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not think there is any bureau in the city of Washington that has the same percentage of old people that we have.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is the largest that has been submitted to us. What is your idea about the age limit?
Mr. Baity. If a law was passed there would have to be an arbitrary age set, say 70 years, and then the commission or those in authority would have to use their judgment as to whether a clerk was retired or not. I have men in my office 70 years of age that are competent.
The CHAIRMAN. They would not be retired?
Mr. Baity. No. They are worth what I am paying them. I have others that are not, so you see it would have to be in the hands of an office to make a thorough investigation as to the men's qualifications, and then act accordingly.
The CHAIRMAN. Some suggestion has been made that all this work could be done by a board in the Pension Bureau. Do you think it ought to be a separate board or not?
Mr. BAITY. I have never given it any thought; it could be handled
In fact, as a general proposition, I am not right keen in favor of a retirement bill, because I could never convince myself that the Government clerk who has been reasonably well paid and properly housed and has worked short hours is any better entitled to pension than a wagon maker, a farmer, or a blacksmith, who are producers and have helped to feed the rest of us. That is a general proposition; I have always doubted the justice of it. But as a question of economy and saving money to the Government, I am sure that so far as our office is concerned it would save the Government money.
The CHAIRMAN. You are looking at it purely from a Government standpoint ?
Mr. BAITY. Yes.
Mr. Alcorn. Miss Florence Etheridge, of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, would like to be heard.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well.
STATEMENT OF MISS FLORENCE ETHERIDGE, EMPLOYEE OF
THE OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.
Miss ETHERIDGE. Mr. Chairman, I have only a few words to say. and I would like to devote myself particularly to the great need that to many of us in the Government service is so apparent. It happens that I am an officer of the Federal Employees' Union, which is officially committed to the Wadsworth-Dale retirement bill, though I wish to speak merely as an individual this morning. I can not see that the Wadsworth-Dale bill, or any other scientifically cast bill, either of a contributory nature or of what is called the straight pension plan, is inconsistent with the Keating bill, which purports wholly to deal with the immediate necessities of relieving the superannuated, and of relieving the Government service of them.
The Keating bill is, I think, professedly only a war measure, and is not supposed to be effective after July 1, 1919. Just at this time, when we are in the midst of war, when we have entered on a great war, it is a rather serious matter to consider that we have 10 per cent of the employees in the Government service in Washington who are over the age of 65 years. I take these figures from the bulletin of the Census Bureau on the subject of the civil service. Of the employees in the District who are at least 70 years old only 18.1 per cent have been in the service less than 15 years, while outside the District of Columbia the corresponding percentage is 45.3.
In so far as one can judge from such a comparison
This bulletin of the Census Bureau, No. 94, saysit would seem therefore that possibly the men in the District tend to remain in their positions after reaching an age at which the average man would have retired. For the women in the District no special tendency is apparent toward remaining in the service after reaching the age of 65. It is interesting to note however, that the proportion formed by women between 35 and 65 is considerably higher in the civil service than it is elsewhere.
My quotation of the census bulletin stops at that point. It offers an interesting field for conjecture, however, whether the women between 35 and 65 in the Government naturally remain because they like to work in the manner of living in the District for Government employees, or whether it is simply that their salaries are so small that they are not able to afford to quit the service, whether they are unable to save sufficiently.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any figures as to the relative amount of salaries of women in the Government employ and those in the employ of private institutions and places?
Miss ETHERINGE. I am not able to give you figures on that point. However, the bulletin No. 94, which was published in 1907, and which gives the last authoritative figures that we have on the civil service, although another is to be published in the fall which will bring the figures up to date, shows that 55 per cent of all the employees in the District in the departments receiving less than $720 per annum were promen.
The CHAIRMAX. Less than $720?
The CHAIRMAX. Probably almost entirely; among the clerks there a re few who get less than $720?
Miss ETTERIDGE. As to the average in the clerical grades, I do not know. However, in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and if I am wrong I will ask to be corrected on this point, because I am not absolutely certain, and in the money-counting division of the Treasury of the United States, there are many women who do not receive more than $600, and to whom $720 represents a promotion.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that condition in the Treasury Department stands by itself, from some personal investigation I have made of it some time ago, and it is one that ought to be corrected. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing also stands by itself, as we all know, but the women that you included in the less than $720 are largely charwomen, who work only a small portion of the day.
Miss ETHERIDGE. Yes, sir. If I might be allowed a personal reference in this record.
The CHAIRMAX. We will be glad to have you say anything you wish.
Miss ETHERIDGE. I entered the Government service 17 years ago in the Census Office, and was assigned to clerical duties at a salary of $600 and it was some months before I reached the status of $720. Whether or not the relative salaries have been increased since that time it is a little difficult to make a general statement, but judging from the statements that we hear, in general, I am inclined to think there would be a good many $600 salaries among women at the present time.
Senator WOLCOTT. How many increases in salary have you received since you went in the service?
Miss ETHERIDGE. I have been in the service for 17 years. I entered in June 1900, at a salary of $600. In August or September, 1900, I was raised to $720. I received successive promotions during 1900 and 1901 up to $1,000. I then had to wait six years, and I considered this a great injustice, to reach $1,200. I found it impossible in the Census Bureau to get more than $1,200, doing the work I was doing, so when the first opportunity came I asked for a transfer and received a transfer to the Indian Office, where I am engaged in law clerk's work in the probate division at a salary of $1,400. I am still hopeful of further promotion, but haven't received all, as I think, that I am entitled to yet. That is only by way of a personal stateinent in regard to the question as to salaries which women are receiving in the Government service.
The CHAIRMAN. I will state, for your encouragement, that I worked once for several years at 50 cents a day. I didn't work for the Government.
Miss ETHERIDGE. Yes. Ten per cent of the civil-service employees who are 65
age and over have, it is interesting to note, a higher average salary than any other age class in the Government service. The average compensation is $1,194, or, roughly, $1,200. This, of course, means in individual cases somewhat larger compensation, and when we reflect on that it represents an average which is quite large. Indeed, the average salary of those from 75 to 79 is even higher. It is $1,263. Of course, when we realize that these average salaries are higher at those ages for which we are told people are likely to be inefficient, we also realize that it represents an injustice to younger people in the service, who are deprived of positions carrying a higher rate of compensation in order that these old people, some of whom or all of whom are incapable on account of age of doing the work, will receive the salaries; so the injustice is not only to these superannuated clerks who are kept on working, some of them working only in name, but also to the younger clerks and employees and, of course, to the Government itself, in that it is bearing the expense. I am inclined to think that the immediate retirement of these civil-service superannuates under the Keating bil! would result in a saving of money to the Government, as it contemplates an immediate retirement. The CHAIRMAN. We are obliged to you.
Mr. ALCORN. Mr. Wilmeth, Chief Clerk of the Treasury Department, will speak next.
The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Wilmeth.
STATEMENT OF MR. JAMES W. WILMETH, CHIEF CLERK OF THE
Mr. WILMETH. Mr. Chairman, I want to speak just on the broad, general subject, without going into any definite or minute analysis.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not mean to say without committing yourself?
Mr. WILMETH. No, sir. I want to commit myself right now. I want to say that the Secretary of the Treasury in his last annual report recommended to the Congress the enactment of a just and equitable civil-service retirement law. The department is committed to that policy. The question as to whether it should be a contributory plan or an all Government-paid plan is one in which we are interested, because I believe, gentlemen, that if you would give us in the Treasury Department a lump fund that we might use for the double purpose of paying retirement pay and hiring younger people to take the places of those that are old, that we would be able with that lump sum, representing the salaries that are now paid to the older employees, the superannuated employees, we will be able to pay the retirement and hire a new force sufficient to do the work and more work than is now done for the larger amount of money that we are now paying. That means, Mr. Chairman, that the department is losing money, that there is something wrong with the present system.
Senator WOLCOTT. Right there, you say you could take the same amount of money that it costs now for the clerical force of the Treasury Department and provide a more efficient force and at the same time carry a retirement compensation--
Mr. WILMETH (interposing). That is not exactly my point. we had a lump fund representing the salaries that are paid the superannuated employees we could take that lump fund, retire our employees on what we would consider an equitable rate of pay, and hire new employees from the fund, who would do a similar amount of work to the work that is now being done.
Senator WOLCOTT. That is to say, you would have what per cent of the old superannuated employees come down on a less salary, and the amount saved out of their salaries you would use to employ additional help; is that the idea?
Mr. WILMETH. No, sir; that is still not quite my point. The Auditor for the War Department told you a while ago as to the salaries received by some of the older employees in his office. The tendency has been in the Treasury Department, and I think in all of the departments, gradually to scale down the older employees when they have reached their limit. That is always done reluctantly and carefully. I mean to say, to take the amount of pay or salaries now drawn by the superannuated employees and make a lump fund of it, that we would be able to hire new employees from the fund to take their places, and retire the old employees on what we would consider an equitable basis of retirement.
Senator WOLCOTT. Which would be at a rate less than they are now receiving?
Mr. WILMETH. Yes; to be sure. The Treasury Department is not asking for a huge amount to do this. The old employees do not ex
pect it. Many who are receiving larger salaries would be perfectly willing to step down and out on a salary they could afford to live on. They wouldn't necessarily have to, either, in my opinion. I think that most of the other departments are doing just what we are doing, virtually pensioning their employees in the service.
Senator WOLCOTT. You state by retaining them?
Mr. WILMETH. I am chief clerk of the Treasury. We have something in excess of 9,000 employees in Washington.
The CHAIRMAN. How many of those are over 70?
Mr. WILMETH. I couldn't answer that definitely. I don't think it would hardly reach 10 per cent. It might because of those we have taken on lately, and we have taken on a great many employees.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the ordinary number in that department? Mr. WILMETII. Sir?
The CHAIRMAN. What is the normal number in that department; before the war how many did you have! ?
Mr. WIL METH. I should say 10 per cent.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean an increase of 10 per cent? How many have you taken on since the war?
Mr. WILMETHI. We have taken on in the neighborhood of a thousand people in the last year.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, about 10 per cent?
Dr. JORDAN. Does that include the Bureau of Engraving and Printing?
Mr. WILMETH. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. You are in favor of the Government taking the whole burden or dividing it!
Mr. WILMETH. I think it better for the Government to take the whole burden, just for the reason I spoke about a while ago.
The CHAIRMAN. I will ask you-some one was telling me, I do not know whom, within the last day or two, that where governments had had these systems established for some time, that the retired pay amounted to about 25 per cent of the entire pay of the service. Have you any figures on that or can you get figures on that?
Mr. 'WILMETH. I didn't come prepared with them. I can put them in.
The CHAIRMAX. I would be very glad if you would. Of course, it is our duty, in determining on these things, to see just where we are coming to.
Mr. WILMETH. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. In these hearings we should get all the facts possible so that we can see just what the cost is going to be.
Mr. WILMETH. I should be very glad to make it.
The CHAIRMAN. I would be very glad if you would. I do not know how it is myself.
Senator WOLCOTT. You made the statement a while ago that you thought all the departments were virtually doing as the Treasury Department is doing, namely: pensioning its aged employees.
Mr. WILMETH. In the service; yes.