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possessions in the Executive Pay Act of 1949; provides that the government secretary and the various heads of executive departments, the immediate staffs of the Governor and the government secretary shall be paid at rates established under the 1949 standards but established by the Secretary of the Interior; with the United States to pay the salaries of the Governor, the government secretary, their immediate staff members; the Virgin Islands to pay the salaries of the comptroller and heads of the executive departments.
Again, if the legislature fails to make an appropriation for such salaries, by the explicit terms of that section, salaries that were theretofore fixed would automatically be paid without the necessity of further appropriation.
Four measures introduced in the 84th Congress would amend that section by limiting the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to fix salaries to the government secretary, members of the immediate staffs of the Governor and the government secretary. It would remove his authority to fix salaries for heads of executive departments.
en, reflecting amendments which were elsewhere proposed, the annual salaries for the heads and assistant heads of the executive departments would be fixed by the Virgin Islands Legislature.
Mr. MERWIN. I have not been aware of this proposed amendment, sir, but I will say that the present setup is a little bit unwieldy.
The information that reached me concerning the manner in which the present salaries for heads of executive departments were established reads something like a masterpiece of confusion.
I understand there was one commissioner brought in by the Governor from Hawaii who went to Washington and told the Interior Department that the Governor recommended a certain salary range which he himself would receive, and then he came back and told the Governor that Interior recommended it, and he succeeded in getting both of them to believe that was the range the other wanted, and everybody ended up with $11,000 a year. That is rather a ridiculous way for salaries to be fixed.
I think our commissioners' salaries are very unrealistic. I think there are certain commissioners, such as health and education and public works, who well justify the salary of $11,000 a year. I think there are other departments where the commissioners' salary could be quite a bit less, $8,500 or $9,000.
In view of the fact that the salaries got set at $11,000 just out of the sky like that, we in the legislature had to bear in mind there should be a relationship between those salaries and the salaries that other persons working in subordinate positions in the various departments should get, and that was mainly the reason why the pay ranges recommended by Governor Alexander and passed by the legislature were set so high, by that I mean the salaries for local employees.
We now find our government overburdened with very high salaries, many of which are fully justified, but many of which, I think, are a little out of line when related to the work being done.
I do think it would be desirable if the Secretary of the Interior could delegate that authority to the legislature. I think he would
have the right to do so under the act. I do not know if it would require an amendment. But I think for him to reserve unto himself the prerogative of establishing those salaries, without going into the matter and determining what is proper for each department is not the proper way to function.
Some departments have a budget of a million dollars a year, others have a budget of a hundred thousand dollars a year. The people in those departments are related to the amount of the budget, and I think the responsibility is also related and that the salary should be fixed by analysis locally and based upon those factors.
I do not see any need for amendment, but I do feel we have had a lot of unhappiness in the system as it has been administered.
Mr. ABBOTT. Section 20 (b), I believe, Senator, does make mandatory the establishment of executive departmental heads' salaries by the Secretary of the Interior under the Classification Act of 1949, the so-called Executive Pay Act.
Mr. MERWIN. I think that proper administration by the Secretary of the Interior whereby he would establish the salaries after consulting with local authorities would solve the problem very easily.
Mr. ABBOTT. I believe the committee was rather familiarized with this subject in St. Thomas, and your comments reflect substantially the comments made at St. Thomas.
Again you come to the question of internal organization. If you are going to have commisisoners, then perhaps they should all be full commissioners, just as Cabinet members are, and it may be that a reorganization, as suggested by yourself in one instance, might be the
Mr. LAWAETZ. I think reorganization would take care of that.
Mr. HODGE. I think it should be set by the legislature, because those funds are the legislature's funds, the funds of the people of the Virgin Islands, and they should determine through their representatives in the legislature what the salaries of commissioners would be.
Mr. Young. I was not going to comment, but I would like to add this, in view of what has just been said: I think it would be a dangerous thing to have the legislature of 11 senators determine salaries. When they have a right to confirm the appointment of a certain head and they do not want that head, they can then set the salary ridiculously low.
I do not see anything too unwieldly about the Classification Act of 1949, but perhaps I do not know it too well. I think it is purely an administrative thing and we should let the organic act go undisturbed with regard to this matter.
(Subsequently Mr. Joseph submitted the following statement:) Section 20 (a), (b), and (c): All salaries of the Virgin Islands government worker answerable to the people direct or through the Governor should be paid by the Virgin Islands government, as salaries of such workers that are responsible to the United States Government should be paid by the United States Government, provided the Virgin Islands government is allowed the return of the internal revenue without strings attached.
SECTIONS 21 THROUGH 27
Mr. ABBOTT. We come, then, to the sections on the judicial branch. (Secs. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27 follow:)
SEC. 21. The judicial power of the Virgin Islands shall be vested in a court of record to be designated the “District Court of the Virgin Islands”, and in such court or courts of inferior jurisdiction as may have been or may hereafter be established by local law.
SEC. 22. The District Court of the Virgin Islands shall have the jurisdiction of a district court of the United States in all causes arising under the Constitution, treaties and laws of the United States, regardless of the sum or value of the matter in controversy. It shall have general original jurisdiction in all other causes in the Virgin Islands, exclusive jurisdiction over which is not conferred by this Act upon the inferior courts of the Virgin Islands. When it is in the interest of justice to do so the district court may on motion of any party transfer to the district court any action or proceeding brought in an inferior court and the district court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine such action or proceeding. The district court shall also have appellate jurisdiction to review the judgments and orders of the inferior courts of the Virgin Islands to the extent now or hereafter prescribed by local law.
SEC. 23. The inferior courts now or hereafter established by local law shali have exclusive original jurisdiction of all civil actions wherein the matter in controversy does not exceed the sum or value of $500, exclusive of interest and costs, all criminal cases wherein the maximum punishment which may be imposed does not exceed a fine of $100 or imprisonment for six months, or both, and all violations of police and executive regulations, and they shall have original jurisdiction, concurrently with the district court, of all actions, civil or criminal, jurisdiction of which may hereafter be conferred upon them by local law. Any action or proceeding brought in the district court which is within the jurisdiction of an inferior court may be transferred to such inferior court by the district court in the interest of justice. The inferior courts shall hold preliminary investigations in charges of felony and charges of misdemeanor in which the punishment that may be imposed is beyond the jurisdiction granted to the inferior courts by this section, and shall commit offenders to the district court and grant bail in bailable cases. The rules governing the practice and procedure of the inferior courts and prescribing the duties of the judges and officers thereof, oaths and bonds, the times and places of holding court, and the procedure for appeals to the district court shall be as may hereafter be established by the district court. The rules governing disposition of fines, costs and forfeitures, enforcement of judgments and disposition and treatment of prisoners shall be as established by law or ordinance in force on the date of approval of this Act or as may hereafter be so established.
SEC. 24. The President shall, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint a judge for the District Court of the Virgin Islands, who shall hold office for the term of eight years and until his successor is chosen and qualified, unless sooner removed by the President for cause. The salary of the judge of the district court shall be at the rate prescribed for judges of the United States district courts. Whenever it is made to appear that such an assignment is necessary for the proper dispatch of the business of the District Court the Chief Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit of the United States may assign a circuit or district judge of the Third Circuit, or the Chief Justice of the United States may assign any other United States circuit or district judge with the consent of the judge so assigned and of the chief judge of his circuit, to serve temporarily as a judge of the District Court of the Virgin Islands. The compensation of the judge of the district court and the administrative expenses of the court shall be paid from appropriations made for the judiciary of the United States. [The Attorney General shall, as heretofore, appoint a marshal and one deputy marshal for the Virgin Islands to whose office the provisions of chapter 33 of title 28, United States Code, shall apply.) The Attorney General shali appoint a United States marshal for the Virgin Islands, to whose office the provisions of chapter 33 of title 28, United States Code, shall apply.
SEC. 25. The Virgin Islands consists of two judicial divisions; the Division of Saint Croix, comprising the island of Saint Croix and adjacent islands and cays and the Division of Saint Thomas and Saint John, comprising the islands of Saint Thomas and Saint John and adjacent islands and cays. The district court shall hold sessions in each division at such time as the court may designate by rule or order, at least once in three months in each division. The rules of practice and procedure heretofore or hereafter promulgated and made effective by the Supreme Court of the United States pursuant to section 2072 of title 28, United States Code, in civil cases, section 2073 of title 28, United States Code, in admiralty cases, and section 30 of the Bankruptcy Act in bankruptcy cases, shall apply to the District Court of the Virgin Islands and to appeals therefrom. All offenses shall continue to be prosecuted in the District Court by information as heretofore except such as may be required by local law to be prosecuted by indictment by grand jury.
SEC. 26. [In any criminal case originating in the district court, no person shall be denied the right to trial by jury on the demand of either party.] All criminal cases originating in the district court shall be tried by jury upon demand by the defendant or by the Government. If no jury is demanded the case shall be tried by the judge of the district court without a jury, except that the judge may, on his own motion, order a jury for the trial of any criminal action. The legislature may provide for trial in misdemeanor cases by a jury of six qualified persons.
SEC. 27. The President shall, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint a United States attorney for the Virgin Islands, who shall hold office for the term of four years and until his successor is chosen and qualified, unless sooner removed by the President for cause. The United States attorney, by himself or the assistant United States attorney, shall conduct all legal proceedings, civil and criminal, to which the Government of the United States or the government of the Virgin Islands is a party in the District Court of the Virgin Islands and in the inferior courts of the Virgin Islands. Offenses against the laws of the Virgin Islands shall be prosecuted in the name of the government of the Virgin Islands. The United States attorney shall perform his duties under the supervision and direction of the Attorney General of the United States. The Attorney General may appoint one assistant United States attorney. The Attorney General may authorize the employment of necessary clerical assistants. The compensation of the [district attorney] United States attorney and his assistant and employees shall be fixed by the Attorney General and their salaries and the other necessary expenses of the office shall be paid from appropriations made to the Department of Justice. In the case of a vacancy in the office of the [district attorney) United States attorney, the District Court of the Virgin Islands may appoint a [district attorney) United States attorney to serve until the vacancy is filled. The order of appointment by the court shall be filed with the clerk of the court.
Mr. ABBOTT. Sections 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 27 deal with the judicial provisions. Two of those sections would be amended, one, with respect to the office of the Virgin Islands marshal. I am sure the panel members present are familiar wth that.
A number of measures introduced would amend the section dealing with trial by jury to remove the right of the prosecution to demand trial by jury as presently provided, but retain the right of the accused to do so.
If it is agreeable to the panel members, and in the interest of time, to get particularly to section 28, we have requested that the bar association, particularly on the two islands, comment on those provisions. Judge Moore has agreed that with respect to the Bankruptcy Act, for example, where a question has been raised, and in the Declaratory Judgments Act there should be some clarification, but it is essentially a legal problem.
You do have an integrated bar in the Virgin Islands, as we understand it, and the examinations of the legislature and the bar should help clarify the recommendations in that direction.
(Subsequently Mr. Joseph submitted the following statement for consideration :)
Section 26. Trial by jury: This section should be worded giving the privilege of trial hy jury to the defendant only upon his request.
Since the law of the United States gives the defendant that right, that right should be the defendant's right to choose if he so desires ; to give that right to the prosecution would be imposing on the defendant that that he doesn't desire, and reducing his claims of innocence until proven guilty. A defendant, while he should have the right for representation by attorney may elect to refuse representation, and still be within his rights. A defendant who has the right to testify in his own behalf may refuse giving testimony against himself. Therefore, in like manner, a defendant, while he has the right to trial by jury, may elect to refuse same, and should still be within his rights—for a man to be tried by jury against his will is as if he is being lynched by a group of 12 so legally established. Therefore in section 26 the words of either party" should be deleted.
Mr. O'BRIEN. If that is agreeable with the panel member, we will move on.
Mr. ABBOTT. We come, then, to section 28. (Sec. 28 follows:)
SEC. 28. (a) The proceeds of customs duties, the proceeds of the United States income tax, the proceeds of any taxes levied by the Congress on the inhabitants of the Virgin Islands, and the proceeds of all quarantine, passport, immigration, and naturalization fees collected in the Virgin Islands, less the cost of collecting all of said duties, taxes, and fees, shall be covered into the treasury of the Virgin Islands, and shall be available for expenditure as the Legislature of the Virgin Islands may provide : Provided, That the term "inhabitants of the Virgin Islands" as used in this section shall include all persons whose permanent residence is in the Virgin Islands, and such person shall satisfy their income tax obligations under applicable taxing statutes of the United States by paying their tax on income derived from all sources both within and outside the Virgin Islands into the treasury of the Virgin Islands: Provided further, That nothing in this Act shall be construed to apply to any tax specified in section 3811 of the Internal Revenue Code.
(b) Subchapter B of chapter 28 of the Internal Revenue Code is amended by adding to sertion 3350 thereof the following subsection :
"(c). DISPOSITION OF INTERNAL REVENUE COLLECTIONS.--Beginning with the fiscal year ending June 30, 1954, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of the Treasury shall determine the amount of all taxes imposed by, and collected during the fiscal year under, the internal revenue laws of the United States on articles produced in the Virgin Islands and transported to the United States. The amount so determined less 1 per centum and less the estimated amount of refunds or credits shall be subject to disposition as follows:
“(i) There shall be transferred and paid over to the government of the Virgin Islands from the amounts so determined a sum equal to the total amount of the revenue collected by the government of the Virgin Islands during the fiscal year, as certified hy the Government Comptroller of the Virgin Islands. The moneys so transferred and paid over shall constitute a separate fund in the treasury of the Virgin Islands and may be expended as the legislature may determine; Provided. that the approval of the President or his designated representative shall be obtained before such moneys may be obligated or expended.
“(ii) There shall also be transferred and paid over to the government of the Virgin Islands during each of the fiscal years ending June 30, 1955, and June 30, 1956, the sum of $1,000,000, or the balance of the internal revenue collections available under this subsection (c) after payments are made under the preceding paragraph (i), whichever amount is greater. The moneys so transferred and paid over shall be deposited in the separate fund established by the preceding paragraph (i), but shall be obligated or expended for emergency purposes and essential public projects only, with the prior approval of the President or his designated representative.
“(iii) Any amounts remaining shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States as miscellaneous receipts.
“If at the end of any fiscal year the total of the Federal contribution made under (i) above at the beginning of that fiscal year has not been obligated or expended for an approved purpose, the balance shall continue available for expenditure during any succeeding fiscal year, but only for approved emergency