Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 85
CHAPTER V CENTRAL FINANCIAL CONTROL IN MASSACHUSETTS Although the legislation which during the past ten years has built up a thoroughgoing system of central financial control in Massachu- setts has not been so widely known as that of Illinois, the results achieved have been strikingly similar. The steady growth of con- trolling authority in the hands of financial officials has been so remarkable that special attention will be given to it. GENERAL VIEW OF THE LEGAL PROVISIONS For a few years central control in Massachusetts seemed to be likely to rest directly in the state legislature rather than in the executive; but the change in the political situation in 1916 which restored the Republican party to complete power, and the work of the Constitu- tional Convention in 1918, combined to establish a very broad executive control, now operating through the Commission on Adminis- tration of Finance. This legislation had its inception in a law of 191026 by which the governor was authorized to pass upon all estimates and proposals for revenue. It should be said that for many years estimates of expendi- ture had been prepared by the various agencies and tabulated, but not reviewed by the state auditor. The legislation of 1910 undertook for the first time in the American states to vest-in-the governor power of budget control. The measure failed, owing primarily to the lack of staff assistance to enable the governor to make intelligent criticism, and in part to the difference in political views held by the governor, a Democrat, and the legislature, controlled by the Republican party. Two years later, the same political situation prevailing, the legisla- ture resumed full control of the budget-making process, and at the same time provided machinery for the review and revision of esti- mates by a Commission on Economy and Efficiency.27 This Commis- sion, although appointed by the governor, was required to report to the legislature, and for the first time in 1913 presented a set of revised estimates. Since this date, the estimates of the different departments have been subject to revision by some central state 25 The legislature, however, still plays an important role in making appropria- tions, and leadership in budget affairs is shared by the governor and the Joint Ways and Means Committee. The best exposition of the financial policy of the state is still to be found in the budget speech of the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. "Laws of 1910, ch. 220. 7 Laws of 1912, ch. 719. 85
OCR for page 86
86 FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH authority. In 1916 the Commission was replaced by an official known as the supervisor of administration, with the same power of budget review.28 The trend of opinion was, however, toward an executive budget, a trend which was emphasized by the complete restoration of the Republican party to power in the state in 1916. Two important events occurred in 1918 to emphasize this tendency, one, the enactment of a budget act by the General Court, establishing the principle of executive leadership and responsibility in financial matters; the other, the approval of a constitutional amendment to the same purpose.29 The statute required every officer and board to submit annually to the supervisor of administration statements show- ing the amounts appropriated for the current fiscal year, and estimates of the amount required for the ensuing fiscal year. "The supervisor of administration shall study and reviewer all estimates and requests for appropriations and shall make such investigations as may be neces- sary to enable him to prepare a budget for the governor, setting forth such recommendations as the governor shall determine upon." The budget was required to contain in detail definite recommendations of the governor relative to the amounts which should be appropriated. In 1919 the legislature enacted an important act which consolidated over two hundred government offices into twenty departments, plus several which were attached directly to the governor's office.30 This legislation brought into play the principle of subordination of small offices to a large department and greatly simplified the process of administering the budget and other phases of central control. In contrast with similar statutes in other states, the Agricultural College at Amherst was made a part of the Department of Education.3t The present controlling machinery is the product of a statute enacted in 1922.32 This law established the Commission on Administration and Finance, a body consisting of four members appointed by the governor and council for terms of four years, one retiring annually. As the governor's term is two years, no governor can control the com- mission during his first tern; a tradition of one reselection for the governor, however, prevails in Massachusetts, and to date the com- mission has been thoroughly in sympathy with the financial plans of the governor. The commission is organized into three bureaus a comptroller's bureau, a budget bureau, and a purchasing bureau and includes a division of personnel and standardization. When the com 28Laws of 1916, ch. 296. Laws of 191S, oh. 244, Amendment 63. lo Laws of 1919, ch. 350. 31 The history of the Massachusetts budget is ably developed by Luther Gulick The Evolution of the Budget in Massachusetts. 32 Laws of 1922, ch. 545.
OCR for page 87
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS 87 mission acts as a board, each commissioner has an equal voice; in case of a tie vote,- the board calls upon the governor to decide the issue. Practically all elements of the present Massachusetts system of financial control now center in this commission, to wit: accounting control; budget making; purchasing; control of printing; control of out-of-state travel; and determination of questions of personnel. Its importance is therefore obvious. Before proceeding to the description of the operation of the Massa- chusetts system, brief attention will be given to the development of other phases of central control. Prior to 1916 the supervisor of accounts in the auditor's office was authorized to inquire into the methods used in purchasing supplies and to recommend changes to the auditor. This power does not seem to have been used effectively; and in 1916 it was transferred to the newly created office of supervisor of administration. The supervisor was authorized, after a hearing, and with the consent of the governor and council, to make rules and regulations governing the purchase of stores. For the next three years, study of purchasing methods was carried on which resulted in a recommendation for central purchasing of office furniture, equip- ment, supplies and stationery.33 This recommendation was adopted in 1919 and made a part of the reorganization act of that year.34 Complete centralization of purchasing has not, however, been accom- plished; and scientific apparatus and supplies in particular are still purchased as a rule by the department or division concerned. Some degree of supervision over printing was found as early as 1902. In that year a State Board of Publication was created "to examine the annual reports and all special reports and other docu- ments issued by the Commonwealth and to define the form and content thereof." Any special reports were allowed if deemed by the Board of Publication "to be of practical utility." Statements of the scope and estimates of the size of each publication were required to be sub- mitted to the Board of Publication in which was vested power to determine the number of pages, and the inclusion of ~naps, plans, photogravures, or other illustrations. An appeal to the governor and council was allowed.35 The general statutes of 1860 authorized the secretary of the Commonwealth, with the advice and consent of the governor and council, to omit all unnecessary and improper portions of departmental reports, but this power does not appear to have been edective.36 In 1916 the power of the Board of Publication was trans 38 House Document 1378, 1919. 34 Laws 1919, ch. 350, sec. 17-23. 35 Laws 1902, ch. 438. General Statutes 1860, ch. 4, sec. 2.
OCR for page 88
88 FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH ferred to the supervisor of administration, and in 1922 to the Com- mission on Administration and Finance. [Discussion of the operation of printing control will be found below. In 1916 a special committee of the governor's council commenced a study of the salary problem in Massachusetts, assisted by the super- visor of administration. Subsequently a standardized salary scale was established for all positions in the state service, and its adminis- tration was given to the supervisor of administration, later the director of the personnel division of the Commission on Administration and Finance. The control over personnel has since 'extended to include not only the determination of salary levels and the assignment of specific positions to their appropriate grade but also the power to approve the filling of every vacancy and the establishment of every new position. No new position can be created and no vacancy filled without the prior approval of the commission. This authority is intended to guard against the retention of unnecessary employees, but it is-obvious that it also furnishes a means by which the expansion of a division can be influenced and the special lines of development largely controlled. A scientific bureau or institution in Massachusetts is therefore subject to control in the following particulars: 1. Its estimates of expenditures are reviewed and may be reduced by the budget commissioner. 2. Its accounting methods are fixed by the Commission on Adminis- tration and Finance. 3. Its printing is controlled by the commission as to substance, form, and amount. 4. Its salary 'schedules are governed by the director of personnel. 5. Appointments to vacancies or new positions are controlled by the director of personnel. 6. Purchasing of most standardized equipment, not including as a rule laboratory supplies and equipment, is governed by a purchasing agent. 7. Travel out of the state is governed by the budget commissioner acting on behalf of the governor. In all cases an appeal may be taken to the governor or to the governor and council or to the Finance Committee of the council against decisions of the Commission on Administration and Finance or its members acting individually. ACCOUNTING CONTROL Accounting control was transferred in 1922 from the state auditor to the Comptroller's Bureau of the Commission on Administration and
OCR for page 89
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS S(3 Finance. As no special significance attaches to the supervision of state accounts in Massachusetts, further reference to this phase of the work of the commission will be omitted. BUDGET CONTROL The law concerning budget operations has remained essentially unchanged since its enactment in 1918. Every officer or board submits annual estimates to the budget commissioner (a member of the Com- mission on Administration and Finance) showing in detail the requests for the ensuing fiscal year. New or special purposes or objects are separately submitted. The budget commissioner studies and reviews all estimates and requests for appropriations, makes such investiga- tions as may be necessary, and prepares a budget for the governor, containing his detailed recommendations. The law authorized the governor to submit supplementary budgets and the practice now is for the governor to submit one supplementary budget containing estimates made necessary by current legislation, or made possible by enlarged revenues. At the time the estimates are under consideration by the budget commissioner, the heads of departments are called into consultation with him to explain and defend their departmental estimates. Divi- sion heads usually are not called in consultation. The decision of the budget commissioner is not known until the printed budget appears about the second or third week in January. The budget is considered by the Joint Ways and Means Committee of the General Court before which appear the budget commissioner and the heads of departments and institutions. The latter are entirely free again to make the state- ment of their case and to request the committee to override the recom- mendation of the budget commissioner and the governor; but such a request is seldom heeded. Thus only about $400,000 was added to the governor's budget in 1924, on a recommendation of about $42,000,000. The budget commissioner, governor, and Ways and Means Committee have thus far been nearly a unit in their views of desirable expendi- tures. This brings it about that the decisions of the budget commis- sioner acquire a potency which is easily exaggerated. To administra- tive officials it sometimes appears that the budget commissioner alone is in effect deciding how much money they shall be allowed during the next fiscal year. This is true, of course, only in so far as the governor and Ways and Means Committee sustain his recommendations. To the extent, however, that either of these authorities is unable by pressure of business, lack of time, or other considerations, to examine carefully the claims of the Various departments for increased expendi- tures, the original recommendation of the budget commissioner is in
OCR for page 90
go FINANCIAL CONTROL OF-RESEARCH eject conclusive. As a matter of fact, important controversial claims for expenditure are examined with some care by the Ways and Means Committee and by the governor. The policy of the budget authorities and of the legislature for the last five years has; been to enforce rigid economy in state expenditures. The total original estimates and the budget recommendations for these years are shown in the following table: TABLE XXI.-Table Showing Budget Reductions in Massachusetts.a Year 1920........... 1921. . 1922...... 1923...... 1924. . . . . . Original Budget estimates recommendations 48,338,640 36,696,349 . 51,947,688 40,043,110 . 49,987,341 42,146,943 . 51,865,264 42,114,247 . 49,950,924 41,903,069 Decrease 11,642,291 11,904,578 7,840,398 9,751,017 8,047,855 a Figures taken from budget speech of Henry L. Shattuck, chairman of Ways and Means Committee. This policy naturally tends to create a certain amount of friction between the departments which properly see: the desirability of enlarged expenditures in connection with their work and the budget officials, who strive, primarily, to reduce expenditures to a minimum. Yet if it is remembered that the ultimate decisions on the amount of money appropriated are those of the General Court and the governor, and that the departments have a full opportunity to present their case before the budget commissioner, the governor and the Ways and Means Committee, it is apparent that the budget commissioner is in no proper sense of the word a clog on the development of the financial support of the different services. The amount appropriated has always fallen short of the amount requested. This was true in pre-budget days and has been true since. In pre-budget days in Massachusetts, however, appropriations were made in a hit or miss fashion and deficits made up through bond issues; since the adoption of the budget system the legislature attempts to provide a well-balanced program, based on a thorough advance study of the relative needs of the departments. The following table shows the original estimate, approved estimate, the decrease recommended, the appropriation, and its increase over the approved estimate for recent years. From this table it appears that the supervisor of administration and the budget commissioner have made almost invariable cuts in the requests of the scientific
OCR for page 91
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS TABLE XXII. 91 Scientific unit 1924 Department of Agriculture: Ornithology................. Agricultural Information...... Department of Conservation: Biological Work.............. Department of Mental Diseases: Investigation................. Department of Health: Antitoxin and Vaccine......... Wasserman Laboratory........ Food and Drugs. . . Water and Sewage Laboratory. . Agricultural Experiment Station. . 1923 Department of Agriculture: Ornithology....... Agricultural Information ; Department of Conservation: Fish and Game Biological Work. Department of Mental Diseases: Investigation....... Department of Health: Antitoxin and Vaccine.... Wasserman Laboratory........ Food and Drugs.............. Water and Sewage Laboratories. Agricultural Experiment Station . . 1922 Department of Agriculture: Ornithology............. Agricultural Information. . Department of Conservation: Biological work........... Department of Mental Diseases: Investigation............. Department of Health: Antitoxin and Vaccine..... Wasserman Laboratory.... . . . . Original estimate 7,400 13,880 9,510 16,000 76,136 17,800 63,418 38,761 1 109,985 . 7,677 17,125 9,350 25,000 63,070 15,500 43,750 35,835 92,420 5,475 17,385 Ap proved estimate 5,000 11,500 6,500 7,000 75,000 17,000 56,360 38,700 94,000 5,000 13,700 6,800 5,000 62,000 15,400 43,750 35,700 83,000 4,150 13,700 9,630 6,700 3,000 3,000 57,457 .... 14,980 * Decrease. Indicates a supplementary appropriation. 55,500 14,280 , 8 2,950 De crease 2,400 2,380 3,010 9,000 1 1,136 200 7,118 61 15,985 2,677 3,425 2,550 20,000 1,070 100 o 135 9,420 1,325 3,685 2,930 o 1,957 700 Appro priation 6,400 11,500 6,500 7,000 75,000 17,800 _ S 189 57,300 1,000 82,270 38,700 8 1 ~ ooo Not obt Increase 1,400 o o o o 2()n 5,000 13,700 6,800 25,000 20,000 65,620 3,620 16,600 1,200 48,750 5,000 37,200 1,500 84,750 1,750 4,150 13,700 o ainable o o o 6,700 3,000 60,100 12,257 8 2,950 o o o o 4,600 * 2,023
OCR for page 92
92 Scientific unit Food and Drugs....... Water and Sewage Laboratories. Agricultural Experiment Station. . 1921 Department of Agriculture: Ornithology.... Agricultural Information Department of Conservation: Biological Work....... Department of Mental Diseases: Investigation................. Department of Health: Antitoxin and Vaccine........ Wasserman Laboratory........ Food and Drugs.............. Water and Sewage Laboratories. Agricultural Experiment Station. . ....... ....... FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH TABLE XXII. Continued Original Ap- De- Appro estimate proved crease priation estimate 42,65042,00065042,000 600 8 600 36,64535,90074536,400 8 225 8 225 90,91077,30013,61077,300 5,0654,1509154,405 15,59012,7002,89014,223 ~ 1,000 9,9557,1402,8156,450 7,0004,0003,0002,993 51,98551,60038553,110 9,8679,70016714,283 44,03043,17086040,833 36,30034,8251,47534,304 136,76176,80059,96174,800 In crease o o 500 o o 300 1,523 * 690 * 1,007 1,510 4~,416 * 2,337 *521 *2,000 * Decrease. s Indicates a supplementary appropriation. agencies, and in many cases very substantial cuts on a percentage basis. The legislature has on the whole tended to make a partial restoration of these cuts, but in general follows rather closely the recommendations of the budget commissioner. true in 1922 and 1924. Table XXIII shows the appropriations for a recent period of years for a number of scientific institutions and the corresponding, figure for the whole state. The figures were taken from the appropria- tion acts, except in the case of the Agricultural Experiment Station, figures for which were compiled from data given in the annual budgets. It was not possible to segregate additions and betterments as in analogous tables in earlier chapters. If the year 1920 be taken as a base, the annual variation appears as shown in Table XXIV. This table indicates clearly that the appropriations for scientific purposes have more than held their own in comparison with total state appropriations. This was especially
OCR for page 93
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS 93 TABLE XXIII. Appropriations to Certain Scientific Divisions in Massachusetts, 1920 - 1924.a Scientific unit Division of Ornithol ogy. .. . .. Division of Agricul tural Information. . Biological Work..... Department of Mental Diseases: Investigation . . .. Department of Health: Antitoxin and Vaccine....... Wasserman Laboratory. . . Food and Drugs. Dater and Sew age Labora tories...... Agricultural Experi ment Station...... Totals........ State Appropriations. 1920 19211922 1923 . 4,070 4,4054,150 5,000 . 14,450 15,22313,700 13,700 . 6,530 6,4506,700 6,800 . 8,000 2,9933,000 25,000 . 56,240 53,11060,100 65,620 .......... 14,283 15,207 16,600 39,750 40,833 42,600 48,750 33,500 34,304 36,625 37,200 . 56,000 74,800 77,300 84,750 _ . . . . 218,540 246,401 259,182 313,420 . 43,449,091 42,677,958 45,811,913 49,293,120 1924 6,400 11,500 6,500 7,000 75,000 17,989 59,570 39,700 b 85,000 308,659 44,277,792 a Compiled from annual budgets. b Estimated TABLE SHIV. Year 1920...... 1921.................. 1922.................. 1923.................. 1924. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . State 100 98 105 111 106 Scientific divisions 100 112 118 143 141 Consultation with the heads of departments and with the directors of many scientific divisions did not reveal dissatisfaction with the budget-making process. There was criticism of the individual deci
OCR for page 94
94 FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH signs made by the budget commissioner, and a feeling that in some cases there existed lack of sympathy with the work of the division concerned. Some scientific divisions, however, secured practically everything they requested. On all sides it was agreed that the law provided adequate opportunity for the presentation of the requests of the departments; but it was frequently asserted that in practice the opportunity to confer with the budget commissioner or to appear before the Ways and Means Committee was, in fact, fruitless. This assertion means in erect that the need did not appear urgent enough to the budget authorities to warrant additional expenditure; and while this may appear at times as a hardship, it is an inconvenience which all public authorities must necessarily accept as a condition of their status. The view of the ultimate political authorities of the state as to the extent to which they wish to support research is of course an important issue, but after all not the issue to which this report is addressed. It would be desirable from the point of view of the scientist to be subj ect solely to the review of a body of fellow scientists; but, inasmuch as the source of financial support is the general treasury- supported by taxation there seems no escape from the conclusion that their requests must also be reviewed by the authorities responsible for the levy, collection, and appropriation of public funds. The Massachusetts budget is not highly itemized. The usual appro- priation carries two items of a general character personal services, and travel and other expenses and may carry further items for special work. Except for the salaries of the heads of departments, individual salaries are rarely specified. This does not, however, imply much discretion in the department or head of a scientific bureau, because there is a strict administrative control of salary scales which in Massa- chusetts replaces the legislative control found in other states. There is no system of departmental or division contingent funds. The various estimates are figured out closely and no leeway is left to the operating bureau except as it is free to modify the allotment of funds suggested in the detailed budget and provided by the appropria- tion act. A single contingent fund exists for the payment of extraor- dinary expenses and for transfer to cover deficiencies, with the approval of the governor and council. Table XXV shows the amount of this fund for recent years. It should be noted that heads of departments and divisions are free to change the apportionment of funds within an appropriation from the original apportionment made in the preliminary estimates. The fact that Massachusetts has an annual appropriation also tends to
OCR for page 95
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS 95 relieve somewhat the inelasticity frequently found in appropriation acts. Not only is it easier to make accurate annual estimates but the likelihood of unexpected demands for expenditure is less. TABLE XXV. Year Amount 1 1918 100,000 1919 100,000 1920 100,000 1921 100,000 , 1922 100,000 1923 100,000 I 1924 100,000 CURRENT REVIEW OF VOUCHERS No machinery in Massachusetts corresponds to that found in Illinois by which expenditures in general may be questioned on grounds of expediency. Special cases analogous to the Illinois rule do exist, however. Thus, proposed expenditures for personnel either in filling a vacancy or creating a new position are subject to approval of the director of the Division of Personnel and Standardization on grounds of expediency. Proposed expenditures for printing are subject to the same approval. All vouchers, of course, pass through the auditor's office, where their legality and correctness are checked before payment is allowed. CENTRALIZED PURCHASING A steady trend toward central purchasing has shown itself in Massa- chusetts, so that at the present time staples and standardized material purchased in large quantities are secured through a purchasing agent, a member of the Commission on Administration and Finance. The Department of Health has its own purchasing agent. Consultation with the heads of scientific bureaus and departments revealed no serious difficulty with purchasing methods. For the purchase of scientific apparatus, a release can ordinarily be secured; and for other special purposes, exact specifications, including the particular brand and quality desired, ensure the purchase of satisiac- tory supplies. To a substantial degree, therefore, scientific depart- ments control the purchase of their scientific equipment and supplies.
OCR for page 96
96 FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH THE CONTROL OF PRINTING Of all the elements of central supervision, printing control at the present time in Massachusetts is giving rise to the most acute difler- ences of opinion, and furnishes perhaps the most extreme illustration of the extension of the authority of financial officers. The act establishing the Commission on Administration and Finance vested in the Division of Personnel and Standardization authority "to supervise the printing of the Commonwealth." This brief statement served to transfer the power of the former supervisor of administration to the commission. The supervisor of administration in turn suc- ceeded to the duties of the old Board of Publication whose duties were prescribed in the statute of 1902. They were "to examine the annual reports and all special reports issued by or on behalf of the Common- wealth by any public officer, board, or commission and to define the form and content thereof." Public officers may in addition to their annual reports make such special reports as shall be deemed by the Board of Publication "to be of practical utility." The board was authorized to determine the number of pages and the inclusion of maps and illustrations "and no such report shall be published unless it bears the certified approval of the state board of publication." An appeal was allowed to the governor and council. After 1918 the total number of each edition was to be fixed by the supervisor of administration.37 The supervisor of administration used this power to a considerable degree. The following table shows the extent in terms of reports submitted, approved, and rejected: TABLE XXVI. Year 1916*..... 1917...... 1918...... 1919...... 1920...... 1921...... Total number Approved with of reports Approved modifications submitted , . 114 83 27 328 277 51 296 192 101 394 not given not given 422 not given not given 488 not given not given Rejected 4 1 3 not given 3 6 *From August 7 to December 31. a7 Laws 1918, ch. 189.
OCR for page 97
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS 97 The first report of the Commission on Administration and Finance reveals a vigorous intention to eliminate as much printing as possible. "For six years departmental reports and certain other publications of the public document series have been edited. During the last year, editing has been extended to include everything offered for printing. Each document is first read to determine whether printing is justified. In the past the state has printed an enormous quantity of unnecessary matter. The commissioner has adopted the general rule that state printing should be limited to documents required by law and those others which it is the duty of the state to print. In accordance with this policy, the publication of many documents has been refused, subject to the right of appeal to the governor and council.3S "If it is decided that the document should be published, it is read again to exclude any matter irrelevant and unnecessary. Annual reports of many depart- ments had become voluminous, the authors failing to realize that a brief report is more likely to be read." 39 In addition to editing, the Commission on- Administration and Finance also determines the form of publication, the quantity to be printed, and the kind of paper to be used. The results of this super- vision are given by the commission as follows: Cost of miscellaneous printing and paper in 1922........ Cost of miscellaneous printing and paper in 1923......... Decrease ............................ - .$607,748 ............... 406,278 ........................... $201,475 There can be no doubt that in Massachusetts as in other states a very large amount of unnecessary and extravagant printing has been done. The demand for governmental saving has very properly insisted upon more care in the amount and character of state printing. The chief issue involved in the printing situation turns on the advisability of allowing the Commission on Administration and Finance power to deny ire toto the right of publication of a scientific contribution approved by the scientific bureau or institution and by the department of which it is a part. In law it is clear that the commission possesses this power, and in fact it has used the power in cases which have produced irritation and dismay in the minds of scientists responsible for certain branches of scientific inquiry. The writer has reached the conclusion from examination of the situation in various states that the decision as to what should be printed in the nature of a contribution to science prepared in the regular course of work of a state bureau, and within the appropriation made by the general court, should be made by the bureau subject only to the supervision of the head of the department. The writer is not unmindful of the difficulties involved in making an exception to a principle which on the whole seems justified. It may be said that if 88 The exact number is not given. "Public Document 140, pp. ~7, 1923.
OCR for page 98
98 FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH an exception is made in favor of scientific publications, it will be impossible in erect to draw the line between scientific and non-scien~ tific bureaus, and between scientific and quasi-scientific publications. To draw such a line may be difficult, but a large part of administration consists, in fact, of drawing and maintaining difficult lines of distinc- tion. It may be said that scientists are no more inclined to care and sound judgment in questions of what is wise to print than other men; and there are cases enough of poor judgment to lend color to this charge. The writer believes that some supervision is necessary and suggests that the approval of the head of the department be required. It must be remembered also that a check is found in the gross amount of the appropriation which is automatic although undiscriminating. On what grounds can the supervision of the department head be justified while the supervision of the Commission on Administration and Finance is denied? Primarily on the ground that the view of the department head is more likely to be the correct view than that of the budget commissioner. The head of the department, especially in Massachusetts, is likely to be himself a professionally trained man cognizant of the relative value of a research product. The members of the Commission on Administration and Finance are likely to be trained in accounting, business procedure and law, and are not usually cognizant of the value of research products. The head of the depart- ~nent is in daily contact with the scientific bureaus, has an intimate knowledge of their work, and a well-grounded estimate of the value of research workers. The budget commissioner is in far less intimate contact with the scientific bureaus, and then chiefly in connection with the business phase of their work, and he has a less favorable opportunity to form a judgment on the worth of scientific workers. The head of the department usually has an opportunity to influence the line of investigation undertaken by the research divisions; the commission does not have this opportunity. The head of the depart- ment is recognized by the chiefs of its divisions as their superior and his judgment is likely to be accepted without friction or a feeling of discontent; the commission is not recognized by scientific men as com- petent to act as their superior in this respect and its decisions are likely to be received with dissatisfaction and discontent. Assuming that the state finds it necessary and desirable to carry on a minimum amount of scientific research, it must provide the conditions under which research can be accomplished. To do this means conditions under which competent research men can be secured and held in continuous employment. The lack of professional recog- nition which comes from failure to publish results of scientific value achieved through an investigation authorized by the bureau or institu
OCR for page 99
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS 99 tion can have only harmful results. The fear induced by refusal of some manuscripts is nearly as harmful as the outright refusal of many. The edect is to cause the resignation of men with scientific training and the ability to prosecute research which is not so common as might be presumed- in order to take positions in which professional recognition can be secured. From the point of view of even a narrow efficiency, therefore, it is desirable to furnish incentives to research men adequate to maintain a high morale. In state service, in contrast with industrial research, those incentives cannot be found in salaries. They can be found in large part in the professional recognition which comes from the publication of meritorious scientific work. The ques- tion of merit is best determined by the scientific division and department. The writer found the morale of several scientific groups seriously impaired by the printing policy of the Commission on Administration and Finance. Its continuance would seem likely to disrupt the scien- tific divisions through the resignation of members of the staff and the dissatisfaction of those who remain. A bill is pending in the present session of the General Court to exempt research publications of the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station from the approval of the Division of Personnel and Standardization, but it seems unlikely that the bill will be passed. THE CONTROL OF TRAVEL No travel outside of the state is allowed except with the consent of the governor, who has delegated his power of approval to the budget commissioner. The commissioner handles each case individually, but is likely to allow one trip a year outside the state in order to attend a scientific convention or meeting. There is a feeling of dissatisfaction with this solution of the travel problem. It has been suggested on behalf of the Agricultural College that the budget commissioner might properly fix the total amount of out-of-state travel, allowing the college authorities to distribute the amount for such purposes as should seem to them most desirable. This would ensure a degree of control and at the same time leave some clis- cretion in the use of the money to those who presumably are most competent to decide upon the relative importance of different trips. This policy would, of course, be feasible only if the institutions and departments kept strictly within the amounts agreed upon; as soon as any special request should be made for an additional amount, the question of the use of the funds originally granted would necessarily arise. The use of the money should be reported to the commission also as a basis for budget making in the succeeding year.
OCR for page 100
100 FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH THE CONTROL OF PERSON NEL Central control of personnel by an administrative once has been more fully developed in Massachusetts than in the other states included in this study. Prior to 1918 salary scales and salary increases were governed by no general or established rule; the treatment of each department was approximately in accordance with the degree of insistence of its director. The resulting situation is best described in the words of the Council Committee on Standardization of Salaries.~° "One of the greatest weaknesses of our State service appears to have arisen from the fact that each department has been practically an independent unit, exercising virtual control and discretion over the duties, qualifications and com- pensation of its own employees. Such-- clerical force has been employed as the department head has deemed advisable- the only check upon expenditures being oftentimes the limitation in the amount of appropriation obtainable for carrying on the work. To secure such appropriations it has been frequently necessary to exert strong pressure on the Council and Legislature. "In consequence of the above situation, there are at present almost as many different methods of dealing with the employment problem as there are organi- zation units. While the creation of the Commission on Economy and Efficiency was an endeavor to check somewhat undue expenditures in this as in other directions, there has been no intensive effort heretofore to establish an all- embracing practical plan of standardization. The lack of such standards is evidenced by Irregularity in rates of pay for similar or related work. Multiplicity of titles, many of which are unnecessary and misleading. Unsystematic and in many instances unjust methods for advancement and promotion. Great waste of energy and time on the part of the Council and Legislature in discussing details of relatively small importance concerning personal service, and without any adequate basis upon which to form proper conclusions. "Departments also perform their functions under difficulties because the admin- istrative heads, absorbed with consideration of large policies, often give little thought to the adjustment of the personnel of their offices, leaving such matters to subordinates, many of whom have been so long in the service and become so accustomed to established methods and traditions that they practically never attempt to initiate changes to meet new conditions, or in any way to improve departmental practice. "Probably nothing has contributed as much to lower the standard of efficiency of State employees as has the present haphazard and irregular way of advance- ment and promotion and of fixing salaries. There is absolutely rho uniformity of practice with respect to granting increases. Many salaries are raised auto- matically up to a fixed maximum by statute regulation. Those thus affected are stenographers, clerks, watchmen, policemen, etc. For other employments increases are made the subject of individual action; necessitating the approval either of the Council or the Legislature. For increases in statutory positions, legislative hearings before at least two committees are necessary, followed by 4° House Report No. 1175, 1918. Report of the Special Committee of the Executive Council on the Standardization of Salaries in the State Service.
OCR for page 101
IN STATE GOVERNMENTS 101 action by both branches and final approval of the Governor. Delays under this procedure are absolutely certain. Many meritorious requests are held up for years, and seldom is action taken under several months. Action by the Council, while far more expeditious, is not at all uniform, for lack of sufficient data on which to make comparisons and appraisals. Even when special reports are requested from the Supervisor of Administration, the lack of a basis on which to form logical conclusions is painfully apparent. "Because of this, modest and retiring employees not desiring the publicity or uncertainty incident to a controversy before the Council or Legislature seldom attain their just deserts. Others, more bold and worldly-wise, have not hesitated to importune their political friends, and often through such influence and by favoritism have been able to succeed even where no merit appears to have warranted such action. There is also a great divergence of feeling on the part of departmental heads concerning the recommending of salary increases-some being ultra-conservative and others leaning in the direction of liberality. "There is too little recognition of the competent and too great protection of the incompetent. In many instances practically no premium is placed upon demonstrated merit, efficiency or length of service." The general court authorized the supervisor of administration to classify all positions except those in the legislative and judicial depart- ments.41 Such a classification was completed and installed. The present Commission on Administration and Finance not only has inherited the power to administer the classification, but has acquired also the additional authority to approve the creation of all new posi- tions and the filling of all vacancies, that is, no new position can be established by a department and no vacancy can be filled except with the consent of the commission, acting -through the Division of Per- sonnel and Standardization. Obviously, the purpose of this control is to eliminate unnecessary positions. The determination of what is a necessary position is made by the director of the division of personnel and standardization, sub- ject to an appeal to the governor and council. The practical possibility of prosecuting such appeals is limited. The effect of Resting this control is to vest indirectly a broad power of determining the policy of the various departments and institutions affected. Thus, if the director of personnel disbelieves in the advisability of prosecuting a given line of investigation, he can soon bring it to an end by refusing to allow vacancies to be filled, or new appointments to be made. On the other hand, if some activity seems to him to be desirable, he can rapidly expand it by allowing all proposed expenditures for personnel in that direction. The development of research is thus more or less at the mercy of an administrator who makes his decisions on personnel either on grounds which are unconnected with the desirability of research, or on the grounds of the advisability of certain types of 4' Laws 1918, ch. 228.
OCR for page 102
102 FINANCIAL CONTROL OF RESEARCH investigation which he cannot normally be expected to be qualified to judge. Enough evidence of this tendency was observed in Massa- chusetts to make it clear that the issue is important. Classification of salaries has another common disadvantage for which no easy solution appears. The salary scales are fixed at certain levels, usually with maximum and minimum figures, and increases are made uniform in order to ensure equality and fairness of treatment to all alike in accordance with demonstrated efficiency. In order to ensure "equal pay for equal work" a certain degree of rigidity is pre- sumably necessary. Such rigidity makes it impossible to meet a very common circumstance; when a scientific worker is offered another position at a substantial increase of salary, the state cannot retain his services by meeting the offer at least part way. It is usually the ablest men who in fact receive offers of employment elsewhere, and there is thus a tendency, probably always existent in government employment but intensified by classification of salaries and promo- tions, to lose the best men in scientific work. An industrial laboratory is perfectly free in this respect; if the director feels that the man is worth a large increase, he can secure it and hold his staff together. Endowed universities are perhaps midway between the state and the industrial laboratory in this respect. Conversation with scientific men in Massachusetts indicated that the rigidity of salary scales had proved to be a detriment in some cases. The fear was expressed that the eventual result would be to hold in state service only men of moderate ability, or men with political influence. The latter horn of the dilemma seems unlikely so far as scientific employees are concerned. Probably the more serious issue in the long run is to be found in the fact that control over the program and policy of an institution or department flows from the power to withhold approval of new positions and the filling of vacancies. Within the limits fixed by the appropria- tion, it seems clearly wiser to leave the development of each division and institution to the responsible head thereof; and.in the case of scientific agencies this seems to be particularly true on account of the special character of the work which they perform. In order to ensure economy it is entirely proper for the Commission on Administration and Finance to require prior notice of appointments to vacancies or new positions; and in the case of non-scientific positions in a scientific agency it should be entitled to discuss the matter with the division concerned, and, if desired, to bring the case to the attention of the governor. So far as research appointments are concerned, the writer feels that if the state desires supervision of such appointments, it
OCR for page 103
IN STA TE GOVERNMENTS 103 might better be vested in a scientific council than in the Commission on Administration and Finance.42 SUM MARY More clearly than in other states the system of central financial control in Massachusetts is proving a detriment to the conduct of scientific investigation. Although some agencies of research have been affected only to a slight degree, the morale of other agencies has been seriously impaired. This has been due in part perhaps to the per- sonality of the men who are responsible both for financial supervision and the conduct of scientific work, but also in part to the law which defines their respective responsibilities. The budget recommendations of 1924 proved to be disappointing to many bureaus and institutions; but in the judgment of the writer no issue presents itself in the budget- making process. An issue is clearly present in the degree of control exercised by the Commission on Administration and Finance with regard to the editing of printing, and the refusal to print scientific contributions; and with regard to the filling of vacancies and the creation of new positions for scientific work, within the limits fixed by the appropriation act. It would appear also that adequate control of out-of-state travel could be secured and that at the same time discretion as to the individual allotment of funds could be left in the hands of the division or institution. Bibliography. Commission on Economy and Efficiency, Annual and Special Reports, 1913~1916, especially "Functions, Organization and Administration of the Departments in the Executive Branch of the State Government," 1914. (For a full list of its publications, see Weber, G. A., "Organized Efforts for the Improvement of Methods of Administration," pp. 122-125), Supervisor of Administration, Annual and Special Reports, 191~1922, Commission on Admin- istration and Finance, Annual Report, 1920, et seg., Joint Special Committee on Finance and Budget Procedure, Report on State Finances and the Budget, House Document 1185, 1918; Commission on State Administration and Expenditures, Report on State Administration and Expenditures, House Document 800, 1922; Annual Budget Speech of Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Annual Budgets, 191~1924, inclusive, Special Committee of the Executive Council, Report on the Standardization of Salaries in the State Service, House Document 1175, 1918, Auditor, Statement of General and Special Appropriations and Expenditures. Gulick, Luther H., The Development of the Budget in Massachusetts, Clev~e- land, F. A., and Buck, E. A., The Budget and :ELesponsible Government, ch. 11 Lamb~e, M. B., Administrative Control in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 113 Annals 9~105; Maling, E. E., Financial Administration of the Common- wealth of Massachusetts, in 62 Annals, pp. 102~112, a valuable unpublished manuscript by Professor John M. Gaus, The New Problem of Administration Illustrated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. ~ Further reference to this council may be found on pages 121-122.
Representative terms from entire chapter: