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HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON INTEROCEANIC CANALS

OF THE

UNITED STATES SENATE

N THE MATTER OF THE SENATE RESOLUTION

ADOPTED JANUARY 9, 1906,

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J60

I 6 59th

v. 2

ISTHMIAN CANAL.

DOCUMENTS

DEPT,

COMMITTEE ON INTEROCEANIC CANALS,

UNITED STATES SENATE, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 20, 1906. The committee met at 11 o'clock a. m. (no session having been held on yesterday).

Present: Senators Millard (chairman), Kittredge, Dryden, Hopkins, Ankeny, Morgan, and Taliaferro.

TESTIMONY OF DAVID W. ROSS, ESQ., GENERAL PURCHASING

OFFICER ISTHMIAN CANAL COMMISSION.

Mr. Ross was duly sworn, and testified as follows:
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Ross, will you give your name?
Mr. Ross. David W. Ross.
The CHAIRMAN. And your residence ?
Mr. Ross. Washington at present. Chicago is my legal residence.

The CHAIRMAN. What has been your business for, say, the past eight or ten years?

Mr. Ross. Up until the 1st of June, when I came with the Canal Commission, I had been with the Illinois Central Railroad for eighteen years, located at Chicago.

The CHAIRMAN. In what way were you employed by the Illinois Central Railroad ?

Mr. Ross. I started with the Illinois Central eighteen years ago in the telegraph department and was in that department for over a year, and afterwards in the general superintendent's and general manager's office and president's office, respectively, for several years. Then I was for ten years in the office of the second vice-president, first as his secretary, and for six years as chief clerk to the second vice-president. I was then purchasing agent for three years, and for the last year, from June 1, 1904, until June 1, 1905, I was generai superintendent of transportation.

The CHAIRMAN. And where were you stationed at that time?
Mr. Ross. At Chicago.

The CHAIRMAN. Were you general superintendent of transportation for the entire line?

Mr. Ross. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. And what time did you take up service with the Commission?

Mr. Ross. June 1, 1905.

The CHAIRMAN. And what are your duties with the Commission now? What is your position?

983 MS83103

Mr. Ross. General purchasing officer of the Commission.
The CHAIRMAN. You do all the buying for the Commission?
Mr. Ross. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you buy for the Panama Railway also ?

Mr. Ross. I am also general purchasing officer of the Panama Rail. road; yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You are the general purchasing agent for both ?
Mr. Ross. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Now will you go on and state to the committee in a general way what your duties are?

Mr. Ross. I might state, in the first place, the conditions as I found them when I came here.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. Ross. Major Gallagher had been purchasing agent from February 1 until June 1, 1905, when I came with the Commission. He found quite a large lot of accumulated requisitions, and had done good work in getting them advertised and in opening bids. But when I came here there were a great many bids that had been opened on which they had not had time to award the contracts, and I spent nearly all of my time from the 1st of June until I went to the Isthmus with Mr. Shonts and Mr. Stevens, on the 20th of July, in getting awards made on the bids that had been opened. By the time I left to go to the Isthmus in July we were pretty well up to date.

I went to the Isthmus on the 20th of July, and while down there the material and supply division on the Isthmus was placed in my charge. That is the same as the store department on railroads. It bad been under the chief engineer, but Mr. Stevens said he did not want it, and that he preferred

Senator ANKENY. Mr. Ross, do you advertise for all the purchases made there?

Mr. Ross. Made here?

Senator ANKENY. No; for the Panama Commission, wherever they are made.

Mr. Ross. Yes, sir; practically all. The requisitions, of course, are all made on the Isthmus. They come up to this office. have enough to warrant advertising, we always advertise. Sometimes we get in on a steamer a requisition for only thirty-five or forty or fifty dollars' worth of stuff; and in that event it would not pay to advertise. We do buy a small amount of little stuff in that way without advertising. Under the President's instructions we have authority to purchase up to $1,000 worth of material without advertising, but we practically pay no attention to that provision, because if we get in a lot of different requisitions on a steamer we get out an advertisement for all of the material called for without trying to pick out something that we could buy under that authority without advertising

Our total purchases in the open market from February 1 to October 1, as shown in a statement which was prepared for the Secretary of War, and of which I have a copy with me, were about $280,000; and I think from February 1 up to date the total purchases in the open market, without advertising, will not exceed about 4 per cent of the material purchased, and at least half of that i per cent is ma terial that we could not buy in any other way.

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