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The CHAIRMAN. 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 Öffice, 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 statement 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 years of 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 TREASURY DEPARTMENT.
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. 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. If 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. By retaining them.
The CHAIRMAN. And reducing salaries?
Mr. WILMETH. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. How many have you charge of, about?
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?
The CHAIRMAN. What is the normal number in that department; before the war how many did you have?
Mr. WILMETH. 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. WILMETH. We have taken on in the neighborhood of a thousand people in the last year.
The CHAIRMAN. That is, about 10 per cent?
Mr. WILMETH. Yes, sir; slightly in excess of that.
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. them in.
I can put
The CHAIRMAN. I would be very glad if you would. 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.
Senator WOLCOTT. In the service. There is now, then, practically a pension scheme in operation, if that be true, is there not?
Mr. WILMETH. You could not call it a pension scheme. Taking the older employees as their usefulness wanes, putting them down in the lower grades, they are still working and being retained in the service.
Senator WOLCOTT. Of course, it is not strictly a pension scheme; but there is an attempt to do it, I gather from what you say, is there not? And it seems to me it would be just inhuman to throw a man or woman in his or held old age out into the street; so, is there not an attempt to accept the principle, at least, as a pension scheme, in so far as its practical application goes, by still retaining them in Government employment, in jobs that they seem to be able to fill more satisfactorily because of their advanced age-that is, in some smaller job-is not that going on practically now?
Mr. WILMETH. Yes. There is a tendency to keep them. They are being kept; and we do it on the ground that after an employee has served long and faithfully and is, on account of age, not able to earn a livelihood elsewhere, and has spent all of his life and the best part of his usefulness in the department, it would be a manifest hardship and injustice to put him out.
Senator WOLCOTT. So it would.
Mr. WILMETH. Many of these older people, too, are veterans. The CHAIRMAN. Are you in favor of a flat rate of retirement for employees in the service after a certain length of time, or a graduated system?
Mr. WILMETH. I have not given it enough thought to answer intelligently, but my own thought is there should be an arbitrary age established, and I think the simplest thing would be to make a flat rate. However, I am not committed to that. I am simply giving you my own idea.
The CHAIRMAN. What have you to say about the retirement of women as well as men? Should they be retired on the same principle and at the same salary-the same retired pay?
Mr. WILMETH. Well, I have not given any thought to that. I do not see, in justice, why that should not be done. I think it should. The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you on that.
Mr. WILMETH. The entrance pay is the same and the promotion grades are the same, and they are promoted for the same skill and they do the same work. Why should they not be treated the same in the matter of retirement? I think without doubt that should be done. The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything else?
Mr. WILMETH. I believe I have nothing further to say.
The CHAIRMAN. When you get a copy of the hearing I wish you would put in such figures as you desire.
Mr. WILMETH. Yes.
(The matter referred to above is included in a letter, which is here. printed in full, as follows:)
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, Washington, August 17, 1917.
DEAR SENATOR MCKELLAR: Referring to my testimony some time ago before your committee on the subject of the retirement of superannuated civil-service employees, you will recall your request that I furnish you with a statement showing the percentage of the cost of a retirement plan as compared with the actual salary of the employees. My investigation on this subject does not
show any particular relation between pensions and salaries, so far as the matter has been investigated.
Mr. Herbert Brown, who has submitted a report on civil-service retirement in Great Britain, which was published as Senate Document 290 of the second session of the Sixty-first Congress, sets forth in his report that in England the pensions range from 4 to 32 per cent of the active pay roll. In the Post Office Department they amount to 6 per cent of the pay roll and in the customs. service to 30.6 per cent of the pay roll.
Mr. Brown advises that the general impression seems to be that the total civil pension payments equal about 16 or 17 per cent of the amounts paid for salaries. His report shows that in rapidly growing offices where a large num ber of younger people have been employed the pensions represent a comparatively small per cent of the active pay roll; on the other hand, in offices that have grown slowly the pensions have risen in some cases to as high as 32 per cent of the active pay roll. This is what I meant when I stated that there is no direct relation between pensions and active pay.
I invite your attention to pages 124 and 125 of Senate Document 290, second session of the Sixty-first Congress.
Very truly, yours,
Hon. KENNETH MCKELLAR,
JAMES L. WILMETH, Chief Clerk.
United States Senate.
Chairman Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment,
Mr. ALCORN. I will introduce now Mr. Warwick, Comptroller of the Treasury Department.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, proceed, Mr. Warwick.
STATEMENT OF WALTER W. WARWICK, COMPTROLLER OF THE
Mr. WARWICK. I do not know, Mr. Chairman, that I can add anything to this discussion. After a service of about 15 years out of the last 25, a part of that time in the classified service in the Government, I have reached the conclusion that the interest of the Government and the interest of the employees require some system of eliminating the superannuated. I have a view of that, possibly, that is different from others, but I think there ought to be an age limit fixed in the law.
The CHAIRMAN. What age limit?
Mr. WARWICK. I would say for the departmental service 70 years. For other services it might be a lower age. But I would not leave, if I were drafting a law, any discretion as to retaining a man after he reached that age.
The CHAIRMAN. You do not agree with Dr. Osler, then, when he says they ought to be chloroformed at 60?
Mr. WARWICK. No. I have 2 in my office. So far as the employees are concerned, there are only 30 in the clerical grades, and 5 of the 30 are past 70. This refers to my own office. One of the men is a bookkeeper, working with four other bookkeepers and doing just as much as the others. And we also have one man who is 80 years of age. The CHAIRMAN. Is he able to do his work?
Mr. WARWICK. He is not able to do as much as formerly. He is doing his best.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you demoted him because of that?
Mr. WARWICK. He has not been reduced. He has been in the service now 40 to 45 years.
My reason for saying that I would favor an arbitrary age is that when a man in a more responsible position in the service, such as a