Jane Hoey's Departure

Letter from HEW Under-Secretary Nelson Rockefeller Informing Hoey of Her Dismissal

October 27, 1953

Dear Miss Hoey:

I appreciated very much your frankness in our discussion this morning regarding the Administration's point of view on the appointment of its representatives to key policy positions throughout the Government.

In so far as its application concerns the Directorship of the Bureau of Public Assistance, I think there is an honest difference between us. You expressed the opinion that this position involves policy formulation but not policy determination, and that therefore the position should not be filled by an Administration representative.

However, as I pointed out, it is our sincere conviction that this distinction cannot be drawn, particularly in a program which has the importance and magnitude of the Public Assistance Program, involving annual grants-in-aid of over a billion dollars distributed throughout the States and Territories. The work of the Bureau of Public Assistance involves constant policy formulation and decision in connection with the innumerable problems which arise under the complicated legislative structure. To attempt to handle the policy formulation in the Bureau and to refer policy decision to a higher level in connection with the day to day operations in this tremendous program is not in our opinion feasible.

It was for this reason that some seven months ago Secretary Hobby requested the Civil Service Commission to classify to Schedule C the position of Director of the Bureau of Public Assistance. As you know, on April 27, 1953, the Civil Service Commission acted favorably on her request, stating that, "The Commission has given careful consideration to . . . the information supplied by your office in support of your recommendation that the positions of . . . and the Director of Bureau of Public Assistance be placed in Schedule C as policy-determining positions. In the opinion of the Commission, the information submitted by you justifies placing these positions in schedule C."

As I pointed out in our conversation, the Secretary feels the time has come to appoint an Administration representative to this position, and the date which she has in mind for your retirement from this position is December 1. This decision on her part, as I explained to you, in no way reflects any lack of appreciation of your long record of devoted service in this field. It is simply a question of carrying out the Administration's policy of placing its representatives in key policy-making positions throughout the Government. She would be very glad if you would care to stay in the Department in another capacity, or if you prefer to arrange for your retirement to which you are presently entitled.

The fact that the Secretary since taking office has only requested that 25 positions be exempted from Civil Service requirements, out of a total of some 35,000 Civil Service positions in the Department, is a clear indication of the concern which she has for the preservation of the integrity and effectiveness of the Civil Service standards and for the morale of the professional and non-professional career employees.

May I take this opportunity again to express sincere appreciation for your cooperation and assistance during these past months. The association has been a very pleasant one far all of us.

With best wishes,


/s/ Nelson A. Rockefeller
Nelson A. Rockefeller

Miss Jane M. Hoey,
Director Bureau of Public Assistance
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington D. C.

Hoey's Letter to Rockefeller in Reply

November 3, 1953

Mr. Nelson A. Rockefeller
Under Secretary
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington 25, D. C.

Dear Mr. Rockefeller:

This is to acknowledge your letter of October 27, which I received today. As you requested, I will leave my position December 1, 1953.

My greatest concern is the fact that in Schedule C where the position of Director of the Bureau of Public Assistance now falls, there are no requirements for professional or technical qualifications. I believe that professional social work training and experience are essential for this position. The public can only be assured of the nonpolitical administration of these important programs for the needy if such qualifications are required for this position and if the incumbent is assured of being able to function on a professional basis.

There is nothing political about poverty. This was recognized when the social security programs were initiated by having them administered by a bi-partisan board with staff employed on the basis of their professional and technical qualifications. It was because of this assurance of non-partisan administration that I accepted the position at the request of Mr. John G. Winant, a Republican, who was then Chairman of the Social Security Board.

Of lesser importance than this basic issue is our difference of opinion as to where responsibility for policy determination lies. Since all bureaus in the Social Security Administration are supervised by the Commissioner of Social Security, all policies recommended by the bureaus are decided by that official within the authority delegated to him by the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. As you know, there has been no discussion on matters of policy with me by the Secretary of any members of her immediate staff since the new Administration went into office in January 1953.

I am appreciative of the fact that you gave me the opportunity to resign. I declined to accept since I wanted to make the issue clear that my removal was for political and not personal reasons.

I shall continue to be keenly interested in the public assistance programs and in the needy people they benefit. It has been a privilege to serve them for eighteen years. I believe that Federal, States and local governments must have as their primary concern the welfare of all the people and that the worlds richest nation has the resources to provide the essentials of life and necessary services for those who have no choice but to look to their Government for aid.

Sincerely yours,

Jane M. Hoey

Official HEW Press Release Announcing Hoey's Departure

RUSSELL-- EX 3--6300
Ext. 4173

Office of the Secretary
Washington 25, D. C.

Tuesday, November 3, 1953

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare said today that at the Secretary's request Miss Jane Hoey will vacate the schedule C position of Director of the Department's Bureau of Public Assistance, effective December l, so that an Administration representative can be selected for this "policy making" position.

The Secretary emphasized that this action in no way reflected on Miss Hoey's long record of service in both public and private welfare work.

The Secretary said that the position of Director of the Bureau of Public Assistance was placed in the schedule "C", or policy-making, category by the Civil Service Commission more than six months ago.

As a Civil Service employee, Kiss Hoey was entitled to another position in the Department, which she was offered but declined.