Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

persons familiar with the functions and organization of each office in which it operates, but by reason of immediately stating its position and explaining its ideas to those at the head of each division the operations of the committee will be hastened and those in the office most directly concerned will not be kept in the dark as to the recommendations the committee has in mind. Furthermore, the natural tendency of an office being against a change in the existing order of things will secure a careful and full statement of any objection to or embarrassment which would be likely to arise if a change were made.

EXHIBIT 4 F.

REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE.

OCTOBER 25, 1911. The special committee of the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency, designated to make a personal examination of existing conditions in the Department of Agriculture in the handling and filing of correspondence, submits the following preliminary report and recommendations for the consideration of the commission and the committee on economy and efficiency in that department:

The committee believes that the first consideration should be given to the system of recording and filing correspondence in use in the several bureaus of the department as affording the widest opportunity for the introduction of methods which will result immediately in lessening the cost of operation. Several meetings have been held, one of which was attended by representatives of the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Bureau of Animal Industry, the Bureau of Chemistry, the Weather Bureau, and the Forest Service. At this meeting the possibility of filing all correspondence under a subjective system was fully discussed, and each of these bureaus, with the exception of the Forest Service, which already files only, subjectively, was requested to furnish the committee with a list of subjects included in the correspondence now filed numerically, in order that the committee might reach a conclusion as to whether or not a change from the numerical to the subjective system is practicable and should be recommended. These lists have been received, and after going over them the committee believes that subjective systems of filing can be used in all of the bureaus with at least equal efficiency in the handling of the files and with a marked decrease in the cost of maintaining them.

As a result of its investigations the committee has reached the following conclusions:

1. That no book or card record of incoming or outgoing correspondence should be made except where absolutely essential; and particularly that all bound-book registers of correspondence received and sent should be discontinued.

2. That the briefing of correspondence should be discontinued.

3. That carbon copies should constitute the record of outgoing correspondence, and that press copying should be discontinued.

4. That all the correspondence of the several bureaus, both incoming and copies of outgoing should be filed upon a subjective classification arranged as nearly as possible on a self-indexing basis, and, where numbers are regarded as essential, that a logical arrangement of numbers under the decimal system should be employed.

5. That, where it is now employed, the system of folding correspondence and filing in document files be discontinued, and that all correspondence be filed flat.

6. That all correspondence should be filed in vertical files, except where bureaus now use for alphabetic files furniture which is especially designed for horizontal and not vertical filing; but that no new furniture designed for horizontal filing should be purchased.

On account of the diversity of the business and needs of the different bureaus of the department it is evident to the committee that no attempt can be made to devise a uniform plan of classification for the correspondence of the entire department, but that in its recommendations it must be guided by the conditions peculiar to each bureau or office. It is believed, however, that the general principles recommended above apply to the department as a whole and should be presented for approval in advance of reports and recommendations for each bureau or office. As soon as these general principles are approved the committee will proceed to the completion of its reports and recommendations regarding the several bureaus of the department.

EXHIBIT 5 F.

REPORT OF POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT COMMITTER,

NOVEMBER 9, 1911. The special committee designated to make a personal examination of existing conditions in the Post Office Department in the handling and filing of correspondence, submits the following preliminary report and recommendations for the consideration of the President's commission and the committee on economy and efficiency in that department:

After a study of the nature of the business of the Post Office Department, and examination of the systems employed in the handling and filing of correspondence, the committee has reached the conclusion that it would be impracticable to attempt to devise a uniform plan of classification for the correspondence of the entire department.

The business of the various bureaus and divisions has not sufficient relation to make a uniform plan practicable. On account of this situation it has been necessary for us in our study of the operations and business of each office from the standpoint of a practical system of handling and filing correspondence to be guided mainly by the local conditions.

Notwithstanding the diversity in the nature of the business of the bureaus and divisions and consequent difference in methods followed, the committee is of belief that certain general principles have application to the Post Office Department as a whole, and should be presented for approval in advance of the submission of specific reports or recommendations for each particular office of the department.

These principles, stated in the form of recommendations, are as follows:

1. That the system of folding correspondence and filing in document files be discontinued, and that all correspondence be filed flat.

2. That the briefing of correspondence be discontinued.

3. That no book or card record of incoming or outgoing correspondence be made except where absolutely essential; and particularly that all bound book registers of correspondence received and sent be discontinued.

4. That the correspondence of the several bureaus and offices of the department, both incoming and copies of outgoing, be filed upon a subjective classification arranged as nearly as possible upon a self-indexing basis; and, where numbers are regarded as essential, that a logical arrangement of numbers under a decimal or analogous system be employed.

5. That carbon copies constitute the record of outgoing correspondence, and that press copying be discontinued.

Specific reports covering each bureau and division are in course of preparation, but since they are based upon the general principles above outlined, it is deemed advisable to secure approval of those principles in advance of the submission of such reports.

As soon as approval of the above recommendations is secured, the committee will immediately proceed to the completion of its reports on each office and submit the

same.

EXHIBIT 6 F.

REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR COMMITTEE.

FEBRUARY 9, 1912. The special committee on handling and filing correspondence in the Department of the Interior submits the following preliminary report and recommendations:

1. That the practice of folding correspondence for filing be discontinued, and that all correspondence, papers, and documents be filed flat.

2. That the briefing of correspondence be discontinued.

3. That no bound book, or card record, reference, abstract, or index be kept of incoming or outgoing mail matter or correspondence.

4. That carbon copies constitute the sole record of outgoing correspondence, and that press copies be discontinued in every instance except where the number of copies required by the exigencies of the service renders the making legible simultaneous carbon copies impossible.

5. That the use of dictation machines in some bureaus of the department would conserve practical economies.

6. That only one permanent file be maintained in each bureau or office for official papers, and that said file be made the repository of all correspondence, original and copies, of sufficient importance to warrant preservation.

7. That the matter to be filed be classified or arranged in a systematic manner either upon a self-indexing basis or upon a logical numerical basis, so that the arrangement of numbers serves a practical purpose in fixing location in files and of identification of the papers. The practice of assigning separate and distinct numbers to each communication relating to same case or subject matter should be discontinued, and all papers relating to the same case or subject matter should be congregated into one file under one index or number so as to facilitate the physical act of the filing and the finding of papers when wanted.

To prevent The accumulation of worthless papers, all communications to which a reply fixes a finality to their purpose and usefulness should be either returned to writer or destroyed in order to obviate the necessity and to relieve the Government from the growing burden and expense of providing storage for a lot of waste paper.

A very relevant and convincing example of what may be and has been accomplished in this line is afforded by the action of the Bureau of Pensions, which has to date either sold or destroyed 213 long tons of waste papers, vacating nine or ten rooms, without detriment to the transaction of public business and without violence to the convenience and material interests of the many claimants.

There are innumerable ramifications in the prevailing methods of conducting correspondence in the several bureaus of the Interior Department. The process of handling the same is in many instances intricate and cumbersome. To bring about a change of procedure and to put into operation the essentials necessary to the practical development of a new scheme demand the hearty cooperation and the enthusiasm of the individuals charged with the responsibility of instituting and the development and the successful adaptation of the recommendations and suggestions of your committee. They are the persons who must symbolize the system; must dominate the situation; and upon whose sustained efforts the ultimate success or failure of any system finds lodgment and the public business reaps a compensatory benefit. The possibilities are inviting and a successful consummation of inestimable value to the efficiency and economy of the service.

One comparative situation will serve to present an illustration of the disparity in cost of filing prevailing in the department. In one bureau about 14 per cent of the force is engaged in the files, while in another only about 6 per cent is so engaged.

To the want of logical arrangement of the several divisions in some of the older bureaus of the department, suggested by a reasonable and natural correlation of reciprocal interests, may be charged much of the lost motion and extravagant operation.

Your committee, through its chairman, called upon the heads of the various bureaus of the department, and received from them the printed and mimeographed forms now in use. Of these there is a multiplicity, varied in character, and used for both internal and outgoing correspondence.

They have been carefully examined and the conclusion reached that great improvement in expression, simplicity, and style could be made in many of the forms, and to this end it is recommended that a committee be appointed in each bureau to be composed of at least five persons who have a wide range of knowledge of the affairs of their respective bureaus, and who can, in conjunction with chiefs of division concerned, determine the necessity for the use or discontinuance of blank forms.

This committee should organize, elect officers, and keep minutes of the proceedings of all meetings. One of the first duties of such committees after organization should be to thoroughly canvass, revise, continue, or discontinue, the forms now in use, after which meetings should be held at regular stated intervals to pass upon and approve or disapprove all new forms, or changes in old forms, submitted; and further, the committee should determine the number of blanks to be ordered and authorize the printing, and in no case, because of the constant changes in the needs of the service, should more than a year's supply be approved. There have been cases where as much as 50 years' supply has been authorized; such condition is manifestly wrong and should not exist.

A revision and a rearrangement of the forms by concentrating the space for inserting information would result in a saving of time of both the reviewing officer and the stenographer.

Information in concentrated form can be filled in and reviewed more rapidly than by skipping from space to space.

Standardization would ensue from such revision and in many instances one “revised” form could be made, by the insertion of a word here and there, to serve the purpose of two or more forms. A striking illustration was brought to our attention where one revised form took the place of 18 similar forms.

We found that such a committee as indicated above has been operating succesy. fully in the Bureau of Pensions since February 14, 1906. From that date to June 18, 1907, 83 meetings were held; all blank forms, books, envelopes, and paper were

[ocr errors]

carefully and thoroughly gone over; forms were canceled, new forms adopted, and changes made in old forms, with the result that in a total of 884 blanks, books, envelopes, and papers there was a net reduction in the number of forms of nearly 34 per cent. This committee is now engaged upon a second canvass and to date it has considered 304 blanks out of a total of 540, with the result that by standardization and cancellation there has been a further reduction of 27 per cent.

The results obtained in this bureau have clearly and emphatically demonstrated the value and efficiency of such committee.

We recommend that in service correspondence, that is, correspondence originating in and directed to an office or officer of the Department of the Interior, the salutation and complimentary close be omitted and the title of the office or officer addressed, as well as the office or officer from which the communication emanates, be abbreviated.

The above recommendation is based upon the following considerations: The reports made to your commission show that there are prepared in the Department of the Interior proper, approximately, 5,017,392 communications annually. It is estimated that a large percentage of these communications are between Government officers and employees. The salutation and complimentary close, that is, the expressions such as Dear Sir” and “Very respectfully," taken by themselves seem of little moment from the standpoint of the saving which would be effected by their elimination. Any saving, however, in the way of simplification or abbreviation of method of conducting correspondence, no matter how slight, when multiplied by the hundred thousands of communications which are produced throughout the department, is an element of considerable importance, and the elimination of it would effect a saving of quite a large amount.

The elements of a letter in the order in which they customarily appear are as follows: (1) The title and location of the person or office from which the letter emanates. (2) The date. 3) The name, title, and location of the person addressed. (4) The salutation. (5) The body of the communication. (6) The complimentary close. (7) The signature. 18) The title of the person signing.

The essential elements of a letter are the date, the person or office from which the letter emanates, the person to whom the letter is sent, the body of the communication, and the signature. The salutation and the complimentary close add nothing to the letter from the standpoint of transacting the business of the department. These elements, serving no practical purpose, could be eliminated without detriment to the public business and at a considerable saving of time and expense.

The other elements in a letter being essential can not be eliminated but they can be much abbreviated: For instance, the title of the person from whom the communication emanates is usually stated twice, namely, on the letterhead and below the signature. Stating this information once serves the practical purpose of the letter. Furthermore, the title of the official to whom the letter is sent, frequently long and usually spelled out in full, could be abbreviated and time as well as space could be saved. This idea is best explained by setting forth a hypothetical case, comparing the present procedure in this department with that proposed.

Say, for example, the Secretary of the Interior desired to instruct or direct the Commissioner of Pensions to have prepared for his consideration a statement showing the total number of invalid pensioners on account of service in the War with Spain, on the roll June 30, 1911. Under the present practice, a letter in the following form would be written: Honorable James L. DAVENPORT,

Commissioner of Pensions. Sir: Please have prepared for my consideration a statement showing the total num. ber of invalid pensioners on account of service in the War with Spain, on the roll June 30, 1911. Very respectfully,

W. L. FISHER, Secretary. Eliminating the salutation and complimentary close, as well as abbreviating the form, the letter would read as follows: COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS:

Prepare for me a statement showing number of invalid pensioners on account of service, War with Spain, on the roil June 30, 1911.

FISHER.

[ocr errors]

Every practical purpose of the direction of the Secretary to the commissioner is subserved by condensing the communication in the manner set forth in the second example. By the second method the equivalent of 17 words is saved over the first method.

That this proposition is not based upon theory only is seen by the fact that several foreign governments in some of their departments have actually eliminated from their correspondence the salutation and complimentary close, as well as abbreviated titles of their public officers. In the United States some large corporations are doing the same thing. One of the greatest railroad companies in America, whose methods were studied by two members of your committee, is simplifying its correspondence to the extent of eliminating the salutation and complimentary close as well as employing initials of the individual from whom the letter emanates and to whom it is addressed in correspondence within certain divisions of its service. This is being done as an experiment and is meeting with such success that its use promises to be extended all over the system. In one of the largest mail-order houses of the country, in which are prepared from seventeen to twenty-three thousand letters per day, the salutation is omitted from all correspondence the company has with the public. The natural opinion would be that a concern soliciting business from the public would be guided upon courtesy or to such an extent as to leave the salutation in. The concern, however, has evidently reached the conclusion that system in its business would be appreciated by 'In

the German Navy, as well as in our own Navy Department, the salutation and the complimentary close are omitted from correspondence within the service and the signing officer writes his last name only with omission of title below the signature. In the French Navy practically the same rule is followed. In the British Navy simplification and abbreviation have been carried further than is here proposed.

Wilson E. Wilmot,
F. H. TONSMEIRE,
W. 0. DEATRICK,

of the Committee. The foregoing report and recommendations are concurred in with the exception of paragraph i.

With respect to this paragraph we favor the general proposition of discontinuing folding correspondence for filing, and of filing all correspondence, papers, and documents flat, excepting the Bureau of Pensions from the operation of this rule because of the unusual conditions which obtain in said bureau; the large expense which would necessarily be incurred and the absence of any accruing future benefits or economies are potent reasons for our position.

The subject of flat filing of papers in claims for pension has been given careful consideration and has been discussed in detail by the members of the committee, and there is a wide difference of opinion as to the practicability of changing from the present to the flat filing system.

It has been suggested that the flat file be made use of on and after a certain date and not attempt to convert the claime already on file to the proposed systen. This would be in direct opposition to paragraph 6, upon which we have unanimously agreed, and which provides that only one permanent file be maintained in each bureau or office for official papers,” etc. The adoption of flat file in the Bureau of Pensions would therefore necessitate the operation and maintenance of two permanent systems of filing.

This subject has also been discussed with the experts on filing in the Bureau of Pensions, and it is the universal opinion that the flat file could not be worked as satisfactorily and economically as the present system. The minority is of the opinion that the matter of installing flat file in this bureau be submitted to the executive officers of the department and bureau for consideration and determination.

L. B. STINE,
A. K. MEEK,

Of the Committee.

EXHIBIT 7 F.

REPORT OF DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND LABOR COMMITTEE.

March 2, 1912. The special committee created for the purpose of making an inquiry into the methods of handling and filing correspondence in the Department of Commerce and Labor submits the following preliminary report and recommendations for the consideration

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »