest of the unions and it is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor ?
Mr. RILEY. It was organized way back in the eighties.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. This organization for which you speak is about 112 years old ? Mr. Riley. That is right. It is a new establishment.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. That is not the organization that held the meeting in Atlantic City and was going to strike against the Government?
Mr. RILEY. As a matter of fact, Mr. Whittington, practically all of those who are particularly wholly in the Government service have definitely in their preambles a specific provision against anything of a violent character, and certainly I think we sent to every Member of Congress a copy of the resolutions that were unanimously adopted resolutions by this council, disowning any violence, threats, and anything of that sort.
It was unanimously agreed to.
Mr. BARDEN. Did that include a provision against strikes against the Government?
Mr. RILEY. Every such organization in the Government has nostrike clauses in their preambles.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What was the organization that held the meeting in Atlantic City that did provide for strikes in the Government ? It was some CIO meeting, was it not?
Mr. RILEY. That was it; yes.
Mr. RILEY. It was the newly formed United Public Workers of America, I believe.
Mr. CHURCH. That is not your organization and you have nothing to do with it?
Mr. RILEY. We have no association with anything that has affiliations with any current body other than the American Federation of Labor.
*First of all, they must come in under the general situation that has been set out. It has no connection with anything whatsoever that smacks of anything that is not truly American.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Riley, the Employees' Compensation Act, as amended by Public Law 287, provided, in section 20, that all original claims for compensation for disability shall be made within 60 days after the injury. It further states that for any reasonable cause shown the Commission may allow original claims for compensation for disability to be made at any time within 1 year.
Section 28 creates the Commission. It reads, partially, as follows:
A commission is hereby created to be known. as the United States Employees' Compensation Commission and to be composed of three commissioners to be appointed by the President. No commissioner shall hold any other office or position under the United States; no more than two of the said commissioners shall be members of the same political party.
Then, section 32 of that act provides that the Commission is authorized to make necessary rules and regulations for the enforcement of this act and shall decide all questions arising under this act.
Then, section 37 provides, in part, as follows:
That if the original claims for compensation have been made within the time specified in section 20, the Commission may at any time on its own motion or upon application review and award in accordance with the facts foundand so forth.
Now, do you take the position that section 28 and section 32 of the Employees' Compensation Act, just stated, make this plan No. 2—that part dealing with the Employees' Compensation Commission-contrary to the provisions of section 5, subsection 6, of Public Law 263, known as the Reorganization Act of 1945 ?
Mr. RILEY. I was thinking of paragraph 5 in my previous statementimposing, in connection with the exercise of any quasi-judicial or quasi-legislative function possessed by an independent agency, any greater limitation upon the exercise of independent judgment and discretion, to the full extent authorized by law, in the carrying out of such function, than existed with respect to the exercise of such function by the agency in which it was vested prior to the taking effect of such reorganization; except that this prohibition shall not prevent the abolition of any such function.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, of course, the functions are not abolished in this reorganization plan, they are transferred.
Mr. RILEY. That is right, and you have made provision in the act for that. It says herewith respect to each transfer, consolidation, coordination, or abolition.
The CHAIRMAN. This Commission, under section 28 of the act creating the Commission, taking into account that it was a bipartisan board, and section 32 which provides that the Commission is authorized to make necessary rules and regulations for the enforcement of this act and shall decide all questions arising under this act, do you think that a new board could be credited under the Reorganization Act of 1945 without being in conflict with the provisions of section 5 of the act?
Mr. RILEY, I do want to qualify that this is only a layman's reading of the law, as see it here, Mr. Chairman.
You do not have a board of appeals today. You have, as I say, on a continuing basis, a case opens when the person says, "I have new evidence.”
The CHAIRMAN. I understand, from reading section 28, the Commission is a board of appeals.
Mr. Riley. If you say that that is it, all right, but I do not find that is in the nature of a board of appeals provision.
The CHAIRMAN. The employee himself may ask the Commission to reopen a claim.
Mr. RILEY. To reopen it, yes, but in the sense of taking a matter from a lower court to a higher court, that seems to review all the evidence and apply law in a more competent manner and that sort of thing.
The CHAIRMAN, The Commission does not necessarily have to review a claim to make the award of compensation legal. The Commission only enters into the picture when they decide themselves that the award is too high, or too low, or when the employee requests the hearing. That, as I interpret it, would make them a board of appeals from the findings of the official who awarded compensation.
Mr. RILEY. I am at a loss to know what the main body of the Commission is, then. Who is the Commission if they sit on a white throne there and only wait for something to come up to them?
The CHAIRMAN. They can review any claim they want to, but I do not think, under section 28, that they must review a claim at all unless the employee requests a review, which would make them a board of appeals.
Mr. Riley. I am sure that is entirely true.
They are on the operating and review end. In the FSA, they only wait for someone to bring them a batch of cases to see if someone made a mistake.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What do you mean by "FSA”?
Mr. RILEY. That stands for Federal Security Agency. I mean in case they are sent over they—that would appear to be the mechanismthat they just wait around for something to happen.
In the meantime, the Federal Security Administrator has appointed a business manager of the group that has been brought over to him.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I understand what you mean now. That is sufficient.
Do you have any other points? I must leave the hearing at this time.
Mr. Riley. In the Seventy-second Congress, when Mike Duffy was chairman of the Committee on Economy, the Congress said at that time-I think you were a member of the Congress, as well as several other members of this committee—the Congress said at that time that the power to abolish agencies of the Government created by statute cannot be delegated under the Constitution. Well, this says, in so many words there, “the Commission is hereby abolished".
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Will you repeat that?
Mr. RILEY. The power to abolish the agencies of the Government created by statute cannot be delegated under the Constitution.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, Mr. Riley, the position that the legal authorities take with respect to employees of the Government is that the plan itself does not abolish the agency, that Public Law 263 is the one that abolishes. it.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What other points have you?
Mr. RILEY. Here is the point I want to leave with you as you go out: This Commission has operated, and today it is operating at a percentage cost of money of 6.4 percent, and I believe that is about the cheapest and lowest rate you will find in any branch of the Government which has money to spend.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I will tell you what I would say with respect to that in this matter, for any observations you want to make : That this Commission, established 16 years ago, it was a very small institution, and would probably not dream that they would handle as much money and handle as many cases as they do today. If there is any way to improve that administration, I would vote for that.
I certainly do not want to delay it, but if it is necessary to have three Administrators, 'why, it is all right, I guess, but I just believe that we do not want to reject the plan unless we know that it does interfere with the administration of the matter so as to be unfair to Government employees and the Government.
Mr. Riley. I have pitched my case on what you have said there, and I could see no way in which it conforms.
For example, the expression on the saving of money there. You are saving right now, from a 22 percent, which was the cost of operation at the time this agency opened, down to 11 percent the next year, and 9.3 percent the next year, and so on, and despite the increase in basic salaries, you are still operating at 6.4.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I understand that that committee knows little about the claims unless they are ordered to review.
Mr. RILEY. They are called upon for advice.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. The very nature of the thing shows that three people do not have the chance to go into all these Government claims. They are fair, they take it up, and if mistakes have been made, they change their minds, but sometimes the women on that Commission do not change their minds.
I do not know how much volume might be built up in that situation. They please the persons who have to be served by them, and that is my opinion entirely. I think they give generally satisfactory service from all that I have heard. What I said about the women changing
their minds, was, of course, facetious. You know, if we did not smile here once in a while, we would go crazy.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Riley, do you concur in the statements made by Mr. Burns yesterday, as to the legality of this?
Mr. RILEY. Yes, sir.
Mr. RILEY. We have the call of Joseph Padway or any other attorney we care to employ on a contingent basis. We do not have one on a retainer.
The CHAIRMAN. You have not requested your attorney to render an opinion?
Mr. Riley. I have contacted an attorney whom I believe quite competent to discuss the subject and the language of my presentation belongs very much to him.
The committee the other day seemed to be at sea—they felt there was a fashion of enmity that persisted here in the reorganization orders—and some of them–I do not remember just now who it waswanted to know who was behind the orders. I would not say I know who is behind it. I would say I could give you some names pretty well known in connection with it. One would be Harold Merrils, with the old National Resources Planning Board, whom I think has had his moments up here; Senator McKellar has discussed some of his works. Robert McKeever is another, who is a real-estate man in the Shoreham Building, and who I understand is on a dollar-a-year basis, and Mr. Paul H. Appleby says he knows all about the organization; and Mr. Edward A. Locke, Jr., here, whose biography I have, and his former assistant, Mr. Donald M. Nelson, he is supposed to be one of the coordinators; then I get the name of Jack Tait, who is the general counsel for the Federal Security Agency, and Mr. Tait, as I recall, is the president of the National Lawyers' Guild in Washington.
Those names, I just thought, might be wanted by the committee, since they were asking for names the other day.
Now, your committee may want to consider section 5 (a) (6) of the Reorganization Act, Public Law 263, which reads as follows:
No reorganization plan shall provide for, and no reorganization under this act shall have the effect of
Imposing, in connection with the exercise of any quasi-judicial or quasi-legislative function possessed by an independent agency, any greater limitation upon the exercise of independent judgment and discretion, to the full extent authorized by law, in carrying out of such function, than existed with respect to the exercise of such function by the agency in which it was vested prior to the taking effect of such reorganization, except that this prohibition shall not prevent the abolition of any such function.
There is not today any board of appeals in the Compensation Commission. But the creation of an administrative board of appeals with authority to “make final decision on appeals” in respect to Federal employees' claims, I believe this committee will agree, does violate section 5 (a) (6) of the Reorganization Act.
Under the plan as submitted, the independent judgment and discretion of the three-member bipartisan Commission is abolished in favor of a board of limited power and discretion which would be subject to partisan control of the appointing power whose decisions in theory it it supposed to review. Such board would have no authority to determine policies or questions of law, for that power which under the stat