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PERSONNEL OF COMMITTEE
NAGEL, CHARLES, Chairman: Lawyer, of St. Louis; formerly Secretary of Com
merce and Labor; honorary vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States; member, St. Louis Chamber of Commerce.
BOTSFORD, SAMUEL B.: Lawyer, of Buffalo; recently president, Buffalo Chamber
CHANNING, J. PARKE: Mining engineer, of New York City; vice-president of
the General Development Company and the Miami Copper Company; chairman, Engineering Council, and formerly president of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America.
GILLETTE, L. S.: Engineer and manufacturer, of Minneapolis; member, Ameri
can Society of Civil Engineers; a director of the Civic and Commerce Association of Minneapolis; a director in the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.
HOLLIS, IRA N.: Engineer, of Worcester, Mass.: president, Worcester Poly
technic Institute; formerly engineer in the United States Navy; member of various engineering societies, including American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Society of United States Naval Engineers.
NEWELL, FREDERICK H.: Engineer, of Urbana, Ill. ; professor of civil engineer
ing, University of Illinois; formerly chief engineer in the United States Geological Survey and recently Director of the United States Reclamation Service; formerly member of United States Inland Waterways Commission; member of Institute for Government Research and of National Research Council.
REDFIELD, WILLIAM C.: Manufacturer, of New York City; recently Secretary
of Commerce and formerly Member of Congress; president of the RussianAmerican Chamber of Commerce; formerly president of the American Manufacturers Export Association.
SEIBERLING, FRANK A.: Manufacturer, of Akron, Ohio; president, Goodyear
Tire and Rubber Company; formerly a director in the Chamber of Commerce of the United States; formerly president, Akron Chamber of Commerce.
SIBLEY, F. HARPER: Lawyer, of Rochester, N. Y.; formerly president of the
Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Red Cross commissioner to France.
TUTTLE, M. C.: Contractor, of Boston; general manager, Aberthaw Construc
tion Company; member, Boston Chamber of Commerce.
WILLOUG, WILLIAN F.: Economist, of Washington, D. C.: director, Institute
for Government Research ; formerly member of the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency and formerly constitutional adviser to the Chinese Republic.
of the COMMITTEE ON DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
To the Board of Directors of the
Chamber of Commerce of the United States:
Your Committee on the creation of a National Department of Public Works begs to submit the following report:
The Committee was called together for the purpose of consider- Appointment of Coming and recommending the action to be taken by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States on a resolution adopted by the Engineering Council on October 16, 1919, petitioning that the Chamber submit to referendum, in the manner provided by its by-laws, a bill providing for the establishment of a Department of Public Works by the national government, this being a proposed law which had been endorsed, in principle at least, by the petitioning body.
The Committee had meetings in Washington on January 19, 20, Meetings 21, 1920, at which the following members were present at one or more of the meeting: Charles Nagel, of St. Louis; J. Parke Channing, of New York; Ira N. Hollis, of Worcester; F. H. Newell, of Chicago; Wm. C. Redfield, of New York; W. F. Willoughby, of Washington, and M. C. Tuttle, of Boston.
The Committee had the advantage of including in its member- Information ship a number of persons who had filled responsible positions in the administrative services of the national government and were fairly familiar with the number, character, and location of the services of the national government which had as their primary function the execution of public works or whose activities included engineering work on a considerable scale. To supplement this information the Committee had before it a number of persons specially competent to give testimony regarding existing conditions in respect to the prosecution of public works by the national government and the advantages and disadvantages that might be expected to follow from the creation of a Department of Public Works. Among these, special mention may be made of Mr. Isham Randolph of Chicago; Brigadier General R. C. Marshall, Chief of the Construction Division of the Army; Dr. S. W. Stratton, Director of the Bureau of Standards; Colonel E. Lester Jones, Superintendent of the Coast and Geodetic Survey; Mr. O. Knickerbocker Boyd, of Philadelphia, and Mr. M. O. Leighton, formerly of the Geological Survey and now chairman of the National Service Committee of the Engineering Council, with headquarters at Washington.
At these meetings the proposal for the establishment of a De- Questions Considered partment of Public Works was examined, not only from the standpoint of the proposition itself, but the relation that it bore or might bear towards the creation of other new departments and a general reorganization of the administrative branch of the national government. The Committee reached the opinion that existing conditions Committee's Conclusion
Manner of Creating De
in respect to the location within departments of services having for their main function the execution of public works and the conditions under which engineering work by other services is now being carried on are not calculated to promote efficiency and economy and that the proposal for the creation of a Department of Public Works was one that meets its approval and should be submitted to the membership of the Chamber for the purpose of eliciting an expression of opinion. The Committee accordingly recommends that steps be taken to secure such an expression of opinion through a referendum vote in the manner provided by the Chamber's by-laws.
In making this recommendation the Committee has not deemed it a part of its commission to pass upon the merits of the specific proposal embodied in the Jones-Reavis bill (S. 2232; H. R. 6649) which received the endorsement, in principle at least, of the Engineering Council.
In view of the fact that a Department of Public Works may be created in more than one way, the Committee is of the opinion that the interrogatories embraced in the referendum should be of a character to elicit responses in respect not only to the general principle involved in the establishment of a department, but the manner in which the department should be established.
The Committee believes that it is not feasible to attempt to have the referendum secure an expression of opinion in respect to the particular services to be embraced within a Department of Public Works, should the decision be reached that such a department should be established. This is a matter which must be determined as a result of careful inquiry after a decision has been reached in respect to the principle involved in the establishment or not of an independent Department of Public Works.
Your Committee recommends that there be created by the national government a Department of Public Works and that the following questions in relation thereto be submitted to a referendum:
1. Shall there be established by the national government a Department of Public Works?
2. Shall such Department be established by a suitable modification of the existing Department of the Interior excluding therefrom the non-related bureaus or offices and by the change of name of the Department of the Interior to the Department of Public Works?
3. Shall such department be established by the creation of an entirely new Department?
CHARLES NAGEL, Chairman
ARGUMENTS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE
Description of the Proposal Creates an Initial Impression in its Favor
The proposal is that a federal Department of Public Works should be created (1) in which can be assembled certain or all of the government agencies with primary functions in the construction or operation of works of an engineering or construction character, (2) which, if found desirable, can take over engineering and construction work now being performed by services with primary functions other than the performance of such work, and (3) which, if found desirable, may act as a contracting agency for the performance of engineering or construction work when called upon by an agency of the government not included in the Department of Public Works.
Agencies which have performance or management of engineering and construction works as primary functions include:
Improvement of rivers and harbors and miscellaneous public works, Engineer Corps, War Department;
All construction and maintenance work of Army in cantonments, etc., including preliminary work on sites, plans, materials, actual construction, equipment, Construction Division, War Department;
Cooperation with states in improvement of post roads and roads in national forests, including study of road building and management, and approval of cooperative projects, Bureau of Public Roads, Department of Agriculture;
Survey, construction, and operation of irrigation works in arid states, Reclamation Service, Department of the Interior;
Location, construction, and operation of railway to connect interior of Alaska with one or more open ports on Alaskan coast, Alaska'n Engineering Commission, placed by President under general administration of Interior Department;
Cession from states of sites for public buildings, drawings and specification for buildings superintendence of work by contractors, equipment, maintenance, and repair, Supervising Architect, Treasury Department;
Care of public buildings and grounds in the District of Columbia, partly under Office of Public Buildings, War Department, partly, as in case of Capitol, under special offices appointed by Congressional Committee, etc.;
Operation and government of Panama Canal and government of Canal Zone, Governor of Panama Canal, reporting to Secretary of War.
Agencies which have primary functions other than engineering and construction but incidentally to their chief duties construct or manage works of engineering or construction on a considerable scale include:
Administration of national forests and development of relation of forests to public welfare, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture;
Maintenance, improvement, and protection of national parks, National Park Service, Interior Department;
Administration of government's relations with Indians, Office of Indian Affairs, Interior Department;
Establishment and maintenance of aids to navigation, Bureau of Lighthouses, Department of Commerce :
Control of quarantine stations, administration of marine hospitals, etc., enforcement of national quarantine laws, regulation of viruses, etc., Public Health Service, Treasury Department.
Services which have a direct relation to engineering and construction and the activities of which will have to receive consideration when the exact jurisdiction and powers of a Department of Public Works come under consideration, include:
Custody of standards, comparison with standards used in science, engineering, manufacture, and commerce, determination of properties of materials, etc., Bureau of Standards, Department of Commerce;
Survey of coasts and publication of charts, magnetic observations, determination of heights and geographic positions, etc., Coast and Geodetic Survey, Department of Commerce;
Classification of public lands and examination of geological structure, mineral resources, topographic and geological surveys, etc., Geological Survey, Interior Department.
The last two services named above have as an important part of their duties the prosecution of triangulation and topographic surveys. A number of other services, such as the Post Office Department and the General Land Office, are likewise engaged in preparing maps for their own use.
It will be observed that some of the services which have been placed in the lists printed above deal with public works,-i. e., works such as irrigation projects which are intended for use by the public, -and others are concerned with government works,-i. e., structures and plants for their own use in performing governmental duties. Examples of the latter are public buildings at Washington and customs houses at ports. The distinction between these two sorts of works is to be kept in mind; for the question of bringing together into one department agencies which construct and operate public works is different from the question of having such a department to undertake engineering and construction for each agency which constructs and operates works of a governmental character. Even if it were decided that neither sort of works should be placed in a department, there would still be good reason why a Department of Public Works should be set up as a general engineering and contracting service to which any part of the government may resort either for planning or execution of construction.
There is a distinction to be made, too, between works of a purely civil character and works of a military or naval kind. Only the former would be placed in the new department. It is recognized that the War Department and the Navy Department should be self-contained organizations, and that each should have its own special engineering corps to perform work of a strictly military and naval character. With work of such a kind the proposed Department of Public Works would have nothing to do, except in so far as the War and Navy Departments might seek assistance. Works of a purely civil character, however, now intrusted to these departments, should be transferred to the new department. Works for improvement of rivers and harbors are an example; during time of peace the War Department could detail army engineers, who now perform duties in this connection, to the new department to act in connection with such works and other works in the new department's charge.
Finally, it is to be recalled that the proposal for a new department does not contemplate disruption of the governmental agencies which would be placed under its jurisdiction. It is a matter merely of bringing related services under one head. It is not suggested there should be consolidations. Consequently, existing working organizations will not be disturbed upon the setting up of a Department of Public Works, but all questions of redistribution of duties and the like would remain for decision in the light of subsequent experience and investigation.
There IVould be Improvement in the Administrative Organization of the National Government
The organization of the administrative branch of the federal government has grown piecemeal and according to no carefully thought out plan. The result is that, as the government's activities have now taken a wide range and are on a vast scale, it is extremely difficult even for persons charged with legislative duties and with executive duties to comprehend properly the problems that arise. It follows that it is of great importance in the public interest that the activities of the government and the services responsible for their performance should be so grouped that those falling in the same field or having the same general purpose will be brought into organic connection and their operations made capable of consideration as a whole.
This will promote efficient government in all its branches. The executive can more easily and effectively formulate programs for submission to Congress. In turn, Congress can give more intelligent consideration and better reach proper decisions about substantive legislation and appropriations. At the same time, the services can perform their work with increased economy and certainty. Finally, the public can more readily comprehend the work of the government, more directly exercise that general control which should obtain under a popular government, and more easily transact business with the
the government's agencies.
The setting up of a Department of Public Works would be an important step in this fundamental reform.