Calvin Coolidge photo

Excerpts of the President's News Conference

January 27, 1925

I haven't any specific plan for the reduction of personnel in the clerical forces of the District of Columbia. I think in the last four years we have reduced personnel something like 100,000. Of course there is quite a large personnel now employed in the Adjutant General's Department on the work growing out of the law for the adjusted compensation or the bonus bill. As that work closes up a good many clerks there can probably be dispensed with. Some of them have been transferred to other places. And I wasn't referring last night particularly to the District of Columbia, nor was my suggestion last night one that was new. In practically every address I have made to the business organization of the Government I have suggested that the cost of personnel was one of the very largest items. A great many people came in, as you know, during the war—in the employment of the Government—and it is with a good deal of difficulty that they are discharged. It is a matter we don't like to do, but for that reason it is necessary for me constantly to call it to the attention of the heads of the departments and the managers of the business organization, so that they may make constant and careful surveys to see what is necessary in that respect.

PRESS: Mr. President, has any plan of dismissals been worked out yet to carry out the scheme?

PRESIDENT: NO, that is for every department to work out itself.

PRESS: Have you any information from the heads of departments as to what plan would be the most feasible?

PRESIDENT: NO. AS I say, it is a general suggestion of what has to be met and an effort that the heads of the departments have to be constantly engaged in, otherwise the departments will be loaded up with a great many more people than is necessary for the conduct of its business. It seems to me that the Budget Bureau cut the appropriation for the White House, so that it would be expected that we might dispense with the services of one or two people there. That is the only specific instance that I have in mind. This, of course, didn't refer to the City of Washington particularly. It referred to personnel all over the United States.

PRESS: Mr. President, is it the intention that immediate action be taken by the departments to list the names of certain employees who are to be taken off the roll?

PRESIDENT: Well, I want constant effort in that direction, a constant checking up by the department to see whether they have any more employees than is necessary to carry on the work of the department. Whenever they find that is the case, well, they can drop them off. As I said at the outset, I think we have dropped off about 100,000, and I don't know, it may be more than that, in the last four years.

Source: "The Talkative President: The Off-the-Record Press Conferences of Calvin Coolidge". eds. Howard H. Quint & Robert H. Ferrell. The University Massachusetts Press. 1964.

Calvin Coolidge, Excerpts of the President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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