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VEHICLES, INDIAN SERVICE
Mr. Johnson. The next item is “Vehicles," appearing on page 74. Mr. DODD. The justification for that item is as follows:
The authorization requested for the purchase and exchange of motor-propelled, passenger-carrying vehicles during 1938 is $190,000, or $30,000 above the limit in effect this year. We are also requesting authority to expend $170,000 more for the maintenance, repair, and operation of such vehicles for official Indian Service use.
These are not actual appropriations, but authorizations for the expenditure of applicable funds carried elsewhere in the appropriation act. Specific authorization for such expenditures is required by section 5 of the act of July 16, 1914 (38 Stat., p. 508), reading as follows: "No appropriation made in this or any other Act shall be available for the purchase of any motor-propelled or horse-drawn passenger-carrying vehicle for the service of any of the executive departments or other Government establishments, or any branch of the Government service, unless specific authority is given therefor, and after the close of the fiscal year 1915 there shall not be expended out of any appropriation made by Congress any sum for purchase, maintenance, repair, or operation of motor-propelled or horse-drawn passenger-carrying vehicles for any branch of the public service of the United States unless the same is specifically authorized by law, and in the estimates for the fiscal year 1916 and subsequent fiscal years there shall be submitted in detail estimates for such necessary appropriations as are intended to be used for purchase, maintenance, repair, or operation of all motor-propelled or horse-drawn passenger-carrying vehicles, specifying the sums required, the public purposes for which said vehicles are intended, and the officials or employees by whom the same are to be used.”
There are approximately 100 separate jurisdictions in the Service exercising supervision over Indian matters, in addition to numerous officials and employees at large, whose work involves considerable travel. Most of the reservations are quite extensive, the population is scattered, and the roads are in only fair condition. It is obvious that cars are essential to proper administration on these reservations and that provision must be made for replacement after a reasonable period of use. The life of a car is often shortened by the character of the country and condition of roads over which they must travel. The average period of service for our cars is about 3 years and the annual mileage covered by such cars ranges from 10,000 to 30,000 miles.
There are now in use approximately 1,030 passenger vehicles and 1,500 trucks, tractors, and other motorized equipment. Replacements of a number of both types of vehicles must be made annually. All passenger cars purchased for the Indian Service are of the lightweight low-priced type of closed cars. During 1936 we purchased 79 co hes, 131 sedans, 18 coupes, 1 phaeton, and 30 school busses, a total of 259 vehicles, at a total cost, exclusive of the trade-in value of used cars, of approximately $159,000.
Increase for maintenance, $170,000.-The limitation on these expenditures has been increased from year to year, as Service activities have expanded. The following tabulation shows the limitations, both for maintenance and purchase, for the last 8 years:
Further increases were made when expenditures from tribal appropriations were included, by direction of the Comptroller General in the limitations. With the initiation of the day-school program school busses were purchased and placed in operation. The Comptroller ruled that these were passenger-carrying vehicles and should also come within this limitation. We attempted to estimate the cost
of operation and maintenance but we had no definite information upon which to base our estimate. The result is that after 1 year of operation of school busses, our estimate is found to be low. Actual expenditures in 1936 were nearly $50,000 over the limit. New schools are being opened this year, and the overexpenditure will probably be much higher. Additional cars and school busses will be purchased in 1938, thus accounting for a further charge for operating costs.
To present an accurate estimate under this limitation is almost impossible. Road and weather conditions are responsible for fluctuations in costs. Accidents and normal wear and tear require repairs in undeterminable amounts. With the large number of cars purchased we get quite a few that require constant adjustments and repairs. There are so many factors involved that a close estimate simply cannot be made. The increase may appear large. The automobile, however, has become an effective and essential factor in the expedition of Indian Service business. Travel is required by many employees, who must be on the road all hours of the day and night. Frequently speed is necessary because the personnel is assigned to extremely large territory. To limit expenditures for the one essential means of transportation is false economy in the end.
More important still is the recent requirement of the General Accounting Office that we keep allotment and expenditure records under this limitation. This requirement will result in minute examination of accounts. If at the end of 9 months of a fiscal year the limitation has been reached, nurses, doctors, farmers, foresters, school and other employees, including superintendents, will have to stop traveling and school busses will remain idle. Such a condition would be most unfortunate.
Increase for purchases, $30,000.—In these estimates we are requesting new personnel in extension, health, and other activities. Cars must be provided for some of these employees. School busses purchased 3 years ago will need to be replaced. We are now using å number of old cars that, for economy of upkeep, should be disposed of. We consider $190,000 a minimum limit for the purchase of new cars. We again emphasize that this is not an appropriation but a limitation on expenditures from the funds made available in other items.
Desirability of repeal of 1914 act. The act of July 16, 1914, was placed on the statutes in the early days of motor transportation, and undoubtedly had many useful purposes. Among them may have been the accumulation of figures permitting a comparison of operating costs between horse-drawn and motor-propelled vehicles. A new means of transportation may be seized by administrative officials without regard to cost. Cars probably would be made available for employees not entitled to them; and there may have been many other reasons for the enactment of the law. But after 22 years automobile transportation is recognized as essential for business as well as pleasure. Sufficient restrictive legislation now exists covering the types of cars that can be purchased, and those restrictions are rigidly enforced by the Comptroller General. The 1914 act is on the statutes, and is of general application. Otherwise we would suggest the omission of this paragraph from our estimates. If for no other reason, we would recommend its elimination because of the accounting required. Under recent requirements of the General Accounting Office our 100 agencies, more or less, must keep accurate expenditure records, by appropriation titles, of the purchase price and operating costs of cars used by each function of the Service. Take one of the larger agencies using appropriations for extension, forestry, education, health, and general agency administration. Ten separate accounts must be maintained at the local headquarters, and these same accounts submitted monthly, must be reviewed by the Indian Office and the General Accounting Office. The new symbol numbers alone are staggering. If a car is purchased from the appropriation for administration of Indian forests, the symbol number would be 1472204.990. Operating costs for the car must be identified by the symbol 1472204.991. The performance of this extra work is stacked upon us, regardless of whether or not clerks are available to handle it. While we are not in a position to take the initiative in recommending the repeal of this somewhat obsolete law, we would heartily endorse its removal from the statutes.
Mr. JOHNSON. This seems to be an authorization for vehicles in the Indian Service. Last year it was $290,000. This year you are asking for $460,000. Will you explain that increase of $170,000 for the operation and maintenance over last year?
Mr. Dond. This grows out of a decision of the General Accounting Office to make us establish definite limitations on the expenditures
for maintenance and operation of motor-propelled passenger-carrying vehicles.
We have been keeping what we assumed to be rather correct records in the Indian Office on these expenditures. When the General Accounting Office put that new system of accounting into effect, we immediately went to the field and found that they were spending not only up to the limitation, but probably a considerable amount in excess of that.
We have pending before the Budget Bureau now an item to increase this authorization for 1937 to $425,000.
As to the increase in the amount for purchase from $160,000 to $190,000, there are certain provisions elsewhere in this budget for the purchase of additional motor-propelled passenger-carrying vehicles. We have figures that rather closely in arriving at the figure of $190,000.
For instance, under the item of conservation of health there are certain new employees allowed, for which cars will be purchased. There are certain additional employees in the extension division and in the forestry division where new cars will be necessary. So we are asking for this appropriation to be increased accordingly.
MEANING OF TERM “GRATUITY"
Mr. LEAVY. You have used the term “gratuity" here frequently: How is that distinguished from an appropriation?
Mr. Dopp. This limitation applies to all of the items in the Indian section of this bill--for education, extension, and everything else. It also applies to the appropriations made specifically in sections of this bill from tribal funds. We make no distinction in the accounting where appropriated tribal funds are used.
Mr. LEAVY. When you use that term "gratuity” what distinction is there between that and an authorization?
Mr. Dond. An authorization applies to the expenditure generally of the funds elsewhere in the bill as a rule.
Mr. LEAVY. Would it necessarily mean funds coming from tribal funds, then?
Mr. Dopp. No. It would mean funds coming from tribal funds or the Federal Treasury; either one.
Mr. LEAVY. And what is a gratuity?
Mr. Dond. A gratuity is an appropriation from the Federal Treasury.
Mr. JOHNSON. One that is not repayable?
Mr. Johnson. How many cars will this provide in excess of what you have for the current year, in this $190,000; and why such a large increase? You have possibly explained that.
Mr. Dond. It will involve the purchase of perhaps 40 new cars, and will take up a little of the slack that we now have in replacing our cars that are already in the service.
COST OF OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF VEHICLES
Mr. Johnson. Could you tell the committee offhand what is the average cost of operation and maintenance of your cars?
Mr. DODD. It varies a great deal, Mr. Johnson, for this reason: That on some reservations we have reasonably good roads. In the
State of Oklahoma there are many highways there that are unusually good. It would not cost us as much to maintain and operate a car in that State as it would perhaps in some of the remote reservations in the State of Oregon or down in the mountainous areas of Arizona and New Mexico.
REPLACEMENT OF PROPERTY DESTROYED BY FIRE, FLOOD, OR STORM
Mr. JOHNSON. The next item is on page 75 and relates to the replacement of property destroyed by fire, flood, or storm.
Mr. Dond. The justification for that is as follows:
The expenditure of additional money is not involved in this item. Under this authorization we are able to meet emergencies such as those outlined in the text of the item without the delay incident to requesting and obtaining specific appropriations. When Congress is in session, and for those replacements that can be deferred without serious detriment to the Service, supplemental estimates are submitted for inclusion in deficiency appropriation bills.
During the fiscal year 1936 the following diversions of appropriations were made under this clause:
Several fires have occurred in recent months which may require the use of this authorization. The worst fires were at the Pierre School, S. Dak., where a girls' dormitory and the dairy barn were completely destroyed.
Annual appropriations for building purposes in the Service are sufficient only to provide for routine repairs and upkeep and normally to permit construction each year of a few of the more necessary structures. Ordinarily the greater part of each repair appropriation must be apportioned to various field units at the beginning of the year and in case of possible emergencies which may arise during the course of the year through fire, flood, or storm, sufficient funds are often not available for necessary repairs or reconstruction. It is therefore desirable to have authority for the diversion for repair, reconstruction, or replacement purposes in case of emergency, of funds which may be available in appropriations which would ordinarily not be applicable for the specific need involved. This authorization is invoked only in cases of necessity and when there are no funds available in the specific appropriation to which the expenditure would ordinarily be charged.
EXPENSES OF ATTENDING HEALTH AND EDUCATIONAL MEETINGS
Mr. JOHNSON. Next is an item on the same page entitled "Authorization for Attending Health and Educational Meetings.”
Mr. Dond. The following justification is submitted:
This text permits the expenditure of applicable and available funds in the payment of expenses, not membership fees, of employees in he Indian Sery when authorized by the Secretary of the Interior, to attend meetings of medical, health, educational, agricultural, forestry, engineering, and industrial associations in the interest of their work among the Indians. The first authorization of this character was included under the Conservation of Health appropriation for the fiscal year 1930. Expenditures during 1936 were approximately as follows: Indian schools, support..
$3, 500 Indian boarding schools.
700 Conservation of health among Indians.
800 Miscellaneous appropriations.
It is important that employees in the Indian Service keep in touch with methods and practices of their respective professions, and their attendance at meetings and conferences or recognized associations cannot help but react to their individual benefit and to the benefit of the Service as a whole. Furthermore, valuable contacts are made and closer cooperation is fostered with local and State authorities and with national and volunteer organizations whose work is directly or indirectly connected with Indian problems.
This item does not carry an appropriation, but authorizes the use of applicable funds contained in the annual appropriation act; for instance, the expenses of a physician attending an association meeting are charged to the medical appropriation; the expenses of a school employee to school funds; and the expenses of an agricultural extension agent to an extension appropriation. Requests and recommendations for permission to attend such meetings are carefully checked before authority is given.
Meetings during the past year included those of the National Education Association at Portland, the Department of Superintendence at St. Louis, the Progressive Education Association at Chicago, the National Conference of Social Work at Atlantic City, the Tri-State Health Association at Memphis, the American Medical Association at Kansas City, in addition to various state association meetings.
It is estimated that $7,000 will be required for this purpose during 1938, the same limit in effect for the last 4 years. The present trend is toward increasing participation in such meetings by Indian Service people, which trend is being accentuated under the Indian Reorganization Act.
THURSDAY, APRIL 8, 1937.
PURCHASE OF LAND AND WATER RIGHTS FOR PUEBLO INDIANS, NEW
MEXICO Mr. Johnson. We will take up this morning the item on page 76 for the purchase of land and water rights for Indians of New Mexico.
Mr. Dond. I submit the following justification of the item for the record:
Appropriations were made from time to time to carry out the recommendations of the Pueblo Lands Board to pay amounts found due these Indians for loss of land and water rights. The Board was created by the act of June 7, 1924 (43 Stat., p. 636). Frequently the items appropriating amounts of the awards have set aside a certain sum for purchase of land and water rights, development of irrigation water or some other purpose for the benefit of the particular pueblo involved, and it has been customary to continue in succeeding appropriation acts the unexpended balances of such authorizations. During each year requests would reach the office for funds to cover items which were desirable both from the standpoint of the Indians and the Government, but specific authorization had not been obtained for the use of these funds.
This situation led to the submission of an item in the 1934 Budget making available all balances not previously appropriated, except the sum of $56,524.21 awarded to the Pojoaque Pueblo. The test of the item for 1936 was amended so as to continue all balances heretofore authorized. It has been the policy of the Bureau to make no appenditures from these funds without the approval of tribal officers. This policy was confirmed by a provision in the act of May 31, 1933 (45 Stat, p. 1091, reading as follows:
That the Secretary of the Interior shall not make ans expenditure out of the pueblo funds resulting from the appropriations set forth herein, or prior appropriations for the same purpose, without first obtaining the approval of the governing authorities of the prehlo affected
The same act authorised the appropriation of additional sums to the several pueblos angreparing $50,9.4.ss the same to live appropriated in three installments, the first of which is provided in the current appropriation act. An item is included in this Budget for the second installment.