« PreviousContinue »
bill is best explained, I think, by asking your permission to insert for the record a letter that I received from Dr. William T. Sowder, State health officer for Florida. I enclose the letter.
Hon. D. R. (BILLY) MATTHEWS,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C.
FLORIDA BOARD OF HEALTH,
DEAR CONGRESSMAN MATTHEWS: The assistance of Florida's congressional delegation is requested in amending the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949.
During the past year certain local county health departments were severely criticized through the press for reported illegal use of Federal surplus property used by the health departments for mosquito control and other public-health purposes. It is apparent to this office that the difficulties which have been encountered were not violations of the act but in our opinion incorrect administrative interpretations of the functions of a health center as well as what is meant by "public health purposes" in the act.
We have contended all along that mosquito control should be classified as a public health purpose and furthermore that the operation of a sanitary landfill under the supervision and direction of a local health center should also be classified as public-health purpose.
In a letter of December 16, 1957, from the Honorable M. B. Folsom, Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, in response to a resolution from the Florida Public Health Association, he stated that mosquito control work is considered a public health purpose which has cleared up one point. "If these otherwise eligible health centers, for example, are responsible for the musquito control program in the county, then the health center would be eligible to receive equipment for mosquito control work, since this is considered a public health purpose." He further stated, "On the other hand, we understand that the mosquito-control program is operated in some areas of the State by independent legal entities known as mosquito control districts whose responsibility may even extend beyond county lines. Under these circumstances, the mosquito-control districts would not be eligible to receive property because such agencies are not enumerated in the act and could not qualify as either a hospital, medical institution, clinic, or health center. Similarly, health units, sanitation activities, and sanitary land fills mentioned in the resolution do not come within the purview of the law."
We understand the logic as to why a mosquito control district, malaria control district, sanitary districts, and similar local agencies cannot be considered for surplus property since they have not been definitely spelled out in the law. We maintain, however, that if a local health center is eligible to receive surplus equipment for mosquito control, then it is also eligible to utilize the equipment for sanitary landfill operations, since such operations are performed for mosquito control, housefly control, rodent and flea control, which, in our opinion, should come under the classification of public health purposes.
We strongly recommend that Florida's congressional delegation use their influence to have the law amended to straighten out the difficulty that has arisen over the administrative interpretation of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949.
We are enclosing a resolution that was recently adopted by the State and Territorial health officers pertaining to the subject. We are also attaching a suggested amendment to the act which may clear up many of the difficulties which have arisen in the public health field, and it is also hoped that should the amendment pass that mosquito control districts, sanitary districts, etc., operating under the supervision and direction of State or Territorial health departments would be eligible for surplus equipment.
It is our understanding that Congressman Herlong is already looking into the matter of amending the law since much of the difficulty has arisen in his district. Sincerely,
WILSON T. SOWDER, M. D.
I am in favor of the principles of H. R. 10118 and I hope that this committee will be able to report a bill that will help us with the problem that has ben so well explained by Dr. Sowder. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF HON. DONALD E. TEWES, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WISCONSIN
Gentlemen, in judging whether more agencies should be made eligible to receive surplus property, we are obliged to apply the same standards Congress does to almost all of the proposals which come before it: Is the additional expense justified by the additional public benefit received?
I want to state briefly the reasons why I believe extending eligibility to volunteer fire departments meets that standard.
In the first place, the administrative expense of a major policy change is not involved here. Present legislation governing distribution of Federal surplus equipment is aimed at getting that equipment where it is most needed and where it will do the most public good. Adding volunteer fire departments to public health, education, and civil-defense agencies as eligible receivers more fully implements the intent of the present law.
Any additional expense involved will come chiefly through processing of more bids. In other words, there will be more competition for surplus equipment by worthy agencies. That, I say, is all to the good. Under the competent administration of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, such competition should result in the equipment going where it is most needed.
Certainly volunteer fire departments are entitled to join the public-service agencies already on the list of eligible bidders. Fire protection in those communities where local taxes cannot support a full-time fire force is every bit as necessary to public welfare as health, education, and civil-defense activities.
Anyone who has lived in an area dependent on volunteer fire fighters knows their public-service value. In an era when public welfare has come to be considered the exclusive domain of Federal Government, these local volunteer fire departments demonstrate the basic concept of public welfare: one neighbor helping another in time of need. The citizens who voluntarily put their lives in jeopardy for the good of their community deserve any help the Federal Government can give them through this program. If we can increase the protection they offer their communities through better equipment, then they should be given a chance to bid along with the other agencies now eligible.
It has been suggested that in granting eligibility to volunteer fire departments, we would be setting a precedent that would automatically open the field to other agencies. I feel that this committee and Congress can be trusted to judge on their merits any proposals which might come in, whether current bills are passed or not. The present study by this committee is evidence that each proposal must pull its own weight.
(Communications, letters, and statements from Members of Congress, individuals, and organizations follow:)
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Washington, D. C., August 5, 1958.
Hon. JOHN W. MCCORMACK,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Special Donable Property,
The Capitol, Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I would like to join with the other Members of Congress who have expressed their support of H. R. 7929 which amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to permit the donation of surplus property to volunteer fire-fighting organizations.
At present such surplus property can be donated free of charge to educational and public health institutions.
Many small communities throughout the Fifth Maryland Congressional District, which I have the honor to represent, depend solely upon their volunteer fire-fighting organizations for protection. The task is admirably performed by dedicated men. There is always present, however, the struggle to raise funds for badly needed equipment; funds are often meager and the equipment insufficient.
It would be difficult for me to think of more deserving recipients of Federal surplus property than our volunteer fire departments who would put this equipment to the direct use of saving lives and property. I believe Congress could
perform an outstanding public service by its passage of this legislation which is designed to bolster the fire-fighting ability of our volunteer fire departments. Sincerely yours,
RICHARD E. LANKFORD,
Member of Congress.
Hon. JOHN W. MCCORMACK,
AMERICAN HEARING SOCIETY,
Chairman, Special Subcommittee on Donable Property,
United States Capitol, Washington, D. C.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN MCCORMACK: The American Hearing Society wishes to express its belief of H. R. 9522 and has, therefore, prepared the enclosed statement.
Will you please see that this statement is inclosed in the minutes of the hearings your committee will hold regarding H. R. 9522?
STATEMENT OF AMERICAN HEARING SOCIETY RE H. R. 9522
The American Hearing Society, an organization with member agencies located in large cities in all parts of the United States, has as its purpose the rehabilitation of the deafened and the prevention of deafness. The society is supported very largely by charitable donations. It is necessary that we, like other similarly constituted national health organizations, expend funds entrusted to its care with great caution.
Hence, we are very much interested in the passage of H. R. 9522, a bill to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to authorize the disposal of surplus property to certain health and welfare agencies. We feel that the passage of the bill will extend the right to buy Government surplus property to agencies such as ours, thus enabling us to save considerable sums of money on equipment for administrative use. This, in turn, will make it possible for us to use more of our income to promote our objectives of better hearing health for all communities in which we are privileged to work.
Favorable consideration of H. R. 9522 by the Special Subcommittee on Donable Property is respectfully requested.
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION,
Hon. JOHN W. MCCORMACK,
Chairman, Special Donable Property Subcommittee,
United States Capitol, Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. MCCORMACK: On behalf of the American Library Association, I should like to file the attached statement in support of H. R. 13085, a bill to amend section 203 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to provide for the donation of surplus property to public libraries, now under consideration by your committee and ask that it be included in the record of the hearings.
GERMAINE KRETTEK, Director, ALA Washington Office.
STATEMENT OF GERMAINE KRETTEK, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON OFFICE, AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
My name is Germaine Krettek. I am director of the Washington office of the American Library Association, a nonprofit, professional association of more than 20,000 members, consisting of librarians, trustees, and friends of libraries
interested in the development, extension, and improvement of libraries as essential factors in the educational program of the Nation. Librarians of schools and institutions of higher education form a large proportion of the association's membership.
We urge the adoption of H. R. 13085, a bill to amend section 203 of the Federal Property and Administration Services Act of 1949 to provide for the donation of surplus property to public libraries.
Under the present Surplus Property Act, school, college, and university libraries can benefit from surplus property, both real and personal, but public libraries can receive only real property since they are not specifically named for personal. This is an inconsistency because public libraries are basically educational in character. State legislation has recognized repeatedly the public library as an educational institution. For instance, the phrase "public schools, public libraries, and other educational institutions" frequently appears in State laws.
In other words, the local public library performs a significant function in our educational processes, our cultural development, our economic activities, and political and social progress. It supplements the work of the schools by furnishing children with books for use both in school and during vacation times. The public library supplies material to youth seeking vocational guidance, scientific and technological information of our modern world, as well as our country's history. The public library helps the adult citizen with books for continuing his education, for obtaining unbiased information on local, national, and international problems and issues.
That the Congress recognizes the place of our public libraries in the educational development of our Nation was made clear in 1956 when the Library Services Act was passed. The accomplishments under this act in bringing library service to children, young people, and adults in farming communities, villages, and small towns have been many, but there are still some 25 millions of rural Americans without public library service. The distribution of Federal surplus personal property to public libraries would release some funds of these institutions for further extension of their library services.
Public libraries could use to advantage such surplus materials as:
1. Books of a general nature (fiction and nonfiction) which are declared surplus to the armed services, and in some instances where a military installation has closed it could be an entire library. Although these books are presently available to school, college, and university libraries, they are not suitable for these institutions. Installation libraries serve the man in the Armed Forces with informational, recreational, and reference materials purchased for the adult reader. It is generally the recreational material which is made available as surplus. These books could be used by public libraries to increase their collections for the general public.
2. Tables, chairs, desks, shelving, filing cabinets, book carts, fans, and typewriters and other equipment suitable for library purposes.
3. Vehicles, particularly trucks, which could be converted into bookmobiles and in some cases bookmobiles themselves.
Local public libraries are tax supported in whole or in part by municipal or county governments. They operate on public taxes and are exempt from Federal income tax. The financial plight of many of the local public libraries is great because there are never sufficient funds made available for their educational function. Since these surplus materials were originally purchased with tax money, their acquisition by libraries would be a means of supplementing public library income.
Numerous letters from local public libraries have given evidence of the need for these materials. Such use of surplus property is clearly in the public interest and for the general good of the communities so benefited.
The American Library Association, therefore, supports H. R. 13085, the proposed amendment to the Federal Property and Administration Services Act, which would make public libraries eligible for Federal surplus personal property.
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE LIBRARY,
Hon. PERKINS BASS,
United States House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. BASS: It has recently come to my attention that Public Law 655, chapter 513 of the 84th Congress, 2d session, as amended, provides Government surplus materials to schools, Boy Scouts, health departments, and civil defense workers. Is there any possibility that this law could be amended to include public libraries? Surely they are giving service to young people which is as valuable in its way as the service of scouting. The library is an important educational institution: in fact the one basic educational resource once formal schooling is over that is free to all.
Many rural libraries do not have adequate desks, and some of our small city libraries could use files. Just recently one small city library replaced a desk chair which was held together with rope with a better castoff from city hall, and many of the librarians sit in straight chairs to type, if they have a typewriter. Our libraries are so poorly supported that standard office equipment is often nonexistent.
The Rural Library Services Act does not allow funds for the purchase of such items for individual libraries. The New Hampshire allotment of $62,000, if the full $7,500,000 should ever be appropriated, would not go very far if it was divided among the 228 rural libraries. We could, however, help these libraries if we had access to surplus materials. This is the wrong season of the year to propose such legislation, but I hope you will give the idea serious consideration at the appropriate time.
(Mrs.) MILDRED P. MCKAY, State Librarian.
STATEMENT OF LOUIS B. TRAYCIK, REPRESENTING THE SALVATION ARMY AND THE YMCA
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am happy to have the privilege of speaking to you today on behalf of two organizations with whom I have been closely connected; namely, the YMCA and the Salvation Army, who are two entities who would qualify under the terms of H. R. 9522, now before you. Both of these organizations are subject to standards set by the Michigan State Health and Welfare Department, are nonprofit and tax-exempt voluntary agencies, and receive their funds through a local community federated fund-raising body and are affiliated with and are a part of national standard setting organizations.
These fine service agencies are now being looked to for unprecedented help due to the economic conditions that now exist. They could use surplus food and other kindred commodities to help the needy in our communities.
The Salvation Army in my home of Flint, Mich., gave 1,353 emergency food and milk orders in 1957, which has stretched its budget to the breaking point. The Salvation Army is expanding its facilities to rehabilitate and train, in a Christian manner, human derelicts who would otherwise be a drain upon the public coffers. It could use surplus items in the training of these men in skills which will make them assets to the communities in which they reside.
The economic decline has particularly affected those in the over-45-year class and many of these men have been coming in contact with the Salvation Army. It needs help to take care of these unfortunates. This bill, if passed by Congress, will greatly assist it to meet the present challenge.
The YMCA operates boy's camps, having 90 resident and day camps serving 10,000 boys and girls in Michigan alone. Also, in my community it operates a boy's farm for boys homeless and emotionally upset. It could use not only surplus foods and kindred products, but also such surplus items as road-grading equipment, buses, sports equipment, and such other items.
The boy's farm I have referred to its an experiment in family living which places a limited number of boys placed by the juvenile courts. These boys come from broken homes or homes in which family living is nonexistent. We try to give home living, home discipline under a housemother and father, and provide them with good schooling as well as religious training. We also attempt to provide adequate recreational facilities.
This boy's farm or home idea is spreading throughout the country and is helping to solve our juvenile delinquency problems. It has helped in our community to