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AMENDING SECTION 553, CODE OF LAW FOR THE DIS
TRICT OF COLUMBIA.
JANUARY 25, 1907.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state
of the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. TAYLOR, of Ohio, from the Committee on the District of Columbia,
submitted the following
[To accompany H. R. 24750.]
The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 24750) amending section 553 of the Code of Law for the District of Columbia, report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do pass.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to add an additional clause to section 553 of the code, which section relates to the salaries of the officers and employees of the office of the recorder of deeds for the District, and restricts the number of such employees and the officials and their salaries to the same number and same salaries as obtained in that office when the code went into effect. This addition to section 553 authorizes the employment by the recorder of a cashier in his office at an annual compensation of $1,600. As the number of employees is limited by this section, as above stated, it is necessary for Congressional action in order to provide the additional employee.
The report of the recorder on H. R. 22350, the second section of which was eliminated in that bill and introduced as the separate measure, herewith reported, shows that during the year ending December 31, 1901, there were filed for record in that office, 15,279 instruments, exclusive of incorporations, while during the present year it is estimated that the number of papers filed for record will exceed 21,350, a net increase of more than 6,000 papers, and the indications are that the same ratio of increase will continue. The excess of fees over the expenses of the office, which was turned into the Treasury to the credit of the District of Colunibia for the fiscal year of 1901 amounted to $191.98, while for the fiscal year 1906 the excess amounted to $8,615.03, and if the present rate of increase is maintained for the balance of the present fiscal year the excess of receipts over expenditures will amount to over $10,000.
In view of the large increase in the volume of work handled by this office and in consideration of the large surplus shown, your committee believes that the additional employee is warranted and that Congress should grant the necessary authority for such employment.
The recorder's report, containing the reasons why he requires this additional employee, is as follows:
OFFICE OF THE RECORDER OF DEEDS,
Washington, D. C., January 22, 1907. Dear Sir: Replying to your verbal request of this date, I have the honor to submit tl:e following relative to this office:
The office of the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia is not, as most people imagine, a municipal office, but is an independent one, that is, entirely independent of the government of the District of Columbia, the recorder being appointed by the President of the United States, and he and his office being directly responsible to the President. The office is still further independent in that it is a selfsupporting one, the salary of the recorder and that of every other official and employee of the office being paid out of its revenues, as is every other expense of the otlice. The unexpended balance of the revenues of the office is, at the end of each fiscal year, deposited in the Treasury of the United States, where it is then placed to the credit of the District, thereby forming one of the sources of revenue of the District.
The compensation of the recorder, as well as that of every other official and employee of the oflice, is fixed by law (Sec. 553 of the District of Columbia Code), and can only be changed by act of Congress, the salary of the recorder being $4,000 per annum; that of the deputy recorder $2,500; two clerks, of whom one is the comparer of the office, at $1,200 each; two at $900 each; one at $780; a janitor at $:320, and charwoman at $180, the annual salary list amounting to $11,980. It should be understood, however, that these salaries are dependent upon the revenues of the otlice at all times--that is, the monthly receipts must equal the expenses.
In addition to the nine oflicials and employees enumerated, there were employed during the tiscal year ended June 30, 1906, 33 copyists, the compensation of whom is absolutely fixed by the above-referred to section of the District of Columbia Code, they receiving $2 per day when employed by the day, and for copying being paid one-third of the recording lee-that is, for each instrument copied a coprist is paid one-third of the fee paid by the person filing the instrument for record. These 33 copyists were paid during the fiscal year of 1906, $12,045.77, an average of a few cents more than $365 to each for the year's work. Four of these copyists having since resigned, there are now but 29 on the rolls of the office. October a year ago the office was placed by the President under the rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission, with directions to allow the number of copyists to fall by resignations to about 20.
The total receipts of the office during the past fiscal year were $34,819.10, and the total expenses ($11,980 paid to regular employees, $12,045.77 to copyists, and $2,178.30 miscellaneous) being $26,204.07, $385.21 less, by the way, than during 1905, the unes: pended balance for 1906 was, therefore, $8,615.03, the largest surplus, I am gratified to state, in the history of the office. As I explained in a recent letter to Mr. Babcock, the year (fiscal) 1906 was the largest in every way in the history of the office, the business of the office having during the past five years shown a steady and healthy growth, which growth reflects more clearly than anything else the steady, healthy growth of the District.
This increase in the business of the office means a corresponding increase in its work. This increase in the work of the office is due not only to the large increase in the number of instruments offered for record relating to real and personal, roperty, but also to the fact that the incorporation business of the office has assumea proportions far in excess of past years, being now the most profitable part, proportionately, of the otlice business, thanks to the tax of 40 cents per $1,000 of capital stock of incorporated commercial concerns which the House District committee provided for in the act of February 4, 1905.
This increase in the business of the office will, I have every reason for believing, continue from now on, and the force of the office should at least be increased by the cashier proposed in the bill now under consideration. As I stated over the telephone this morning, there is a cashier in the office of the register of wills, and two deputy registers, while I have but one deputy and no cashier. The cashier of the register
of wills office receives, I am told, $1,500 per annum, while the cashier of the collector of taxes office receives $1,800 per annum, and the assistant cashier $1,400. Thanking you for your interest in this matter, I am, Very truly, yours,
JNO. C. DANCY,
Recorder of Deeds, District of Columbia. HARRY W. BARNEY, Esq.,
Clerk of District of Columbia Committee, House of Representatives.
Section 553, if amended as herewith reported, will read as follows: Sec. 553. Salary; surplus to be paid into the Treasury: The recorder of deeds of the District of Columbia shall not retain of the fees and emoluments of his office for his personal compensation over and above his necessary clerk bire and the incidental expenses of his otfice, certified to by the supreme court of the District of Columbia. or by one of its justices appointed by it for that purpose, and to be audited and allowed by the proper accounting officer of the Treasury, a sum exceeding four thousand dollars a year or exceeding that rate for any timeless than a year; and the surplus of such fees and emoluments shall be paid into the Treasury to the credit of the District of Columbia: Provided, That the number of clerks and others employed in the office of the recorder of deeds shall not be increased, except that additional copyists may be employed for temporary service as the necessities of the office may require, nor shall the salary or compensation of clerks and others be increased beyond the salaries or compensation paid during the tiscal year nineteen hundred and one, to take effect with this code; and the salary of the deputy recorder of deeds shall be two thousand five hundred dollars per annum, to be paid out of the fees and emoluments of said office of recorder of deeds.
The recorder of deeds is hereby authorized to appoint a cashier for his office, and pay said cashier a salary of one thousand six hundred dollars per annum, to be paid in the same manner as other employees of the office of the recorder of deeds.
INTERNATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL ASSOCIATION OF
JANUARY 25, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. TAYLOR, of Ohio, from the Committee on the District of Columbia,
submitted the following
[To accompany S. 7034.]
The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (S. 7034) to incorporate the International Sunday School Association of America, report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do pass.
As none of the incorporators of the proposed association reside in the District of Columbia, it is impossible for this organization to incorporate under the general statute now in operation in the District of Columbia, as the law requires in subchapter 3 of the code, that a majority of the incorporators of an organization of this character shall be citizens of the District of Columbia.
Briefly, the object of the incorporation is to give this International Sabbath School Association—which has been going on without special organization a long time, with one office at Chicago and one at Toledo and sometimes doing business in Philadelphia and perhaps in Canada, wherever it was believed the best work could be done-a place where they can concentrate their work. The work covers the United States and Canada; perhaps other countries. It has been most successful. The principal thing is to give them organization where they may have their donations centered, and largely an incorporation is wanted and needed so that donations and bequests and devises, etc., can be accepted, which the unincorporated association has not been able so far to do.
The following letter, from one of the incorporators named in the bill, further explains the purposes of the organization and the desirability of the proposed legislation, which your committee believes merits the favorable consideration of Congress:
INTERNATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL ASSOCIATION,
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY,
Toledo, Ohio, December 28, 1906. MY DEAR SIR: I have your autograph letter from Springfield, dated December 24. The copy of the bill you sent me came all right, and I have looked it over with much interest. Now, in regard to the benefits to be derived, would say they are principally two.