Page images
[ocr errors]



Mr. HERLONG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First, I have handed the clerk a letter which I received from Dr. Sowder who is the head of the Florida State Board of Health, expressing the need for enactment of this legislation or legislation similar to this as far as Florida is concerned.

There is a great need and I would like permission to include that letter in the record.

Mr. McCORMACK. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The letter follows:)


Jacksonville, January 7, 1958.
Congress of United States,

House Office Building, Washington, D. C.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN HERLONG: The assistance of Florida's congressional delega-
tion 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 land fill 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 mosquito 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 no 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, sbould 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 amend

[merged small][ocr errors]

ment 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 you are already looking into the matter of amending the law since much of the difficulty has arisen in your district. Sincerely,


State Health Officer. Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Chairman, this bill that I have proposed, H. R. 10010, and its companion bill simply amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to authorize the disposal of certain surplus property to public health agencies of the State, its political subdivisions and instrumentalities.

A report was requested by your committee of the agencies concerned and of course they came back with an unfavorable report stating they did not wish to broaden the agencies which were at this time currently getting the benefit of having this advantage of purchasing or getting this donable surplus property.

I have gone over those reports very carefully and I have written to the chairman a letter which I suppose is in the files, explaining why

I I thought that the reports of the various departments did not particularly fit our bill.

In my judgment this bill which I have introduced does not expand this program as it is currently being administered. It defines and clarifies the rules for making donable surplus property available to these agencies doing public health work including mosquito control which is our most important work in that field in the State of Florida.

The purpose of the clarification and definition is to avoid such situations as have occurred in the State of Florida, one of which occurred in my own home county where they got property from the surplus disposal groups out of Atlanta and were told it was all right, kept it and used it and wore it out and then were told after having used it for about 2 years they did not have it properly, that they were going to be sued and required to pay some forty or fifty thousand dollars for this property, and they were required to put it up in storage and hold it, what they had, and inventory it all when they knew they had it right, had it properly, had properly obtained it in the first instance.

Now we are simply trying to clarify this. They changed their ruling again and said it was right; we could have it. In other words, they said we could have it, then said we could not and then came back and said we could.

But things like that disrupt a program and all we want to do is clarify it because we think public health services should have the benefit of getting donable surplus property.

That is all I have to say on it, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McCORMACK. How long ago did that incident happen?

Mr. HERLONG. It happened last January a year ago, I think it wasno, it happened when I was at home last year when Congress was in recess, because I introduced a bill right after I came back up to take care of it.

It was during October, I believe; a year ago, last October. The ruling was made out of the Atlanta office, incidentally, in that connection.

Mr. McCORMACK. Do you know anything about that matter, Mr. Lund ?

[ocr errors]

Mr. LUND. Yes; we do. There were some legal involvements that needed clarification and if you do not mind I would rather have counsel give you the background on it.

Mr. HILLER. Mr. Chairman, there did occur a rather unfortunate incident in the State of Florida. Many eligible clinics and health centers throughout the country which come squarely within the enumeration of organizations eligible to acquire donable property for public-health purposes, also operate mosquito-control functions, and in that connection in the State of Florida there were mosquito-control activities which enjoyed the benefit of donable property which had been acquired through the clinics or the health centers to which they were officially and formally attached.

As a result of this circumstance, several mosquito-control districts, it is my understanding, which were not attached to such clinics or health centers, but which were not technically under the law eligible to receive donable property, had received the property because their fellow brethren who were attached to the eligible institutions had also received it.

As a result of this confusion, there was donated to some ineligible mosquito-control districts the property to which the Congressman has referred.

It was a rather unfortunate incident, and we certainly would avoid seeing any similar occurrence recur.

However, the Department has not administered the law or has never understood that mosquito control districts where they constitute an independent and distinct instrumentality of a State or if they are nonprofit would be eligible under the present language of the Federal Property Act, and to the extent that they would, under Congressman Herlong's bill, become eligible, to that extent the bill does constitute a slight extension of eligibility, and would constitute a change over the Department's current administration of existing legislation.

Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Chairman, if I may say a word in that connection.

The gentleman may be entirely correct and I assume it is entirely correct as far as the technical aspects of it are concerned. We are concerned with the objective we are trying to seek and that is to eradicate mosquitoes. There is a Government agency working on it. If we do not have quite the correct technical setup, we do not think that is any ground for depriving them of the benefit of getting the donable property even if it means broadening it to the extent of taking those people in because the objective is the same throughout all of these mosquito-control programs in the State of Florida and that is to get rid of mosquitos and that is a public function, it is a governmental function and operation and even if it does mean broadening it, we say that is no excuse for not getting corrective legislation in here.

Mr. McCORMACK. Any further questions, Mr. May?
Mr. May. No further questions, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCORMACK. Well, thank you very much, Congressman Herlong.

Any other witness here in support of this legislation, 10010, and similar legislation ?

All right, the next bill is Mr. Keating's bill, H. R. 9522.
Is Miss Colborn here?



Miss COLBORN. I am Fern M. Colborn, secretary of social education and action of the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, New York City.

Mr. Chairman, I have here a short statement on behalf of the National Federation of Settlements that I will be glad to file for the record rather than taking your time to read it.

Mr. McCORMACK. Without objection the statement will be included in the record.

(The statement is as follows:)


FEDERATION OF SETTLEMENTS AND NEIGHBORHOOD CENTERS, NEW YORK CITY I am Fern Colborn, secretary of social education and action, of the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, 226 West 47th Street, New New York City. I appear before you today on behalf of said organization.

There are approximately 300 member settlements and neighborhood centers connected with the national federation. These agencies are located in the major cities throughout the United States. Most of these local centers own one or more buildings from which their work is conducted. Some 90 of them own camps, and many operate day camp programs. A sizable number of our members operate day care centers, health services, and recreational activities. We are welfare agencies operating in many kinds of neighborhoods, from the very underprivileged to privileged sections of our cities. We are located there to work with neighborhood people for the purpose of providing needed services and to help families work together toward making the neighborhood the most desirable place possible for family life.

Settlements and neighborhood centers, by and large, are red feather agencies and are supported by united funds or community chests. Some of our members receive special public moneys from local or State governments for services such as recreation, special programs with juvenile delinquents, and mental health services.

Suficient budget to develop the program to meet the needs of people is always hard to come by. Accordingly, some of the board members of the settlements in Rochester, N. Y., approached Hon. Kenneth Keating and asked if he would introduce legislation to make surplus property available to welfare or recreation agencies. I am pleased to say he did just this. Prior to this our board of directors had discussed the securing of surplus goods and directed our staff to work with other agencies and with Congress toward getting these goods available to settlements. Our national office has had numerous inquiries from our local members as to why these goods were not available to us since other agencies of similar type get them. I refer to the Boy Scouts and boys' clubs, although I believe there are others also to whom the Secretary of Defense has given special priority.

I wish to say on behalf of settlements that we appreciate the surplus foods and surplus milk that Congress has already made available. These programs have operated smoothly and have done great good. We believe that we can have as good an experience with surplus goods if you will open it up to us. We know it would be a useful way of stretching our budgets, and we believe it is à right use of the tax money that has gone into these goods.

In addition to the National Federation of Settlements' request to you, I am pleased to present telegrams from the following agencies who also favor H. R. 5922.

Mr. Chairman, we would appreciate it if these telegrams could be made a part of the record of this hearing.

Thank you.

Miss COLBORN. I would like to make a few off-the-cuff remarks in addition,

Settlements and neighborhood centers use all kinds of material over the country. We operate some public programs such as recreation, health clinics, and so on.

Now we have not been able to get any of this material because we are not eligible even though we do some of this public work, because of the administration of the law at present.

In addition to our own concern, in order to again save the time of the committee, I have here telegrams from a group of nine national agencies.

I happen to be chairman of a subcommittee on surplus goods for the National Social Welfare Assembly. There are 20 national agencies on that committee, and yesterday morning we started telephoning them to let them know the hearing was here this morning. Because of vacations and so on we were not able to get to the heads of all of them, but I do have nine telegrams that I would like also to present for the record.

Mr. McCORMACK. Without objection, so ordered. (The telegrams referred to follow :)

NEW YORK, N. Y., July 30, 1958. Mr. GUINNESSY,

619 D Street SE., Washington, D.C.: The national board of the Young Women's Christian Association of the USA wishes to express its support of H. R. 9522, authorizing the disposal of surplus property to qualified welfare agencies. We would appreciate your conveying this expression of our support to the Government Operations Committee and your urging their favorable consideration of the bill on our behalf.


NEW YORK, N. Y., July 30, 1958. JOHN J. GUINNESSY,

619 D Street SE., Washington, D.C.: The Salvation Army will back your testimony recommending passage of H. R. 9522 making welfare agencies eligible for certain surplus property.

Lieutenant Commissioner L. W. Cowan.

[ocr errors]

NEW YORK, N. Y., July 30, 1958. JOHN J. GUINNESSY,

619 D Street SE., Washington, D.C.: Respectfully request you represent the Child Welfare League of America before the Subcommittee on Government Operations of the United States House of Representatives. We strongly urge the passage of H. R. 9522. It would be of great assistance to the 1,800 agencies in the United States who service America's dependent and neglected children.

JOSEPH E. REID, Executive Director, Child Welfare League of America.

NEW YORK, N. Y., July 30, 1958, JOHN GUINNESSY,

619 D Street SE., Washington, D.C.: Have wired Congresmen Keating and Dawson as follows: “United funds, community chests, community welfare councils, and over 25,000 local health, welfare, and recreation organizations affiliated with them earnestly desire passage of H. R. 9522. Expansion of the list of organizations eligible to purchase surplus Government property as provided for in this bill will be of material help in furnishing more and better service to local communities.” Would appreciate your expressing our interest in H. R. 9522 at the hearing on Friday, August 1, 1958.

CHARLES X. SAMPSON, Director of Administration, United Community Funds and Councils of


« PreviousContinue »