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COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
THETUS W. SIMS, Tennessee, Chairman. FRANK E. DOREMUS, Michigan.
JOHN J. ESCH, Wisconsin. DAN V. STEPHENS, Nebraska.
EDWARD L. HAMILTON, Michigan. ALBEN W. BARKLEY, Kentucky.
RICHARD WAYNE PARKER, New JerseySAM RAYBURN, Texas.
SAMUEL E. WINSLOW, Massachusetts. ANDREW J. MONTAGUE, Virginia. JAMES S. PARKER, New York. PERL D. DECKER, Missouri.
CHARLES H. DILLON, South Dakota. CHARLES P. COADY, Maryland.
BURTON E. SWEET, Iowa.
JOHN G. COOPER, Ohio.
W. ALVA TAYLOR, Clerk.
CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT.
COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Wednesday, August 7, 1918. The committee this day met, Hon. Thetus W. Sims (chairman), presiding
Mr. ALCORN. Mr. Chairman, I desire to introduce as the first speaker Mr. George T. Keyes, secretary of the National Civil Service Reform League.
STATEMENT OF MR. GEORGE T. KEYES, SECRETARY OF THE NA
TIONAL CIVIL SERVICE REFORM LEAGUE, NEW YORK CITY.
Mr. KEYES. Mr. Chairman, I will only take a very few minutes of your time. Mr. John Joy Edson, of Washington, was to appear for the league, but he is detained in connection with his duties on the District draft board, and I want to ask, on his behalf, for an opportunity to have him heard at the adjourned hearing after the congressional recess.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.
Mr. ALCORN. The next speaker will be Mr. Ryan, president of the Railway Mail Association.
STATEMENT OF MR. EDWARD J. RYAN, PRESIDENT RAILWAY
MAIL ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. RYAN. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is not my purpose to enter into any lengthy discussion of this subject of the retirement of civil-service employees. I prefer to leave the details of it to men who have made a greater study of it than I have, those who may be referred to as experts on the subject.
I just wish to say a word or two in behalf of the men whom it is my duty to represent, namely, the railway postal clerks, men assigned to the distribution of mails on trains. Singularly enough, in our service, within recent years—I will say within the last two years, men have been removed for no other reason than because they were old. Some of them had served as much as 35 or 40 years in the Government service as railway postal clerks. I thing that statement itself is sufficient to indicate unfair and unreasonable treatment of Government employees. Many times it has been stated that despite the fact that these men grow old and become inefficient, nevertheless the Government can not possibly take the attitude of dismissing them from the service, and I make this statement to show that it has already been done. I believe in our service that there were some 37
men dismissed just for that simple reason, because they were old, no recognition being given whatever for the many years of service that they had rendered.
Dr. JORDON. How recently did that take place?
Mr. Ryan. Within the last two years—I think 37 have been dismissed within the last two years. I may say in this connection that I saw a copy of the subjects to be considered in connection with the advisability of dismissing these men, and out of about a dozen items to be considered age was the first and efficiency was the last. I believe I could produce a copy of those items and submit them later on if
desire to have them to insert in the record. The CHAIRMAN. You can make them a part of this hearing if you desire.
Mr. Ryan. I will do that, Mr. Chairman.
CHIEF CLERK RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE.
(List of names of clerks under his jurisdiction.)
Herewith find a list of clerks in your district who have been reported by post office inspectors as being the least efficient. It is desired that you go over this list carefully and submit a consolidated list for your entire district, inserting any additional names you may desire, showing the clerks in the order of least efficiency and value to the service. Following the name of each clerk should be furnished a concise paragraph stating clearly the reasons for your conclusions. The evidence in this office indicates that practically all of these listed should be dropped from the service because of inefficiency.
If in your opinion any should be reduced in grade instead of being dropped you should so indicate, giving full and explicit reasons.
This matter should be treated as confidential, and your report in detail regarding each of these clerks should be rendered immediately upon receipt of this letter, and should be forwarded under cover marked “ Personal and confidential.”
(Issued through the official channels of the Railway Mail Service.) (Date, about July 1, 1917.)
RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE.
Items to be considered (in rating railway postal clerks): (1) Why is clerk on list, (2) age, (3) health, (4) physical condition, (5) attendance—that is, frequency of absence on account of physical condition due to injury in the service, or illness, or for personal reasons—(6) work in car, (7) habits, (8) application, (9) examinations, (10) executive ability in directing the work of the crew to best advantage (11) clerical ability, (12) efficiency rating.
Mr. Ryan. Briefly, I may say that in my humble experience and my humble ability to observe conditions or comparisons, it strikes my mind that this is more of a business proposition than anything else, and I get that opinion from the fact that private corporations have inaugurated pension systems for their employees. I do not believe that these big private corporations, which we are apt to criticize because they are attempting at all times to put their hands in the pockets of poor people and take out of them everything they can possibly get, are so liberal, if our criticisms are true, as to be establishing retirement systems for their employees. In other words, they would not be inclined to permit their employees to put their hands into the treasuries of the corporations and take out some relief in the form of a retirement system. I believe that those corporations have made a study of superannuation among their employees