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INCREASE OF CLERICAL FORCE IN THE WAR DEPART
OF THE UNITED STATES,
A communication from the Secretary of War relative to an increase of the
clerical force in the War Department.
MARCH 23, 1872.-Referred to the Committee on Appropriations and ordered to be
To the Senate and House of Representatives :
I transmit herewith, for the consideration of Congress, a communication from the Secretary of War, dated March 23, 1882, with accompany. ing reports and estimates, recommending an increase in the clerical force in his office, and in the offices of the Adjutant-General and Surgeon-General of the Army, in order that prompt replies may be made to the calls for information by the Commissioner of Pensions in pension cases, under a proposed plan to accomplish the settlement of all such claims within a limited number of years; also an increased appropriation for contingent expenses for each of the offices mentioned.
CITESTER A. ARTHUR. EXECUTIVE MANSION,
March 23, 1882.
Washington City, March 23, 1882. To the PRESIDENT:
I have the honor to transmit herewith letters from the Adjutant-General and Surgeon-General of the Army, and the chief clerk of this department, submitting estimates for an increase of the clerical force, with a view to furnishing promptly all reports required by the Commissioner of Pensions in pension applications, under a proposed plan to accomplish the settlement of all such claims within a limited number of years; also for an additional amount for contingent expenses.
In case the proposed augmentation of the clerical force of the Pension
Office is effected, the additional number of employés here asked for will be absolutely necessary to insure answers in a reasonable time to the calls for information from the records of this department that may be expected from the Pension Office.
I therefore respectfully recommend legislation by Congress making the necessary provision for the same, and also for the contingent expenses. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBERT T. LINCOLN,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, March 16, 1882. Sir: At the request of the joint committee of the two houses of Congress on pensions, I have the honor to submit herewith amended estimates of appropriations for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1983, looking to an increase of 150 additional clerks, 7 assistant inessengers, 7 watchmen, and 3 laborers to meet the demands for reports on pension cases which will result from the proposed increase of the clerical force of the Pension Bureau, and to bring up the large number of calls (over 20,000) which have accumulated from lack of sufficient clerical force of this office,
The additional force is estimated for on the following basis : Clerks of class 4.
5 Clerks of class 3. Clerks of class 2.
12 Clerks of class 1
This force, if granted, will necessitate an increase of the contingent fund of this office amounting to $15,000, itemized as follows: 150 desks, at $30 each 150 chairs, at $10 each.
1,500 Tables, washstands, &c. Matting for floors..
1,800 Lumber for necessary shelving (including labor)
1,200 Stationery, towels, ice, &c., say $30 per annum for each clerk
Three buildings (size of houses in the vicinity of War Department being considered) will be necessary to accommodate the additional force, and it is not thought that less than $5,000 should be asked for the purpose.
The increase in the number of messengers, watchmen, and laborers is an imperative necessity. The present force of this office is scattered among eight buildings, in addition to part of the new State, War, and Navy building. The additional force will increase the number of buildings to eleven, and the number of messengers, watchmen and laborers asked for is not greater than absolutely necessary for the proper care and safety of these buildings and the valuable records they contain, as also to facilitate the transaction of business. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. DRUM,
Adjutant:General. Hon. the SECRETARY OF WAR.
Amended estimate of appropriations required for the office of the Adjutant-General, United
States Army, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1883. Organization provided for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1822: 1 chief clerk
$2,000 11 clerks of class four.
19, 800 17 clerks of class three.
27, 200 35 clerks of class two..
49,000 181 clerks of class one
217, 200 31 clerks, at $1,000 each..
31, 000 9 assistant messengers, at $720.
352, 680 Organization estimated for in the book of estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1883: 1 chief clerk....
$2,000 11 clerks of class four..
19, 800 17 clerks of class three. 35 clerks of class two.
27, 200 181 clerks of class one
217, 200 31 clerks, at $1,000 each
31, 000 9 assistant messengers, at $720.
Increase of force pow proposed to expedite the settlement of pension claims:
5 clerks of class four....
7 assistant messengers, at $720.
$9,000 12, 800 16, 800 150,000
5, 040 5, 040 1,980
Total force to be provided for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1883:
1 chief clerk... 16 clerks of class four. 25 clerks of class three. 47 clerks of class two.... 306 clerks of class one. 31 clerks, at $1,000 each 16 assistant messengers, at $720. 7 watchmen, at $720. 3 laborers, at $660...
$2,000 28, 800 40,000 65, 800 367, 200 31, 000 11,520 5, 040 1, 980
553, 340 Contingent expenses. Stationery, printing, purchase of additional file cases, and for office furniture and repairs, &c.:
Amount estimated for year ending June 30, 1883, in book of estimates... $15,000
35,000 The additional amount estimated for, under proposed increase of force to expedite the settlement of pension claims, is as follows: * Rent of three buildings to accommodate increased force
$5,000 150 desks, at $30 each..
4,500 150 chairs, at $10 each. Tables, washstands, &c....
1,800 Matting for floors...
1,500 Lumber for shelving, &c., and labor.
1, 200 Stationery, towels, ice, &c...
R. C. DRUM.
Adjutant-General. ADJCTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, March 20, 1882.
Specific authority of Congress to rent these buildings is also necessary.
WAR DEPARTMENT, SURGEON-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. (., March 15, 1882. Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith an amended estimate of appropriations (for increase of clerical force and amount necessary for contingent expenses) required for this office for the fiscal year commencing July 1, 1862, with the request that the same may be forwarded to the President for transmittal to Congress. This estimate has been prepared at the invitation of a joint sub-committee representing the Committee on Pensions of the Senate, Committee on Invalid Pensions of the House of Representatives, and the Select Committee of the House on the Payment of Pensions, Bounty, and Back Pay, verbally made at a conference held at the office of the Commissioner of Pensions on the 11th instant for consideration of the means necessary to accomplish within a limited number of years the final adjudication of all claims for pensions.
To enable this office to perform its part of the work it will be necessary to provide
1st. A suitable building with the proper equipment (desks, chairs, shelving, and other office furniture) to accommodate two hundred clerks, and in which could be deposited a portion of the hospital records contained in the overcrowded building on Tenth street (the old “Ford's Theater" building) now occupied for the purpose. 20. One hundred and fifty clerks in addition to the present force.
If this increase of the number of clerks is allowed, the entire clerical force of this office should be regraded as follows: 1 chief clerk, 29 clerks of class four, 32 clerks of class three, 62 clerks of class two, 176 clerks of class one, 94 clerks at $1,000 per annum.
It will furthermore be necessary to add to the present force: 6 assistant messengers, 3 watchmen, 6 laborers, and 1 superintendent of building..
It should be especially provided that not less than three hundred of the clerks aboveenumerated shall be exclusively engaged in preparing and making reports to expedite the settlement of pension applications called for by the Commissioner of Pensions.
The regrading of the clerical force as above suggested would very materially increase the efficiency of the office aside from the increase of the number of persons employed. Opportunity for promotion is an inducement for men to render themselves as efficient as possible, and zealously to perform their allotted duties; especially when it is a well-known fact that efficiency and zeal is the only recognized basis of recommendation for promotion, and that those standing highest in that scale will surely receive șuch recommendation, which is the inviolable rule in this office. The effect of inadequate salaries of clerks in this office, or rather the small number of clerks of grades higher than class one, has long been grievously felt; affording as it does scarcely any ground to expect promotion, and therefore but little incentive for any exertion on the part of clerks in the performance of their duty beyond that required to accomplish an average day's work, or sufficient to enable them to retain their positions; whereas if promotion were a reasonable probability, their best energy would be displayed to secure advancement, and the work performed increased both in quantity and quality.
Many useful men, valuable to the office because of their thorough knowledge of the work, and of superior clerical ability, have resigned their places solely on this account to accept appointment in the same grade in other offices where the probability of promotion is apparent; in some cases appointments in higher grades in other departments have been tendered to and accepted by men whose services might have been retained had promotion in this office been likely to happen. Nearly all the men now employed in this office as clerks of class one have been connected with the office for upward of ten years, some of them for twenty years; they are efficient and faithful clerks, valuable to the government because of their experience and knowledge of office business, whose services entitle them to consideration, and their advancement to a higher grade should be made possible.
The schedule for regrading the clerks herein submitted as necessary and proper has been made proportionate with the present organization of the clerical force of the War Department and its bureaus exclusive of the office of the Surgeon-General.
In consideriog this question it should be remembered that all the clerks added to the office of the Surgeon-General since 1877 have been employed at a salary less than $1,200 per annum; and under the present organization 43.44 per centum of the whole number of clerks employed receive but $1,200, and 46.72 per centum receive a less salary per annum; leaving less than 10 per centum receiving the salary of grades higher than class one; a higher percentage of clerks receiving $1,200 or less per annum than any other office under the government.
Referring to the question of the copying of the hospital records now in the possession of this office, the necessity whereof is fully recognized and was made the subject of remark in my last annual report, as follows: “ The volumes of hospital records on file in this office are becoming so dilapidated from the constant handling that the utmost care must be exercised in order that the entries contained therein may not be
irretrievably lost, the clerical force not having been sufficient during the past fiscal year, or at any previous time, to permit the copying of these original records."
There are now deposited in this office upward of 18,000 volumes of hospital records ; a great number of these volumes were already old and much thnmbed and worn when received, and the paper in many of them was originally of poor quality. By constant use they have become still more worn, and many of the volumes are now so tattered that unless they are copied at a very early day the valuable records they contain will be lost forever; in fact, the work of destruction has already commenced, notwithstanding the great care exercised for their preservation, and will rapidly progress to a disastrons extent.
The number of unanswered cases now on hand in this office is 25,000. The average number daily falling in arrear during the month of February was 39—nearly 1,000 for the month.
If a suitable building is provided for, with the necessary equipment, and the clerical force herein specified allowed, the best energy of the ottice will be as now devoted to the work of expediting the furnishing of information desired for the speedy settlement of all pension claims. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. K. BARNES,
Surgeon-General, United States Army. Hon, the SECRETARY OF WAR.
Amended estimate of appropriations required for the office of the Surgeon-General, United
States Army, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1883.
Organization provided for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1882:
1 chief clerk...
9 clerks class two..
1 anatomist at Army Medical Museum.. 1 engineer in Division of Records and Museum 12 assistant messengers, at $720 each .. 5 watchmen, at $720 each.. 9 laborers, at $660 each
$2,000 14, 400 9, 600 12,600 127, 200 94, 000 1, 600 1,400 8, 640 3, 600 5,940
280, 980 Organization estimated for in the book of estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1883 :
1 chief clerk...
$2,000 6 clerks class three
14, 400 9 clerks class two
9, 600 106 clerks class one
127, 200 94 clerks, at $1,000 each..
94, 000 1 anatomist at Army Medical Museum 1 engineer in Division of Records and Museum.
1, 600 12 assistant messengers, at $720 each..
1,400 5 watchmen, at $720 each...
3, 600 9 laborers, at $660 each...
Increase of force uow proposed :
21 clerks class four..
$37, 800 41, 600 74, 200 60,000 4,320 2,160 3,960