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On the subject of public information, congressional liaison, in section 4c, page 2, the manner in which the Corps of Engineers would deal with congressional inquiry is discussed. I would like to read that:

c. Public Information. This subject and the two subjects covered in the next two paragraphs (Congressional Inquiries and Control of Corps Costs) are of particular concern to the Postmaster General. With regard to policy governing the handling of public information, see the Agreement between the USPOD and the Corps, paragraph 1 of B. Policy. There are two principal aspects to this matter:

(1) The USPOD will make all public information releases and announcements involving policy, the overall program, and initial releases and matters of substance regarding individual projects to include the announcement of new projects and the awarding of contracts. The USPOD does not want A-E firm selections publicly announced. Likewise, there will be no groundbreaking ceremonies.

(2) The Corps is authorized to make public releases relative to day-to-day operations concerning a project but only after coordination of the release has been accomplished with the local postmaster. The main purpose of this coordination is to keep the local postmaster informed of the subject matter of the release inasmuch as he may be queried on the subject, plus he has an intense interest in the facility since he will become its operator upon completion.

d. Congressional Inquiries. The memorandum and paragraph referenced above are explicit in delineating responsibilities regarding the answering of Congressional inquiries. While it is recognized that this is not the manner in which the Corps normally handles Congressional inquiries, this is the manner desired by the Postmaster General. It is general knowledge that, in the past, the Postal system was subjected to political pressures. The Postmaster General has centralized the handling of Congressional inquiries and certain public information releases so as to remove Post Office operations, to include the Postal Public Building Program, from the political arena. He is firm in his determination

keep politics out of postal matters. (1) Telephonic Inquiries.

(a) The information requested through direct telephone calls received by Corps members at district and division levels from members of Congress or their staffs will be tactfully received with a statement that the information requested will be provided directly to the member's Capitol Hill office by the U.S. Postal Service's Congressional Liaison Office. The Corps recipient of the call will prepare a summary of the call containing all pertinent facts and, within 48 hours (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays excluded), will dispatch the written summary along with a recommended draft reply by air mail directly to: Director of Community Programs, U.S. Postal Service, Room 3446, 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20260.

(b) A copy of the summary and draft reply will be simultaneously sent to: Chief, Corps of Engineers Postal Construction Support Office, Office of the Chief of Engineers, Room 1-F_035, Forrestal Building, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C. 20314.

(c) If guidance is required in preparing the draft reply, the appropraite higher level office, division or OCE, will be contacted prior to dispatch. If the inquiry implies criticism of the Corps or is highly controversial in nature, the matter will first be brought to the attention of Mr. George Brazier, Chief, Program & Planning Division, Directorate of Military Construction, Office of the Chief of Engineers, Telephone: AC 202–693–6427.

(d) Upon receipt of the summary and recommended response, the Director of Community Programs will be responsible for ensuring that the member's Capitol Hill office is immediately contacted.

(2) Written Inquiries.

(a) The original copy of all Congressional communications concerning postal facilities received by Corps District and Division offices will be forwarded within 48 hours of receipt (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays excluded) with a draft reply directly to the Director of Community Programs, USPOD, addressed as indicated in the preceding paragraph.

Subsection (b), (c), and (d) follow in detail as to how that should be pursued, Mr. Chairman. Section 3 deals with personal visits. That may be of interest. There is a subsection (a) to that:

(a) Personal visits to Corps field offices, (division, district, area, or resident), by members of Congress or their staffs concerning postal facilities are to be handled in a courteous and friendly manner. Requests for information concerning u postal facility are to be received with a statement to the effect that a complete written reply will be supplied directly to the member's Capitol Hill office by the U.S. Postal Service.

(b) A summary of the request or inquiry will be prepared with all pertinent facts along with a recommended draft reply and forwarded within 48 hours (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays excluded) to the Director of Community Programs, USPOD, addressed as indicated above.

The balance, (c), (d), and (e) subsections then relate to the detail of that.

Mr. WRIGHT. It seems to the Chair quite evident as a result of these documents that are being made exhibits in the record that there was a calculated effort on the part of the Postal Service which it imposed upon the Corps of Engineers to insulate the entire operation from any knowledge or observation on the part of Congress. I don't think you can read anything else into it. The elaborate extent to which these agreements went to prohibit Members of Congress from inquiring meaningfully or from learning on their own what was happening leads me to only one conclusion. That is that the denial of the knowledge of this longer agreement to the congressional committee on March 11 was deliberate and that there existed on the part of the Postal Service a deliberate attempt to deprive Congress of any information concerning what was going on.

The Chair views this with great alarm. I think it is a profound issue. It goes to the heart of the right and responsibility of congressional committees to exercise surveillance in the public interest and oversight in the interest of legislative intent over the operation of a broad variety of programs. It flies in the face of the longstanding historic relationship that existed between the executive and legislative branches of Government.

I think it is a tiagrant abuse of censorship and denial of knowledge to Congress and I would expect that this committee would question Jr. Blount about that when he appears before this committee.

Mr. CONSTANDY. Thank you for bearing with me while we put that in the record.

On page 26 we get to the effect of the agreements on GSA. That's the title of the section we are dealing with. It makes reference to the March 27, 1971, letters from the Director of OMB to the Secretary of Defense and the Postmaster General requesting that they suspend all activities pursuant to the agreement until his office completed a review of the desirability of usmg the corps for this purpose.

On page 28 you make reference to the fact that you noted that during the period of suspension from March 27 to May 5, 1971, the corp's field offices which were performing the postal work were not notified of the suspension. Seven new postal projects were assigned to the corps for services. Could you explain that and identify some

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of the services that were the type of thing that was taking place during the period of supposed suspension?

Mr. ÅHART. Yes. We have this information, Mr. Constandy. We will be happy to provide it. We did interview General Rebh about this matter. He did advise us that the corps did not stop the postal support activities during the suspension period. As Mr. Staats mentioned this morning, we talked to people in the Kansas City, Norfolk, and Savannah offices of the corps as well as the Baltimore district, who told us they had not been aware of the suspension, and we also noted that these projects which were mentioned that were transferred during this period were formally transferred.

The services were formally requested by the Post Office Department during this period and this would be at the headquarters.

Now, the projects themselves included two facilities in Honolulu, Hawaii, which were involved. One was a vehicle maintenance facility, and the date of that request was March 30, 1971, and the services requested were design services.

Also in Honolulu is the Main Post Office, and a request was made April 20 for the selection, negotiation, award and management of an architect-engineer contract for building design.

In Lexington, Ky., services were requested April 16 for the management of an existing architect-engineer contract for building design.

On April 19, in connection with the Stamford facility, they were requested to select, negotiate, award, and manage an architectengineer contract for building design. In connection with the Gary, Ind., facility, they were requested on April 20 to manage an existing architect-engineer contract for building design.

For the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., facility, they were requested on April 29, 1971, to advertise, award, and manage a contract of project construction; and in connection with the Jacksonville, Fla., facility, they were requested on April 29, to advertise, award, and manage a contract for project construction.

Mr. CONSTANDY. Fine. You make reference to the May 20 agreement and the June 28 agreement. I do not know whether you have to do that combining the two or whether you want to deal with them separately, but could you give us a better idea of what type of thing these new arrangements provided for, the new agreements?

Mr. AHART. In essence, the May 20 agreement transferred the total real estate construction, design functions, and basically the real estate management functions of the Post Office Department to the Corps of Engineers. This involved all the construction projects, the lease construction projects, servicing of leases for lease space, both in the lease construction projects and the rental of space in other buildings and

The June 28 agreement makes a little bit more specific the duties of the corps with respect to the lease in and of itself, the leases themselves, what the corps is expected to do. If you would like, I could detail to you the items included in that agreement which I think kind of graphically illustrate what the corps will be required to do for the Postal Service in this regard.

Mr. CONSTANDY. Fine. I think we should recap, though, that the March 11 agreement provided solely for the construction by the Corps

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of Engineers of major facilities, that is, those whose size was in excess of 50,000 square feet, generally.

Mr. AHART. That is correct.

Mr. CONSTANDY. And the thinking that went into the terms of that agreement anticipated projects of that size. So the May 20 agreement, if I understand it correctly, transferred to the corps the construction and lease construction and leasing of the remainder of the work that would have been retained in the Post Office had the March 11 agreement been the only one executed.

Mr. Ahart. That is correct. I believe the agreement, itself, on March 11, was not quite that specific, but it is clear from the record that this would be the understanding between the corps and the Post Office Department that the projects to be transferred would be the major projects such as you have described.

Mr. CONSTANDY. Perhaps you could give us, then, some additional information on the type of activity to be involved.

Mr. Ahart. I am reading now from the June 28 agreement which relates to the leasing activities which are transferred and under the section dealing with the assignment of responsibilities.

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It says:

The Corps will be responsible for and is hereby authorized to accomplish the execution of the U.S. POD leasing program in accordance with the Department's leasing authorities, policies, guidelines, and determinations to include: Maintain the Department's lea se records; obtaining new leasehold space for the Department in accordance with the Department's requests, renewing Department leases and executing purchase options after obtaining determinations from the Department as to whether to renew or purchase; representing the Department at all negotiations and discussions with lessors concerning leaseholds and the terms and provisions of leases; when made aware of the need by the Post Office Department or becoming aware thereof in the course of performing other duties, taking actions with lessors to insure that the lessors fulfill their lease obligations, including the making of needed repairs which are the obligations of the lessors; negotiating and executing supplemental lease agreements under which lessors accomplish Department approved leasehold alterations and improvements and repairs which are the obligation of the Department of which the total cost, including all lessor charges, is $2,000 or more.

Mr. CONSTANDY. Would you state that again?

Mr. AHART. $2,000 or more. In other words, we are talking about fairly minor alteration projects at the leasehold facilities.

Mr. Wright. There would be relatively few alterations that would be less than $2,000?

Mr. AHART. I would suspect that that is true.

Mr. WRIGHT. This presumably would include almost all alterations save for nailing up of a faulty board, or something like that.

Mr. AHART. $2,000 does not go very far. That is certain.

The next item is awarding, executing, administering, and supervising contracts with third parties for the design and construction of Department approved leasehold improvements, alterations, and repairs of which the estimated construction cost is $2,000 or more, for which architect-engineer services are required.

Submitted promptly to the Department as and when requisite lease and rental payment authorizations to include authorizations for withholding of rental and payments when appropriate, submitted and submitting on a regular and current basis, lease data requested by the Department for inclusion in the Department's ADP system and furnishing additional specified lease data upon request of the Department; monitoring and challenging all excessive or unwarranted increases in State and local real property tax assessments against properties leased by the Department where the Department pays or reimburses the lessors for all or part of such taxes.

Mr. CONSTANDY. Does that suggest that the Army is going to represent the Post Office Department in court?

Mr. AHART. This is what is required. It is stated as a responsibility of the corps under this transfer function.

Mr. WRIGHT. The Army must assume the responsibility of representing the Postal Service in court!

Mr. AHART. Well, I do not know whether this would be the corpsthis would be taken up with the tax assessment office in whatever jurisdiction is involved. There is a provision later which, I will get to in a minute, which does require the corps to insure that the Department is represented in court.

Mr. WRIGHT. In effect, the Army is taking over not merely the construction of buildings, but a very wide range of services for the Postal Service; is it not?

Mr. AHART. That is correct.

Mr. WRIGHT. The Postal Service seems by the terms of this agreement to be freed from any details of management, say, of the handling of the mail, and presumably all of these functions, within the intended scope of the 512 percent overhead costs?

Mr. AHART. No. The functions of service of agreements which do not involve the design and construction of facilities for direct ownership would, as I understand it, would be reimbursed on an actual cost basis. Now, there is a question as to whether the 5.5-percent limitation would apply to the minor construction projects which were not contemplated, I think, by the parties in the March 11 agreement as such. Mr. WRIGHT. Thank

you. Mr. AHART. There are just a couple more here.

The next one is negotiation with State and local authorities for compensation and with lessors for rent reductions and arranging for the Department to be formally represented in court proceedings whenever property leased by the Department is taken by State or local government by eminent domain, and when requested subletting space in Department leased buildings which is excess to the needs of the Department and acting as the Department's agent for the collection of rentals and other dealings with the subleases.

Mr. WRIGHT. Who are the subleasees, private individuals or government agencies?

Mr. AHART. They could be private individuals. In most cases they would be, I suppose, and perhaps some government agency, either local or Federal. This would be a situation where a lease constructed building, which they are leasing the total facility and do not need all the space, the corps would be responsible for finding a tenant for the space and entering into a sublease agreement with the tenant and collecting the rent, and servicing that lease.

The last item is when requested, assisting Department of Procurement Contracting Offices with real estate services needed in the erection of free standing, self-service postal units. These are the minor facilities where you can buy stamps, by coin, and mail letters.


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