JFKWHP-AR6440-A: President Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson Meet with Winners of the National Civil Service League Award, 21 March 1961

1961

Overseas Teachers' Pay
S. 841 — Public Law 87-172, approved August 30, 1961
This measure
1. Amends a provision of the Defense Department Overseas Teacher's Pay and Personnel Practices Act, which authorizes payment of allowances during summer recesses to oversea Defense Department teachers, when they have agreed in writing to serve for the next school year. Existing statute requires that if for any reason a teacher does not report for duty at the start of the next school year, he must repay his summer allowance. This measure permits him to retain it if the cause of his failure to report for duty (death, serious illness) is considered valid by the Defense Department.

2. Also makes uniform the definition of "year" as "school year" rather than as "12 months," to correct certain administrative confusion.

Retirement Increases
Permanent
H.R. 5432 — Public Law 87-114, approved July 31, 1961
This measure authorizes the use of the civil service retirement and disability fund to pay increases in annuities and survivorship benefits.

Cost-of-living increases were granted to certain retirees and survivors who, on August 1, 1958, were receiving or were entitled to receive annuities based on service which terminated prior to October 1, 1956. When the measure was enacted, it provided that initially the increases should be paid from the civil service retirement and disability fund but that on and after July 1, 1960, the increases would terminate unless Congress appropriated funds to cover the cost. Thus the increases provided by the 1958 act are on a year-to-year basis, fully dependent on an annual appropriation for their continuance. Funds have been provided each year and, under present economic conditions, there is no prospect of abolishing the increases in the foreseeable future. Thus the Civil Service Commission recommended that the increases be made permanent and paid from the civil service retirement and disability fund, which this bill does.

Scientific and Supergrade Increase
H.R. 7377 — Public Law 87-367, approved October 4, 1961
Authorizes an additional 480 supergrade positions and 280 additional scientific positions for the executive branch.
The supergrades are GS-16, GS-17, and GS-18. Three hundred and fifty-six of the supergrades are authorized for the general pool of the Civil Service Commission to be allocated to the various agencies where justified and needed. Fifty may be allocated only upon approval of the President and for agencies or functions created after the effective date of this act, 14 may be allocated only to the U.S. Arms Controls and Disarmament Agency when created, 4 may be allocated only to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and 6 may be allocated only to the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice, 35 for the Department of Defense, and 15 for the National Security Agency of the Department of Defense.

In the area of scientific type positions, 80 such new positions are provided for the Department of Defense, 13 for the Federal Aviation Agency, and 4 for the National Aeronautics and Space Council. However, with reference to NASA, 65 such new positions may be established on or before March 1, 1962, 35 more beginning March 1, 1962, and ending June 30, 1962, plus 35 more after July 1, 1962, or an aggregate of 135 such new positions. The salary range for the new scientific and professional positions will be from $12,500 and $19,000 a year, except (1) the maximum salary for the 13 new positions for FAA will be $19,500 and $21,000 maximum for 17 new positions in NASA.

Travel Expenses of Government Employees
H.R. 3279 — Public Law 87-139, approved August 14, 1961
Increases the allowances of Government employees (judicial and senatorial employees included) for traveling expenses when on official business. Increases include: from $10 to $16 per diem allowance for regular fulltime employees for normal official trips; in unusual circumstances the travel authorization may be up to $30 per diem from $25 per diem; from 10 to 12 cents per mile allowance for use of privately owned automobiles or airplanes; up to $10 beyond the per diem regulations when travel is beyond the continental United States. Also adds parking fees as an item for reimbursement when incurred in official travel status; raises the authorized maximum per diem for certain State Department advisory committees to a par with other Government officials; and permits the President to establish per diem rates for travel outside the continental United States.

War Hazards Compensation Act
H.R. 4357 — Public Law 87-380, approved October 4, 1961
Provides a 15 percent increase in the level of benefits payable under the War Hazards Compensation Act of 1942, relative to injuries or deaths prior to July 1, 1946. The War Hazards Act is a part of the Federal workmen's compensation system applicable to employees employed by Government contractors, and who work outside the United States.

The 15 percent increase however applies only to disability and death payments payable for periods on or after the date of enactment.

It is estimated that the increase will cost about $720,000 for the life of the program; however, the present war claims fund from which these benefits are paid shows a surplus of about $832,000.

1962

Conflicts of Interest
H.R. 8140 — Public Law 87-849, approved October 23, 1962
Congress enacted a measure making major revision in Federal patchwork of legislation aimed at preventing present and former Government conflict-of-interest laws. It is the first important attempt to make uniform and bring up to date the century-old Government employees from improperly mixing private interest with their public office.

In addition to conflicts of interest, the act is also concerned with strengthening the criminal statutes which relate to bribery.

Briefly the bill
Consolidates into a single section of Government-wide applicability the gist of the existing bribery statutes which apply to particular categories of Government officials.

Strengthens some of the present conflict-of-interest statutes by increasing the range of the Government matters in which activities giving rise to conflicts of interest are prohibited. Extends their scope to include administrative proceedings and other similar matters which comprise a great part of the work of the Government departments and agencies.

Facilitates recruiting skilled personnel to serve the Government on a temporary basis. Many individuals possessing special skills and knowledge required temporarily by the Government are engaged in private activities which are such that they would, under existing law, be required to give up those activities to serve the Government even on a temporary basis. This act modifies existing law to permit such service in many cases. In this connection, the bill creates a category of Government employees designed "special Government employees" who are not subject to the full extent of the prohibitions applicable to the ordinary Government employee. This category is composed of temporary employees whether compensated or not, who serve not more than 130 days during any period of 365 consecutive days either on a full-time or intermittent basis.

Includes District of Columbia employees within its scope.

Retains existing sections of law which apply to Members of Congress. One section prohibits Members of Congress from representing others before the agencies of the Government and the other section prohibits them from practicing in the Court of Claims.

Retains existing law relating to retired officers of the Armed Forces.

Subjects the regular Government employee to four major conflicts-of-interest restrictions. In general, he will be prohibited from representing any other person in relation to any transaction involving the Government; he will also be prohibited from participating in a transaction involving the Government in which he, his spouse, minor child, or business associates have a significant financial interest. Private sources will be prohibited from paying or supplementing his salary for his Government services. After leaving the Government service, he will be prohibited from representing another person in relation to any transaction involving the Government in which he participated personally and substantially as a Government employee. He will also be barred for 1 year following his Government employment from representing anyone in a matter in the area where he had official responsibility during his last year in the Government.

Prohibits the special Government employee from assisting other persons only in matters involving the Government in which he has participated personally and substantially, and if he serves an agency more than 60 days a year, matters pending before that agency. However, as to participation in transactions involving the Government in which he, his spouse, minor child, or business associates have a financial interest, the special Government employee will be subject to the same restrictions as a regular employee. Similarly the post employment prohibitions applicable to a regular Government employee will apply equally to the special Government employee. The latter, however, will not be subject to restrictions against outside compensation applicable to the regular employee.

Adds to any other remedies provided by law an authorization for the Government to void any contract or other transaction in relation to which there has been a final conviction under the bribery or conflict-of-interest statutes.

Hatch Act Amendment
S. 919 — Public Law 87-753, approved October 5, 1962
Liberalized the mandatory requirement that a Federal employee be suspended for 90 days for any violation of section 9 of the act, regardless of how minor the violation may have been, by reducing the suspension period to 30 days.

Pay Reform
H.R. 7927 — Public Law 87-793, approved October 11, 1962
In an effort to equalize the salary rates for comparable levels of work in private industry, and to provide within the Federal service equal pay for equal work, this Congress enacted a two-phase measure with one effective the first pay period following enactment and the second on January 1, 1964.

Major provisions are-

Federal Pay Reform
Purpose
. To provide that Federal salary rates be equal to salary rates for comparable levels of work in private industry; and to provide within the Federal service equal pay for equal work. Pay adjustment will be in two placesone effective the first pay period following enactment and the second on January 1, 1964.

Classified employees
.Increase of approximately 5.5 percent at the first pay following enactment and 4.1 percent on January 1, 1964. Placed a ceiling of $20,000 on GS-18.
Postal employees.Average increase will be $446 in the first phase and $138 in the final, or 8.6 and 2.6 percent.

Corresponding increases were included for the Department of Medicine and Surgery in the Veterans' Administration and Foreign Service personnel.

Legislative employees.— Increase limited to 7 percent with a ceiling of $18,880.

Civil Service Retirement Annuities
Provides a 5 percent increase, effective January 1, 1963, in all annuities which started on or before that date; applied the increase on a graduated reduction basis to annuities starting after that date.

The President in signing the bill stated:

The new pay legislation is the most comprehensive and significant salary revision in nearly 40 years. It establishes for the first time a basic salary policy, a method for annual review and updating of salaries, coordination among major statutory salary systems, and broad reforms and increased flexibilities under the Classification Act.

It is not merely a salary increase statute. It furnishes a foundation for adjusting and continuously maintaining Federal salaries comparable to levels of equal difficulty and responsibility in private enterprise. Ultimately it will permit us to prevent large-scale attrition of Government employees due to more attractive private industry salaries. At the same time, it should not have an unsettling effect on private enterprise salary rates. By helping to reduce turnover, by attracting more capable people into the Federal service, and by improving employee morale, this legislation will make an important contribution to increased productivity.

The provision of higher salaries for Federal employees and the plan to maintain these salaries at a level comparable to the salaries paid in the private economy places an added obligation upon Federal managers to make certain that the Government's business is carried on with the minimum number of personnel. To this end I am separately issuing to all departments and agencies of the executive branch a memorandum which will set forth a program to achieve better manpower controls and utilization.

This legislation also establishes objective standards for adjusting annuities payable in the future under the Civil Service Retirement Act. This is a long overdue reform.

Readers for Blind Government Employees
H.R. 11523 — Public Law 87-614, approved August 29, 1962
Provided for improved employment opportunities in the Federal service for qualified blind persons by authorizing departments and agencies to employ reading assistants who will serve without compensation from the Government.

Provided that these reading assistants, if not on a volunteer basis, can be paid out of the personal funds of the blind employee or by a nonprofit organization.

1963

Coast Guard Officers
H.R. 5623 — Public Law 88-130, approved September 24, 1963
Authorizes revision of provisions of title 14, United States Code, relating to appointment, promotion, separation, and retirement of officers of the Coast Guard.

Effects of the separation or retirement of a percentage of officers in the higher grades who entered the service during World War II, in order to make possible promotion in all grades on a more normal basis than at present.

Improves the quality and efficiency of the Coast Guard officer corps by replacing the present promotion system based on seniority with a system under which the best qualified officers will be selected for promotion, and those passed over twice for promotion will be separated from the service or retired.

Facilitates the transition to this best qualified selection system by providing temporary authority to require separation or involuntary retirement of a percentage of officers now serving in the grade of commander, where promotion slowdown is severe, and in the grade of captain, where a stagnation problem is imminent.

Less immediate problems in the lower grades will be alleviated as well, with a reasonably predictable career promotion pattern as the objective within the next few years, in order to assure retention in the service of well qualified young officers, and to hold out promotion incentives to attract qualified persons seeking a career.

Coast Guard Retirement
S. 1194 — Public Law 88-114, approved September 6, 1963
This bill removes the percentage limitation on enlisted retirements in the Coast Guard after 20 years' service. Present law limits the number of enlisted men who may retire on completion of 20 years' service in any 1 calendar year to not more than 1 percent of the total enlisted force of the Coast Guard. This limitation was enacted along with the adoption of the 20 year retirement by the Coast Guard in 1939. One of the original purposes of the limitation was to prevent an excessive loss of experienced personnel. There is no comparable limitation on the retirement of officers, nor is there a similar limitation applicable to enlisted men of the Navy.

This bill also discontinues the practice of paying a good conduct bonus on retirement, but exempts those presently in the service. 

FBI Director
S. 603 — Passed Senate June 13; pending in House Judiciary Committee
Provides that the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, immediately following the time when the present incumbent in the office ceases to serve, and established the rate of his compensation at $22,000.

Federal Employees Health Benefit
S. 1561 — Passed Senate November 15; pending in House Post Office and Civil Service Committee
Amends the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act to

1. Permit enrolled employees to continue their insurance while receiving employee's compensation even though the original injury necessitating compensation occurred prior to the effective date of the act.

2. Include foster children under family enrollment if they are living in a regular parent-child relationship.

3. Eliminate the discrimination against married women in regard to the contribution made by the Government toward their insurance premium.

4. Allow previously retired employees who did not have an opportunity to carry their health insurance into retirement (because of restrictive provisions in the 1959 act) to do so. This would operate retroactively only to those employees who had health insurance coverage at the time of their retirement, but had not been enrolled for 5 years, or had not enrolled at their first opportunity.

5. Authorize the Commission to terminate the health insurance contracts or carriers having fewer than 300 Federal employee members when such cancellation is considered in the best interests of the program, and when another health insurance plan of a similar kind is available for those employees who belong to the plan affected.

6. Prevent the Government's contribution to health insurance from inadvertently exceeding 50 percent of premium costs.

Medical Care for Coast and Geodetic Survey
S. 969 — Public Law 88-71, approved July 19, 1963
Subject to Presidential regulations, this bill entitled retired ships' officers and retired members of the crews of the vessels of the Coast and Geodetic Survey to medical, surgical, and dental treatment, and hospitalization at facilities of the Public Health Service if the employee was on duty on July 1, 1963 or date of enactment, whichever is later, or was retired as a vessel employee of the Survey on or before July 1, 1963, or the date of enactment, whichever is later.

Dependents of the above designees will be furnished medical advice and outpatient treatment by the Public Health Service at its hospitals and relief stations and, if suitable accommodations are available, hospitalization at hospitals of the Public Health Service.

U.S. Park Police
S. 932 — Passed Senate April 9, 1963; H.R. 4893— House Calendar
Authorizes the Secretary of Interior to determine and fix the minimum and maximum limits of age within which original appointments to the U.S. Park Police may be made. Under the discretionary authority given the Secretary of Interior, the maximum entry age will be in the 29 to 31 year age range.