MERIT COUNCIL FINDS AGAINST WILLIAMS tect and enforce my rights in the courts from such arbitrary action. “I am ready, willing and able to perform the duties of the position to which my long service entitles me under the law, and I plan promptly to take court proceedings to enforce such rights.” Williams added, to the Observer, that he believed that should his firing stick the Merit System tenure provisions would become meaningless. At the hearing, presided over by Raymond Gee of Fort Worth, chairman of the council, Brown, Acers and Newman read prepared statements. Williams made an oral statement and answered questions put to him by his attorney, John Cofer of Austin. Cofer also questioned Brown [who refused to answer] and Acers, and two former TEC commissionersHarry Benge Crozier and Dwight Horton who appeared in behalf of Williams. Additionally, a statement from a third former commissionerDean Maxwell, absent because of illnesswas read. None of those who made statements were sworn, although Cofer said that Williams wished to say he was willing to take an oath. Newman’s statement was notarized. Brown Brown, who several times in the course of the hearing consulted with Attorney John Osorioa former aide to ex-Gov. Allan Shivers whom, it is understood here, expects to succeed Williams said in his statement that he BRACEROS Father Francis J. Connell, dean of the school of sacred theology at the Catholic University of America, in a letter to the San Antonio meeting; Connell said that because the program, as drawn up by the U. S. and Mexican governments, has so many evils built into it, a Catholic farmer must not hire braceros except if he “simply could not get American workers. and would have to suffer grave financial loss, and perhaps even complete ruin, if he could not get workers,” Connell said. Except in such cases of desperation, the Catholic farmer “must simply refuse to participate in the program as it is now being conducted … even though such participation might be very lucrative.” But withdrawal alone is not enough, Connell stressed. “In addition, I believe that the Catholic farmer has a positive obligation to work for a reordering of the program.” Here is how he explained that obligation: “There is such an obligation on the part of all Catholics, within their particular fields, to work for an adjustment of conditions in line with Catholic principles. “Catholics should know that they are not fulfilling their duties as Catholics if they merely abstain from inflicting wrong on society; they must work toward the reign of social justice and charity. “This means that the Catholic farmer, whatever his own practices may be \(I mean, even if he is perfectly just in his own transhelp his fellow man get the benefit of the Church’s teachings on industry and labor. “From this it follows, I believe, that in the situation you describe, presuming that the bracero program is going to continue in some form, every Catholic farmer should work toward its reordering, so that it may be in accord with justice and charity.” had not been able to get unbiased interpretations of the federal and state laws under which TEC operates from Williams. He said: “The main reason for the TEC’s having a general counsel of its ownand the only reason I can think ofis to make available to the commission and the staff, on a full-time basis, the advisory services of a qualified lawyer intimately informed about the unemployment compensation act and the court decisions and administrative practices connected with it. “If his advice is not completely objective and free from bias, it is of little value to the commission. In fact, it is probably worse than no advice at all … “It is my carefully studied opinion that this type of legal opinion could not always be obtained from the former general counsel of the Texas Employment Commission …” Brown said he had no questions about Williams’s personal integrity but that he did question his judgment; “I am saying that I am not willing to rely upon his counsel…” On the removal of Williams’s former post from coverage of the Merit System, Brown said: “The bureau of employment security [a subdivision of the federal Labor Dept] has long recognized that the position of attorney … could properly be exempted from the merit rule … the lawyer-client relationship is comparable to the relationship of doctor and patient. If the patient does not have the confidence in the doctor, he must use his own judgment in changing doctors.” Brown said Williams’s old post was not put under the merit rule until Crozier and former commissioner Robert McKinley, by “juggling and maneuvering,” put him under it [Crozier, later, under auestioning from Cofer, said he had no recollection of the matter]. Williams had now no cause for complaint, said Brown, “if the commission now exercises its legal right to restore the original exemption …” Acers Acers’s statement, somewhat shorter than Brown’s, said, in part: “In the case before us we are concerned with the dismissal of the general counsel. This is a very important position. All three DALLAS Three hundred Dallas ministers representing 13 Protestant denominations in a formal statement have called on the Dallas School Board to make public as soon as possible its plans for desegregation of the Dallas public schools. This is the status of desegregation in Dallas at the moment: Last September, Federal Dist. Judge William Atwell, after twice refusing to order desegregation, ordered that it should begin with the opening of the 1957-58 academic year. School officials asked delay of the New Orleans appellate court. The delay was granted late last December. The officials now say they will make public a desegregation plan when school closes in June. The ministers’ statement, issued by Methodist Bishop William Martin, Episcopal Bishop C. Avery Mason, Dr. John Anderson, a Presbyterian, and Dr. Foy Valentine, director of the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, termed “enforced segregation” … “morally and spiritually wrong.” members of the commission must of necessity rely upon the general counsel for legal advice. It is imperative that such advice be completely objective and unbiased. As one member of the commission I believe that any employee should have complete freedom to think and believe as he chooses on any issue, public or otherwise. Personal views or opinions, however, in whatever direction they might be slanted, should not enter into the advice given to this commission.” But Acers said it was his judgment, “based upon my analysis and observation of the individual in question over a period of years, he did not instill in me that degree of confidence which would permit me to be willing to rely upon his judgment and advice. If I have no voice with respect to the selection or the retention of the individuals in such a sensitive position as general counsel, I do not see how it is possible for me to acquit the responsibilities of the office which I hold.” He said he had had employers tell him that they would not sit in conferences if Williams was to be present. Acers said he had had to seek legal advice outside the commission and was doing so now. Acers said he concurred with Brown’s fire-Williams vote “because I could see no noticeable improvement in Mr. Williams’s service …” although Acers said, he had asked Williams to “be more objective.” Acers, an attorney, said there were many precedents upholding the right of a client to dismiss his lawyer. Newman Newman’s statement, briefer than either of his colleagues, charged bluntly that “Lee Williams was fired because he gave me the legal advice which his job required that 4e give me.” Newman said also: “I believe sincerely that the discharging of this 20-year career state employee … was a direct result of my bringing before the commission and the bureau of employment security 20 items dealing with principles, procedures and personnel policies which I questioned [see ‘FEDS BACK NEWMAN’ on Page 1].” “They figured,” said Newman, “if they got rid of Williams I would shut up. I repeat that Lee Williams gave me advice only when I asked for it. He considered it his duty to do so … It _ I do not think that Lee Williams’s discharge is justified on the trumped-up charge of ‘lack of confidence.’ “I was opposed to the firing of Lee Williams on April 2. I am still opposed … I have found Lee Williams to be a man in whom I could place the greatest confidence … I have found him able, unbiased, honorable and sincere. His past record of 20 years proves that he is well versed in the unemployment compensation law. His reputation as a lawyer wellversed in the employment security field in all 48 states is highly recognized. Lee Williams’s legal knowledge and ability are important in assisting in fair and just interpretation of the statute for 68,000 employers and 1,760,000 wage earners in Texas.” If Williams’s firing sticks, said Newman, staff morale at the TEC will plummet. In addition to his statement, Newman filed with the council a list of cases in which, he said, Williams had found against employees in controversies with employers. He also read to the council the letter from Maxwell. Williams Williams told the council he wished to repudiate a statement he made to reporters shortly after he was fired in which he said he did not want his job back, but was appealing because he wanted ac \(Continued from ions before they are issued should be eliminated. This practice often results in the appeals supervisor suggesting that the appeals examiner should make changes in his decision. Such “suggestions” by a supervisor are readily misconstrued as directions that must be followed. We have long urged dropping this pre-issuance review of decisions because it is an ineffective and needlessly expensive method of improving decision writing. The appearance of supervisory interference with appeals examiner independence is perhaps the strongest argument for ending this practice. “2.It is not clear from the two ‘statements whether the Texas Commission intends to discard the practice of having a summary made of the record on appeals to the commission. If the intent is to continue this practice or the practice of oral presentations of appeals to the commission at commission meetings, a clear-cut statement should be included that would place the function in a staff member who is divorced from the prior handling of the appealed case. Similarly, if the commission intends to have staff assistance in preparing its decisions, it should place that responsibility in a staff member who is outside the insurance department and the appeal tribunal and is not connected with the handling of the case before it reaches the second stage. “3.The commission should incorporate in its “Principles of Appeals Hearings” the point made at the March 25 meeting, that the Commission should consider itself as an impartial body when it passes on appeals and render its decisions on the basis of the record in accordance with hte law. The .fair . hearing . principle . is weakened when the members of a second-stage tribunal act as advocates of conflicting interests. It is reasonable to suppose that the Texas law’s provision . that . the commission should be composed of a representative of labor, a representative of employers and a crued vacation pay and other benefits he had earned. He said he was in “a state of shock” when he spoke to the press; now, he said, he wanted the job back, that he had devoted his professional life to the field. Cofer told the council that Williams’s “liberal” interpretations of law were made because the U. S. Supreme Court had held in numerous cases that “social legislation” like the unemployment compensation acthad to be so interpreted. Williams said he had never let personal biases affect his legal judgment, and never would. Williams said that neither Brown nor Acers were in a position to acquire a lack of confidence in his legal ability because they had not consulted him for legal opinions. Williams said he had been consulted but once by Brown. Crozier and Horton, and Maxwell’s message, said Williams not only did not allow personal. opinion to creep into his legal work, but, rather, he had “leaned over backwards” to avoid this. They said that they had always had enormous confidence in Williams. Members of the council, in addition to Gee, are Dr. Monroe S. Carroll, Waco; and Don Wooten, Abilene. Wooten was appointed to the council one day before the Williams hearing. Attorney C. R. Vickery acted as counsel to the council at the Williams hearing. [For an interpretation of press coverage of the hearing, see Page 6.] L. J. representative of the public was not intended to weaken the law’s fair-hearing standard. McDonald rewrote some of Newman’s policy suggestions: “The members of the commission will not consult with the staff member of the insurance department or the appeal tribunal nor will the latter consult with the commission members on any benefit appeal that is pending either at the appeal tribunal or commission stage. This does not preclude the commission from obtaining information regarding administative practice and procedures from the agency’s staff members best qualified to furnish such information. No member of the insurance department or the appeal tribunal will, however, attend commission meetings during the consideration of appeals before the commission except when needed to furnish such information. Ordinarily such information will be requested and furnished in writing and made available to all commission members.” “It is suggested that the commission might profit from a practice of directing the taking of additional evidence in any case where this is requested by one of its members. “I hope these comments will be of assistance to you in working out and adopting, at an early date, clear-cut policy statements for the guidance of commission personnel in this area. Johnson Neutral WASHINGTON Sen. Lyndon Johnson says he’ll be neutral in the forthcoming race between Sen. Ralph Yarborough and exinterim Sen. William Blakley. Said Johnson:
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.