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Columbia government, inventories have been a little on the high side, unusually high. In other words, if there would be a duplication of inventories around in the different departments this one department then could carry the inventory and another department could go and draw an item which might not be used over two or three times a year, without the resulting confusion of storage among other inventory items knowing where that could be pulled out of inventory, that one particular item.
Does that occur to you to be attractive?
Mr. MALTAGLIATI. Yes, sir; it does, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. RANDALL. Thank you very much. No further questions.
We have with us a witness this morning, Mr. Carl W. Tiller. You are shown to be the Special Adviser on Budgetary Development, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President.
Mr. WYDLER. Maybe I could ask him that question. What is the Federal experience with this law? Is it generally good, generally bad, and if generally good or bad, can you give us some illustrations that might be helpful?
STATEMENT OF CARL W. TILLER, SPECIAL ADVISER ON BUDGETARY DEVELOPMENT, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Mr. TILLER. Mr. Chairman and members, I might illustrate this point by reference to the Bureau of Census.
Mr. RANDALL. If I may interrupt you, would you identify yourself for our shorthand reporter? I'm sorry, Jack.
Mr. TILLER. I am Carl W. Tiller, Special Adviser on Budgetary Development, Office of Management and Budget of the U.S. Government.
Mr. RANDALL. Proceed.
Mr. TILLER. Just yesterday afternoon I visited the Bureau of the Census Accounting Office at Suitland, Md. to review the operation of the Federal law, Public Law 89-473.
The Census Bureau has had in operation this last year, five appropriations, one for salaries and expenses, one for the 1967 economic census, one for the 19th decennial census, another for the 1967 census of governments, and one for the upcoming 1972 census of governments. The Bureau also does reimbursable work for others. They have a central computer operation both at Suitland and at Jeffersonville, Ind., and the costs of this operation, including the payroll connected with it, are properly distributable to these various appropriations and to the accounts for reimbursable work for others.
In the absence of this law it would be necessary for the Bureau to determine the appropriate proportion of the rental payment to be charged to each appropriation and to show that on the face of the voucher before they pay the rental. Similarly, it would be necessary to determine the hours that each employee had worked on the various projects and distribute the payroll among the appropriations I have just named at the time that they readied the payroll for the checks to be drawn.
This would of necessity put considerable burden upon them, just on the last day of the rental period each month or on the last day of the payroll period each 2 weeks.
Instead, Public Law 89-473 permits the Census Bureau to make the rental payments and to make the payroll payments out of a single account promptly. In the following weeks they complete the bookkeeping necessary to determine the proportion of the computer operation costs that are chargeable to each of these censuses and to their regular salaries and expense appropriation, and they so distribute it. For example, I noted from their records that they had made the distribution of June costs on July 17. If they had not been able to make this later distribution and had been forced to make the distribution of costs before the payments could be made, I would expect that considerable extra effort and perhaps overtime work would have been required on the 30th of June.
Essentially, therefore, this is a bill that enables joint costs to be paid out of a single account and to be distributed later in accordance with the scope and purpose of the appropriations affected.
Mr. WYDLER. And it is good?
Mr. TILLER. Yes, sir; it is good.
Mr. RANDALL. I will have some questions, but I think you should proceed with your statement, if you will.
Mr. TILLER. Mr. Chairman, I have a prepared statement here, but if you would like, it might just be submitted for the record and I can summarize it a little more briefly.
Mr. RANDALL. That will be fine.
Mr. TILLER. Essentially the authority in Public Law 89-473 has been working in the Federal Government, and it has permitted the expeditious accounting for joint costs or what some people call common service costs. The law has permitted agencies, such as the Census Bureau, to make prompt payments of their bills and their payrolls and clean up the accounting within the following few weeks. In this respect it has been very helpful to us.
I should make it clear that the law does not permit appropriations to be used ultimately for a purpose other than that for which Congress has made them available. But instead, the law permits an interim or a temporary use of appropriations and other accounts for a purpose that is not going to be the one that is ultimately chargeable.
With respect to the municipal government of the District of Columbia I do not have enough familiarity with its processes to comment specifically on the applicability of the Federal law to the District. I would defer to the District of Columbia with regard to such application.
Mr. WYDLER. If I could just follow up with one question, if I understand your testimony, you believe that the enactment of this bill would result in a savings of time and money for the District government as it has for the Federal Government. Would that be a fair statement? Mr. TILLER. If the District of Columbia appropriation pattern presents the same problems as the Federal Government, that would be a fair statement.
Mr. WYDLER. You are not sure?
Mr. TILLER. I am not familiar enough with the District of Columbia to comment on that, really, sir.
Mr. WYDLER. Well, then could I ask the gentleman from the District of Columbia, to your knowledge do you know whether your patterns are similar?
Mr. MALTAGLIATI. The financial laws and applicable statutes to appropriations and accounting are very similar, almost identical to the Federal Government's.
Mr. HALEY. If I may add, the appropriation structure of the District is somewhat similar to the Department of Commerce, which the chairman referred to earlier, and we would receive the same benefits in that we could make the charge against more appropriation, and then make the subcharges the same way the chairman referred to in the various bureaus and offices of the Department of Commerce. It is the same type of structure.
Mr. WYDLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. RANDALL. Mr. Tiller, I listened very carefully to your illustration a moment ago prior to your review of your statement. I note also on page 2 of your principal statement your emphasis there on the fact that this law, if it is enacted, would not permit appropriations as finally adjusted to be charged or used for any purpose for which the funds are not otherwise available. In other words, the accent here, as I see it, is on time, on the advantages of temporarily paying this until such time as the costs can be allocated.
Your illustration of the Census Bureau, you said there were five appropriations involved and that the Bureau also does some work for others. You say they have computers, of course, at Suitland and Jeffersonville. Now the impressing part of it as it occurred to meand you tell me if there are other advantages—you said in order to get this billing, in other words, on the last day of the pay period, had it not been for 89-473 there might have been some overtime. That is what you said?
Mr. TILLER. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANDALL. And what, other than the possible expenditure of overtime, would be an advantage? In other words, if you would have had to wait, without 89-473, out at Suitland until such time as all the bookwork is done, are there instances, illustrations, examples you think of which you might have lost a discount of some kind?
Mr. TILLER. I think it would be a fair assumption, Mr. Chairman, that the vendors would take account of delays in our payments, if there were delays occurring regularly and place their prices for goods and rentals accordingly.
Mr. RANDALL. In other words, if there were no discounts they would probably still place their prices up for slow payment?
Mr. TILLER. Yes, or as you have indicated, we might lose a discount for prompt payment. I have no information specifically on that, because this law has been in operation for 5 years, and I did not look at the sixth year back yesterday. I was looking at current operations. Mr. RANDALL. But you saw something that made you believe it has worked well in the Government across the board, with Census as an illustration?
Mr. TILLER. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANDALL. All right. It seems to me that your verbal statement and your prepared statement pretty much come together. You said while prompt payment is permitted, in the following weeks we do the correct accounting-in other words, you say that this payment is simply a temporary payment and the bookwork is done according to the appropriations later on.
Mr. TILLER. Yes, sir. At Census the adjustments seem to be made within the 2 or 3 weeks following the end of each month.
Mr. RANDALL. Do you have any further questions?
Mr. WYDLER. No, I have no further questions.
Mr. RANDALL. Mr. Collins.
Mr. COLLINS. Yes, would you elaborate a little more on independent establishments for the Federal Government that would be a part of this appropriation?
Mr. TILLER. The present law applies to both the executive departments and to the independent agencies in the Federal Government. In the case of an agency that has only a single appropriation, such as the Federal Communications Commission, there would be no need to apply this. The law is applicable where there are two or more appropriations in a given bureau or agency, because that is when this necessity for distributing costs arises.
I have not visited one of the independent agencies with two or more appropriations to see precisely how it is operating there, but I think we can understand that it would work in the same way that I have described at the Census Bureau.
When the Federal law was first enacted, the Bureau of the Budget, predecessor to the present Office of Management and Budget, issued a bulletin, our Bulletin No. 67-2 of August 18, 1966, outlining the way in which we understood the law would work, both for the executive departments and for the independent agencies. I am confident that it is working in that same way for both the departments and the independent agencies.
Mr. COLLINS. Besides your supplies would it be helpful if you would receive in kind for the services that would be needed to accelerate your programs here?
Mr. TILLER. If I understand the question correctly, the answer is "yes." The law is helpful both with regard to supplies and with regard to contractual services, because there are occasions when a contract may involve services that are applicable to two or more appropriations. The key here is not the matter of supplies versus services, but the question of whether there are two or more appropriations that are involved in a joint purchase, a joint contract, or a joint operation. Mr. COLLINS. No further questions.
Mr. RANDALL. The gentleman from California.
Mr. GOLDWATER. Mr. Tiller, this practice is done because one program hasn't received its appropriations yet but is in anticipation of
Mr. TILLER. No, sir; in the illustration, all of the appropriations were available. The problem is that in order to make the distribution of charges to the appropriation it is necessary to determine how many hours of computer time went on projects payable by the census of governments, those payable by the economic census appropriation, and so forth. And this means some mathematical work right after the end of a period. That is, it is necessary to add up the hours of work for the period and to cast up proportions or ratios of the amount of time spent for each appropriation.
All appropriations were available in this case. They could have been charged promptly if we had the knowledge as to the exact portion of the total bill to charge to each. But determining the portion of the
total bill to be charged to each appropriation takes more time than is available if we are going to make the payment promptly.
Mr. GOLDWATER. But you would never make the payment if there is not the appropriation available among the individual accounts that will eventually be charged?
Mr. TILLER. If there is not an appropriation available to accept the eventual charge, it would probably be improper to operate under this law, yes.
Mr. GOLDWATER. In other words, if you are going to take a discount because you buy 1,000 typewriters, these 1,000 typewriters were going to be spread among different programs but if one particular program hasn't received its appropriation or hadn't passed Congress, you wouldn't go ahead and buy for that particular program?
Mr. TILLER. It would be very risky to buy in anticipation of action that Congress hasn't yet taken. I think we would advise against it, although, of course, the action would be the action of an individual department or agency and not the action of our office.
Mr. GOLDWATER. I have no further questions.
Mr. RANDALL. We are indebted to the gentleman from California for raising that point. It is one that as far as the chairman of this subcommittee is concerned is a very valid point, and I would hope that our staff would carefully consider the basic law we are amending here to see if it did provide for the very thing the question is being raised about.
I have had a little experience on the Armed Services Committee, and quite frequently we have what we call reprograming. Well, when the various services come before us for reprograming it is sort of a ratification, sort of a rubberstamp, because it has already been done. And we certainly don't want that to happen here. And I am hopeful that the staff is sure that the very thing the gentleman was talking about is contained in the basic law which we are amending.
Any further questions?
Mrs. Abzug, glad to have you with us.
Mrs. ABZUG. Thank you, sir.
(The prepared statement of Mr. Tiller follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CARL W. TILLER, SPECIAL ADVISER ON BUDGETARY DEVELOPMENT, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee; H.R. 8712 would extend to the municipal government of the District of Columbia the authority already provided for Federal agencies to make appropriate accounting adjustments among their respective appropriations. It is basically a technical bill which, if enacted, would permit some accounting processes to be simplified and could also expedite the payment of some bills.
This basic authority for Federal agencies was provided by Public Law 89-473, which had been preceded by similar authorizations at an earlier time, particularly applicable to the Bureau of the Census, Agency for International Development, and the Atomic Energy Commission. As applied to Federal agencies, the law produced accounting simplificat on as compared with earlier practices. Such simplifications are particularly applicable where there are joint costs or common service costs which must be distributed among two or more appropriationsfor example, where an employee's time is so devoted to two or more programs, financed by different appropriations, that his payroll entry must be split; or where a computer operation is serving two or more appropriations and these costs must be split among them. Prior to enactment of the Federal law it was necessary to split such charges on each voucher before the payments could be