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There is no federal code of social and sexual behavior. There is no federal standard of psychiatric excellence. But, this is implied in many of these socalled application forms and personnel questionnaires we have seen.
There is a line between what is Federal business and what is personal business, and Congress must draw that line. The right of privacy must be spelled out.
I urge this committee to give favorable consideration of this legislation to tell the Federal Government that, after crossing the line of privacy, it should mind its own business.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON PRIVILEGES AND ELECTIONS.
Washington, D.C. DEAB SAM: I am very grateful for the opportunity to offer my statement as a co-sponsor of S. 3779.
My testimony is enclosed and I certainly appreciate your kind offer to bave it submitted at the appropriate place in the hearing record. With best personal wishes, I am Sincerely,
HOWARD W. CANNON.
STATEMENT OF U.S. SENATOR HOWARD W. CANNON
Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, I greatly appreciate the opportunity of offering my statement in support of S. 3779. I particularly wish to commend the Chairman on his forthright and courageous leadership in a field which should be of utmost congressional and national concern.
I believe there is a great, though perhaps inarticulate, public sentiment to protect all Americans whether they work for private industry or government from the unwarranted invasion of their privacy and constitutional rights.
The government employee is particularly vulnerable because of the impersonal nature of the federal service and the susceptibility of career government workers to executive department pressures.
My own state of Nevada has been the locale for the most widespread and vicious surreptitious listening by agents of the federal government and several matters relating to these objectionable practices are now pending in the federal courts.
Because of this intrusion into the lives of citizens outside of the government service, I think it is absolutely essential that we make initial attempts now to halt these practices and the federal service is a good place to begin.
I am very much in agreement with the recent observations of the Chairman that never before in our history have so many been burdened with so many questions seeking information about every aspect of their personal and family life. As the Chairman observed, “Big Brother already knows the race, ancestry and sex life of his employees as well as the assets, creditors, cash surrender Talue of their life insurance and the contents of their safe deposit boxes.”
I doubt whether this committee has the time, manpower and funds to fully probe the extent of national treasure and manpower expended to watch other Americans. I believe that the use of psychological and polygraph tests should definitely be restricted to personnel whose employment most directly affects national security.
I am also in agreement with the spokesman for the Letter Carriers who recently wondered aloud if the purpose of the never-ending stream of questionnaires is designed primarily to keep the computers busy. I would endorse the proposal that if all the people working on questionnaires were assigned to the distribution and delivery of mail, the postal service would have its greatest leap forward since the invention of the airmail stamp. This is only one of the multitude of places which robs our government departments of much of their time and productive effort.
Further, I am disturbed about the trend that may be foreseen in a questionDaire known as the U.S. Postal Service Skills Inventory, also known as the Skills
Inventory Bank. My understanding of the "bank” is that it is part of a larger unit to be known as the Federal Service Skills Bank which would involve more than two million government employees. The human resources in this bank are categorized by education, language ability, and other skills—all to be used in deciding on promotions. The greatest emphasis is placed on formal education accomplishments but there is no allowance in this computerized program for human elements of common sense, personality drive, inate leadership ability, etc. It is a system which must fail because it does not recognize that the human being is not a piece of machinery. While I certainly do not in any way minimize the value of higher education and hope that our national progress continues to grow in the field of knowledge, I nevertheless cannot dismiss the importance of experience which can do for people more than education can accomplish in many cases.
This belief was perhaps best expressed by an ancient philosopher who observed that “the more one learns, the more one understands how little one knows."
In summary, I would like to encourage the Subcommittee to presevere in their efforts in this field and again endorse the purpose of this legislation.
STATEMENT OF PAUL PALMER, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, AVIATION
SAFETY & FLIGHT INSPECTION ASSOCIATION
Mr. Chairman, by way of identification of the Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association and in order to establish our legitimate concern at the invasion of privacy of federal employees, we would like to state for the record that we are a professional organization representing the interests of all profes sional employees in the Flight Standards Division of the Federal Aviation Agencr. The Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association represents every facet of safety from the operational standpoint, including the engineering and manufacturing aspects and functions of the Federal Aviation Agency in the on-line inspection and safety monitering of every air-line, air-taxi and individual operator of aircraft in the l'nited States and at certain locations in foreign countries. We hold National Formal Recognition for the employees referred to above.
The Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association at the outset wishes to commend the Chairman of the Sub-committee On Constitutional Rights, and the thirty-four additional Senators who are co-sponsoring S. 3779. Never in the history of the United States Government has the invasion by officials of the government into the private affairs of its employees been so apparent, nor so wide-spread as it is today. This invasion is the legitimate concern of every American citizen; not only those citizens employed by the government but every citizen who believes in the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution of the United States.
In recent months this association has been deluged with letters of protest and phone calls, concerning what appears to be official pressure in filling out ques. tionnaire's relating to the region, national origin, etc., of employees of the Federal Aviation Agency. In almost every case the objector feels that the information is a duplication of information already contained in the personnel jackets of the employees in this Division. In every case, the protesters are of the opinion that the type information solicited is in violation of their basic constitutional rights, and that such information is not needed for any constructive use by the government. In several instances the voluntary nature of the employees response is omitted or not stressed properly. In other instances overzealous managers seem to require the completion of the questionnaires, pointing to the confidential nature of these reports. Mr. Chairman, I submit that any person having knowl. edge of the reporting systems employed by the various agencies of the United States Government, would find it is inconceivable that the content of these questionnaires be confidential. Several employees would have knowledge of their content simply because they are required to follow up and determine if erer! employee has completed such questionnaire; and the filing and handling by the various and sundry employees in the normal processing of the collected data. Another and more serious encroachment upon the privacy of the employee bas been recently initiated involving financial disclosures not only of the employee, but the immediate members of his family. Prefacing the remarks stating that these reports must be filed, is the shaky statement that such information is re quired to prevent conflict of interest by employees of the United States Government.
Mr. Chairman, there are ample laws on the statute books dealing with fraudulent employment, conflicts of interest, etc. The invasion of privacy of the individual employee is serious enough, but the invasion of the privacy of family, relatives and children of the employee is an outrage against a free society.
This forced financial disclosure has caused serious moral problems and feelings by employees that the agencies distrust their integrity. We do not doubt Mr. Chairman, that if every employee was required to file an absolutely honest financial disclosure, that a few, though insignificant number of Conflict of Interest cases may result. However, the discovery of the few legal infractions could in no way justify the damaging effects of forced disclosures of a private nature. Further, it is our opinion that those who are intent on engaging in activities which result in a conflict of interest would hardly supply that information on a questionnaire or financial statement. Many employees have indicated that rather than subject their families to any such unwarranted invasion of their right to privacy, that they are seriously considering other employment outside of Government.
We have had reports of mail interception and phone monitoring in instances where agency officials were attempting to establish a case of malfeasance against einployees who are also ASFIA officers, and who speak out against the agency's unrealistic practices.
The contents of S. 3779 will do much to relieve employees in the Federal Government of these invasions by overzealous management. In fact, this is the most reassuring legislative proposal to be placed before the congress in the memory of many old-time government employees. There are those who proclaim that the objectives of the bill would not be achieved by its enactment. It would, they say, adversely affect the employee it seeks to protect, cause conflict with existing law and result in disservice to the public interest. In analyzing S. 3779 we can see no area that would cause a disservice to the public interest nor adversely affect the employee it seeks to protect. If by the enactment of S. 3779 conflicts with existing laws result, it would appear to the Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association a simple matter to amend S. 3779 by stating that laws or sections thereof to the contrary, are hereby repealed. Inquiry as to race, can serve only one purpose. That is to provide the minority races with preferential treatment regardless of qualifications to hold government employment. The Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association has observed that federal managers' interpretation of title 7, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to mean that they must balance the employment of the Federal Executive System by any and all means arailable to them without respect necessarily to qualifications of the employee in question. Overreaction has already unbalanced the employment picture as is indicated in CSC Pamphlet 65, Issued July 1966.
Mr. Chairman, we submit that the actual preferential treatment of minority groups in employment sought by these federal managers and the Civil Service Commission is a far cry from the intent of Title 7, in which the policy of the l'nited States to insure equal employment opportunity for Federal Employees was proclaimed. The Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association wholeheartedly believes that every individual without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, or religion, should be afforded equal opportunity for employment in every phase of our democracy including the Federal Government. But this right should not be extended to include waiving of applicable qualifications to achieve balance in employment. We hear objections to subsection B as it is written in S. 3779 on the grounds that it would preclude employees development as is outlined in the government employees training manuai. The Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association can see no conflict between S. 3779 and the government employees training act, which authorizes developmental training for federal employees. If such conflict does exist, then it should be a simple matter to amend subsection B to allow for developmental training in government facilities and in private institutions if it can be shown that the training received will be of value in upgrading the employee in his usefulness to the government. Subsection B of S. 3779 is of particular importance to employees of the Federal Government, because of the amount of official notice that has been recorded against employees in the past for not attending outside assemblages, discussions, and/or lectures held or called by outside parties or organizations. The provisions contained in S. 3779 to provide council for an employee in interviews relating to ang phase of his conduct or misconduct which may lead to disciplinary action is of the utmost importance and should be retained. The right of counsel should Deter be denied to any individual whether employed in private industry or the Federal Government.
Federal Employees are not now guaranteed their constitutional rights to privacy, nor counsel, employees are coerced into participating in agency cam. paigns to raise funds. On several occasions we have received complaints from employees indicating that they have been threatened with such things as (1) a supervisor saying, “as an uncooperative employee he could hardly expect a satisfactory annual efficiency report”; (2) That the supervisor would have to make a donation in the name of an employee; and (3) that official note is being taken of those who do not contribute. These practices should be controlled by laws such as those contained in S. 3779. It has been well established that interagency rules are officially overlooked in order to make agency officials look good in the eyes of their supervisors.
It is the right of every individual to own stock, property, or other things of value. It is his right to enjoy the liberty of outside investments, and business ownership. On the flimsy premise that a Conflict of Interest may exist agencies are prying into the holdings not only of the employee, but of his family whether a conflict of interests exist or not. This is a massive invasion of privacy, and holds the employee up to unnecessary embarrassment, and situations which may bring about management coercion of the employee because of these disclosures.
The Aviation Safety and Flight Inspection Association would like to take this opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to express unqualified support for S. 3779 and urge its enactment at the earliest possible moment. Thus, and only thus, can the federal employee expect and receive that precious right to privacy and first class citizenship guaranteed to every American by The Constitution of the United States. Thank you.
A PERSONAL STATEMENT BY SIDNEY GOLDBERG, PUBLISHER AND EXECUTIVE EDITOR
OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' EXCHANGE Mr. CHAIRMAN, Senator Ervin, members of the subcommittee on constitutional rights, my name is Sidney Goldberg. My full time occupation since August, 1947 has been Publisher and Executive Editor of The Government Employees' Exchange, the nation's capital's only independent newspaper devoted exclusively to the affairs of Federal and would-be Federal Government employees. Its readers are located in the metropolitan area of Washington, D.C., throughout the country's fifty states, and throughout the world. I have been variously known since I established this bi-weekly newspaper from the “Federal Job King”, to an "authority” on Federal Government employment. The publication has been cited by its readers as the “bible of Federal employees", and as an "up-to-date directory used by Federal Government management”. Its issues are continually used by students of the Federal Government as basic source material for their theses, articles, and books. It has been generously bestowed with bouquets over the years for the services it performs for Federal employees by themselves, by Federal Government officials, including the nation's Chief Executive, and by you and your brethren in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, Members of Congress.
I am not presenting this paper, Sirs, to give a high-powered "sales pitch" for the publication. I deem it a distinct privilege, pleasure and service for good government to have been invited to present testimony on S. 3779, a Bill more popularly known as the “Bill of Rights for Federal employees", authored by Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., from North Carolina, and co-sponsored, as of September 19, by thirty-six of his colleagues. The views that I will express, of course, will be my own.
Before continuing, I think it is both right and proper to convey to the members of this Subcommittee the strong support and admiration the readers of this newspaper have shown for each member, as expressed in person and in letters to the members of the paper's staff, and especially to me. The readers have said in substance that you, as legislators, have challenged Federal Government man. agement to clear and clean up the gray areas existing in Federal Government employment. Through testimony, confrontation and cross-examination which is denied many employees in the Federal Government-you have managed to elicit both oral and written agreements banning the use of the personality and polygraph test as a condition of continued or potential employment in the seventyodd Federal departments and independent agencies. Members of this Subcom. mittee, and especially the Senator from North Carolina, have let it be known bluntly that they support the basic premises of the Civil Service Act of 1883; that they support the opportunity of all citizens to compete for Federal employment, without reference one way or another—to their race, creed, or national origin, together with other distinguishing characteristics they have, such as the distinguishments provided by sex and physical and mental handicaps.
Without once saying it, Sirs, you have admitted that we are an imperfect people seeking a perfectly operating harmonious society within the United States and also in foreign lands. S. 3779 is an example of this confession, that we humans, Federal employees and other citizens, are afflicted with human frailties. We bave as many opinions on certain or all subjects as there are citizens in our population. The Bill is also an effort to unleash ambition in the Federal service, and a vigorous compaign to encourage enthusiasm in working and living. It is, further, a body blow to those who would continue to reduce the people of the United States to the pathetic role of conformists, and manageable statistics, using the Federal employee as a guinea pig.
In order to get at the heart of this Bill, it is my opinion that it must be initially understood that Federal employees, like yourselves, but unlike other citizens, live in "glass houses”. Living thusly, they seldom—if at all—“throw stones” at their neighbors or fellow employees, aware that if they do they invite a much stronger retaliation that might, in turn, result in the loss of their careers. Thus, like yourselves and unlike other citizens, to prevent this from happening, all of them have second thoughts regarding their obligations to their families and the communities in which they live. They live and work—possibly unlike you and mein a conditioned living and working environment.
To get more realistic about the Federal employee, it is my opinion that some thing should be known about him. He is better educated than his brothers and sisters in private industry, having an average of two-years plus learning in a collegiate institution. As indicated, he is a male, married, 42 years of age and the sole supporter of 2.5 children. He earns a salary of $6,451 a year, which is equivalent to a GS-7.
That he has sacrificed individual attainment for programs of national interest, it is my opinion, reveals not weakness of character but breadth of it. This, Gentlemen, should not allow his superiors to mistakenly translate this characteristic as total submission. In a way, he has in the past accepted the imposition of restrictions as one of the premises of his privileged employment. It is quite evident that he no longer thinks the way he did.
I mentioned previously the employee's living and working environment. When this measure is passed-and I don't have any doubts about it—it is my opinion that he will cease to be shackled by real and/or imaginary barriers that over the Fears have prevented him from considering himself a first-class citizen. It is my opinion that there is no other category for a citizen of these United States. DisClosures such as are demanded of Federal employees and incorporated in this Bill have heretofore prevented this thought. These have stripped him of his dig. nity, of the companion reluctance to express a forthright opinion about his work and his private beliefs, and, more so, have subjected his thoughts of himself to continual harrassment and embarrassment. Until he is freed from his chains of inhibitions, he will always be conscious of his status as a transient and the insecurity and fear that are constant companions of the migratory worker, so vividly painted in Tobacco Road, The Grapes of Wrath, Christ in. Concrete, and Of Jlice and Men. Gentlemen, this Bill offers him the opportunity to plant his tree of dignity as a citizen. He sees no reason to abide by another set of rules because he is an employee of the Federal Government.
Though he is constantly informed that working for the Federal Government is à privilege and indeed, it is Sirs--as President Eisenhower once said, he is constantly thrashed by threats, coercion and innuendoes of official action by his superiors. That "inalienable right” accorded to all citizens, he considers “for the birds” when tested by Federal employees. Testimony on record at the Civil Service Commission and other Federal agencies indicates that he is a chronic loser in the presentation of a grievance to be resolved by the agency or agencies, especially in suitability cases.
Chairmen of the Civil Service Commission, since Robert Ramspeck served in that office under President Truman, have tried with varying degrees of success to extract these feelings of inferiority from Federal employees but have been forced to recommend to the nation's Chief Executive more paternalistic fringe benefits in their place.
John W. Macy, Jr., the current Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, inaugurated in 1961, the "quest for quality" talent in the Federal service. Since