Everyone knows that during normal years the annual purchases for the numerous governmental agencies, including the armed forces, total billions of dollars. By the same token, the annual turnover of surplus commodifies and machines must run into a sizable figure.
After World War II, the surplus problem necessitated the passing of an Act by Congress to establish a disposal agency. The better part of a year passed before the Surplus Property Act was finally signed by the President.
Our recommendation is that Congress give consideration to establishing a permanent surplus disposal agency headed by an experienced merchandise manager with civil service status.
It is obvious that the chaotic conditions that exist under the present Surplus Property Act were brought on not only by the inexperience of the personnel available, but also by the fact that these employees knew their jobs were of only temporary duration.
The pattern used by the Army and Navy during peacetime to maintain a nucleus for expansion could be adopted. Then, if the necessity should ever again arise, an enlarged organization could be more rapidly developed to meet the requirements of a gigantic disposal program.
There are some government agencies that function on an efficient basis, comparable to private business operations. It is our observation that the basis for this efficiency is the permanency of the jobs offered in these agencies. Many capable men with civil service jobs who are qualified to earn considerably more money in private organizations stay with their government positions because of the security these positions give them. This fact alone would attract a number of men with merchandising experience to a permanent surplus disposal agency.
Any one who has had experience with the existing surplus property agency has become fully aware of the inefficiencies in this organization. The number of steps necessary to make a simple purchase are so numerous that many potential customers have given up in disgust. A permanent organization could streamline and eliminate much of this red tape.
Even during peace times the vast properties and tremendous accumulation of equipment which is government owned is so great that it is difficult to conceive its extent. An efficient disposal department could save the country tremendous sums of money . . . not to speak of the economy which could be effected by coordinating the handling of surplus goods between the various government departments.