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This last act made permanent the law which formerly provided for the fiscal years 1911 and 1912 only.
It is not believed that the vast economies to result from these laws were fully realized when they were passed. By their enactment approximately $20,000,000 worth of stores purchased under appropriations of prior years became material, which, if used during the current year, must be paid for out of the current year appropriation. Under former laws it was not possible to charge this material to the appropriation concerned when drawn for use, although the material entered into the cost of work. Appropriations were therefore being augmented by the stock brought forward from the preceding years.
MONEY ALLOWANCES TO SHIPS.
The money allotment system for supplies (except coal and ammunition) on board ship, which was made possible by the inauguration of the general storekeeping system afloat, as extended to all vessels of the Navy having the general storekeeping, system in operation on October 1, 1910, is operating in a most satisfactory and economical manner.
Formerly the allowance lists of vessels provided for certain numbers or quantities of articles required for a specified period without regard to value. The new money allotment system establishes a money allotment of a fixed amount to each vessel for a specified period. The value of supplies (except coal and ammunition) which may be drawn from stock for use must not exceed this amount without authority from the department or the submission of a satisfactory explanation as to the emergency.
General Order No. 90, dated November 30, 1910, superseded by General Order No. 121, dated August 17, 1911, establishes quarterly money allotments for each department of the vessels therein named.
Whatever may be said of indicated money savings in the value of supplies used on shipboard, common sense teaches us that economy of expenditures in material must result in a greater degree if they are drawn as actually needed than if drawn because they may be needed.
The plan of placing officers of the Pay. Corps in charge of the general stores on board ship and of the keeping of accounts pertaining thereto, as well as those pertaining to equipage, which was extended by General Order No. 78 of August 19, 1910, to all vessels of the Navy in commission having pay officers attached thereto has been most successful in effecting the principal objects of this system, namely:
(1) The consolidation of all supplies and the consequent economy in storeroom space.
(2) Maintaining of one stock of supplies under the custody of one officer.
(3) The charging to the appropriation concerned for such quantities only of supplies as are actually used for the maintenance of each department and at the time such supplies are drawn for use.
(4) The abolishment of separate stocks of supplies in the custody of other heads of ships' departments.
(5) The relieving of line officers of a great volume of clerical work which properly formed no part of their technical line duties, and the consolidation of all this work under the ship's general storekeeper, INVENTORIES AND APPRAISALS. Inventories of stock in navy yards and on shipboard are constantly in progress. Appraisals of all real estate, machinery, and chattels under the Navy Department are being conducted in a manner similar to that used by commercial concerns, and have been completed, and records have been received in the bureau as follows: Navy, yard, Boston, Mass.; naval station, New London, Conn.; navy yard, New York, N. Y.; naval magazine, New England coast; Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; Naval Medical School, Washington, D. C.; Naval Home, Philadelphia; naval disciplinary barracks, Port Royal, S. C.; naval station, New Orleans, La.; naval training
station, Great Lakes, North Chicago, Ill.; naval training station, San Francisco, Cal.; navy yard, Puget Sound, Wash.; naval hospital, Sitka, Alaska, also marine barracks and coal 'depot; naval station, Tutuila, Samoa; and naval hospital, Yokohama, Japan.
BOOKKEEPING IN THE BUREAU. A radical change has been made in the books in the Navy Department, due principally to the act approved June 25, 1910, providing for the purchase of stores under the naval supply account. A new set of books has been opened, based on the latest bookkeeping practices. These books provide for a set of personal accounts with each disbursing officer under the Navy Department and for the making of proper debit and credit entries for each appropriation. On July 1, 1910, a general ledger was opened, to which was posted the results obtained from the registers in total and in detail.
This posting to accounts by double-entry system enables the bureau to obtain a trial balance of debit and credit entries. The first trial balance ever secured in the department, so far as the bureau is aware, was prepared for the quarter ending September 30, 1910.
CLERICAL FORCE IN THE BUREAU. Notwithstanding the excellent system of bookkeeping and accounting installed in this bureau, it has been impossible to put it into full operation because of the limited corps of clerks in the bureau. In this connection, attention is invited to the following paragraph which appears in the Annual Report of the Paymaster General of the Navy for the fiscal year 1910:
On the efficiency of the clerical force employed in the bookkeeping section of the bureau will depend the final and successful outcome of the bureau's efforts to maintain a satisfactory system of accounts. The present bookkeeping force is, even under present conditions, compelled to work to the limit of its endurance, and in my opinion is inadequate to cope successfully with the prospective demands shortly to be made upon it. Because of the ultimate saving to the Government to be derived from an accounting system that will permit the accurate checking of all labor and material, the necessary force to perfect the plan and handle the work in the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts should be provided, and for this reason I can not too strongly urge that wherever, in the opinion of the expert accountants, an additional force is required to carry out properly the system inaugurated by them, a suitable number of clerks be employed.
This opinion has been voiced by expert accountants, as follows: An extract from the report of Messrs. Marwick, Mitchell & Co., who were engaged for several months in the installation of improvements in the accounting system of this department:
"In order that these records (books of accounts) may be properly maintained, we would strongly recommend that the clerical force of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts) be substantially increased. The clerical force has not been sufficient in the past to properly cope with the work required, and with the introduction of the revised methods it has been necessary to considerably increase the work. We feel, therefore, that immediate steps should be taken to increase the clerical force, so that the work can be promptly taken care of without undue overtime or night work.”
An extract from the recommendations of a committee of experts which was assigned by the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency to ascertain data relating to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts:
“A considerable increase of force is urgently needed even to carry into and keep in effect the system of accounting now installed, besides the accounts that are now and will yet be required to be set up and kept in the development of the system. And the entire force of accountants and bookkeepers should be better paid, commensurate with the services rendered—approximately, at least, to what is paid by civil firms for similar services.”
Conclusion arrived at by the chairman of the President's Commission on Economy and Efficiency as a result of his personal investigation of the work of each clerk in the bookkeeping section of the bureau:
“Using the present methods, it will require at least 8 more men to keep up all current work."
The work of this bureau is of as high a character as that of any in the Government service. The Auditor for the Navy Department, in his report for the fiscal year 1911, states:
“Practically all the work of this bureau is technical, the naval accounts being claimed by both the comptroller and the committee on audit to be the most intricate and perplexing of Government accounts.
The average pay of its employees, however, now ranks among the lowest; very much below that of other offices of anything like its importance. This accounts for the fact that many of its former clerks are scattered through other departments, where, by reason of their schooling here, they hold responsible and influential positions. These successful clerks are on the lookout for the better clerks of the lower rates of pay in this bureau, and as the three-year periods elapse there is and must be a constant exodus of valuable employees from this bureau to other departments.
The bureau has not enough clerks to perform its duties satisfactorily; it must wear out those it has and deny them fair pay, with the natural result that they leave at the earliest opportunity
The high cost of living and the continued increase thereof make it impossible for men to devote their best energies to their work because of the nagging anxiety which is continually present as to their ability to pay for the necessities of life for themselves and their families.
With an increase in pay more and better work can be done by each individual and an actual and much-needed economy will result in the increased efficiency of this class of public officials.
BOOKKEEPING SYSTEM IN NAVY YARDS.
On July 1, 1910, a general ledger was opened in the central accounting office of each of the industrial navy yards. Before that date there had been no bookkeeping in connection with the industrial work of the plants and the records were kept by the various departments of the yard. The central accounting oilice, besides keeping all the cost-of-wor's accounts, collects all the bookkeeping data and posts them to the general ledger, from which a trial balance is taken monthly. From these general ledgers may be obtained the cost of the operations of each yard during any fixed period.
CONTRACTS. The system of making consolidated purchases which was established during the last year has resulted in a decrease of 90,300 in the number of schedules distributed, but in an increase in the number of proposals received and the number of bids received on each class in comparison with the fiscal year 1910. During the last year careful attention has been paid to the economical purchase of supplies for the naval service, and with this end in view the markets for various commodities have been closely studied and the requirements of the various navy yards covered by the purchase at the most favorable time of the necessary quantities of supplies, etc., advertising the semiannual requirements at the same time and in the same schedule, thereby making the large quantities to be purchased attractive to the manufacturers and the most desirable class of contractors. This method has resulted, not only in the keenest competition among manufacturers, whereby the Navy Department secures the benefit of the lowest market price, but has considerably reduced the labor and expense in advertising for material and in the preparation of schedules and the amount of inspection work necessary. In such concentrated purchases the quality of materials purchased is becoming more standardized. The system of consolidating all purchases for various yards has met with most gratifying success. In prior years hemp for the manufacture of rope at the navy yard, Boston, Mass., has been purchased almost invariably through dealers in the United States. For this purpose about 1,000 tons each year are required. During the past year this purchase has been made through the navy pay office, Manila, P. I., with the result that in the purchase of this item there has been secured, on purchases of about 900 tons, a saving of approximately $30,000. Through the issuance of a standard specification for boiler compound, it has been made possible to purchase in bulk the necessary requirements of the service for six months, and by purchasing under standard specifications the price of this material has been reduced from 15 or 20 cents per pound to 4 or 5 çents per pound. On this item alone it is estimated that there has been an annual saving to the Government of about $50,000.
Among the recommendations submitted by the conference of general storekeepers held at the navy yard, New York, N. Y., in the fall of 1910 was a recommendation that certain yards be desigDated as distribution points for certain classes of material, consideration being given to the geographical situation of the yards in question, their nearness to the point of supply, and their facilities for making shipments to other yards and stations. This recommendation has been put into effect, with the result that the accumulation of large quantities of supplies at various yards is now unnecessary, the requirements being met by prompt shipment from the central distributing yard. It is proposed to increase, from time to time, the number of articles which will be distributed from the speci
fied yards as experience indicates that such articles can satisfactorily and economically be distributed.
A constant revision is in progress with the effort that specifications may be kept up to the best
commercial commodity as adapted to the uses of the Navy. Whenever it is practicable, every item purchased is covered by a standard Navy Department specification. Since July 1, 1910, there have been 188 specifications issued or revised and 18 old specifications issued without change. There are now approximately 800 standard specifications issued by the Navy Department, about 25 per cent of which during the last year have been issued as new or corrected specifications and brought up to date. Every criticism of the Navy Department's specifications is given full consideration by this bureau and the bureau concerned, and bidders are invited to submit full and specific criticism on this subject. It is pleasing to note that the Navy Department's standard specifications are referred to frequently by other branches of the Government, and in many lines of trade “Navy Specifications” are looked on as standard. Through the cooperation of the other bureaus of the Navy Department and the standardization of specifications, this bureau has been able to make the business of bidding for naval supplies attractive to the better class of dealers, with the result that keen competition, reasonable prices, and satisfactory deliveries have been secured.
In accordance with the act of Congress of March 3, 1909, & commissary store was established at the Washington Navy Yard on October 17, 1910. This was a step toward the equalization of the pay and allowances of the officers and enlisted men of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, as was the intention of the act of May 13, 1908. The establishment of the commissary store in other navy yards and stations will be effected as soon as pay officers become available for these important fiduciary duties.
CENTRAL ALLOTMENT OFFICE.
Pursuant to the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury, as concurred in by the Secretary of the Navy, the registration and accounting connected with the allotments of officers and enlisted men of the Navy and Marine Corps was transferred to a central allotment office, which was established in Washington on November 30, 1910. The work in the registration and auditing of these allotments, which average in number between 13,000 and 14,000, was performed by 7 clerks in the Office of the Auditor for the Navy Department. None of these clerks were transferred to the central allotment office, and it is understood that but 3 are employed at the present time by the auditor in the work of auditing allotments.
At the same time the money disbursements involved in payment of these allotments were transferred from the Navy pay offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Norfolk, and San Francisco to this office. Eight clerks who were employed in the handling and payment of allotments in the 7 Navy pay offices were transferred to the central office. By improved methods, both in the registry and payment of allotments and by the use of laborsaving machines, it has been found practicable to make a still further