B-84616, JUN. 7, 1960

B-84616: Jun 7, 1960

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

WE UNDERSTAND FROM AN INFORMAL DISCUSSION OF THIS PROBLEM THAT THE NUMBER OF POTENTIAL CLAIMANTS WILL RANGE BETWEEN 20. 000 AND THAT INDIVIDUAL PAYMENTS WILL RANGE FROM $25 TO $30. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT ORIGINAL DESIGNATIONS OF ENUMERATOR DISTRICTS TO BE PAID ON A PIECE RATE OR TIME BASIS WERE MADE FROM A CENTRAL POINT. WITH PROCEDURES FOR CORRECTIONS OF ERRONEOUS DESIGNATIONS WHICH WERE NEITHER UNIFORMLY UNDERSTOOD NOR APPLIED BY THE TEMPORARY CREW LEADERS. IS PERTINENT: "THE RATES AUTHORIZED FOR EACH ENUMERATION DISTRICT (PIECE PRICE RATE ONLY. HOURLY RATE) ARE SHOWN ON FORM F-281. PAYMENT WILL BE MADE AT THESE RATES UNLESS PRIOR APPROVAL IS OBTAINED FROM THE REGIONAL OFFICE TO CHANGE THE RATES FOR A SPECIFIC ENUMERATION DISTRICT.

B-84616, JUN. 7, 1960

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:

ON MAY 6, 1960, YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION ASKED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF NOW ADJUSTING THE ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGNATIONS OF MANY CENSUS ENUMERATORS ENGAGED IN THE 18TH DECENNIAL CENSUS FROM A PIECE WORK TO AN HOURLY RATE BASIS, SO THAT SUCH ENUMERATORS MAY BE COMPENSATED AT RATES AND IN AMOUNTS MORE NEARLY COMMENSURATE WITH THOSE ADMINISTRATIVELY INTENDED. WE UNDERSTAND FROM AN INFORMAL DISCUSSION OF THIS PROBLEM THAT THE NUMBER OF POTENTIAL CLAIMANTS WILL RANGE BETWEEN 20,000 AND 50,000 AND THAT INDIVIDUAL PAYMENTS WILL RANGE FROM $25 TO $30, OR A TOTAL COST RANGE FROM $500,000 TO $1,500,000.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT ORIGINAL DESIGNATIONS OF ENUMERATOR DISTRICTS TO BE PAID ON A PIECE RATE OR TIME BASIS WERE MADE FROM A CENTRAL POINT, WITH PROCEDURES FOR CORRECTIONS OF ERRONEOUS DESIGNATIONS WHICH WERE NEITHER UNIFORMLY UNDERSTOOD NOR APPLIED BY THE TEMPORARY CREW LEADERS. IN THAT CONNECTION, THE FOLLOWING PART OF SECTION 2.57, DISTRICT OFFICE MANUAL, IS PERTINENT:

"THE RATES AUTHORIZED FOR EACH ENUMERATION DISTRICT (PIECE PRICE RATE ONLY; PIECE PRICE RATE, MILEAGE AND DRIVING TIME ALLOWANCE; HOURLY RATE) ARE SHOWN ON FORM F-281, ADVANCE TRANSMITTAL LISTING. PAYMENT WILL BE MADE AT THESE RATES UNLESS PRIOR APPROVAL IS OBTAINED FROM THE REGIONAL OFFICE TO CHANGE THE RATES FOR A SPECIFIC ENUMERATION DISTRICT; SUCH AS A CHANGE FROM "PIECE PRICE RATE ONLY" TO "HOURLY RATE ONLY.' CHANGES FROM PIECE PRICE RATE TO HOURLY WILL BE APPROVED ONLY IN VERY EXCEPTIONAL CASES PRESENTING UNUSUALLY DIFFICULT ENUMERATION PROBLEMS.'

AS A CONSEQUENCE OF CHANGES IN THE NATION'S ECONOMY AND DAILY HABITS OF THE PEOPLE, THE ERRORS IN DESIGNATION WERE FAR MORE SUBSTANTIAL THAN IN PREVIOUS CENSUSES; AND BECAUSE OF THE FAILURE OF THE CORRECTIVE PROCEDURES TO OPERATE AS ANTICIPATED THOSE ERRORS WERE NOT RECTIFIED.

CENSUS DISTRICT OFFICE ADMINISTRATIVE MEMORANDUM NO. 57, DATED APRIL 30,1960, TO WHICH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER REFERS, NOW PROPOSES A REVIEW OF THE ENUMERATOR DISTRICTS AND ADJUSTMENTS OF COMPENSATION FOR THE ENUMERATORS CONCERNED WHEN APPLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL CRITERIA INDICATES THAT COMPENSATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON A TIME BASIS. THE DISTRICT SUPERVISOR IS TO CERTIFY THE NUMBER OF FULL DAYS AN ENUMERATOR ACTUALLY WORKED. IN THAT REGARD MEMORANDUM NO. 57, PROVIDES IN PART:

"THE TIME ACTUALLY SPENT IN ENUMERATION AND COLLATERAL TASKS, NOT TO EXCEED SIX FULL DAYS PER WEEK, SHOULD BE CERTIFIED, USING THE ATTACHED FORM OF CERTIFICATION. THE CERTIFICATION MAY BE BASED ON AN EXAMINATION OF THE LISTING BOOKS TO DETERMINE THE OVER-ALL ELAPSED TIME THE ENUMERATOR WAS ACTIVELY EMPLOYED. IF THE LISTING BOOKS ARE NOT IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE, THE DISTRICT SUPERVISOR MAY DETERMINE TIME WORKED BY THE MOST PRACTICABLE MEANS.'

ALTHOUGH THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE IS GIVEN BROAD AUTHORITY IN PAY AND APPOINTMENT MATTERS WITH RESPECT TO THE DECENNIAL CENSUS, WE FIND NO SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY UPON WHICH THE PROPOSED ADJUSTMENT MAY BE PREDICATED. HOWEVER, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY POINTS OUT THAT A "GREAT MANY ERRORS IN THE DESIGNATIONS" WERE MADE AND THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTENT AS TO ENUMERATOR COMPENSATION WAS NOT CARRIED OUT IN THOSE CASES.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED PARAGRAPH FROM MEMORANDUM NO. 57, AND AN EXAMINATION OF FORM 60-11-201, F-201 LISTING BOOK, FAILS TO DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION THAT MAY BE DERIVED FROM THE LATTER SOURCE WHICH WOULD ESTABLISH THE DAYS AND HOURS PER DAY WORKED BY AN ENUMERATOR DURING THE COURSE OF HIS EMPLOYMENT. THE FURTHER INSTRUCTION IN THE MEMORANDUM THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A LISTING BOOK A DISTRICT SUPERVISOR MAY DETERMINE THE TIME WORKED BY AN ENUMERATOR BY THE MOST PRACTICABLE MEANS, DOES NOT SUGGEST ANY SOURCE OR SOURCES FROM WHICH FACTUAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED. NEITHER DOES THERE APPEAR TO EXIST ANY PRACTICAL FORMULA FOR CONVERTING WORK DISCLOSED BY THE LISTING BOOKS IN TERMS OF PIECE WORK TO TERMS OF HOURS FOR PAYMENT ON AN HOURLY BASIS.

ALTHOUGH WE DO NOT DISAGREE WITH THE PROPOSITION THAT ADMINISTRATIVE ERRORS MAY BE CORRECTED, WE DO NOT AGREE THAT INDIVIDUAL PAY ADJUSTMENTS MAY BE MADE ON A BLANKET BASIS WITHOUT EVIDENCE AS TO TIME CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN WORKED. IN THOSE CASES IN WHICH ENUMERATORS WERE ORIGINALLY AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID ON A TIME BASIS, PAYMENT WAS MADE ON THEIR CERTIFICATES OF TIME WORKED, APPROVED BY THE CREW LEADER OR FIELD REVIEWER. WE BELIEVE THAT ANY PAYMENTS WHICH MAY BE MADE AS A RESULT OF AN ADJUSTMENT FROM A PIECE RATE TO A TIME RATE SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY SIMILAR EVIDENCE.

ALSO, WE NOTE THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE INSTRUCTIONS RELATING TO THE PROPOSED CONVERSIONS TO HOURLY RATES RESTRICT PAYMENTS TO 48 HOURS PER WEEK. THE POLICY OF THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS CONCERNING HOURS OF DUTY OF ENUMERATORS PAID ON AN HOURLY WAE RATE BASIS IS STATED IN AN UNDATED MEMORANDUM OF THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"WITH RESPECT TO ENUMERATORS, IT WAS INTENDED THAT HOURS CLAIMED MUST BE SUBSTANTIATED BY EVIDENCE OR FACTORS KNOWN TO AND ACCEPTABLE TO LOCAL SUPERVISORS. GENERAL AUTHORIZATION FOR ENUMERATORS TO SET THEIR OWN TOTAL NUMBER OF HOURS WAS NOT INTENDED NOR GIVEN. THE ONLY GENERAL AUTHORIZATION INTENDED AND THE ONLY GIVEN WAS TO AVERAGE EIGHT HOURS PER DAY. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT WAS NOT INTENDED THAT THE BUREAU BE ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS IN WITHHOLDING PAYMENT FOR HOURS WORKED WHICH WERE DETERMINED, EVEN AFTER THE FACT, BY A RESPONSIBLE LOCAL SUPERVISOR WITH INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF CONDITIONS TO BE REASONABLE AND NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THE JOB.'

FROM THIS, IT WOULD APPEAR TO FOLLOW THAT IN CONVERSION CASES, PAYMENT SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN EXCESS OF AN AVERAGE OF EIGHT HOURS PER DAY IF DETERMINED BY A RESPONSIBLE LOCAL SUPERVISOR WITH INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF CONDITIONS, TO BE REASONABLE AND NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THE JOB.

IN SUMMARY, OUR VIEWS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. IF A REVIEW BASED ON THE CRITERIA ORIGINALLY USED SHOWS THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WAS MADE IN DESIGNATING A PIECE RATE RATHER THAN A TIME RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR THE ENUMERATOR OF A DISTRICT, CORRECTION OF THE ERROR MAY BE MADE IN ORDER TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTENT.

2. ADJUSTMENTS OF COMPENSATION ON A TIME BASIS SHOULD BE ON THE BASIS OF A CERTIFICATION BY THE ENUMERATOR OF DAYS AND HOURS WORKED, MADE WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AFTER COMPLETION OF HIS ASSIGNMENT WHICH SHOULD ALSO BE CERTIFIED BY THE FIELD SUPERVISOR, CREW LEADER, OR OTHER PERSON IN A POSITION TO DO SO, BASED ON SUCH PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE, NOTES, OR EXAMINATION OF THE RECORDS AS WILL SATISFY HIM OF THE PROPRIETY OF SUCH CERTIFICATE.

3. PAYMENTS IN EXCESS OF AN AVERAGE OF 48 HOURS PER WEEK SHOULD BE BASED ON THE SAME POLICY WHICH AUTHORIZED SUCH PAYMENTS TO ENUMERATORS ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED TO RECEIVE PAY ON A TIME BASIS.