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OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE
The Administrative Assistant Secretary serves as the principal assistant to the Secretary of Labor on all matters of departmental administration and management, directing and controlling the Department's financial affairs and organizational development. He is a member of the Secretary's Policy Committee and the Departmental Operations Committee, acts as the liaison officer with the Congress and Bureau of the Budget on all matters related to appropriations and to budget and management problems, and serves continuously in an advisory capacity to top staff and all bureau heads and their staffs on fiscal matters.
It is the responsibility of the Administrative Assistant Secretary to assure suitable budget preparation and administration of programs through effective management procedures, methods, and review and evaluation. Other general responsibilities include procurement services, communications, library services, control of space, property and records, and safety of working conditions for employees. Surveys, audits, and studies are made regularly to assure the most effective use of manpower and improved methods and equipment.
This has been a very active year for the entire Office of the Administrative Assistant Secretary. Certain organizational and procedural changes took place, and others are planned, in the interest of better operations. New major legislation had its effect in many ways. The variety of activities conducted by the Office during the year is reflected in the specific significant items which follow.
It became evident late in fiscal 1960 that unemployment insurance payments to ex-servicemen and Federal employees would be higher than estimated. Supplemental appropriations to meet this emergency were requested of the Congress. Before approval of the necessary supplementary funds could be effected, some States exhausted their funds for payment of such claims. Through special arrangement, advancement of funds to these States was possible so that payments to unemployed ex-servicemen and Federal employees were not delayed.
Preparatory to the submission of the Department's budget estimates for fiscal year 1962, a series of investigatory visits to all regional and branch offices was made to evaluate all phases of the Department's activities in the field. These investigations, made by top officials, provided the Administrative Assistant Secretary with first-hand information which will be useful and pertinent in the preparation and justification of budgetary presentations.
The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act was approved on September 14, 1959. Considerable staff time was provided during consideration of this legislation in preparatory planning for the administration of the responsibilities to be assigned to the Department. The tight deadlines imposed by the legislation as passed required that handling of the reporting provision of the act be begun immediately. Management and administrative measures were instituted to meet these immediate needs. A staff experienced in enforcement administration could not be readily recruited. However, other bureaus in the Department and outside Government agencies cooperated in making staff available, and the organization was established and operations were started. Among experienced personnel on loan to the Bureau of Labor-Management Reports were 50 investigators furnished by the Civil Service Commission and 25 investigators from the Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions. This staff was loaned on a reimbursable basis, adding work to payroll and accounting processes and control. The Congress quickly appropriated funds to implement the new activity and subsequently provided supplemental funds to support operation during the balance of the fiscal year. Gradually, the Department was able to release the borrowed personnel when permanent staff was recruited by the Office of Personnel.
The increased workload generated by the establishment of the Bureau of Labor-Management Reports taxed the entire staffs of various divisions in this Office. The Division of Procurement had the problems of securing capital items of equipment and of getting special concessions in the prompt printing of the many new forms required; it had to rearrange shuttle bus schedules and provide wider service between the Main Labor Building and the other buildings occupied by personnel of the Department. The Division of Office Services not only had the major task of arranging for vacating of space to be occupied by the new bureau, but also of relocating the old staff in other offices at the various buildings to which they were shifted. Through cooperation of General Services Administration, Public Buildings Service, office space was secured; much of it required alterations, rearrangement of partitions, new fixtures, and redecoration. Negotiating for space to establish new field offices in 25 cities also involved expanded services and need for additional space for other bureaus of the Department such as the Office of the Solicitor, which has responsibility for the legal aspect of the act.
The space shortage has been a major one for this Department, which has had to resort to using for offices the basement space in the Labor Building previously used by the General Services Administration for storage. Sections of three bureaus are now occupying this converted space.
New functions under this new legislation have brought a 62 percent increase in telephone communication changes, about a 14 percent increase in teletype messages, and a 19 percent increase in local and long distance telephone calls. Much overtime work on the part of employees of the divisions was involved; it was performed with unusual interest and effort.
Consolidation of management analysis and related functions has occurred through establishment of a Division of Management Analysis and Development in the Office of the Administrative Assistant Secretary, with a supervisory management analyst as head. Through meetings and consultations, this Division works closely with bureau personnel concerned with these functions and with an intradepartmental committee set up last year to provide better communication and exchange of ideas in the whole field of management analysis and development and utilization of manpower.
Some of the results currently achieved include a preliminary study of administrative functions now performed within bureau regional offices of the Department, with a view to the possibility of consolidating all administrative service resources at one point in each location. Pilot study in one major regional office is to be undertaken as a test of effectiveness.
Another study undertaken this year concerns the feasibility of centralizing at the departmental level all bureau payroll and accounting procedures through the use of more modern mechanized or electronic equipment for certain clerical phases. Through the addition to the staff of a management analyst specialized in automatic data processing, application studies preliminary to such change are to take place.
Review of the entire directives system of the Office of the Secretary has been initiated with a view to determining the need for modifying the current system of departmental level policy issuances, regulations, and related materials.
A management survey of the recruiting and processing of Mexican farm workers for employment in this country was made at the recruitment centers in Mexico and the five reception centers along the U.S. border. The workers are brought into the United States under Public Law 78, which provides for their contracting to agricultural employers in areas where domestic farm workers are not available. Recommendations of the survey group for immediate improvements in registration of workers on arrival, provisions in contracts for subsistence and concession, camp and safety conditions, and transportation facilities have been put into effect. Operational economies and improved service to agricultural workers and their employers are expected to result.
The proposed Employment Security Building to house the U.S. Employment Service for the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Unemployment Compensation Board has proceeded on schedule. Architectural drawings and specifications have been prepared. It is estimated that the contract for construction will be awarded early in 1961 and that building can proceed immediately thereafter. The six-story building will be located on 6th St. between Pennsylvania Ave. and C St. NW.
Employee participation in the savings bond campaign was 55-3 percent. New pledges received numbered 403, increasing the present subscribers to 3,346— highest since World War II.
The Department received the President's Safety Award "honorable mention” citation for advancement of accident prevention among its employees in 1959. The Department of Labor Safety Committee has conducted an active campaign. Quarterly meetings were held. Safety caution Ayers were distributed to all employees just before holidays and vacation periods. The committeee made
periodical inspections for safety of offices; a suggested safety planning program was distributed to bureaus.
Greater responsibility and authority to bureaus in administration of the suggestion and performance award phases of the incentive awards program was accomplished through delegation of the approval and processing of awards.
As revised, the Department's procedures permit cash award approval by the bureaus in amounts up to $500 for suggestions and up to $300 for performance awards to individuals and $500 to groups. Central administrative direction and review will continue at the departmental level.
The best record to date was achieved in that part of the program concerning employee recognition for superior performance. This substantial increase (90 percent over the fiscal year 1959) is attributable to such factors as the delegation of additional authority to the bureaus; the change in the Department's performance rating plan and the training of supervisors in writing performance requirements; and the unusual conditions which affected the Department's work during the past year, which created a climate favorable for the performance of special acts and services leading to award recognition.
These are some examples of outstanding suggestions:
In the Bureau of Employment Security, an employee's suggestion for streamlining a procedure used in recording work contract extension in the Mexican farm labor program resulted in first-year savings estimated at $25,000.
In the Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions, several employees suggested a driver safety awards program to promote safe driving by its staff of over 600 field investigators.
Two contributions under the Department's award program have been chosen by the Civil Service Commission for inclusion in its report on outstanding governmentwide incentive award results.
The Library provides services to the departmental staff, and also to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the President's Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, the President's Committee on Migratory Labor, and the President's Committee on Government Contracts. Its extensive collection of economic and labor material is supplemented by valuable foreign material received through an exchange arrangement with foreign agencies and organizations.
In the last year, circulation of books and periodicals numbered 52,016; reference questions answered totaled 12,182. A total of 1,298 persons not connected with the Department or other government agencies used the Library facilities.
Records holdings as of June 30, 1960, totaled 79,271 cubic feet, an increase of 5,947 cubic feet over the previous year.