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Number of persons in the executive service of the Federal Government July 1, 1919, outside District of Columbia.1
[Compiled from data furnished to the Bureau of the Census by the several departments and independent offices. In some cases the figures are only approximations, owing to the fact that certain of the departments and offices have lump-sum appropriations and the force paid from such appropriations is continually varying in size.]
The CHAIRMAN. This tabulation refers only to the employees here in the District of Columbia?
Mr. MORRISON. Yes, sir; that is a tabulation of employees in the departments in the District of Columbia.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you a tabulation showing the number of civil-service employees outside of the District of Columbia? Mr. MORRISON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. This table that you have of employees outside of the District of Columbia covers only one date-July 1, 1919?
Mr. MORRISON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you supply for the record a table giving the number of employees, say, about April 1, 1917, and about November 11, 1918?
Mr. WALES. I can give you that in round figures. In round numbers there were about 300,000 in the entire classified service before the war, or in April, 1917, and about 10 per cent of that number was at Washington and 90 per cent on the outside.
The CHAIRMAN. The large increase, I take it, has been in the War Department and Postal Service.
Mr. WALES. In the War Department and Treasury Department, but the War Department would come first. There was also a large increase in the Navy Department.
The CHAIRMAN. There must be a large falling off in the number. of Government employees at the present time, both in the field and in the District of Columbia?
Mr. MORRISON. Up to October 31, from the signing of the armistice, the net decrease in the District of Columbia, was about 17,000. The CHAIRMAN. But from these figures I observe that there has been an increase in the District of Columbia of 825 since the 1st of last July.
1 United States Railroad Administration not included.
2 Includes Emergency Fleet Corporation, but only employees of administrative and executive divisions, not mechanics and other employees of the various shipyards.
3 Number of employees reported on Nov. 11, 1919.
Mr. MORRISON. That has been true of certain departments. There have been substantial increases in some departments and substantial decreases in others, with a net decrease.
Mr. BYRNES. Has there been any decrease since July 1, in all of the departments?
Mr. MORRISON. I can not answer that without looking at the tabulation.
Mr. BYRNES. What I understood you to say in reply to the chairman's question was that there had been a decrease in some departments and an increase in others.
Mr. MORRISON. In November there was a decrease of only 402, which, of course, does not make much difference.
The CHAIRMAN. Was that in the field?
Mr. MORRISON. No, sir; that was in Washington.
Mr. BYRNES. Can you tell whether or not, there has been a net increase since July 1, up to this time?
Mr. MORRISON. Up until October 31, from July 1, there was a net increase of 824, and in November, which was later, there was a decrease of 402, so that there has been a net increase since July 1 of 422.
Mr. BYRNES. You will not have the returns for December for some time?
Mr. MORRISON. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You can put in the record this table showing the additions to and separations from the various branches of the Government service in the District of Columbia.
Mr. MORRISON. Yes, sir.
(The table is as follows:)
Additions to and separations from the civilian personnel of various branches of the Government service in the District of Columbia for the period from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, 1919, inclusive.
REDUCTION OF FORCE IN WASHINGTON, D. C.-STATUS OF WORK.
(See pp. 12, 15.)
The CHAIRMAN. It has been stated so frequently on the floor of the House and in committees that it was the intention of Congress to decrease the number of these employees, and it has been brought to the attention of this committee so frequently that there are many departments in Washington where clerks are continued on the rolls who are not doing any work at all scarcely, while in other departments the number has been kept so high that the clerks are not doing more than 50 per cent of the work that clerks should perform, that it occurs to me that if we are going to do what we have been talking about we will lessen the work of the Civil Service Commission.
Mr. MORRISON. Yes, sir, and no, sir. If you did that, it would not lessen our work within 12 months, for the reason that everybody separated from the service must be handled individually by the Civil Service Commission for 12 months, because during that time there is preserved their right of reinstatement.
The CHAIRMAN. No; some of those people are to be separated from the service finally. Of course, if the Civil Service Commission has to find jobs for them somewhere else, that statement would be correct, but we will get them off the roll, and the Civil Service Commission will not have anything more to do with them.
Mr. MORRISON. He retains his civil-service status with the commission for 12 months, and indefinitely if he is a preference man. For 12 months he has a civil-service status, and he has rights under the civil-service regulations that we are bound to preserve for himthat is, the right of reinstatement. Now, the other class will be the class that will go out of one department and will be placed on the reemployment register and then certified out to another department it is a different service. Therefore, regardless of whether you make a reduction, they retain their eligibility for 12 months for other service.
The CHAIRMAN. I can see that that work must be kept up by the Civil Service Commission, but certainly reductions in the service should lessen your work so far as conducting examinations and putting new men on the registers is concerned.
Mr. MORRISON. Yes, sir; it will do that.
The CHAIRMAN. But that is just what you have been doing right along. When I pick up a newspaper in my part of the country I find the announcements of the Civil Service Commission of examinations that they are continuing to hold, whereas from Washington we are sending word out home that we will decrease the number of employees. Now, the two things ought to be made to fit in at some place. Either we want to simply say to the departments that there will be no holdup of their ambition to keep large forces of employees, and that they may go ahead and increase their forces, or we want to make good our promise that we are to resume something like normal conditions and stop bringing clerks to Washington. For a time, at least, we ought to stop holding examinations for persons to take new Government positions-that is, if we are not going to provide for any new ones, but, on the contrary, are going to greatly reduce the number of Government employees.
Mr. MORRISON. When a department comes to the commission and says, "We want a register of employees with certain qualifications," and say, "We will want so many people," we must make up the announcements and send them out.
The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate that, and what I said I did not intend as a reflection on the Civil Service Commission. You would be criticized, and rightly criticized, if you did not provide civilservice examinations for clerks that were estimated for by the several departments, but, at the same time, here is the question of appropriating more money for civil-service examinations, while Congress has been saying that it will cut down the number of Government employees. Now, by reporting out the appropriation, we would indicate that we did not mean what we have been talking about at all. Personally I have no doubt but that at least 25,000 clerks in Washington could be dropped from the rolls to-day, or 25 per cent of the entire number, and that not a bit of injury would be done to the public service after the readjustment had come, and with the clerks operating at somewhere around 80 per cent efficiency. As you know, Mr. Commissioner, the efficiency of the clerical forces in Washington is a good deal like the efficiency of the men in the Navy yards, and the men who have had charge of those yards say that their efficiency is now only about 60 per cent.
Mr. MORRISON. I think you will realize that under the existing relation between the Civil Service Commission and the executive departments we have no knowledge, and can have none, of their shortcomings.
The CHAIRMAN. I suppose that is true. Neither the commissioners nor the examiners go into the departments to determine whether or not clerks are efficient.
Mr. MORRISON. That is true, and our relations must be cordial. Mr. BYRNES. I know about what your relations to the departments are, but since you have been talking I have been wondering whether or not you had a good opportunity to know from the calls for examinations made upon you whether or not any given department is making an effort to reduce its force. If so, then you gentlemen might have some suggestions to make to us looking to the remedying of the evils, of which the chairman very justly complains. Have you any idea about that at all?
RURAL CARRIER EXAMINATION.
(See pp. 15, 16.)
Mr. MORRISON. I have none that I would care to give offhand. I only call attention to one thing that may have been lost sight of, and that is that when the war began nine-tenths of our service was for the field; but the increase in the departments was greater than in the field, so that now probably only five-sixths of our service is for the field. Therefore, the reductions proposed will not affect our work in the proportion that it would be thought offhand. Let me illustrate that: The rural carrier examination establishes an eligibility that runs for a year. Now, you have a county register, but when a vacancy occurs on a rural route and you look at the register and find that there are no patrons of that office who are eligible, you can not use that county register, but, in order to meet a welldefined demand of the neighborhood that they have their chance at the appointment, we have to hold a new examination.
Mr. BYRNES. I know that in my section of the country you have had to hold a lot of rural carrier examinations, due to the fact that people could make more money at other jobs and have resigned. Consequently, more examinations have been held during the last three months than during any period of three months that I can recall. Is there any way by which you could avoid that?
Mr. MORRISON. Of course you could say that so long as we have a county register, we will certify from that.
Mr. BYRNES. But that causes dissatisfaction.
Mr. MORRISON. That will call down upon our heads a lot of wrath. Mr. BYRNES. Of course you could not do that.
Mr. MORRISON. As I have said, five-sixths of the service is field service, and formerly nine-tenths of it was field service. You can see from that that a reduction in the District of Columbia, even if it could be immediately effected, would not carry a proportionate reduction in our work.
Mr. BYRNES. Where a new rural route is established, you always hold examinations?
Mr. MORRISON. Yes, sir; even though there is an eligible on the county register from that office.
Mr. BYRNES. I was wondering if that was true. It ought to be true that, if there is on the county eligible list an eligible from the post office or from along the route, there should be no necessity for. holding a new examination.
Mr. MORRISON. That not only applies to the office but to the route, and the contest is frequently on the route. Our regulations apply to the office.
Mr. BYRNES. Any man who lives on the route ought to be eligible to fill a vacancy.
Mr. WALES. He is eligible even if he lives within the delivery of the office. He does not even have to live on the route, but if he lives within the delivery of that post office, he is eligible.
Mr. BYRNES. I am referring to the establishment of a new route. If there is a man on the county list of eligibles who lives in the territory to be served by the new route, then there should be no necessity for a new examination.
Mr. WALES. If it is a new route, we hold a new examination whether or not there is some one on the county registration list who lives within the territory. That is true because it supplies a territory that heretofore we have felt has not had an opportunity to come in and become eligible, because there was no use in coming in.
Mr. BYRNES. Not if you have a man on that route who is eligible, because then you have a local eligible.
Mr. WALES. The only question there is that there has not been free competition, and there may be others who would like to be considered in the matter.
Mr. BYRNES. Of course that would be true in every appointment, even where the vacancy occurred on an existing route. One man might have stood the examination before the vacancy occurred, whereas some other man would say that he did not know there would be a vacancy, and, therefore, did not stand the examination.
Mr. WALES. But the conditions are different there. Here is territory where a new route has been established. That presents a differ