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contract time, as well as all deviations from the mode of service required by contract; to examine and compare all mail registers received, and record them alphabetically by States; to prepare reports of all failures, and enter them in a journal; to notify to each contractor all fines imposed and deductions made from his pay; to prepare, in ordinary cases, official letters requiring explanations from contractors for neglect of duty, for the signature of the Third Assistant; to render certificates, signed by him, to the Auditor, of service performed by the contractors, with a statement of all penalties imposed, at the end of each quarter; to make up the cases of failing contractors for a suspension of their pay, and for the removal of the same; to report all postmasters who have failed to return mail registers; to have all drivers and mail carriers sworn according to law, and to note all changes made in the contract office, affecting contractors, &c. Two of these clerks receive a compensation of $1,400, and the rest $1,200.
One clerk, (at a salary of $1,200,) who receives and keeps an account of mail bags, mail locks and keys, and sends them to postmasters throughout the United States who need them.
A letter-book clerk, (at a salary of $1,000,) who records all the letters and notices written and sent froin this office.
4. The miscellaneous or fourth subdivision, like the three preceding ones, has the general superintendence of the Postmaster General, but is under the immediate supervision of the chief clerk of the Department, to whom is more especially assigned the management of its financial concerns. In this process he directs the payment of the quarterly balances reported by the Auditor to be due to about 2,500 nail contractors and other persons; keeps cash accounts with eleven banks, and with about eight hundred postmasters who are under orders to retain the proceeds of their offices to meet the drafts of the Postmaster General, and sees that about two hundred other postmasters deposite the proceeds of their offices, quarterly, at the points directed. He prepares, for the signature of the Postmaster General, all correspondence relating to the cash accounts, and such other correspondence as the Postmaster General specially directs; collects the information and details required to answer the calls of Congress; supervises, generally, the office of mail depredations, the receiving office, and dead-letter office; opens, reads, and distributes among the officers of the Department, for their attention, the correspondence addressed to the De. partment and to the Postmaster General. He is also the agent for the payment of the salaries and for the contingent fund of the Department. Besides the chief clerk, there are employed in this division eleven clerks, as follows:
One clerk, who keeps the appropriation accounts, registering under its proper head of appropriation each draft and warrant issued by the Postmaster General; furnishes a quarterly statement of the payments under each head; renders occasional assistance in corresponding, and performs miscellaneous duties for the Postmaster General and chief clerk. Salary, $1,400.
A clerk on mnail depredations, who prepares for the signature of the Postmaster General all the correspondence arising from losses in the mails; keeps a register of each case of loss, and enters therein, from time to time, a history of all the proceedings; makes up each case, and transmits it to the proper agent, with such instructions as its nature seems to require; examines and presents to the Postmaster General, for his decision, all claims for services rendered in the pursuit and detection of depredators, or for investigating robberies committed ; reports monthly, to the Postmaster General, the condition of the business, and performs all other duties incident to this branch of the public service. Compensation, $1,400.
journal clerk, who keeps the journal of the Postmaster General, in which are recorded, daily, all his orders and affirmative decisions, including changes and modifications in mail contracts, appointments of postmasters, establishments and discontinuances of post offices, and changes of their names and sites; all fines imposed and deductions made from the pay of mail contractors, &c. Salary, $1,400.
A dead-letler clerk, who receives from the openers all dead letters containing articles of value, records them in an alphabetical register, noting the kind of money or article each letter contains; sends out all such letters to the writers thereof; sees that the postmasters to whom they are sent for delivery return the proper receipts for them, or the letters themselves, if the writers be not found; corresponds with all persons having business with this office; keeps charge of the dead-letter money, and deposites it in the general funds of the Department, when so directed by the Postmaster General. Compensation, $1,200.
A receiving clerk, who enters in an alphabetical register the amount of each postmaster's quarterly return, and the date of its reception at the De. partment ; sends circulars to postmasters who fail to make their returns, and reports quarterly, to the appointment office, all such delinquents. He also prepares, for the information of the Postmaster General, at the end of each quarter, a statement comparing the revenue for the quarter just ended with the corresponding quarter of the preceding year, in all offices paying nett $100 and upwards. Compensation, $1,200.
A warrant clerk, who aids the chief clerk in his cash accounts, and draws all the warrants and drafts issued by the Postmaster General, exceeding in pumber 10,000 a year. Compensation, $1,200.
A clerk, who compares all the dead letters received with the dead-letter bills sent with them by the postmasters; calls on the postmasters who are delinquent to render bills with their dead letters; and, when dead letters are sent without the proper bill, prepares it as a voucher to the Auditor. Salary, $1,000.
A letter-book clerk, who records and sends out all the correspondence prepared in the miscellaneous division, and does such other copying as is reqoired of him by the Postmaster General and chief clerk. Salary, $1,000.
A clerk, who receives, in the first instance, the quarterly returns of all the postmasters in the United States ; opens them, takes out the dead letters and the post bills, sending the former to the examiner of the dead-letter bills, and the latter to their proper place of deposite, for the use of the mail depredation clerk. Salary, $1,000.
Two clerks, who open the dead letters after they have been compared with the dead-letter bills, and preserve and hand over to the clerk in charge of the dead-letter office all letters containing articles of value. Salary, $1,000 each.
In the appointment office one other clerk is employed in copying the bond books, in which are recorded, by counties, the names of all the post ofices and postmasters in the United States. Compensation, $1,000.
There are also employed in the Department one messenger, (compensation $750, and three assistant messengers, (compensation $350 each ;)
two watchmen at $300 each, and one laborer at $300. These all perform such duties as usually attach to their respective stations.
In the foregoing statements it has been my purpose to give, as near as practicable, the whole number of persons, and their duties, at the date of the resolution to which this communication is an answer.
The following persons have been employed since that period, viz: Two local agents, (one at Cincinnati, Ohio, the other at Louisville, Kentucky,) whose duty it is to board all steamboats arriving at those places, and to obtain from the commanders, officers, and crews of said boats, all letters brought from their several places of departure or landing ; to pay two cents each for all letters so obtained; to deliver said letters into the post office, to be rated with the legal postage, and to make to the Postmaster General weekly reports of their operations. These agents are of recent appointment, and the returns already received from them confirm me in the opinion that their services save to the Department not less than $125 a week, clear of expenses. Their compensation is $800 per annum.
There are also employed in the Department, on temporary and miscellaneous duties, four clerks, to whom compensation is allowed at the rate of $1,000 per annum. Two of these will be discharged in a few days, and the other two will be retained only so long as their aid is found indispensable to the public service.
A day watchman (compensation $360) is employed to take care of the building, direct persons having business in it to the officers they wish to visit, and to send out blanks to postmasters.
An assistant messenger is employed in searching for post bills, for the use of the clerk on mail depredations, and in doing the duties of porter and messenger in the dead-letter and receiving offices, where several cartloads of postmasters' returns are handled quarterly.
Three laborers distribute fuel through the building, and assist in cleansing it daily.
Although the foregoing specifications of the duties performed by the officers and clerks in the several bureaus of the Department may appear, to those not acquainted with the vast amount of details requiring attention, to be amply set forth, it is nevertheless due to them to say that all, or nearly all, of them perform other duties of minor importance, which occupy considerable portions of their time.
It is not practicable to state precisely “the time required for the performance of the duties assigned to each officer and clerk,” because the amount of labor to be performed, except in a very few cases, is not spread equally over the whole year, but varies according to circumstances which cannot be obviated by timely arrangement or forecast. During the sessions of Congress, for instance, the labors of the Department are greatly increased by the calls of the respective Houses, committees, and of individual members, for information necessary to the purposes of legislation, or to answer applications from their constituents. The annual letting of mail contracts may be cited as another period of great labor. Many thousand bids or proposals have to be carefully read and folded, and a synopsis of the contents entered on each paper. Accompanying most of these are letters of guaranty and letters of recommendation, which undergo the same process. The bids, having been again carefully examined, are entered in the book of proposals, each under the appropriate number of the route bid for, and, the entries being completed, they are then ready for the decision of the Postmaster General. The process of letting the con
tracts and sending out the notices to the accepted bidders occupies several weeks, during all of which time not less than a dozen clerks are withdrawn from their current business, and necessarily required to work day and night. These facts are stated to show that the time required to perform the duties assigned to each individual must be greater or less, according to circumstances. Many of the officers and clerks (one-third at least) require an average of nine hours a day to keep up their work: and there are several who are actually employed twelve hours a day for more than half the year; while about one-half of the whole number do not require more than six or seven hours a day to perform the duties assigned them.
The resolution before referred to also requires the Postmaster General to state "what reform and retrenchment may be reasonable and practicable, in diminishing the number of persons so employed in the public service.” In connexion with this branch of the subject, it is proper to state, that the force of the whole office having been found insufficient in 1937, Congress granted an appropriation for the employment of a topographer and seven additional clerks. In 1838, another clerk was employed to keep the appropriation accounts, making a topographer and eight clerks in all, for whom appropriations have been regularly made by Congress up to the 1st January last. No addition of a permanent nature has been made to the clerical force of the Department since 1838, although the labors of the office have been greatly increased, since that period, from various causes. Two of these I will state : 1. Congress added, in 1838, about 750 new mail routes to those then in operation, thereby increasing the amount of labor in the several bureaus of the Department to an extent requiring the services of at least five clerks. 2. The increase in the number of post offices, since the 1st July, 1838, as ascertained on the 1st January last, was 688. Hence it is evident, that if the force of the office in 1838 was barely sufficient to perform the labor then required, that force must now be inadequate, when the business of the Department has been augmented by the addition of the post offices and post routes above stated; for, although the revenue now may be no greater than it was then, there are, notwithstanding, several hundred more mail contractors, and 688 more postmasters in the service, with all of whom more or less correspondence must be maintained. It is obvious that the business of this Department must increase in proportion as the country advances in population, and new avepues of intercommunication are opened and improved. So far, then, from being able to recommend a reduction of the force employed in this Department, I am clearly of opinion that the public interest would suffer by a diminution of the number of clerks now employed. A reduction of post offices, in some sections of the country, may be made without detriment to the public service; and means are now employed to ascertain, as far as it is practicable, such offices, with a view to their discontinuance.
The only hope I can entertain of diminishing the expenditures of this Department is by a faithful administration of it, under existing laws.
In reply to the second resolution, I have the honor to transmit a statement, (marked A,) showing the names of postmasters removed from office, and of the persons appointed in their places, from the 4th March, 1829, the 4th March, 1841, with the exception of a period of 258 days, from the 17th September, 1834, to the 17th July, 1835, when no record was kept showing the causes of the changes of postmasters, whether they arose from death, resignation, or removal. The files embracing that period were, as.