The administration of public printing

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The administration of public printing

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A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the School of Public Administration University of Southern California

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Public Administration

by Frank Sherwood August 1950

UMI Number: EP64503

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UMI Dissertation Ftoiiswng

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T h is thesisj w ritten by .............P M M . J ® ? S ? O O D ............. u n d e r the g u id a n c e o f h . .is.. F a c u lt y C o m m it te e , a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l its

m em bers, has been

presented to a n d accep ted by the C o u n c i l on G r a d u a te S t u d y a n d R e search in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l ­ m e n t o f the re q u ire m e n ts f o r the degree o f


D ate






Definition of publicprinting............... Scope.






Definition ...............................


Frame of reference.......................


Statement of the p r o b l e m ....................


Excessive costs....................... . . .


Apathy ...................................


Conceptual misunderstandings



Politics .................................


Importance of study.........................


Need for synthesis........................


The relationship of printing to duplicating. • Attempts at distinction...........

9 9

Effect of multilith........................


Limitations established. .



The relationship of printingto purchasing

. •

Functional relationship.................... The relationship of printing


12 12

politics. . . 14

Susceptibility to politics



Business pressure groups


Labor pressure groups......................



P^GE The extent of corruption....................


Impossible to measure......................


Printing scandals.........................


Recurrence of scandals • • • • • • • • • . .


The trends ..........

* • • . • • • • • • • •

Technological developments . ..............


Specialty printing . . . . ................


Leadership of federal agencies • ..........






Significance • • • • • • • II.


Brief outline of a total printing program. Control organization




Relation to forms control..................


Functions of printing controller • • • • • •


Need for centralization.............


Types of control



Elected public printer


Boards, legislative committees


Line agency...........


Staff a g e n c y .............................


Centralization of printing administration.

• •




Inter-relationships In printing............








Initiation of the a c t i o n .......... * ............39 Responsibility of using agency ..............


Time factors in ordering . . .................. 40 Initial decision on reproduction method. . . .


Others ways printing action initiated.......... 42 Types of jobs.

.................... 42

Requests for printing.......................... 43 Registration and review................. • • • • Check for duplication.............

44 45

Standardization analysis........................ 46 Paper analysis • • • • Editorial analysis

• •• • •


...................... 51

Mechanical analysis............................ 52 Individual specifications. Number of copies



............................ 54

Pre-numbering and perforating.................. 55 Punching


Time for j o b .............................

55 56

Determination of process of printing............ 56 Necessity for quotations ....................


Offset printing.






Other systems.................................. 60


PAGE Summary. • • • • • • • • •



PRINTING PROCUREMENT...................

64 65

Techniques by which private firms gain control of public printing • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Control of political power • • • • • • • • •


Special favors • • • • • • •


............ •

Collusion. • • • • • .........


Special knowledge. • . . . • • • • • • • • •


Secret formulas.



Superior equipment • • • • ................


Location • • • • « • • .........




. . . • • • • •

Restrictions on collusion................. Methods of classifying jobs for procurement. • Introduction

69 71



The standard rate system • • • • • • • • • •


The class system • • • • . • • • • • • • . .


The formal price agreement • • •



The informal price agreement



The individual job system of bidding • • • • Evaluation of methods of classification. . . .

81 85

No system completely satisfactory. » . • • •


Is bidding necessary?......................


Conclusion • • • • • ............. • • • • •



PAGE Award of printing orders« . . • • • • • « • •


Discretionary and non-discretionaryprovisions


Performance bonds* • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Local preference • • • * • • • • • • • • • •


Special problems of procurement* . . . . . . .


Paper. • • • • • • • • • • * • • • • • • • •


Standing type. • • • • • . . . • • • • • • •


Summary. • . . • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


V.PUBLIC PRINTING P L A N T S ........... ..............


Definitions. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


History. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Reasons for establishment. • • • • • • • « •


Types of development • • • • • • • • • • • •


The present situation. • • • • • • • • • • •


Criticisms of present plant operations • • • •


Inefficiency • • • • • • • • • . • • • • • •


Excessive prices • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Slow delivery. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Monopoly • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Politics and public plants • • • • • • • • • •


Internal politics. • • • « • • • » • • • • •


External politics* • , . • • • • • • • • • • •


The movement away from total production. . . .


Specialty items* • • • • • • • • * • • • • •



PAGE The yardstick theory



Forces tending toward establishment of public plants ........

• • • • • •



Importance of duplicating machines . . . . . .


War and high prices........................


The situation now..........................


Relative efficiency of


privateand public plants 125

Lack of adequate costaccounts • • • • « • •


Cost systems in use...... ...


Summary..................•• • • • • • • •





Inspection functions........................


Delivery • • • • .....................

. .





Summary................. ............ .


The Inspection process

Storage functions.......................


Importance • • • • ......... • • • •


Storage of forms and documents............


Storage of paper



Summary............. Fiscal functions Appropriations Encumbrance.









PAGE Vouchering and fundaccounting • » « • • • •


Relating inspection, storage, and fiscal functions to the public plant




Considerations in evaluating aprinting program


•Lack of agreement..........................

Price comparisons.



144 147

■VII. ‘CONCLUSION....................................

The price factor • • • • • • • • •




148 148

Causes of excessive charges................


The control f a c t o r ...... ..... ........... .


Organization • • • • • • • • •



Planning.................... . ...........





Summary........ . . . BIBLIOGRAPHY .



154 156


DEFINITION OF PUBLIC PRINTING Printing has long been recognized as an essen­

tial of governmental operation.

In October, 1777, for example,

the Continental Congress adopted a resolution authorizing the Committee of Intelligence to take the most speedy and effectual measures for getting a printing press erected in Yorktown, for the purpose of conveying to the public the intelligence that Congress may from time to time receive.* The Common Council of the City of New York made the modest offer on March 23, 1693, That if a printer will come and settle on the City of New York for the printing of our Acts of Assembly and Publicke Papers, he shall be allowed the sum of 40 pounds current money of New York per annum for his salary and have the benefit besides what serves the public#2 Printingfs long service as a tool of governmental . operation is further emphasized where war has caused the dis­ ruption of many normal functions.

This writer served In the

Military Government for Germany soon after the end of World

^•Laurence F. Schmeckebier, The Government Printing Office (Baltimore; The Johns Hopkins Press, 1925), p. 2. Mr* Schmeckebier gives no citation. ^City of New York, Administration of Municipal Print ing in New York City (New York: 1940), p. !•

War II, and he still recalls the intense problem of finding sufficient paper and a printer with equipment adequate enough to print the ballots for the county elections.

There was

much time spent helping printers find necessary parts for machinery that could turn out the numerous fragebogen (ques­ tionnaires) and other forms needed.

There was the problem

of deciding how much printing and paper was necessary to make certain that each party could place the Issues squarely before the people. Service. ways.

Printing thus serves the government in many

On the state and national level it provides the perma-

ment record of our legislative proceedings; it is the mechani­ cal basis on which our ”stare decisis” theory of law rests; It provides the many forms, such as applications for jobs, tax receipts, etc., which are vital to effective administra­ tion.

Finally, printed materials, the newspaper, campaign

literature, buttons, billboards, etc., still are vital to a free election. Definition. ing?

What separates public from private print­

The fact is that much private printing has a direct

effect on government.

This can especially be said of the

millions that are spent yearly by political parties and interest groups to foster certain programs or candidates. While this fact is obviously true, the frame of reference

of this paper will be that public printing is that printing and binding for which payment may lawfully be made out of government funds*® Frame of reference*

Since there are many technical

terms in printing and others which are not used in their usual set, a rather lengthy frame of reference seems necessary. Author1s Alterations: Editorial changes made after the copy has been set in type. Bond Paper: Paper generally utilized for writing in ink. Condensed Type:

Characters that are extremely thin.

Cross Rules: Lines which run horizontally on paper. Display Composition: Where large type is displayed, as opposed to solid reading matter. Down Rules: Lines which run vertically on paper. Ems: Unit of measure for linotype composition. Extended Type: Characters that are over-average width. Fanfolds:

Continuous alternate-side opening forms.

They have perforated accordion or alternate folds at right and left edges.

The sets are joined continuously at top

and bottom by perforations. Ganging:

Term given to printing several jobs in com-

® This definition is used by the State of Wisconsin in its pamphlet, Data of Interest to Prospective Bidders.

4 bination at the same time.

This is done in order to utilize

the maximum sheet the press will print. Hectograph:

(Analine ink process)#

Duplication is

effected in two ways, either by the transfer of the ink de­ posited by a proper impression from the master sheet, or direct from the master analine carbon paper through use of a special liquid. Makeready: This phrase characterizes the time that a letter-.pressman must take to make certain that type is printing cleanly and evenly. Manifold Forms: Duplicate, triplicate, etc. sets of forms# Multigraph: relief printing.

Operates on same principle as regular

It has a rotating cylinder, however, on

which removable frames of type or plates can be fastened. Rubber plates, which are similar to rubber stamps, are par­ ticularly adaptable. Peaks and Valleys: The irregular flow of work into a printing plant.

Sometimes this amount of printing is very

high, at a peak; other times it is very low, in a


Pen-ruling; A set of pens so erected on a machine as to enable them to be used in unison. Perforating:

Process of slightly die-cutting paper so

that it can easily be detached. Photo-offset:

Image to be produced Is applied to a

flexible metal plate by the photo-contact method, which burns into the sensitized plate.

The resulting plate is so treated

that certain portions will accept, while others reject, ink in black or primary colors. Pre-numbering:

Numbering sheets by automatic means

before they are actually used. t


Rough reproductions of type matter.

They are

used to check for errors. Punching:

The drilling of holes in paper.

Quire: Unit of measure for presswork. Rap: content:

Signifies the use of rags in the manu­

facture of paper, rather than wood pulp.

The proportion of

rags is usually specified by such terms as ,f25 per cent rag cont ent.,f Register:

Indicates the operation of placing a par­

ticular part of the type surface at a particular point on the paper. Reproduction process:

The term applied to the processes

by which a number of copies of a single image are produced without manufacturing the image each time. Rotogravure: of letterpress.

Based on a principle just the opposite

The actual letters are below the printing

surface and by a process of building up ink at certain points, images are developed. Ruling by machine:

The process of placing lines on

6 paper by the use of presses, as opposed to pen-ruling* Scoring:

Creasing of paper to make folding easier*

Snapouts: Malti-copy stub sets with interleaved carbons* Perforation separates form from stub*

Forms are always in

alignment* Standing type:

Once a job is set in metal type, it

is good for many thousands of impressions.

If the job is

fairly complicated and will repeat within a year, the general policy is to keep the form standing rather than re-set it* This is called standing type* Straight matter: Type setting which involves no display lines, such as that found in the reading matter of a book* Vari-Typer:

Operates much like a typewriter.

It has,

however, a detachable set of type faces which enable it to prepare work that looks much like printing*

It is particular­

ly used in connection with photo-offset* Watermark: A mark which is manufactured into certain papers by the use of a dummy roll* II.


Excessive costs. Although printing has contributed mightily to the processes of government, its services have been provided at prices which in many cases have been ex­ cessive.

The few printing investigations that are a matter

7 of public record detail almost unbelievable stories of cor­ ruption and waste*^

These expose's have mainly uncovered

instances of actual nepotism on the part of governmental employees in the procurement of printing*

To some extent

these losses to a particular jurisdiction have been cal­ culable*^

But the losses that come from inexperience, care­

lessness, and inefficiency in the planning of printing cannot be totaled* Most of the problems in the administration of public printing can thus be traced to a lack of proper control and organization in planning, procurement, and follow-up, i.e*, inspection, stores, and audit* The failure to pursue sound administrative policy in public printing has generally arisen from the presence of three factors. Apathy* public*

First, the apathy of bbth administrator and

This is due to the fact that printing is technical,

fairly difficult to understand and does not comprise a very large part of the total expenses of an agency*

4 These investigations include the investigation of Congressional printing in 1858, the Lexow Commission investi­ gation in 1894, the Illinois printing scandals of 1953, and Investigations of Estal Sparlin in Missouri in 1936, and the investigations of both New York State and New York City in 1940* 5 City of New York, 0 £* clt** p. 225. The Burland Company repaid $225,000 in overcharges to the City of New York in 1940*

Conceptual misunderstandings.

Secondly, the true

ramifications of printing administration have not been under­ stood*

Usually, printing has been thought of only in terms

of procurement, and possibly production.

The literature in

the field has been concerned mainly with the question of whether work can be purchased as cheaply in the commercial market as it can be produced in the government owned plant. Little attention has been paid to coordinating and invigor­ ating the other phases of printing administration, planning and inspection and stores.

Without effective'performance on

these levels, however, the best procurement program in the world will not produce a good printing system. Politics.

Finally, printing has long held a rather

unique role in the political firmament.

This is due to the

fact that printing in many towns is still dominated by the local newspaper; that the commercial printers have usually formed a powerful lobby to fight any changes;1and that work­ ing printers have exercised a strong political influence through their unions. III.


Need for synthesis.

Printing thus presents peculiar

problems that make it a fruitful subject of inquiry.


thermore, it is the thesis of this paper that there are cer­ tain practices in the administration of public printing which

9 are applicable on all levels of government.

It is true that

the degree of centralization, the amount of integration, and the amount of manpower will vary with the size of the juris­ diction*

But the basic approach to supplying the printing

needs of the agency will remain the same*

In such a manner

this paper can serve a useful purpose by synthesizing those techniques which have been used in other governmental units* IV.


Attempts at distinction*

One of the knottiest problems

arising in the determination of the limits of public printing has originated in the development of various duplicating devices such as the mimeograph, the hectograph, multigraph and multilith.

Some jurisdictions have attempted to set up

a formal boundary between printing and duplicating.


New York City Investigating committee felt that the term printing should not apply to, “matter which may be produced by what is commonly known as the stencil process or by other office duplicating processes."6

Congress* Joint Committee on

Printing, confronted by the continued development of many duplicating plants by the various federal departments, laid down the following delineations between printing and dupli­ cating:

duplicators must utilize stencils, master, or direct

6 City of New York, op. cit.♦ p. 156.

10 image plates.

They mast produce no more copies than can be

obtained from one stencil*

They can require no more binding

than ordinary stapling or punching*7 Effect of multilith* Actually, the attempt to set up such arbitrary boundaries is becoming increasingly academic* Printing technology is rapidly closing any gap that may have previously existed between duplicating and printing* multilith has proven to be the great equalizer,


it is a light

photo offset press that will take a sheet up to nine and one half inches by thirteen inches.

Expert technicians can, on

this machine, produce four-color process work,^illustrated by the fact that the City of San Diego printed its annual report for several years in this manner*^

Although they are

not as easily operated as advertised, many multiliths are be­ ing manned in various jurisdictions by previously untrained personnel.

At the present time, one may find multiliths in

operation in the highly specialized United States Government Printing Office and also in the small Welfare Department of the County of San Diego*

7 United States Government Printing Office, Annual Report (Washington, D* C., 1947), p* 31. ® These reports, written by Russell Rink, received critical acclaim all over the nation. They were held up as models of good reporting* See City of San Diego, Annual Report, 1949* and Annual Report * 1948*

11 What has happened is that the so-called duplicating department has in the multilith a machine that is capable of producing better-than-average printing*

On the other hand,

the multilith may be operated entirely as a duplicating machine, reproducing work from typewritten paper masters much in the manner of a mimeograph.

This development has presented

increased problems of coordination and makes it apparent that all reproductive processes, letterpress, offset, rotogravure, multigraphy* gelatin, stencil, and photoprint, will have to be considered as a whole by the administrator. Limitations established.

With these facts in mind,

this report will observe the following limitations:


as opposed to duplicating, will be regarded as that class of work that retains the appearance of having been printed by the letterpress process.


Printing machinery is any equip­

ment that can produce this type of work, regardless of its

® 11Printing . . . is distinguished from office dupli­ cating in.that it contemplates in the formal or professional sense, the production of forms, certificates, cards, placards, books, pamphlets, and similar material, in varied colors, sizes and characteristics, and employs the use of hand or linotype composition, cuts, engravings, ruling, and binding as well as the operation of complex printing presses and other auxiliary equipment and techniques by trained craftsmen in one of the old­ est professions. From it, all other duplicating processes have come as variations and developments.11 City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Budget and Efficiency, Organiza­ tion. Administration and Management of Administrative Services of the City of Los Angeles* Part III Printing and Duplicating Services (Los Angeles: June, 1947), p. 3.

12 other capabilities*

The fact, for example, that platen presses

are often used for die-cutting in a box factory does not make them any the less printing presses*

Similarly, the fact that

multiliths may be used to reproduce typewritten work by rela­ tively inexperienced people, makes them no less printing presses.

Specifically, this writer would view letterpress,

offset, rotogravure, and the multilith and multigraph as regular printing equipment, and the various spirit, gelatin, and stencil processes as duplicating. V.


Functional relationship *

Since printing generally

has been approached only from the standpoint of procurement and production, a formal printing unit is most often found in purchasing and supplies departments. true on the local levels.

This is particularly

In all the jurisdictions investi­

gated by this writer, with the exception of two, the printing function was located In the purchasing division. On the state and federal level there has been less inclination to place printing procurement in the hands of purchasing department.

Only thirteen out of twenty-eight

states answering a survey for this report place it there. Two major reasons appear to exist for this fact.


those cases where the unit is producing its own letter­ press printing, there has been no instance of a plant coming

13 under the purchasing department.

Boards, legislative com­

mittees, and even Police Commissions (in the city of Los Angeles) serve as supervisors.

The proposal in New York for

a municipal printing plant suggested a separate, self-sup­ porting government corporation. The second reason printing has not been integrated with the purchasing function is its own peculiarity.


extreme technicality has caused many states to set up sep­ arate agencies to cope with its problems.

One writer said

that the very establishment of printing agencies outside the purchasing department indicated its uniqueness.*0


is peculiar in that while It is technical, It is really quite unscientific.

Each printer has his own favorite inks, his

own “tricks of the trade,M and any real agreement among experts is quite unusual.

The New York City Investigation


pointed up this fact when it said: The Department of Purchase has been unable to find any one individual who has expert knowledge of all types of printing. The lack of such experts is ad­ mitted by the leaders of the industry Itself. Not only has it been impossible to find a printing expert versed In all fields, but even experts in a par­ ticular field differ sharply among themselves as to what constitutes a proper printing specification for their specialty. Such disagreement has been frequent among all the.City1s advisers, including technicians from the New York Employing Printers

*° Estal Sparlin, Public Printing in the States (University of Missouri Studies. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1937), p. 12.

14 Association.^ VI.


Susceptibility to politics.

Printing is also unique

in its peculiar susceptibility to politics.

Simply because

every job is custom-made, comparisons become extremely dif­ ficult to draw, and printing lends itself easily to corrupt politics.

Its technical nature and general lack of glamour

has also caused it to be overlooked or at least minimized, in the general cleanups that have occurred in various govern­ mental jurisdictions.

Furthermore, printing in the smaller

jurisdictions has long been associated with the local news­ papers.

The party in power buys the cooperation of the news­

paper by unfailingly purchasing printing in the right place and not inquiring too closely as to price.. This writer questioned the Mayor and City Manager of the Sixth Class City of Coronado concerning this practice.

Both agreed that,

so far as the layman could tell, they were getting fair prices from the two local printers.

-’’If we weren’t though,”

the Mayor said, "What could we do about it?” Business pressure groups.

Since every town possesses

at least one print shop, there is immediately created a pressure group to keep the governmental jurisdiction from


City of New York,

0 £.

cit.. p. 93.

15 (1) putting in its own printing plant, and (2) buying outside the immediate area, no matter what the difference in price may be.

The shape of these pressures against public printing

plants will be discussed more fully in Chapter IV.


it to say here that the New York Employing Printer’s Associa­ tion, in testimony before the City’s Investigating Commission, claimed that the loss of the City’s #2,000,000 commercial printing revenue would mean the destruction of the $200,000,000 a year industry.3*2 Labor pressure groups.

Not only is there pressure

from the employers, but organized labor constitutes another powerful group.

Typographical, press, and bindery organiza-

tions have generally been against proposals for public plants. 1 3 The New York Local Allied Printing Trades Council testified against the establishment of a New York State Printing Plant, for example.3*4

The activities of the unions further serve

to limit the area of commercial bidding by lobbying for a 12 New York Printer’s Association, Economic Aspects of the Printing Industry in the City of New York, submitted March 1* 1940, to Mayor Piorello H. La Guardia.. Cited in City of New York, oj>. cit.. p. 147. 13 Nevada has the only state printing plant in the nation which carries the label on its printing. The tendency is to have plant employees under civil service and the general scale is about 5 per cent below the union level. 3*4 state of New York, Report to Honorable Herbert H. Lehman by Frederick E. Crane, Commissioner. Appointed pujv suant to Section 8 of the Executive Law to examine and inves­ tigate the making and performance of contracts for printing between any department, agency, board or commission of the State and any printing firms or ccmpanies"TNew Yoik, 1940X, p. 252.

16 requirement that the union label be placed on all public printing*

Governmental jurisdictions have met this demand

in various ways* the label* requirement*

In California the counties do not require

Cities investigated by this writer make no such On the other hand, some states, North Dakota in

particular, demand that the label be placed on all printing* 15 Other states, such as Pennsylvania, reserve the prerogative of requesting the Union Label if the contractor is unionized.-*-6 VII.


Impossible to measure*

It is quite impossible to

determine the degree of corruption in public printing today* No cursory investigation will divulge intentional attempts

15 "UNION LABEL ON PRINTED MATTER: PRERECpISITE: PENALTY. All printing for which the State of North Dakota is chargeable and embraced within classes 1, 2, 3, 4, as specified in section 46-0204, shall have the label of the branch of the International Typographical Union of the city in which the printing is done. Any officer of the state who shall accept any printed matter printed contrary to the pro­ visions of this section shall be subject to a fine of fifty dollars for each and every offense.n State of North Dakota, op* cit** Chapter 46, Section 0202. 16 itijke Secretary of Property and Supplies herewith gives and serves notice that the Allied Printing Trade Label or the label of any Branch of the Allied Printing Trades Council will be placed on all printing orders in six or eight point type if requested. This request applies only to unionized plants, and has no effect whatsoever upon awards being made to non-unionized shops*M Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, General Instructions for Furnishing Public Printing and Binding* July 1 , 1949 to June 30, 1950* p* 2.

17 to defraud the government.

It is an expensive and lengthy

process, as the investigations in both the city and state of New York illustrate.

These studies, made ten years ago,

reveal a wide range of maneuvers employed by printers to bilk the government of millions of dollars.

As the City of

New York Report said, William Bradford, the great colonial printer, would have been astonished by the magnitude of the profits made during the past century by the printers of the City of New York. . . . While Bradford received only approximately #200 a year, printers who monopolized city printing during recent generations became mil­ lionaires at the expense of the city. . . . At least three large estates along the Jersey shore are mon­ uments to city printerfs unjust enrichment New York printers have made these devices work through an amalgam of shrewd craftiness, ruthlessness, and adminis­ trative laxity.

Since the policies and procedures under

which printers in New York defrauded the government ten years ago are still in effect in that jurisdiction, and through­ out much of the country* it would be justifiable to assume that the same method of corruption could be utilized by printers today. Printing scandals.

The amount of money that can be'

made in printing sometimes borders the unbelievable.


fabulous William Marcy "Boss11 Tweed utilized his Transcript newspaper, his New York Printing Company, and his Manufac-

City of New York, op. cit., p. 1.

18 turing Stationery Company to monopolize all legal notices, all printing, and all stationery purchases of the City of New York*

He is said to have extorted millions from the

city treasury.

The New York Times pointed out in an 1871

editorial that, In the years 1869 and 1870 there was paid to the Printing Company, the Stationers Company and The Trans-* cript. nearly #3,000,000 of public money. One would have thought that this was business enough . . . when it is considered that nine-tenths of this was profit. . . .18 Nor were printing scandals limited to the State of New York.

Before the establishment of the United States

Government Printing Office in 1860, Washington was constantly a scene of printing exposed.

An investigation in 1828 showed

that Congressional printers made profits of about 55 per cent. Another investigation in 1840 revealed that the Congressional printers had made a profit of #467,464 in the preceding seven years.

A Congressional Investigating Committee, which report­

ed in 1860, found that Cornelius Wendell, to whom was sublet many public printing contracts, contributed #100,000 for political purposes.

In addition, he paid $200,000 to the

elected printers of the Senate and House, who sublet to him their contracts, and he loaned $150,000 to politicians.


Investigating Committee showed that in 1858 the printing of the Post Office blanks was sublet by the contractor, who was

The New York Times. December 28, 1871, cited by City of New York, ojd cit.. p. 3.


19 merely a broker, to a printer Tor 57 per cent of his remun­ eration.

The latter in turn sublet the work to another printer

for about 45 per cent.*^ Oregon state printing was once a “juicy pie.”


state printer said that he made $25,000 a year net during his eight years in office.

This large profit was made at a

time when the state spent only $100,000 for printing.2^ Recurrence of scandals.

In some jurisdictions such

scandals have resulted in the establishment of public print­ ing plants.

All other considerations aside, this rather

drastic step has generally eliminated the more flagrant evidences of corruption.

Safeguards have been more difficult

where jurisdictions have continued to purchase from commercial printers.

Thus, New York has had some eight major investi­

gations of its printing administration in the last seventy years, but

procedures have remained the same.

This fact

caused Commissioner Frederick Crane to comment, For over a century, the history of the procurement of New York state printing has been a narration of recurrent scandals and corruption. Various favored printers successively enjoyed virtual monopolies of the state work. Although great technological advances were made by the production of printing, the general pattern for mulcting the State remained unchanged for one hundred y e a r s . 21

19 Schmeckebier, op. cit., p. 8. 20 Sparlin, pp. c i t ., p. 8. 21 State of New York, op. cit .. p. 1.

20 VIII. THE TRENDS Technological developments. Ten years have now passed since Mr. Crane wrote these words and since Professor Sparlin did most of his work in public printing.

It appears that

the technological developments of vAiich Mr. Crane speaks are at last having an effect on the administration of public printing. credit.

To the photo-offset process must go much of the Due to the peculiar nature of this method, the

most complicated forms, once set up, can be re-run as cheaply as the simplest form.

This means that when a purchasing

agent knows the size of the paper necessary for the job, he can quickly determine its cost.

He need no longer be satisfied

with the explanation that, uone job was more complicated than another,11 that "the type was worn out," or that "parts of the job had to be replaced.”

Purchasing agents who have under­

stood these advantages of lithography have been entering into price agreements that are stable and fair to both sides. The offset process has also contributed the multilith. This office machine has made it possible for cities and larger jurisdictions to set up small printing plants at low initial costs, with few consequent political repercussions. Specialty printing.

The movement toward the mechan­

ization of office work and the consequent emphasis on contin­ uous forms and IBM cards has not been without its effects on

the administration of public printing.

Gigantic firms, such

as the Charles Hadley Company and Moore Business Forms, Inc., are able to supply fan-folds and snap-outs at only a fraction of the price the average printer would have to charge.


local printer has had to agree to the efficacy of purchasing such forms.

The effect which this trend toward specialization

is having on every level of government printing is seen in the growing importance of the Commercial Buying Division of the United States Government Printing Office. was established only in 1943.

This department

While it was particularly ac­

tive during the war, the agency has since remained an impor­ tant part of the Government Printing Office.

Snap-out forms

buying for the 1946-47 fiscal year totaled nearly $3,000,000 of the $12,000,000 of purchases by the Commercial Division. Commercial charges, incidentally, accounted for nearly onefourth of the billings of the Government Printing Office during that period. 22 The net effect of the movement toward continuous forms has been to stabilize prices of printing.

The purchas­

ing agent knows that he is receiving the same rates as busi­ ness houses in his area; that these charges reflect the savings of mass production; and that such business dealings are relatively free from political entanglements.

22 United States Government Printing Office, pp. cit.. p . 120.

22 Leadership of federal agencies. The third major development of the past ten years has come from the leader­ ship of the United States Government Printing Office and the Bureau of the Budget*

They have indicated the role that

proper analysis, control, and organization can play in efficient printing procurement.The significance of these trends is that public print­ ing need no longer be a great enigma*

The yawning chasm

that always existed between the two alternative^ commercial procurement and public production, has been greatly ameliorated. Public plants are buying many items commercially.23


dictions that once bought all printing from private sources are now establishing central duplicating plants, with multiliths and multigraphs*

Generally these developments have

meant a greater latitude of administrative discretion*


fact that the public manager may now buy outside of his town and that he may even produce some of his printing himself has given him a yardstick by which he can measure the per­ formance of commercial printers.

He is gradually becoming

23 "Section 13530 of the Government Code provides all state printing shall be done in the State Printing Office. Section 13531 states the department has entire superintendence of state printing and binding. Under this latter provision considerable work is farmed out to the private commercial printing industry, when such work can be produced more eco­ nomically than in the State Printing Plant . . . Letter to the writer from Paul E. Gallagher, State Printer of Cal­ ifornia, March 7, 1950.

23 emancipated*

He no longer need accept any type of work or

any set of prices*

He now has other processes to which he

may turn* Significance*

These are all important developments

in the administration of public printing.

Many, in fact

most, jurisdictions have not grasped their full significance* The tools are rapidly becoming available to implement an effective public printing program*

The failure to do so will

increasingly become the responsibility of the administrator.

CHAPTER II PRINTING CONTROL AND ORGANIZATION Brief out line of a total printing program#

One of

the difficult problems in the study of a public printing program arises from the fact that a multiplicity of agencies share in its administration#

It Is further complicated by

the fuzziness that usually surrounds the boundaries of these various functions#

This situation has tended to obscure the

necessity for treating printing administration as a single problem.

It has, therefore, become difficult to view from

a broad perspective# As a result, the next step of this paper Is devoted to a sequential outline of printing administration#


purpose of this outline, which is functional In approach, is to cut across organizational boundaries and to provide a quick synthesized view of the process as a whole#

It is not

representative of any particular agency# I# Initiation of the action A# Request for the work from using agency by requisi­ tion or request to control unit# II# A#

Processing by the printing planning unit Registration and review 1# If old form check files to see if any changes have been suggested 2. If new form a# Check to see if any existing form may serve b# Assignment of form number 3# If document or report a# Check to see if information is in some other book, or whether it needs to be repeated each year

25 B#

Planning and analysis Establishment of standards a* Determination of jobs to be stocked as general item b# Areas of standardization possible on individual job 1). Cut form size 2). Paper weight and grade 3). Color of paper 4). Color of ink, and number of colors 5). Typographical arrangement 6). Margins and white space 7). Drilling 8). Wrapping 2* Writing specifications a* Items of standardization b# Quality of reproduction desired c• Binding 1) • Padding 2) . Stitching 3}. Collating d# Pre-numbering e# Perforating f# Numbers of Gopies g# Time required C. Editorial control 1. Editing copy D# Determination of reproduction process 1* Quantity 2# Is use inside or outside agency 3* Time needed 4# Permanency 5* Number of colors 6* Size of sheet 7* Number of pages 8# Quality of reproduction 9* Overall economy Em Decision on type of procurement to be utilized 1. Commercial 2 * Public product!on F. Estimate of cost of job 1#


Approval of fiscal officer A# Availability of funds B. Encumbrance

IV# Procurement A# To commercial buyer 1# Determines method of purchasing to be used a# Individual bid

26 b. Standard price agreement, or class system c. Modification 2. .Prepares bid foxm with specifications 3. Establishes bid procedure 4* Analyzes bids 5* Makes award 6* Writes contract or purchase order B. To public plant IV Production of job 2* Maintenance of cost system on job V* Submission of Proofs . A* To using agency B. To central control unit for final correction VI*

Delivery of job to central stores Inspection for: 1* Quantity 2* General quality of printing 3* Performance of specialized tasks, i*e* padding, round-cornering, etc*, on job 4* Specified paper 5* Cursory proof-reading for glaring mistakes B« Certification of acceptance of job to controller C. Storage 1* Maintenance of inventories and rate-of-use records necessary to establish minimum stock levels, dis­ tribution patterns and re-order procedures



Audit Submission of commercial invoice to controller 1* Invoice checked against purchase order; returned to purchasing office if any discrepancy apparent 2* Warrant issued B. Statement of charges by public plant transmitted to controller 1. Using agencyfs accounts credited and printing plant fund debited




Prom the standpoint of procurement, printing has long been given special treatment.

Nearly all government agencies

have centralized the purchase of printing in one way or another.

Most often there has been a printing section in the


purchases office*

In other cases the government printing

plant, an elected public printer, an ex-officio board, or even the chief administrator himself has held the responsi­ bility for printing administration*

Almost invariably their

interest has been devoted to purchasing, rather than planning and control* The anomaly has thus been that there is often the appearance of control when it actually does not exist*


theless the presence of control positions in the organiza­ tional structure present serious jurisdictional problems when actual, functional control of printing is attempted. Relation to forms control.

The growing emphasis

placed by administrative officials on foims control has helped to ease the problem*

In a way, however, it has created

new enigmas beeause there are so many twilight zones in the relationship of forms control to printing planning and control. There is a broad zone of overlap in their functions, but there is also a wide area on each side which does not concern the other. In the first place, forms control is generally re­ stricted to that printing which is administratively signifi­ cant.

Within that field, forms control is interested in

assuring "economy in the design, production and use of the forms themselves*11 This is a definite overlap with printing control and planning.

On the other hand, forms control has

28 a second function of giving continuous attention to procedural and organization problems.

This is outside the realm of

printing administration. On the other side of the overlap, printing control envisages the entire scope of printing and its administration. This means that the printing controller must not only be concerned with forms standardization, but with standard rate systems, local preferment, cost accounting systems in a print­ ing plant, and inspection procedures* Secondly, the interests of the printing controller go beyond administrative forms. ^

Otherwise, approximately

one third of the public printing would not be covered.^ A form has been defined as, MThat document which is used in any quantity and is primarily a working paper requir­ ing significant entries on it, transcriptions from it, or procedural handling of it, either within the agency or outside.11 United States Bureau of the Budget, Simplifying Procedures Through Forms Control (Washington, D.C., June, 1948), p. 2* 2 The amount spent on forms in the Federal government was estimated at $200,000,000 out of a total of approximately $300,000,000, both of which seem extraordinarily high. This is especially so in light of the fact that the Hoover Commis­ sion reported the total printing bill for the executive branch from the Government Printing Office in the Fiscal Year 1947 was $47,500,000 and another $25,000,000 was spent to operate 133 printing plants and 256 duplicating plants in the various government agencies. This means that at least $175,000,000 was spent on uncoordinated multillthing, mimeographing, hectographing, and other duplicating. If that is true, there is urgent need for planning in this direction. Bureau of the Budget figures cited from Simplifying Procedures Through Forms Control, preface. Expenditures of the executive branch in 1947 cited from the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, Budgeting and Accounting a Report to the Congress (Washington: U . S . Government Printing Office, 194917 p. 102.

29 This includes such items as legislative proceedings and bills, legal briefs, judicial opinions, departmental reports, public relations pamphlets and brochures, and government periodicals. Such a confused picture offers a great opportunity for trouble.

The fact is, of course, that these stresses are

not obvious at the present time because few jurisdictions have adopted an effective forms control program, much less a print­ ing control plan.

The functional relationship between forms

control and printing control, their places in the organization structure,

and the possibilities of integration, are all

matters worthy of considerable research. Functions of printing; controller.

The printing con­

troller should exercise the following functions: (a) prepare directives and control procedures; (b) serve as inspector and missionary to the departments involved in the printing program, namely planning, procurement, stores, inspection and audit; (c) should record the “before and after'* results and issue periodic reports to the top administrator. Need for centralization.

It is apparent that primary

responsibility for this work must be centralized.

Only In

the very large governmental agencies should there, by any problem concerning the organizational level at which to center this accountability.

That decision must always weigh such

factors as the size of the agency, location of Its offices,

30 and diversity of its programs*

Control should be at a level

high enough to give the broad perspective needed for review, coordination, and across-the-board improvement*

At the same

time it should remain close enough to the program so that work can be planned, designed or revised in the light of actual program needs with an intimate understanding of operating problems. Ill*


Elected public printer*

There are certain places

within the administrative hierarchy where experience has shown it is not wise to put this central control function. One is the elected printer, still utilized in Kansas.^


only does such an elective official exhibit a tendency to mend his political fences by doing favors, but he has no real administrative responsibility to the chief executive of the government* Boards * legislative committees* A second type of control structure which is not recommended is the practice of placing responsibility in an ex-officio board of legis­ lative committee.

Oregon’s board, for example, includes the

^ The present state printer, Ferd Voiland, Jr., has been in office since July 1, 1945. It is interesting to note the prominent display given Mr. Voiland1s name on the letter­ head, as compared *with the correspondence received from many other states.

31 Governor, the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and the State Printer.

South Carolina*s printing is still super­

vised by a legislative committee, and to some extent this system prevails in the Federal Government.4

The chief dis­

advantage of this structure is that a group of inexperienced men are giving a small portion of their time to a job that requires the full time of experts.

This can provide little

chance of success. A

The picture on the United States government control system possesses no high degree of clarity. The Bureau of the Budget has instituted a forms control program which applies to the executive branch. The Government Printing Of­ fice maintains a Division of Planning #iere other work is analyzed and to some extent standardized. Superimposed on this setup is the Joint Committee on Printing, whose objective is mainly to supervise the operations of the Government Print­ ing Office. This influence seems to vary with the years and with the personalities involved. The Annual Report of the 1946-47 Fiscal Year noted that the Government Printing Office opened negotiations for a paper plant only after it had been given authority by the Joint Committee. The Government Print­ ing Office conducted surveys on printing and duplicating agencies in the Federal government on the authority of the Joint Committee. On the other hand, Professor Sehmeckebier wrote in 1925 that, "the Public Printer is alone responsible for the management and operation of the Government Printing Office, subject only to such limited supervision as' the President may find time to exercise . . . . It [the Joint Committee^ has no power to direct the Public Printer to increase or decrease the force, to modify his scale of prices or to purchase or not to purchase paper or supplies. It may investigate and suggest but has no power such as is possessed by a board of directors of a commercial plant or by the head of an executive department. At times there have been decided differences of opinion between the Public Printer and the Joint Committee on matters relating to organization and administration, and the Public Printer has refused to accept the suggestions of the Committee.11 Sehmeckebier, op. cit., pp. 42-44.

32 Line agency.

Finally, the control function should

not rest with an operating department.

Although such a

statement may seem an unnecessary truism, the City of Los Angeles has placed printing responsibility in the Police Department.

That situation caused the Bureau of the Budget

and Efficiency to remark in June, 1947 that when a service activity is established to furnish specialized service common to all departments, a line department should not be diverted from its main objective to supply the needs of other departments . . . . We believe that the Police Printing Bureau has ceased to function in the capacity of a specialized service activity solely assisting the Police Department in the performance of its primary purposes and is now supplying the common needs of all departments for printing service. In view of its changed status, we believe that . . . the Police Printing Bureau would be improved if the latter bureau were transferred from that department to a centralized service bureau responsible for operating coordinated administrative services for the common benefit of all city depart­ ments.^ There has been little actual control of printing in Los Angeles under this system.

What amount there is, occurs

at the Printing Plant itself, consisting almost entirely of the technicians offering informal advice to the using depart­ ment.

The gravest problem in this type of structure arises

from the carte blanche that the responsible operating agency, in this case the Police Department, has in printing.


illustrate, this writer was told by the Police Printing Plant Superintendent that approximately one third of the dollar

5 City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Budget and Efficiency, op* cit.. p. 29*

33 value of work turned out by the plant is charged to the Police Department*

Figures for 1945-46 showed that 46*7

per cent of the total impressions in the Bureau were on Police jobs, although the department placed only 20*4 per cent of the orders*6

The Police Plant is said to do approximately

90 per cent of the city's work* This proportion of police to total city, work seemed extremely high so a check was made in the Gity of San Diego* Here it was estimated that approximately 85 per cent of the City's printing was produced in the Central Duplicating Unit which is under the Purchasing Department*

In this structure,

the Police Department charges ran to only $3,500 or 7 per cent of the duplicating unit's total billings of $50,000 for the


The San Diego Police also spent $2,100 for

outside printing; but if it were assumed that the Dos Angeles Police bought nothing outside and printing purchases of the San Diego department were totaled, San Diego's printing ex­ penditures in relation to the other departments would still be about 20 per cent less than those of Los Angeles. While this small amount of evidence is certainly not worthy of a conclusion, it assuredly indicates that the place­

6 Ibid., p. 23.

' Figures furnished the writer by the Purchasing Department of the City of San Diego represent the current year, 1949-50*

34 ment of the printing control function in the Police Depart­ ment has not only created administrative responsibility which is out of context with the unitfs major purposes, but may very well have left open a wide door through which may be pouring many wasted printing dollars. Staff agency.

The experiences in Los Angeles and in

various states also lead one very strongly to the conclusion that printing control should be centered in a staff agency. Perhaps the soundest policy would be to place the printing control function in the unit responsible for organization and methods, such as the chief administrator’s office or the budget office.

The chief reasons for this belief are: (a) best

management practice has already tended to center forms control in this department; and (b) it places the control unit high enough in the administrative hierarchy that it can more easily Q

perceive and implement an over-all policy for public printing. A second, or alternative plan would be to centralize printing control in the purchasing department.

Such a system

would not generally be met with favor by administrative man­ agement people because it involves a splitting of the forms control program.

The printing control elements would be

® "Both forms work and organization and methods work will suffer if an attempt is made to separate the improvement of procedures through forms analysis from its corollary, the improvement of forms through procedures analysis.1* United States Bureau of the Budget, op. cit.., p* 4.

35 detached from organization and methods, the former coming to the purchasing department and the latter remaining in administrative management* system may he effective*

From a printing standpoint, this It would integrate in one depart­

ment the major elements of printing control, planning, pro­ curement, inspection and stores. and disadvantages.

This has certain advantages

Obviously, it eases the problem of

coordination; but it has been attacked because it is not felt that the purchasing department has the to administer the program.

proper objectivity

Purchasing agents, it is said,

become more concerned with saving money than producing print­ ing that meets the needs of the situation. Such arguments, however, must be applied to a partic­ ular situation.

Either system could work.

The major fact

of importance is location in a staff agency. IV.



Beyond that, one further point should be

made concerning control organization.

To the same degree

that control is centralized, so should the other functions affecting printing administration— procurement, production, inspection, storage, and audit—

be centralized.

The advan­

tages of centralized printing have been cited by one writer as follows:

(1) reduction in overhead cost through reduction

in personnel; (2) lower unit cost by pooling the needs of the

36 various departments in order to secure better prices on bulk orders; (3) ease of delivery; (4) proof reading is easier when it is done at a central place by a person familiar with print­ ing problems; (5) facilitation in preparation and adoption of standard specifications; (6) simplification of the problem Q of the contractor# Inter-relationships in printing.

Although the term

“centralized printing” as here used is ambiguous, this state­ ment does serve to indicate that the advantages of central­ ization are not restricted to any particular stage of public printing.

Thus we again see the close relationship which

must exist between the various functions concerned.


procurement would not only create much more paper work for centralized planners but would also make impossible many of the economies that come from large scale ordering.


importance of a central stores system to effective printing administration is worthy of note.

The City of Santa Monica

instituted a centralized purchasing program about two years ago, but as yet it has not been able to obtain the warehouse facilities necessary for a central stores.

The result has

been that printing, as well as most other items, has been purchased on a piece-meal basis.

This has lessened interest

in forms standardization and has made it impossible to'pur-

9 Sparlin, oj). cit.» p. 43.

37 chase printing in large quantities for later distribution. Summary#

It is possible that this chapter has placed

too great emphasis on the organization of printing control. To a certain extent this approach may have been conditioned by the fact that the locus of control has always been one of the traditional subjects In essays on printing administra­ tion. An organizational approach to printing control is important insofar as it indicates the Inadvisability of placing the control function in an elected printer, a board, a legislative committee, a printing plant Itself, and a line or operating agency.

Experience has Indicated that these

officers just do not control. Staff agencies, already accustomed to internal checks as a part of their fiscal, budget, personnel, and management functions, are equipped psychologically and physically for the job.

Where this responsibility should rest in a staff

depends on the individual agency.

The budget, administrative

management, and purchasing offices have been suggested.


small cities the chief administrator may find that he is not only controller, but also planner and procurement officer. As controller, however, he must still continue to assure himself that the jurisdiction^ printing program is not being endangered by sloppy inspection or inadequate audit. From a practical standpoint, most of the controls

lay in the effective performance of the planning, procurement, production, inspection, storage, and audit functions.


well-trained personnel are implementing policies that best fit the needs of the situation, the job of the controller will be very easy.

It is up to him to see that this is so.

CHAPTER III PRINTING PLANNING The Division of Planning of the United States Govern ment Printing Office described the role of the planner In this way: To insure economical handling, it is essential that printing be planned by technicians who have an understanding of the various processes and methods of production of what is practical and possible, and how each job or operation can be most cheaply produced and obtained# By no means the least contribution of experienced and trained technicians is their ability to suggest to the ordering agencies changes which will afford less costly production in accordance with schedule requirements# Our experience has thoroughly demon­ strated that the specialized knowledge of the group of technicians assembled in this division permits definite constructive job planning by them which results in less expense to the government than would be possible under any other method • • • • The printing industry has been slower in adopting engineering methods of planning than most major industries partly because of the belief that every job is tailormade and has its own individual problem# The premise that each job has problems peculiar to it alone is correct but proper planning can be applied to these problems to tremendous advantage • . • #^ I#


Responsibility of using agency#

Planning actually

begins before the request for the job even gets into the

^ United States Government Printing Office, op# cit# p • 141#

40 hands of the planner.

The planning of its printing require­

ments so that orderly and efficient operations will not he hampered by a lack of printed materials is the responsibility of the requisitioning agency.

This is the problem of determin­

ing the Mminimum stock level” for printed material, that point which denotes necessity for re-ordering.


entering into this determination are the volume of use, rate of use, place of use, time of use (one time, periodic, or continuous), and time required for reproduction and delivery. This time will differ according to the type of reproduction, place of reproduction, complexity of specifications, and the type of procurement methods used. Time factors in ordering.

For example, Missouri now

uses the individual bid method of obtaining work from com­ mercial sources.

Its purchasing department estimates the

average job takes fifty days to complete.

On the other hand,

the Police Printing Bureau of the City of Los Angeles estimates that its average job is finished in ten working days from the

^ ”A11 state departments should anticipate their printing, binding, and paper requirements far enough in ad­ vance to allow the Purchasing Agent to secure bids and place the purchase order, which requires approximately twenty days from the time the requisitions are received and approximately an additional thirty days or more before the vendor will be able to make delivery.” Leo J. Clavin, Revised Rules and Regulations. Division of Procurement. Department of Revenue. State of Missouri (Jefferson City, Missouri: 19457# p* 5.

41 time the agency makes its request* A second factor to consider is the type of job in­ volved.

More time must obviously be allowed to print a

sixty-four page report than five hundred envelopes.


page, padded or specialty work normally requires more time than single sheet forms.

An agency must think in terms of

the amount of type to be set, the length of the press run, and the bindery operations required. Initial decision on reproduction method.

The initial

decision as to the method of reproduction to be utilized r

also rests with the using agency.

By cutting a stencil the

uj^Lng agency has made a decision as to reproductive process, and it can be changed only at some cost.

On the using agency

level, these decisions as to method are made in terms of those duplicating processes which are available in the unit and the more formalized methods of printing which must be sent out.

The general rule has been that work which is to

be used and seen by the public should be printed by offset or letterpress.

The number of copies required and the pro-*

cedural use to be made of them should be the determining factors in the reproduction of internal forms, directives and reports. To find the most economical method of reproduction, the Bureau of Budget and Efficiency of the City of Los Angeles suggested that a standardized procedure should be developed

42 which the using agency could follow in advance of the issuance of instructions for each individual job.

The Bureau developed

a chart, entitled "Standard Multiple Reproduction Chart" which was based upon the following factors: deadline requirements, and degree of

size of job,


The chart

developed by the Bureau seems incomplete in many respects, but it does illustrate a device by which the agency can be aided in planning its printing program. Other wavs printing action initiated.

In addition

to the using agency, printing jobs may be initiated in other ways.

For example, the supplies of standardized forms which

are maintained in central stores will have to be replenished from time to time.

Here, too, rate of use must be analyzed

and levels of inventory planned.

Printing action may also

be started by the methods and procedures section as a result of administrative analysis. Types of .1obs. which may be requested:

There are three types of printing (a) re-runs of previous jobs; (b)

jobs which have a different text but follow a style similar to that previously used, for example, annual reports, legis­ lative bills, briefs, etc.; (c) jobs that are entirely new. The processing of job types (a) and (b) will be greatly hasten-

® City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Budget and Efficiency, op. cit.. p. 27.

45 ad at the planning, procurement, and production levels by furnishing of samples of previous work* Requests for printing*

The requisition, or request

for printing, should not be used as the purchase or shop order* upon*

There are many reasons why such a practice is frowned It is particularly bad because it denies the importance

of the printing expert.

It assumes that little in the way

of specifications or changes will be made from the original preparation of the request by a layman in the using depart­ ment* Most printing requisitions investigated by this writer show poor forms structure.

Although it is apparent

that complete details are necessary in order to write accurate specifications, the majority of requisitions reviewed show that inadequate attention has been paid to obtaining the specific Information.

In some cases the same requisition is

used for printing as for other Items, and detailed specifi­ cations are apparently expected to be listed in the column for complete description.

Obviously the clerk in a using

department cannot remember all the elements of analysis necessary to complete specifications.

Few experts could*

The request for printing should provide blanks for such information as the name of the form, the quantity re­ quired, the size, grade substance and color or paper, color of ink, sides printed, ruling, punching, perforating, number­

44 ing, binding, padding, folding, and wrapping*

So that analysts

can properly check the quantity ordered, blanks should also be provided for such questions as the amount of copies on hand, average used monthly, and estimated time the order is to last. Much wasted time can be avoided by the careful struc­ turing of the request form.

The Printing Division of the

State of California has developed one of the most effective printing requests this writer has found.

In addition to

the form, the Division also publishes a sheet of instructions in #iich the following points are emphasized: Submit your copy with all orders. Failure to do so will delay production and delivery of your job. Sample of previous printing should accompany all orders. In some cases previous estimate or job number will be sufficient, but sample copy is always preferred, If available. Send complete sets of multiple copy forms (original, duplicate, triplicate, etc.) and 15 copies of special envelopes. Other forms require only one copy. Do not order different items on the same estimate (i.e. letterheads and envelopes; printed forms and blank stock). • • • • Place your orders as far in advance as possible and request delivery on the date your stock will be exhausted.4 II.


If planning is to be implemented, it is manifest that

4 State of California, Bureau of Printing, Instructions for Use of Form 67. October, 1949.

45 all requests for printing must pass through a central point* Here the job is logged, possibilities of duplication are checked, an analysis of the job made, and the economical disposition of the job in terras of process and method of procurement is undertaken* Check for duplication* An adequate check for dupli­ cation can only be made if the printing control unit has maintained records on each job* samples of all forms and reports*

This means a file with Checks for duplication

are not necessary on such non-recurring printed matter as law briefs, legislative proceedings, and judicial opinions* Most often, of course, duplication will occur in utility forms*

If the request is for a re-run, files should

be checked to see if investigations since the last printing have uncovered any evidences of duplication*

In the case of

new forms, there should first be a check to ascertain whether any existing form may serve the purpose.

This investigation

should approach its task from two directions.

First, it

should determine whether a similar form is being used in some other department; second, it should attempt to discover if the information desired in the new form is not already being obtained through other paper work*

The review of the

new form should then be concluded with a decision as to whether any related forms can be displaced, revised or con­ solidated*

46 In regard to documents, books of information, etc*, there has often been a tendency on the part of governmental departments to repeat the same information each year*


vestigation should be made of such recurring material and an evaluation should be made in terms of (1) its necessity and (2) the possibility of printing such material in a permanent book, rather than in a yearly report. Ill*


The principal purpose of planning is to take all possible steps to standardize the printing job*

There are

a number of points in printing where standardization is often possible, such as size, weight and grade of paper, color of paper and ink, typographical arrangement, margins, punching and

wrapping. Paper analysis*

Paper represents a highly significant

part of the cost of printing.

Figures of the City of Los

Angeles Police Printing Bureau for the twelve month period ending June 30, 1949, showed that paper costs accounted for approximately $108,000 of its total costs of $293,000, or about 35 per cent.5

Small savings effected in paper can

therefore have an important effect on the total printing

5 Police Department Printing Bureau, Annual Report 1948-49 (Los Angeles: City of Los Angeles, 1949)', p. 14.

47 bill • One obvious means of keeping paper costs down is to restrict finished jobs to sizes which can be cut economically from standard sheets.

This type of saving has been under­

stood and utilized by nearly all private and governmental users of printing paper.

It is the reason letterheads a re

generally eight and one half inches by eleven inches, booklets such sizes as nine by twelve inches, eight and one half by eleven inches, and six by nine inches.

By cutting the page

size slightly and thus making the job suitable for standard rotogravure, the Government Printing Office Commercial Divi­ sion saved $25,000 on a bond sales pamphlet which was origin­ ally estimated at $86,000.^ Real savings in paper are not being taken advantage of by many jurisdictions because of a failure to evaluate objectively -the type of paper needed for the job.


printing analysts^have been unable to divorce themselves from brand names and standard watermarks and to think of paper in terms of its factors of use.7 g

Both Los Angeles City

United States Government Printing Office, ojd. cit.,

p. 50. ^ Qualities to be considered in analyzing the needed for a job include: (a) Longevity, that is the length of time paper resist deterioration and decay. (b) Treatment, that is the amount and character handling, folding abrasion, exposure to weather, and

paper must of so forth.

48 and County, as well as several state governments investigated, use a number two, standard watermarked sulphite bond for printing all their utility forms.

A number two sulphite is

the cheapest paper made which carries a standard watermark# Many jurisdictions, however, including the City and County of San Diego and the Federal Government, use a number four sulphite bond, unwatermarked, for much of their utility forms printing.

The reduction on the number four sheet is

approximately one cent a pound#

In terms of large quantity

paper buying this can represent considerable savings#® The reasons given for specifying the higher priced watermarked paper for forms varies#

One official said that

it was a matter of tradition; another that the paper was more easily identifiable; and a third that the using agencies demanded a standard quality sheet which the watermark guaran­ tees# Actually, the importance of the watermark as a standard

(c) Impress, that is method used in placing reading matter on paper# (d) Appearance, that is the sense appeal of the paper itself. (e) Weight, that is number of carbon copies, tendency of lighweight sheets to curl, opacity. C. L. Baraum, ”Standardization of Printed Forms and Stationery#” Annals# May. 1924. pp. 287-88. ® It is interesting to note that the reduction of one cent on each pound of paper used by the Government Printing Office would mean a saving of nearly $2,000,000. In the year 1946-47, the Office used 180,000,000 pounds of paper. United States Government Printing Office, on. cit., p. 5.

49 of quality has long been overrated.

The investigations in

New York proved quite conclusively that the watermark carries no real guarantee of standard quality.

The mills themselves

conceive of the watermark as primarily an advertising device.^ The State of Illinois, which provides paper for all its printing, all of which is done by commercial contractors, has solved the problem by setting up rigid specifications for its paper and then demanding its own watermark wherever necessary.*^

This plan should at least serve the purpose of

making the planner more conscious of use factors than brand names.^

9 The investigations in New York State in 1940 con­ cerning the watermark provide most interesting reading. The Commission found that, "Generally speaking, the mills seek to create the impression that their standard mill brand water­ marked paper Is a paper manufactured from the same formula, through the same processes, and with the same grade of raw materials day in and day out." The Commission submitted various samples of paper to C. E. Libby, Professor of Pulp and Paper Manufacturing at the State College of Forestry of Syracuse University. He found that the content of rag in a supposedly 25 per cent rag content sheet varied from 15 per cent to 35 per cent. With respect to the folding test there was a variance of 175 to 1, 163. Of five twenty pound samples of bond, three were found to weigh* twenty one pounds, and the tear ranged from forty-nine to fifty-seven grams. The conclusion was that " . . . there was an absence of uniformity and consistency among the numerous standard mill brand wateimarked samples which were tested." State of New York, op. cit.. pp. 156-179. 1® State of Illinois, Specifications. Instructions and Proposal for Printing Paper and other Paper, for period ending June 30, 1951. 11 Cf. procurement of paper, p. 93 ff.

50 Actual determination of the quality necessary for a certain printing job must, to some extent, be a value judge­ ment.

At the same time, the startling discrepancy in the

quality of paper used by public jurisdictions indicates that too little attention is generally being given to use factors. For example, the City of Los Angeles uses a 50 per cent rag sheet on all its letterheads.

The City of San Diego requires

only a number one sulphite bond on most of its letterheads, with a few top officials such as the Mayor and City Manager rating a 25 per cent rag sheet.

Survey of the correspondence

this writer has had with public jurisdictions indicates the same span of differences.

Among the types of paper used for

letterheads were found 50 per cent rag, 25 per cent rag, number one sulphite, number two sulphite, and in one case a laid stock (equivalent to 50 per cent rag)* There seems to be little purpose served in the use of a rag content sheet by the average public jurisdiction.


a sheet has certain prestige implications, which are impor­ tant in private business competition, but are not required in public agencies.

The shift from a 25 per cent rag paper to

number one sulphite would represent considerable savings where large quantities of stationery are used. A third factor in paper analysis has to do with the weight of the paper.

This is particularly important in pub­

lications; but also has a bearing on forms.

The use of a

51 sixteen pound sheet where formerly & twenty pound sheet had been used can be considered as a 20 per cent reduction in paper costs.

Where large quantities of reports and documents

are printed, the change from a seventy pound to a sixty pound basis can make a difference in paper costs*

A fourth factor in paper standardization involved color.

White paper and black ink should be used whenever


White paper is generally at least one cent per

pound cheaper than colored.

Smaller jurisdictions that buy

from large offset printing plants find that a considerable price break is given to jobs specifying white paper and black ink.

This is due to the fact that the offset process makes

it quite easy to “gang" several jobs at a time.


should, therefore, be giving much thought to identifying duplicates and triplicates by means other than color.


siderably savings are possible in this area. Editorial analysis. Uniform editing of copy not only is important from a public relations standpoint, but it has a direct bearing on the costs of printing.

Since few non­

printers understand the real cost of changing a manuscript once it is set in type, editing the copy thoroughly at the time of planning will often save many dollars in author1s alterations.

Editorial analysis also implies the responsi­

bility for making certain that the job is in acceptable con­ dition for the printer.

Skilled craftsmen lose much time

52 because of poorly prepared copy# The State Printing Law of Iowa specifically details the type of editorial direction which is required of the State Superintendent of Printing*

It states:

The manuscript of every report or document, or for any book, booklet, bulletin, or anything to be printed, or a copy thereof, shall be transmitted to the super­ intendent of printing at the time it is filed or as soon as it is ready for printing * * • * He shall edit, revise, condense and arrange the same for print­ ing, simplify where practicable the typographical arrangement, and when not otherwise covered, give all necessary instructions for the type, illustrations, headings, titles, paper, cover, binding, and other similar details • • • **2 Mechanical analysis* two objectives:

At this stage ’there should be

(1) to insure that the job is acceptable

typographically and generally in conformity with the other printed matter of the unit; and (2) to make certain that, in so far as is possible, the job requires only the standard operations* Close control and planning at the typographical stage can save much money in press time and in paper costs*


is especially true in publications and documents where the specifications of twelve point body type instead of six point means a doubling of the number of pages necessary* the printing analyst must weigh legibility and use*

Thus, If it

12 state of Iowa, State Printing Board Law, (Des Moines: 1942), Chapter 14, 1939 Code of Iowa, Section 216, p. 10*

53 Is fairly obvious that one section will be used only for occasional reference, that part should be set in smaller type. In the case of financial statements and budgetary reports much money is wasted through the failure to use a condensed type and to reduce white space between items and figures. Special attention should be given to standardization of the amount of type matter on a page.

Some jurisdictions

have,_for example, set up the general rule that all straight matter for publications with a page size six Inches by nine inches will be set twenty-seven picas wide and each-page will have a type depth of forty-five p i c a s S u c h a standard not only insures uniformity, but also gives some assurance that each page of the book is being fully utilized. In the area of forms, it should be the mechanical analystfs ultimate responsibility to see that the layout follows the structural standards laid down by the agency. This would involve checking the location of such items as the form number, the agency name, the form title, the suit­ ability of the arrangement to the purpose for which it is intended, and the provision of proper space for typewritten and handwritten fill-ins.

Provisions concerning the width and depth of type of various size pages is contained in Wisconsinfs State Statutes. Wisconsin Statutes 1947, Chapter 35 (Public Printing, Section 35.35, p. 513.

54 IV.


Once the matters of standardization have been thorough­ ly analyzed, there are a number of items which must be eval­ uated in terms of the individual job.

Most important of these

is the determination of the number of copies to be printed. The preliminary estimate has been made by the using agency but it remains for the planning unit to make the final deci­ sion.

In the case of reports and other printed documents,

the general rule should be to print no more than will be distributed. Number of copies.

The chief dilemma in the ordering

of forms occurs in attempting to take advantage of the low unit cost of volume production while at the same time avoid­ ing undue loss of storage space and undue risk of loss through obsolescence or deterioration.

In other words, the best

approach Is to order, if possible, enough to get the price break.

Once that point, which is usually about 50,000, has

been achieved, there Is little reason to purchase in greater quantities if storage facilities might be strained. This system differs markedly from the theory still employed by many jurisdictions of ordering enough only for a calendar period of time, either six months or a year.


taking into consideration the rate of use, the volume price break and the storage facilities, quantities of jobs ordered

55 may vary from three months to three years*

The latter length

of time would seem to he the high point because forms are seldom as permanent as they are expected to be*


obsolescence, due to changes in organization and procedure, would wipe out savings expected from volume purchases* Pre-numbering and perforating*

The problem of pre­

numbering and perforating jobs is especially significant because the only effective method by which this work can be done is letterpress* do this work*

None of the duplicating processes can

The offset people have developed devices where­

by these jobs can be performed, but reports are that the time spent setting up the mechanism makes them uneconomic except on very long runs.

Although very small amounts of printed

material can be hand-numbered, the net result of this situation is that many otherwise uneconomic jobs requiring numbering or perforating" must be done by letterpress*


is therefore wise to restrict numbering to those documents where accounting or control is required for each form or document*

Likewise, perforating should be used only when

padding or some other system of detaching forms is not feasible* Punching*

Punching is another operation where some

savings are possible*

Although modern drills punch several

holes at one time, charges are almost always made on the basis of the number of holes*

Three holes should not there-

56 fore be specified when two will do the job. Time for job.

Finally, the planner should attempt

to allow the longest time possible for the completion of the job.

This will aid the procurement department in securing the

wide competition which generally results in reduced prices. Printers will often bid lower on jobs where considerable time is allowed on the theory that these jobs will fill in between the rush work.

The Commercial Planning Division of the

United States Government Printing Office was able to reduce the eost on a manifold job approximately sixty per cent by securing the

using agencyfs agreement to wait a little longer for the work. 14V.


By the time the job has reached the printing planner, it must be assumed that the initial decision as to method of reproduction has been made by the using agency.


^ This was a bound, snap-out job for the Veterans Administration. The first time invitations for bids were announced, there was a short deadline and it was specified that binding was to be twenty-five sets to the book. There was one bidder. His price was $75,000. The Commercial Plan­ ning Division again conferred with the Veterans Administration, finally arranged a longer delivery date and a binding of fifty sets to the book. New invitations to bid were published and this time there were eight competitors in the field. The contract was finally awarded at the price of $31,000, approx­ imately $44,000 below the original bid. United States Government Printing Office, pp. cit., p. 122.

57 decision is not irrevocable; and, in making bis analysis, the printing expert should not rule out the various dupli­ cating processes.

It is possible that when the costs of the

more expensive processes are known, the using department will want to revise its earlier choice of method* Generally speaking, the printing planner must make his choice of reproduction method from the more accepted printing devices, letterpress, offset, and their modifications, such as multilith and multigraph.

Since all of these processes

can produce acceptable printing, the governing factor in the planner1s decision should be relative costs. Necessity for quotations.

There are so many factors

Involved in the determination of the price of the job that the wise planner will obtain quotations before he finally makes his decision.

This procedure has been formalized in

one jurisdiction where the printing control unit sends certain jobs to the procurement division with the definite stipulation that bids be returned to the printing controller for final decision.^

Meanwhile, a quotation is also obtained

from the agency’s duplication plant, if there is one.


these figures before him, the planner can make an* intelligent decision as to method of reproduction.

The United States

Government Printing Office uses a roughly similar system.

The County of Los Angeles has such a system.



a job goes through the Government Printing Office^ Planning Division a basic decision is made as to the possibility of getting the work done cheaper by a process other than those utilized in the plant.

When it is deemed such a chance may

exist, the job is sent to the Commercial Division where quotations are secured.

This procedure afforded a saving

of $25,000 on a bond sales pamphlet.

1 fi

The Government Print­

ing Office*s more traditional printing methods could not compete with rotogravure. Although the requirements of the individual job often serve to invalidate any generalizations, there do seem to be certain broad areas which delimit the suitability of the various processes. Offset printing.

Offset printing is generally most

economical on long run, repeat foims. exceptionally high speed.

These presses have an

There is the further advantage on

repeat jobs of being able to store the plate and negative simply and easily.

When the plate wears out after about

50,000 Impressions, a new plate may be made from the original negative.

Thus the cost, as compared to resetting the job,

is almost negligible.

On jobs where forms have already been

previously printed, offset also offers special advantages. The camera can shoot a negative from a sample, a plate can

3-6 Qf # ante p . 47.

59 be made, and the job Is ready for the press.

This Is a real

saving where exceptionally complicated forms would have to be reset* Forms with cross rules are also much more easily produced by offset*

Such work on a letterpress requires

considerable extra time; but such lines may be easily drawn on the offset negative*

Finally, the offset process is

cheaper on publications or brochures that require color work or possess a large number of illustrations*

The Gommercial

Planning Division of the Government Printing Office changed the Navy Reserve publication All Hands * which carries a great many pictures, to offset and effected a saving of $30,000 per year*-**7 Letterpress*

On the other hand, the letterpress

process will produce many types of work which offset cannot. It has already been pointed out that letterpress Is still virtually the only process for pre-numbering, perforating and s c o r i n g S m a l l size jobs, such as business cards, are also a monopoly of letterpress*

When a new form is set in

type, and the run is not extremely large, it is usually cheaper to use letterpress than offset*


Generally speaking, in eom-

United States Government Printing Office, op* cit*.

p. 127. Cf* ante p. 55*

60 parison to lithography, the letterpress process becomes more expensive the longer the run*

This is due to two reasons:

(1) letterpress equipment is generally slower; and (2) metal type begins to wear out after about 30,000 impressions, re­ sulting in a deterioration in the quality of reproduction* The only remedy is a resetting of the form* Although offset may seem to be a cheaper process on the basis of theory, it happens in many cities that the letter­ press process is more reasonable*

Lithography is still 11in

the woods” as far as commercial development is concerned; and most private plants are geared to relief printing*

This fact

has a special significance in publications work since the large multi-page equipment is generally of the letterpress type.

The savings in press and bindery time that are thus

effected by printing eight, sixteen or thirty-two pages in a run will still make relief printing cheaper in many areas. If a system of standing forms has been developed, letterpress may also prove cheaper where a few lines only are changed at each printing.

These modifications are simply

made by the removal of one slug of type and the insertion of another.

No change in the overall form is necessary.



saves money in comparison to the offset process which requires a new negative and new plate* Other systems*

The other methods of printing are

extremely specialized and will require the consideration of

61 the printing planner in only isolated instances.


the most important of these is pen-ruling, which is actually not a printing procurement*

Since the expense of this method

of ruling is so great, the printing planner should discourage its use as much as possible*

Its advantage is, of course,

that lines of several different colors may be ruled over a paper in one operation.

Its disadvantage lies in the fact

that two runs through the machine are required if there are cross rules and a third run is necessary if there is to be any printing on the sheet* Since most ruling jobs fall into this third category this type of work has become very expensive*

One jurisdiction

visited by this writer is carrying on a rather intensive program to substitute the use of parallel rules and different weights of rules for colors in its forms work*

It was

reported that considerable savings have been effected*19 Although it is really a form of relief printing, multigraphing is a fourth process which should be given consideration for certain kinds of jobs.

It has been found

to be particularly adaptable to printing envelopes.


process requires practically no set up time and can turn work out at the rate of 6,000 per hour.

A large share of the

envelopes used in Los Angeles County are printed in this

19 interview with W* E. Bystrom, Printing Buyer, Purchasing Division, County of San Diego*



The thin rubber plates (sometimes called "sticky

backs” ) can be kept in a small metal file cabinet. Finally, there is the rotogravure process.


This has

little significance to the average public jurisdiction.


is restricted almost entirely to extremely long runs of booklets and pamphlets.

Under these conditions, as has

been previously pointed out, this process merits consideration. In jurisdictions where there is no public printing plant, the planning unit will simply prepare the specifica­ tions and transmit the order to the purchasing department for procurement.

Where there is a public plant, however, the

printing planner is faced with one other problem, namely, whether to buy commercially or not.

Oftentimes this decision

will have been reached when the type of reproduction was determined.

On the other hand, the process planned may be

common to both the public and private plants.

In some jur­

isdictions this is resolved by requiring that all categories of printing it is capable of producing be procured from the public plant. This theory is rather rapidly being displaced by the feeling that the planner should have greater freedom in placing work.

The mere use of the same process does not

insure that the equipment is the same, or that costs are

20 Interview with Mr. J. E. Frank, head of Forms Control Unit, Purchasing Division, County of Los Angeles.

63 equivalent.

In the City of San Diego, for example, it was

found that a booklet printed by offset could be produced in a commercial plant for $800 as compared with the city plant’s price of $>1,800#^

This saving shows the Importance of using

a large press on some jobs.

It also shows that hard and fast

rules pertaining to production sometimes would result in waste. If the printing planner is allowed a certain amount of discretion in these matters, the idea of using commercial procurement and public printing plants as yardsticks against each other can be Implemented much more effectively*


plant personnel will realize that failure to keep costs down will result in a decline in work and reduction of force The idea of bidding against the public plant has also caused 23

commercial printers to ’’sharpen their pencils.”

^ Interview with Mr. J. D. Shaw, Purchasing Agent, City of San Diego* The University of Southern California uses this system quite effectively* The University Press regularly bids for the jobs it gets against commercial printers. The result is that the entire staff has a stake in seeing that jobs are done as quickly and efficiently as possible*

^ Mr* Frank of Los Angeles County’s Forms Control Unit said that since the Duplicating Plant was started, commercial prices have dropped. This has been especially noticeable, he said, where requests for quotations have gone out with the note, ’’Refer to Forms Control before Award.” Printers in these cases have recognized that their prices would be compared to those of the County Plant and have been careful to quote extremely competitive rates.

64 Any arbitrary requirements as to the disposition of jobs may also impose severe burdens on both the using agency and the public plant.

At certain peak times of the year,

the using agency may have to wait an exceptionally long time for a job.

By the same token, the incessant funneling of

jobs into a plant far beyond its capacity causes severe internal problems.


planning unit should be able to use

its authority to level out the “peak and valleys” that will occur throughout the year in the public plant. VI.



This chapter has attempted to indicate the important role of planning in the administration of an effective public printing program.

The job of the printing controller is to

tie together all the diverse elements of administration of printing— planning, procurement, production, Inspection, and storage.

That of the planner is to see that the job is

undertaken in the most economical and expeditious way.


type of organization necessary to implement these essentials of a sound printing policy will vary with the jurisdiction. The important thing is that they be recognized and put into practice.

24 Supra, government plants.

CHAPTER XV PRINTING PROCUREMENT There seems little doubt that America’s governmental i units will continue to eall on commercial plants to provide a large share of their printing needs*

In some cases, of

course, jurisdictions are establishing their own small multilithing plants*

These are draining off some of the

work going to commercial plants*

On the other hand, there

is a growing tendency on the part of governments to expand their commercial buying rather than their public plants. Techniques of procurement must therefore receive constant attention in the successful prosecution of a printing program. Because there have been a number of procurement scandals in the past one hundred and fifty years, this phase of print­ ing has undoubtedly received more attention than the rest. Yet few solutions have been reached*

Vested commercial

interests, political intrigues, and sheer inertia have been in league to enervate the development of new purchasing techniques in most jurisdictions.

In a poll of state govern­

ments, to which twenty-eight answers v/ere received, it was discovered that only Missouri had made any significant changes


procurement procedures

^ ££• ante, p. 28 .

In the past fifteen

66 years•2 I.


and Oregon have indicated,

the financial stakes in public

printing can be extremely high.

This fact, coupled with

the average American’s sometimes distorted sense of obliga­ tion to his government, renders it Imperative that the pur­ chasing agent be ever on the alert against attempts to take advantage of the government* Control of political power.

The most obvious device

for gaining extortionate profits out of public printing— (and one, incidentally, against which the purchasing agent will often find himself without power)— is by control of the political party in office.

Thus, one large New York City

firm gave liberal sums to both major parties.

In Missouri,

it was reported in 1941 that the same plant had done the

^ The writer conducted his survey In the Spring of 1950, just fifteen years after Estal Sparlin collected material for his Important work, Public Printing in the States. Sparlin was the first to point out the many inadequacies that existed in the procurement procedures used by the states; and It Is Interesting to note that the only state which made any real changes after the appearance of this study was his home, Missouri. Even there it took until 1945 to effect the reforms. 3 Cf. ante, pp. 17* ff.

67 state’s printing since the Civil War*

The plant simply changed

ownership when the administration changed*

At one time the

building had four different company names on its front.4 Special favors*

Secondly, there is the technique of

giving special favors to particular personnel.

Depending on

the importance of.the individual, this may take the form of entertainment, special tickets to a big sporting event, a bottle of whiskey now and then, or it may be in the form of some free printing for the individual.

The pay-off was not unfamil­

iar in the New York City situation and it sometimes passed through several echelons.

One familiar method was to make

excessive loans which were not expected to be repaid.


these techniques were premised on the assumption that the official hierarchy could be brought into the scheme of fraud. Collusion.

There are other devices, however, when

this is not possible.

Collusive arrangements have been de­

veloped among the various printers vying for governmental business.

Collusion has generally come about as the result

of the activities of one firm, which has served as ring leader.

Many of the New York problems of the 1930fs are

directly traceable to the Burland Printing Company.


firm, which was organized only in 1932, used a type of un-

4 Estal E. Sparlin, "Printing Scandals Investigated,11 National Municipal Review. 30:209, April, 1941.

68 balanced bidding to secure its dominance.

Burland, operated

by smart sales executives who had been dealing with the govern­ ment for years, bid far below apparent cost on contracts.


many cases this worked a severe handicap on a firm that had been receiving a class of work at a nice profit for many years. With this contract as a bargaining tool, Burland was able to dictate its own terms to the other company.

Usually these

were that Burland would not bid on that class the next year if, in turn, that company would agree to bid high on some other class in which Burland was particularly interested. Special knowledge.

Another method of domination by

an individual concern is through knowledge of the work in­ volved.

As can be imagined, the amount of printing in many

jurisdictions is tremendous. force a firm out of business. estimate high when in doubt.

Failure to bid properly could Thus, the tendency is to 3he firms that did the work

previously and have their cost records can naturally bid more intelligently.

This leads to the restriction of the

work to a select few, who divide up the various classes of printing. Secret formulas.

A third means of control is to sell

public officials inexperienced In paper and printing on the idea that there Is a secret to the production of a certain kind of job.

A New York state engraver printed the State*s


bonds for years on the pretext that he alone possessed the formula for the paper used in these documents*

His profits

on a regular product of the Strathmore Paper Company were phenomenal, reaching a high of $8,000 on $5,000 worth of paper*5 Superior equipment♦

Fourthly, individual dominance

can be achieved through superior equipment and resources* Thus, one or two large firms dealing with the state could afford to punish errant firms by bidding low on private jobs which the latter holds* Location*

Finally, there is the factor of location.

This is particularly a problem in state capitols where there is a great rush of legislative work at certain times of the year.

Usually only one plant is equipped to do this work;

and no matter how dissatisfied it may become, the government is left with little choice. Subcontracting* by subcontracting.

Collusion may be further implemented

A small firm, actually unable to per­

form the job itself, may enter a bid agreed upon with the dominant firm merely to lend the appearance of competition. Restrictions on collusion*

5 State of Hew York,

Some governments have

. cit* . p.



70 attempted to stop these practices by requiring a non-collusive affidavit in their contracts* a little different approach*

The State of Illinois takes It seeks to strike at the prob­

lem by imposing heavy penalties on any official or employee of the State Department of Finance who, 11shall by himself or through others, corruptly collude or have any secret under­ standing with any person to defraud the State of Illinois, whereby the State shall sustain a loss • • • *w^ It is

doubtful, however, if such legal restrictions

6 Indiana1s contracts contain such an affidavit which provides: f,The bidder, by its officers and • • • agents or representatives present at the time of filing this bid, being duly sworn, on their oaths say that neither they nor any of them, have in any way, directly or indirectly, entered into any arrangement or agreement with any other bidder, or with any public officer of such « « « whereby such affiant or affiants or either of tha^ has paid or is to pay to such other bidder or public officer any sum of money, or has given or is to give to such other bidder or public officer anything of value what­ ever, or such affiant or affiants or either of them has not, directly or indirectly, entered into any arrangement or agree­ ment with any other bidder or bidders, which tends to or does lessen or destroy free competition in the letting of the con­ tract sought for by the attached bids; that no inducement of any fora or character other than that which appears on the face of the bid will be suggested, offered, paid or delivered to any person whomsoever to influence the acceptance of the said bid or awarding of the contract, nor has this bidder any agreement or understanding of any kind whatsoever, with any person whomsoever to pay, deliver to, or share with any other person in any way or manner, any of the proceeds of the contract sought by this bid*11 State of Indiana, Specifications * State Printing Contract* July 1, 1949 to June 30, 1950* ^ State of Illinois, Printing Law for Public Printing. Paper, Binding, Typewriter and Stationery Supplies (Including all amendments thereto as of Acts approved June 24, 1943, and July 23, 1943)*

71 deter many printers from collusive agreements.

The printers

have developed many ways of circumventing the laws and they have been helped mightily by loose control on the various printing levels.

The chief manifestation of this has been

in the appointment of inadequately trained personnel to deal with these people, II.



On the surface, the job of the procure­

ment officer seems quite simple.

By the time he receives the

printing request, it should have been analyzed and planned. The sole mission of the purchasing agent is to make a good buy for the government.

In a large jurisdiction, however,

the sheer administrative problem of handling a large volume of printing orders almost immediately poses a problem. specifications for


printing can not be written for the entire

year and then forgotten.

Procurement of printing is a con­

tinual process requiring a great deal of paper work and much time in conducting negotiations. The scope of the administrative problem may be indi­ cated by the fact that one forms contract, let by the City of New York in 1936, contained more than 1,600 items.


out detailed technical descriptions In the specifications, 150 pages were required merely to list the iterns,8 8 City of New York, pp. cit., p. 104.

As to

72 the amount of time required to administer this phase of pro­ curement, the New York City investigators found that: Although printing represents only 3 per cent of the value of the commodities purchased by the Department of Purchase, and although purchasing itself represents only 25 per cent of the Department’s activities, its chief executives find it necessary to devote more than 50 per cent of their time to problems of printing procurement.9 In a jurisdiction visited by this writer, it was estimated that 4 per cent of the volume of buying was for printing items.

Yet it consumed about 8 per cent of the staff’s time* Much of the blame for this administrative burden has

been laid to the individual bid system, and with some degree of validity.

The contention has been that if a system were

devised whereby printing could be purchased like gasoline, these administrative problems would disappear.

Thus, an

effort has been made to devise a method by which all, or a good portion of jobs, could be billed and charged at an established rate on a requirement basis.

The job of the

procurement officer would then be reduced to negotiating a yearly contract with one of a small group of contractors. After the agreement had been made, the job would mainly be to funnel the jobs to the contractors* The standard rate system.

9 Ibid.. p. 90.

The standard rate system,

73 and Its implementations such as the class system and the formal and informal price agreement, was designed to satisfy this need.

All such systems have been based on an attempt

to break down the printing operation Into its basic elements and set a value on each of these units. and

Thus typesetting

composition has been figured with the em as the unit

of measure, press work with the quire as the unit, and bind­ ing with the volume as the basis. Like many other systems which attempt to standardize things that cannot be standardized, these rates reflect no accurate picture of the cost of the various operations.


deficiencies of the em system are perhaps most flagrant. In the first place it is a system so complicated that no one except a printer can compute ems and few printers can do it without a formula to guide them. This system assumes that it is exactly twice as timeconsuming to set twelve point type on a line-casting machine as six point.

Actually, the average operator will almost

always set more ems of twelve point than six point.

It is

even erroneous, as a matter of fact, to measure all types of straight matter by the same standard.

Setting scientific

papers with a great many symbols and figures is a much slow­ er task than the flowing narrative of a public relations report• Under the ems system of measurement a printer also

74 penalizes himself by using a condensed type face.

Thus, it

will be noted that in much printing work let under the stand­ ard rate system, printers will employ extended type. means the printer turns a penalty into a profit,

By such

A larger

amount of space, not discernible to the average person, may be placed between words to stretch the em measurement.


one instance the use of jumbo spacing material extended a regular thirty-six lines to forty, thus increasing the pay­ ment to the printer by 14 per cent. A system of measuring composition by the square inch is being utilized In Indiana; but this, too, is subject to the same attacks, which are mainly hinged on the fact that such mechanical methods of measurement cannot take into account the varying degrees of complexity between jobs.**'0 Within fairly broad limits, a standard rate can be established for press operation. number of impressions.

This would be based on the

In actual practice, however, this

standard rate can be applied only to offset printing.


^ The unreliability of mechanical measurement may be seen by investigating the various rates used in Indiana. For one type of form, the square Inch method of measurement is used. Here the cost for a seven inch by eleven inch form would be $8.40, regardless of type size or complexity. On the other hand, the em system of measurement is used for another class of work. Applying these rates to the same form it would be discovered that the rate for setting entirely in twelve point type would be only $3.85 and the price if it were set in six point would be four times as much, or $15.40. Bata from State of Indiana, Printing Contract Price List, July 1, 1949 to June 30, 1950.

75 letterpressman is always troubled with the problem of makeready, which the offset pressman does not generally face* This task of making certain that the impression is clear and even on the entire page will vary with composition of the form and the type of paper used*

A job with engravings that

is being printed on glossy paper will generally take at least four times the makeready time of the average form on bond paper.

Neither measurement by quire nor by impression makes

allowance for such differences* The attempt to standardize the price of bindery opera­ tions encounters the same sort of problems.

If the rate is

to be fair and indicative of actual cost, there must be variations for kinds of paper bindings, varieties of cloth bindings, different thicknesses of books to be bound, and the page size of the books.

By the time all these variations

are allowed, the standard rate is no longer standard.


is a different rate for each job* The class system*

Most governmental units that have

a large amount of printing have, nevertheless, doggedly attempted to use some sort of a standard rate system* most cases this endeavor has resolved


itself into some method '

by which the various types of printing are broken down into classes.

The attempt here is to eliminate some of the in­

equities caused by a simple standard rate system on all jobs. It is reasoned that if all the same types of jobs are grouped

76 together, the standard rate system will give at least a proportionate indication of the amount of work done on each job in the class*

Thus, all letterheads would be grouped in

one class, all legislative bills in another, Supreme Court reports in another, and so on* The problem which soon develops is that there are not a great number of jobs which are so closely akin that standard rates can be applied with any degree of fairness* Thus the class system could mean the lumping together of all printing into a very few classes, or a successive fraGtionalization which would be little different from the individual bid system*

To a considerable extent that is the situation

which exists today* classes**^

Michigan, for example, has only five

Cards, labels, circulars, marriage licenses,

and history blanks for hospitals are all included in the same class*

Mississippi, on the other hand, divides its

printing into thirty three classes,^ and here such items as the annual statements for the Insurance Commissioner and the school registers for Superintendent of Education are

Class I, Legislative printing^and binding; Class II, Printing and binding of commercial work; Class III, Print­ ing letterheads and envelopes; Class IV, Conservation Hunting and fishing licenses and digests; Class V, First class book binding* State of Michigan, Proposals and Specifications for Printing and Binding, from July 1, to June 30, 1952. ^ State of Mississippi, Schedule for Public Print­ ing and Stationery, n* d*

77 placed in separate classes* Grouping all printing into five large classes only slightly mitigates the shortcomings of a standard rate system* There is the same striking dissimilarity between the various items.

Such a system is also probably most conducive to

collusive bidding.

In the first

ments of each class so high that any jurisdiction are

place, it makes therequire­ only a very few printersin

equipped to handle the work.


printers can also maintain control of printing by simple virtue of the fact that they are the only ones who really know what it costs to produce.

So many dissimilar types of

printing make it next to impossible to prepare an intelligent bid on the basis of a standard rate# The large class is also the perfect place for another manifestation of the unbalanced bid.

Awards are made on the

basis of a total price for the contract.

For example, the

State of Michigan included the list of County Officers in Class II.

Last year this list required

24,732 ems. This

figure is multiplied by the ratequoted per thousand which becomes the quotation for the county list.


All items

in Class II are then totaled and the contract awarded on the basis of this figure.

Unprincipled printers could charge

extremely high prices for certain items that do not form a large part of the contract, and it would effect their total

78 bid very lit tie •'L5

Thus, the larger the class the more of

these pure profit items that can be included*


the only method to counteract this evil in the large class system is to distort the governments experience figures* Then there would be no small items that could be upcharged without affecting the total bid.

Such a system, however,

would give a tremendous advantage to the previous yearfs contractor.

Moreover, the specification of arbitrary quan­

tities may lead to the secret disclosure of the true figures to dishonest printers* The formal price agreement*

If a governmental jur­

isdiction is unwilling to break down its classes to a con­ siderable degree, a system developed after the War by the Commercial Division of the United States Government Printing Office might be considered*

This is the formal price

agreement* Again the basis is the standard rate system*


13 jn New York City, after the printing scandals In 1940, the Purchasing Department encountered the same old problem with the class system. This occurred in the case of onionskin paper. It is generally believed that there Is loss of time in press production when printing on onionskin. Estimates on this loss vary somewhat; but the most general figure used is 25 per cent. In the bidding for the class involved, one firm demanded a 200 per cent markup for print­ ing on onionskin, an obviously unbalanced amount. Yet, In view of the very small quantity of onionskin paper involved, this excessive upcharge had no material effect on the total of the bid, so that the firm was still the low bidder. City of New York, op,* cit*, p. 102*

79 in this case the government made no attempt to break down the work into classes.

Most of it was printing for the War

Assets Administration.

There was no bidding.

The Government

Printing Office established the rates for the various stand­ ard operations, and the commercial plants could either make an agreement on this basis or not at all. Previously the War Assets Administration had been using an individual bid system; and the savings effected under the Government Printing Officefs new price agreement plan were therefore extremely significant.

In Cleveland it

was estimated that the change-over to the standard rate saved $150,000 per year.

In Kansas City, it was found that

$10,592.53 had been paid to commercial bidders for jobs which were priced at $4,476.56 under a standard rate contract.


Los Angeles, the formal price agreement rates for three jobs were $2,106, as compared to commercial low bids of $5,556. The Commercial Planning Division of the Government Printing Office said: Since the prices obtained by bidding each job individually were averaging at least 100 per cent over standard rate contract prices, it is estimated that our handling of War Assets work under this program resulted in the saving of at least $1,400,000. In the various cities where War Assets were op­ erating, 640 printers were asked to accept our standard rate contracts. Of these, 289 refused to sign • • • • Some frankly stated, "We do not see why we should accept these rates when we can get the jobs by bidding at prices twice those you are


offering."14 This price agreement system has the definite merit of spreading out the work among many shops.

In certain situations

it is apparently more economical than a system of bidding. It also raises the question, however, of placing proper safe­ guards on the administration of such a program, especially in terms of setting standard prices and placing orders.


a system might conceivably lead to greater printing corrup­ tion than even the class method. The informal price agreement.

The only evidence of

such a system in operation was found in the City of Santa Monica.

It is not a plan that would work except for offset

printing, and it applies only to jobs where samples can be furnished. on quantity.

The standard rate used under this system is based Thus one thousand copies of any form printed

on an eight and one half inches by eleven inches number four sulphite bond sheet costs $5.00. $20.00.

Five thousand cost

The same price holds for a letterhead and the most

intricately ruled form.

The Purchasing Agent has made his

informal price agreement with a Los Angeles firm, and jobs which can be done by this method are simply routed to the firm without further negotiating.

United States Government Printing Office, op. cit., p. 133.

81 The Individual .job system of bidding*

The individual

job system of bidding, like the class method, is not really just one system.

It is several.

For many smaller jurisdic­

tions, and some not so small, the individual job system means just that.

The specifications for each job are written and

procurement negotiations are carried on separately*

At the

other end of the pole the individual job plan is not much different than an extensively differentiated class system. Here the idea is that negotiations would be held for each similar type of job.

For example, a contract to print a

paper or a magazine would be let for one year, where the cost could be considered to be quite uniform* The advantages of the individual bid system have stemmed mainly from Its encouragement of competition.


plants are equipped to handle a large volume of public work, such as is called for under the class system.

This lessening

of the competitive factor not only results in higher prices, but it also is more conducive to collusive arrangements among printers. It Is generally held that many printers, who have no way of figuring actual cost, hesitate to take a chance on a whole class. job.

They will, however, bid

on the individual

Furthermore the proponents of individual bidding con­

tend that there will nearly always be one printer who needs a particular job at a particular time bad enough to reduce his

82 price* It now appears that perhaps too great stress may have been placed on the importance of competition in enabling the governmental unit to purchase Its printing at a nominal cost* The experience of the last twenty years has indicated that the advantages of competition will fluctuate with the economic conditions In the community* In the period of the thirties, for example, printers engaged in violent price cutting to keep their plants busy* In one jurisdiction these bids got so low that it was decided, for the good of the industry and of the community, to dispense with the individual bid system*

Aside from these considera­

tions, however, it is clear that in periods of economic stress the individual bid system can furnish printing at remarkably low prices* The* Chairman of the Massachusetts Commission on Administration and Finance wrote Estal Sparlin in 1936s My personal opinion Is that well over half the saving is due to the system of taking individual bids for each job. By far the greater part of the balance is being saved by standardizing style, size of type, and paper.15 On the other hand, the experiences during the Ytfar and the first few years thereafter indicate that the individual bid system became little more than a millstone.

When plants

Sparlin, Public Printing in the States» op* cit., p * 28 «


were already operating at full capacity, the idea of com­ petition was simply a delusion.

It did not exist.


elaborate procedures for bidding on the individual job were an extra administrative expense that the printer passed on to the government.

The willingness of over half the printers

contacted to accept War Assets Administration printing at a substantially lower price under the standard rate system is significant in this regard.

It indicates that, even in

times of capacity production, there were still printers willing to make substantial discounts for a steady flow of work* It seems apparent, then, that the individual bid system is subject to more violent fluctuations than the various standard rate systems.

In periods of idle plant

capacity, It can result in the lowest prices.

In times of

full production, however, It will cause extremely high prices* The system of individual bidding has also been crit­ icized for the time necessary to its administration.


has already been pointed out that the completion of a print­ ing job under this method takes approximately fifty days in Missouri*^-®

In most jurisdictions where jobs are let on an

individual basis, they are allowed to accumulate for a cer­ tain period of time, usually a week.


Gf. ante, p. 40 #

Then another span of


time elapses during which the contractor furnishes his quota­ tions.

After this, awards of contracts must be made and the

job furnished to the winner of the contract.

Thus approximate­

ly two weeks must be added to the time required to manufac­ ture a job under a requirement contract or in a public plant. One of the very important savings possible in presswork is the “ganging11 of forms.

This means that, instead of

running only one job at a time, the capacity of the press is utilized by running several together. after printing.

They are cut apart

Where a standard rate system is utilized,

the responsibility of the “ganging11 falls on the contractor. Usually, in making his bid, the printer will assume that a certain amount of these combinations will be possible.


the other hand, the individual bid system makes it practical­ ly impossible for the contractor to “gang" jobs to any extent. Sometimes he may find two or three jobs that can be combined. Most jurisdictions will allow a bid contingent on getting all three jobs; and in this way some savings are effected.


basic responsibility for “ganging" under the individual job system, however, must rest with the procurement office.


imposes an extra burden on the printing buyers, and in many cases they have refused to accept it.

The result is that

often the economies of combination printing have not been obtained.

85 III.


No system completely satisfactory.

The inescapable

conclusion is that no system of bidding m i l be completely satisfactory because no method has yet been found for en­ gineering the costs of printing.

The fallaciousness in the

assumptions of the standard rate devices have already been discussed.

Moreover there is no guarantee that individual

job bids will be a great deal more accurate in depicting the actual costs of the job.

The Printing Buyer of the County

of San Diego reported that under a system of Individual job bidding there was a constant fluctuation in prices.^'7


did not know from one time to the next what the price of the same job would be. This was probably the result of (a) changes in the economic situation, and (b) different printers with varying types of equipment bidding on the job.

The lack of agreement

among printers on methods of bidding is indicated by the experience of the City of New York.

The spread of bids for

publication of the New York City Record varied from $442,214 to $764,128, or 73 per cent.

This same situation occurred In

the bidding for the Annual Record of Assessed Valuations. the highest bid was 248 per cent more than the lowest bid— 17 1950.

In an interview with the writer in the Spring,


$256,698 as compared with $73,846. This wide range of prices on the same job can only indicate that (1) some printers desire higher profits than others; (2) some are less efficient, either mechanically or administratively, than others; (3) some are not as interest­ ed in government business as others; (4) methods of rating the job vary* Is bidding necessary?

Since each job contains so

many variables, the role of competitive bidding may very well be questioned.

Many printers themselves have not devised

a cost-accounting system that enables them to figure accurate­ ly in advance the cost of the particular job.

This advance

estimate is further complicated by their ideas of profit, their efficiency and their interest in the job.

The class

system adds other problems of estimating by including a variety of jobs to which must be applied an unrealistic rating device. The only bidder who actually knows where he stands on a particular job or group of jobs is the contractor \ikio pre­ viously did the work. knows the cost.

He has a tremendous advantage.

He knows the production problems.

be able to utilize standing type. terms of experience figures.


He may

His bid can be made in

On the other hand, consider

87 the problem of the newcomer.

He must make an elaborate set

of guesses; and if he is a sound businessman, he will be rather generous in his calculations so as to protect himself against any mistakes.

With the cards so stacked, it is

easily understandable why the same jobs and contracts usually find their way back into the same plants. All the judicial forms in Los Angeles County have been done by the same firm for a number of years.

There is

no real bidding on this class of work for two reasons.


the first place, the present contractor has all the forms standing and his composition cost is very slight.

In the

second place, the method of setting up the charges is so unrealistic that few printers would dare risk the gamble. Under such circumstances there can be no real bidding.


are actually negotiated. The County of 8an Diego has gotten away almost entirely from a rigid policy of competitive bidding.

In this juris­

diction the printing buyer has made a personal visit to many of the plants.

He has tabulated their facilities.

The guid­

ing principle has been to award the job to the plant best suited to the type of work involved.

Through his knowledge

of the plants, his own understanding of printing, and general acquaintance with the community*s economic situation, the San Diego printing buyer has been able to negotiate prices which are generally about 20 per cent below the general

88 printer^ list prices# Not only in printing, but in public purchasing general­ ly, the role of competitive bidding has been changing.


is being idealized that discretion on the part of public officials in negotiating purchases will often result in low­ er prices*

The fiction of competitive bidding as a guarantee

of such economy has been

fairly well exploded.

its new role is equally important.


Judicious use of competi­

tive bidding as a checking device, plus a certain amount of administrative freedom, should result in a more realistic system of negotiation# Conclusion*

The best method of establishing prices

for public printing will vary with the type of work involved# Considerations of time, type of work, volume, administrative expense, and politics will all take a part in shaping the effectiveness of a system.

Maine's Superintendent of Public

Printing, W. Douglass Jarvis, gives this short summary of the means his office has used to solve the problem# All of our printing and binding is purchased on the open market. Several methods are employed, i.e., sealed bids, competitive quotations, contract for legislative printing, and direct purchasing, all to the best advantage. This is due to several factors, such as volume, type of work, and time element. Our requirements are such that we use practically all well-known printing processes, thereby obtaining the best quality consistent with the need at the greatest economy to the State. Each job is treat­ ed separately, although we often-times "gang11

89 several jobs in the interest of economy. ^ IV.


Discretionary and non-dlscretionary provisions.


a bidding system is in use, the award of printing orders by the purchasing agent may be either discretionary or nondiscretionary.

If the printing procurement officer is in­

structed to give the contract to the “lowest11 bidder, that is a non-discretionary award.

On the

other hand, if the

criterion is “lowest and best” bid, or the “lowest responsible11 bid, that involves a discretionary award*

Although many

governmental units provide for discretionary awards,20 the actual fact is that nearly all contracts in printing are awarded simply to the lowest bidder*


19 Letter to the writer, dated March 15, 1950* 20 “In the award of contracts, due consideration shall be given not only to the price bid, but the mechanical and other equipment, and financial responsibility of the bidder, and his ability and experience in the performance of like or similar contracts.” State of Iowa, State Printing Board Law. Section 194, p. 6. ”. . . The contracts will be awarded to the lowest and best bidder or bidders, according to law . . . . The Printing Section reserves the right to differentiate in favor of such bid as it may deem most favorable to the interest of the state.” State of Indiana, Specifications State Printing Contract* p. 5. “. • • To the lowest responsible bidder .""T • •" State of Illinois, ojd cit.* Section 7, p. 5.*


21 11. . . T o any such contractor as shall submit the lowest bid." State of Michigan, op. cit., p. 32. "• • • The greatest per cent off from or least per cent above the maximum prices established by Section 35.43 • . • .“ State of Wisconsin, Chapter 35, Section 35.47, p. 519.

90 To a great extent this is understandable* specifications are definite*


They are not written broadly,

such as those for automobiles, in order to allow for greater competition*

Thus, the only other major factor that enters

into the award of a printing order is ability to perform the work*

Elements that are considered in the purchase of a new

car, such as appearance, utility, versatility, etc* are all covered exactly in the specifications* The effect of this situation is to ease the burden of the procurement officer.

Once negotiations are completed

and quotations are in, his job is mainly a clerical one of comparing prices* Performance bonds.

Nearly all jurisdictions which

operate under a bid system require performance bonds.


County of Los Angeles, for example, requires that either a 10 per cent bond be posted on each individual job, or that a $1,000 bond be deposited for the entire year*^

In Indiana

the bond varies from $2,000 to.$15,000,23 depending on the amount of printing being ordered, and in Wisconsin, the amount of the bond ranges from $5,000 to $15,000,^ depending on the op

Interview with the Assistant Printing Buyer, County of Los Angeles. 23 state of Indiana,

.cit.. p*



24 state of Wisconsin, op,, cit,., Section 35.49, p. 520.

91 class* This philosophy of requiring elaborate financial guarantees has undoubtedly served to lessen the interest of many concerns in public printing*

Furthermore, the expense

of the bond must naturally be passed on to the governmental unit.

As a result of these factors there has been a growing

tendency among purchasing experts to dispense with such requirements.

The International City Managers1 Association

book, Municipal Finance Administration, made this statements Except in cases of construction contracts, purchases involving large sums of money, or purchases in which failure to perform would result in loss to the city, this requirement is a needless and expensive safeguard. It complicates procedure, discourages competition, and increases cost, since the gost of the surety must be included in the bids*26 In San Diego County, the gradual change from competi­ tive bidding to negotiation has also resulted in the substi­


The language of some of these bond provisions is confusing to say the least. For example, here is one sen­ tence in the Illinois Printing Law: ’’Such bidder shall at the time execute a bond in a penal sum to be fixed by the Depart­ ment of Finance with the approval of the Governor (but not to exceed $10,000) payable to the People of the State of Illinois, with not less than two sureties who shall be responsible free­ holders of this state, and who shall justify under oath that they are each worth over and above all debts and property exempt from execution an amount equal to the amount named as a penalty in such bond, conditioned for the faithful performance of all duties required of him by law and by the terms and con­ ditions of his contract.” State of Illinois, ojd cit.. p. 6. oc The International City Managers' Association, Municipal Finance Administration (Chicago: The International City Managers' Association, 1949), p. 401.


92 tution of a personal decision by the printing buyer as to responsibility and capacity to perform, in place of the per­ formance bond. Local preference.

In all jurisdictions the problem

of local preference is a very real one to the purchasing agent.

It is a problem that can arouse a great deal of

emotion, but has its real base in the economic interests of local suppliers. Most governments therefore attempt to buy locally; and discussions in several jurisdictions indicate that purchasing agents -will generally pay a 10 per cent premium on most printing items purchased in their jurisdiction.

In some

cases the probabilities are they would go somewhat above that. The State of North Dakota has even written the acceptance of this premium into its printing law.

It says:

Contracts shall be awarded to established institutions in the county for which such printing is required if the rates charged for such printing, binding, blanks, and other supplies shall not exceed by more than ten per cent the sum that the same class and quality of work can be secured for from publishing houses outside the state.27 There is little that can be said to justify local preferment.

It means merely that the taxpayers are subsidizing

a small group of printers.

Yet it still makes good political

27 State of North Dakota, Printing Laws of North Dakota, Revised Code of 1943, Chapter 46, Section 0215.

93 sense and appears to be a problem with which purchasing agents are destined to contend* Location and size apparently have some effect on the importance of local preferment.

On the state level, for

example, a letter from the Director of the Bureau of Pub­ lications in Pennsylvania, Braton R* Gardner, made a partic­ ular point of the fact that his office does not confine bidding to the State of Pennsylvania*


On the other hand the

impression gained in the small sixth class city, where the newspaper is powerful, is that under no circumstances could the printing be taken out of town.

This attitude is miti­

gated somewhat, however, when a city is located in a metro­ politan area*

Here the figures quoted by the large downtown

production houses are sometimes so much lower that the 10 per cent differential becomes meaningless. ~ In such cases the purchasing agent of Santa Monica has reported that he has had little trouble with local printers* V. Paper*

SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF PROCUREMENT There are three ways in which the purchase of

paper can be handled by a procurement officers paper may be included

(1) the

as a part of the total job and there­

fore furnished by the vendor; (2) the paper may be purchased

28 Letter to the writer, dated March 22, 1950.

94 by the governmental unit and furnished to the vendor out of a central supply; (3) a three-way agreement may be established whereby the governmental unit will negotiate price agreements with certain paper suppliers and the vendors will purchase stock according to specifications and prices thereby establish­ ed* Many discussions have taken place concerning the rela­ tive merit of these various systems*

'There seems to be little

doubt that a governmental unit pays more for its paper if purchased as a part of the printing job because the price of paper will vary from contractor to contractor*


price list for 1949-50 shows that the state is paying the printers for its various classes, twenty-eight, twenty-two, twenty, and twenty-one and nine tenths cent for number one sulphite bond paper* Although it is generally conceded that there is a saving through governmental purchases, the feeling among many printing buyers is that the cost involved in the extra shipping and provision of storage facilities does not make pq

it economic* ^ A number of governmental units, however, have apparent­ ly found the saving large enough to be worthwhile*^


29 Sparlin, Public Printing in the States, p* 71* 39 of the jurisdictions studied by this writer, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and the County of Los Angeles furnish paper to their vendors*

95 consin has a particularly well-developed system for supply­ ing paper to its vendors.

Appraisal of this method by Don

M. Leicht, Supervisor of the Printing Division, noted that, f,We are able to save a considerable amount of money by buying .

fairly large quantities of all regular paper stock items and furnishing small lots to the printers as needed for each order.11 Michigan buys its own paper but requires that it be stored by the contractors.

Such a system would seem to pro­

vide little saving as the space charges for a number of dif­ ferent storage units are undoubtedly being passed on to the sta to • Although it had the warehouse space available, the Department of Purchase of New York City evolved the threeparty system as its answer to the paper problem.

It reasoned

that since it had no control over the sizes of the paper to be used by the different firms furnishing printing, it could not satisfactorily purchase the paper.

Secondly, it felt

that the problems of accounting would be too involved to make the project worthwhile. Consequently, it devised a contract under which the printers buy the paper from sources designated by the Depart­ ment.

These concerns are determined by public bidding.


In a letter to the writer, dated March 7, 1950.


96 printer must then bill the City for the exact cost of the paper used for each job; and these charges are checked with the copies of the contract possessed by the Controller. Under this system, the Department noted that prices were less than local wholesale prices and that a means of chicanery by printers had been eliminated, but that "it has raised im­ portant new problems."^2 Price agreement techniques were found in use by two jurisdictions which own their plants but have no warehouse facilities.

In both cases they were able to buy their paper

on a requirement basis at substantial savings. Los

The City of

Angeles uses a formal price agreement, new contracts

being negotiated every six months.

The City of San Diego

employs an informal system, receiving the five-ton price although it procures the paper in small quantities. Standing type.

The development of a sound policy

concerning standing type Is one of the most difficult problems facing the printing procurement officer. savings on some jobs.

It can mean great

In New York City it was estimated that

to hold the type standing on the annual record of assessed valuation would save approximately $40,000 per year.*^ The difficulty here is the recurrent dilemma of

52 City of New York, 33 Ibid., p. 142.


cit ..



97 printing evaluation.

The importance of standing type varies

with each individual job.

In the case of a few lines of

machine-set type, it is easier to reset the lines than to make the job a part of the elaborate filing and storing procedure necessary for standing forms. The problem is further complicated by the fact that the customer is paying only for the labor.

The metal in the 34 standing type still belongs to the printer. Thus, each

form that is left standing represents from three to four pounds of lead and an investment on the part of the printer of about one dollar.

An indiscriminate requirement that type

be kept standing could therefore result in an unfair hard­ ship on the vendor.

There Is practically no possibility of

shifting standing type from one shop to another. first place, It Is against custom.

In the

Secondly, most line-cast­

ing machines have slightly different adjustments and this creates excessive difficulties for the pressman. As it relates to commercial procurement, there do not appear to be any answers to the problem of standing type; and the failure to solve this enigma has been one of the most important arguments advanced for public printing plants.

34 "The general theory of ownership of standing type Is that the customer owns the labor which has been expended and paid for in setting the type, and the printer owns the metal and is prepared to sell it at its scrap value." State of New York, ojd cit.. p. 202



98 There are a variety of ways in which the standing type problem is now handled. plan is no plan.

Undoubtedly the. most universal

A number of buyers have the opinion that a

certain price break will be granted by the average printer in bidding for the job a second time. Other jurisdictions make definite provisions for standing type.

In Illinois, the contractor must hold the

type for thirty days.

H© may charge up to 25 per cent of

original composition for this service.

When type used In

Michigan state printing is ordered held longer than two weeks, but not over sixty days, the contractor is allowed one third of the original composition cost.

In Pennsylvania

the type must always be held sixty days without cost and must be kept longer at no charge if ordered. Even though he may use no definite system, the pro­ curement officer should be constantly aware of those jobs which contain standing type*

He should recognize that such

a situation generally represents a considerable saving to the printer; and, before awarding the business, he should satisfy himself that a fair share of that economy is being passed on to his jurisdiction. VI.


It is interesting to note how many subjective deci­ sions must be made by the procurement officer.

At almost no

99 point in the purchase of printing can he follow a clean-cut, easily distinguishable procedure.

In the negotiation process

he must determine whether formal bidding is advantageous; and If so what method, I.e. the standard rate system, the indi­ vidual job bid system, or a modification of the two, will result in the best purchases for his agency.

He will have to

make that decision in terms of the type of work involved, the commercial facilities available, time required, and gen­ eral economic conditions, to name but a few of the consider­ ations. There is no wholly reliable guide as to the other knotty problems that may confront him in printing procure­ ment.

He will have to decide for himself how far he must go

in paying premium prices to local printers. no “one best way" to purchase paper.

He will find

The policies to be

followed will have to be based on arrangements which can be made with printing concerns, prices quoted by paper manufac­ turers, availability of storage facilities, and the size of his administrative staff.

The discretion he must use in

deciding on the importance of standing type indicates another perplexing area of the printing buyerfs job. The task is not an easy one.

It requires a man who

is not only well versed in the general techniques of pur­ chasing but also one who has a fairly good grounding in printing Itself.

He must be aware of the various alternatives

100 that are available to him, their shortcomings and advantages* With this background the commercial procurement officer, supported by proper planning, should be able to make an important contribution to an program*

effective' public printing



A public printing plant is any unit, owned and operated in its entirety by a governmental agency, which is produc­ ing public printing* In some jurisdictions private contract firms are called public printers or state printers*

In certain states

the official in charge of printing is called the public printer.

It is therefore Important to note that a public

printing plant is distinguished by the fact that it is owned wholly by the public and that it is actually engaged in the manufacture of printing* As was noted in the first chapter,^ it has become increasingly difficult to delineate any boundaries between printing and duplicating plants*

The distinction previously

established is that plants which are producing printing as it traditionally appears are engaged In printing*

Work pro­

duced on a vari-typer would be considered In this category* On the other hand, the reproduction of typewriting by spirit, gelatin, stencil and paper master processes is thought of as duplicating.

Of. ante, p* 9.

102 The actual machinery used to produce printing would seem to have no real effect on this definition,

As a matter

of fact, the City of San Diego replaced its traditional plant equipment, composed of three letterpresses, with two multiliths, which are often considered duplicating machines. II.


Reasons for establlshment.

There are apparently two

basic motivations which

have been at work in the creation of

public printing plants.

In the first place, the public plant

has been the most obvious antidote to recurrent scandals in printing procurement.

One writer found, for example, that

"no state has built a plant where it had a good contracting system. The federal government seemed to have had the same general problems with commercial procurement.

"The contract

system having proved such a conspicuous failure," writes L. P. Schmeckebier, "the government In 1860 (12 Stat. L. 117) decided to undertake its own printing • • •

This inabil­

ity to devise a suitable system of commercial procurement was admitted by the Department of Purchase when it recommended

^ Estal E. Sparlin, "Public Ownership vs. State Pur­ chasing: The Case of Printing," Journal of Political Economy. Vol. XLVIII, April, 1940, p. 212. 3 Schmeckebier, op,, cit., p. 9.

103 a New York City Printing Authority in 1940•

It said:

Despite intense effort and increased personnel, the Department of Purchase has not found a thorough-going, fundamental solution of its technical procurement problems under the, present system of buying from commercial printers. The assistance of the organized printing industry has likewise been inadequate to solve the problem.4 In these cases the emphasis has been laid on the corruption present in purchasing printing; and the government plant has served as a method of eliminating this problem# In other jurisdictions where public plants have been establish­ ed, the impetus has not come from a startling expose^but has been more the result of a pragmatic belief that money could be saved by government operation. This is illustrated by the e:xperience of the State of Washington, where An effort was made a number of years ago to buy printing in the market, but the e;xperiment was abandoned after a very brief trial. The work at that time was apportioned out to plants that were able to handle It, but the cost proved so expensive that the next legislature established a so-called state plant . . • .5 Although the prevention of corruption and the attempt to secure printing at lower prices constitute the major reasons for the establishment of public printing plants, several other factors have often entered Into the decision.

4 City of New York, ojd. cit♦, p. 119. 5 State of New York,


cit., p. 231.

104 In some cases ,the plant was set up to do special work which was not otherwise obtainable locally.

This seems

to have had a bearing on the establishment of California*s printing unit*

Now the largest west of the Mississippi, it

was originally designed to produce work for the Legislature, such as bills, histories, journals and statutes. Governmental needs sometimes require that certain time requirements be met which the average shop Is not equip­ ped to handle.

For example, the Government Printing Office

did the press work on three volumes of Social Security Hear­ ings, totaling 2,724 pages

and requiring 1,325,250 press

Impressions In twenty-four hours* The establishment of a

public printing plant also

answers several of the special problems that arise in the procurement of public printing.

The desire to take advantage

of the savings offered by standing type has had some Influence.7 Similarly the economies of running jobs In combination have not been overlooked*

Public plants have also been seen as

the answer to the problem of purchasing paper.

The Depart­

ment of Purchase In New York City noted that even though it Is

Ibid.. p. 241. and and the nal

7 The Nevada Public Printer reported that the annual biennial reports are held standing from year to year, "many times the composition cost on charges is slight, state receiving the benefit." Cited from Sparlin, Jour­ of Political Economy, p. 213.


buying paper at less than wholesale prices, additional savings could be achieved with the operation of a public plant. Finally, arguments concerning the savings in adminis­ trative expense have undoubtedly played their part in the creation of governmentally owned and operated printing plants. It is pointed out that elaborate procurement specifications are not required.8

The expense of advertising large jobs

and yearly requirement contracts is eliminated.


inspection need not be made with the great care required when work is procured commercially. This summary of the factors leading to the establish­ ment of public printing plants was made by the Investigation Commission in New York State: Our study of the events leading up to the establish­ ment of the various state plants and of the Govern­ ment plant warrants the general conclusion that they came into being as the result of open scandals and continued excessive charges brought about by corrup­ tion, loose administration or political favoritism. The inability of the respective states and Federal Government to cope with these factors and secure reasonable prices through honest and widespread competition was the major factor which induced them to adopt the expedient of a state plant.®

8 Actually, however, the State of California, which owns its printing facilities, requires its using agencies to complete the most exacting printing request form of any gov­ ernmental jurisdiction investigated by this writer. General­ ly speaking, the request forms of units with their o m print­ ing plants are more detailed than those of units which pri­ marily let their work go to commercial contractors. ^ State of New York, ojd. cit.» p. 219.

106 Types of development#

Generally speaking, the factors

cited above have led to the creation of public printing plants in two ways:

(a) those that are established immediately to

do the total Job; (b) those that originate as a small operation and gradually come to do all, or a large part, or the juris­ dictions printing# The United States Government Printing Office is an example of the first type.

It was created with the express

purpose of doing the bulk of the Federal Printing, and $135,000 was invested in the project in

1 8 6 0 .*^

In contrast the Police Printing Bureau, which now satisfies 90 per cent of the needs of the City of Los Angeles was started as only a small, part-time operation in the Police department.

It was established in March, 1907, with

two police officers on a part-time basis preparing periodic police bulletins#

The activities of the Bureau were limited

to such work until 1920, when two full-time printers replaced the policemen and routine operations were commenced#


1927 a printing revolving fund of $500 was provided, independent of budgetary provisions of the Police Department, to enable the Printing Bureau to do printing for all departments#*^

10 ^ Schmeckebier, op,, cit.. p# 9#

H City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Budget and Efficiency, op♦ cit., p # 18#

107 Prom that beginning, the plant has now grown to its present |307,790.65 volume for 1948-49. The present situation*

There are no figures available

as to the number of public printing plants now operating in the United States.

Some idea of their extensiveness, how­

ever, may be seen in the fact that the Federal Government alone operates the Government Printing Office, the largest plant in the world, plus 133 printing and 256 duplicating units.

It is a safe bet that many of the latter 256 are

really operating as printing plants.

Full scale, centralized,

publicly-owned printing institutions are operated by only five states, California. Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Kansas.

Ohio runs its own bindery; Illinois maintains a

central duplicating unit which is probably printing many forms. On the municipal level, size has a very definite in­ fluence on the presence of public printing plants.

It is

doubtful if any cities tinder 100,000 would find it profitable to operate a plant. pattern.

Among the larger cities there is no

New York still buys commercially.

Angeles do nearly all their own printing. large multilithing operation.


Boston and Los Kansas City has a

Los Angeles County has in-

.cit.. p.

Police Department Printing Bureau, ojd


108 13 which is doing a considerable stalled a multilith plant* share of its printing,

San Diego County buys all its work

commercially. III.


Like any other govemmentally-operated enterprise, the public printing plants have not been without their share of critics.

These opponents of governmental operation of

printing facilities have claimed that the public plants are (1) inefficient; (2} charge excessive prices; (3) are slow in getting out work; (4) hold a monopoly and thus create a bureaucratic problem within the bureaucracy; and (5) are bound to become someone's political plum. Inefficiency.

Studies made during 1939 and 1940

showed that the annual mechanical employee productivity in the public plants of Oregon, Washington, and California was lower than in commercial shops.

These figures were:


$3,136, California, $3,324, and Washington, $2,333, as com­ pared with the report of the Census of Manufacturers, pub­ lished In 1938, #iich fixed the average figure per employee in the industry at $3,566 per year.14

The validity of these

13 Although the machines are much the same, the brand used by the County is Davidson, not Multilith. 14 state of New York, ojo. cit., pp. 232-233.

109 figures and a comparison of prices will be discussed later in the chapter* ^ Excessive prices*

In Kansas it was revealed that the

State printing plant charged $1,321 to produce 75,000 book­ lets for which a previous bid of $575 for 50,000 booklets had been made by a commercial firm*

The law required that

the state plant do the job, however* Many such attacks have been leveled, 16 especially against the Government Printing Office*

The Hoover Commission report noted that nsome offi­

cials in the executive branch believe that the prices of the Government Printing Offices are unduly high • •


1947 the Federal Security Agency claimed in appropriation hearings that printing prices were excessive in the Federal Government.

The example used to prove this statement, however,

was thirteen years old, and It was admitted by the Public Printer that prior to 1943 lfcertain classes carried a dis­ proportionate part of the cost of production while other

15 Cf. post * p. ^ California’s Bureau of Printing has countered such attacks with the claim that in ten years, 1927-37, it made a saving of $2,545,457*93 on textbooks alone* Furthermore, it said in 1938 that for every $1,000,000 worth of business it did, a saving to the ta;xpayer of $300,000 was effected* State of California, California Blue Book and State Register (Sacra­ mento: State Printing Officer, 1938), p* 139* ^ The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, ojd cit*. p* 29*


110 classes escaped charges for work actually performed.11 Slow delivery.

The excessive time needed to get out

the work has been another charge against public plants.


in most of the instances, the published attacks have mainly centered around the activities of the Government Printing Office.

Undoubtedly these criticisms had a great deal to do

with the reorganization of the plant*s accounting system in 1938 and of its planning procedures in 1943.

In 1935 a

representative of the District of Columbia government said that he had sent a job to the Government Printing Office in June and got delivery in December.

The Government

Printing Office itself admitted that prior to the installation of the new planning procedures, requests were not processed in the order received.

“Weeks or months might pass before

even a jacket number was assigned to orders received in a routine


a n n e r .


Apparently the problem has not yet been completely solved.

The Hoover Commission also noted that the time

required for the printing of public reports is still very long.21 1® xj. S. Government Printing Office,

0 £.

cit.. p. 20.

19 Sparlin, Journal of Political Economy, p. 217. 20 u. S. Government Printing Office, op. cit., p. 111. 21 The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, loc. cit.

Ill Monopoly#

In nearly every case where there is a

public plant, all printing with very few exceptions must be channeled through this office.

Although there Is a growing

decentralization of the Federal Government, this situation is still generally true of the Departments In Washington, D.C. It is also the case In Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Kansas and California.22

The City of Los Angeles follows a similar

procedure. This grant of power to determine how, when and where the printing will be done has often incurred the wrath of various government officials.

It is claimed that this Is a

clear invitation to empire building..

The larger the plant,

the greater the prestige and power of the printer.


of public printing have said that such an organizational situation is chiefly responsible for the other shortcomings cited, such as high prices, printing delays, and inefficiency.


California’s system in some ways is quite unusual. The Printing Division, which was established in 1850, preceded the founding of the plant by twenty-two years. The plant was made a part of the Division and thus came under the juris­ diction of the Superintendent of State Printing. A fiction therefore exists that above the plant stands a control agency. In point of fact, it is one unit and work is simply sent to the ffState Printing Plant.11 As a result of the State reorganization of 1927, the Printing Division’s functions 'Were clarified so that today the Bureau has charge of all State printing.” Dewey Anderson, California State Govern­ ment (Stanford University: Stanford University Press, 1942), p. 239.

112 IV.


Since public printing has had such a close relation­ ship with politics in most jurisdictions, the establishment of public printing plants has not lacked political ramifica­ tions.

These political interests have been of both an in­

ternal and external nature. Internal politics.

The establishment of a public

plant has generally brought the charge that it would be just a

new, greener pasture for the spoils system.

The situation

in Oregon prior to the placing of the plant on a non-politi­ cal basis gives an indication of how very real this problem can be.

During the 1931 session the State Printer was sub­

ject to the hiring of political favorites.

The 1931 session,

lasting fifty-three days, had t o ,pay a printing bill of $23,409.95; and that of 1933, lasting sixty days, only $14,306.38.23 Actually, however, political Influence in the operation of most public printing plants seems to be very slight. Kansas's Public Printer is still an elective official, but union personnel are used in the mechanical departments.


Public Printer of Washington, who is appointed by the Gover­ nor, is considered to hold a political job.


The Federal

State of New York, pp. cit., p. 230.

113 Public Printer is appointed by the President, but his entire staff is under the Civil Service. In the State of Califor24 nia, the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of San Diego, all personnel in the printing plants are under Civil Service* Professor Sparlin testified before the New York State Investigating Commission that it was his belief from personal observation that politics has not affected material­ ly the employment of personnel in government print shops* As evidence of this he cited the long tenure of office of various employees in certain public plants . ^ External politics*

As related to public printing

plants, political pressure is most felt at the time attempts are made to acquire public ownership of printing facilities. These pressures may come from five sources:

(1) commercial

printing industry; (2) labor groups; (3) politicians who are benefiting by the present system of procurement; (4) those

^ California^ Superintendent of Public Printing has been chosen in a variety of ways. When the position was established in 1852, it was filled by the Legislature. From that time, various systems have been tried, including appointment by the Governor, direct election by the people, and the present Civil Service status. The first thirtyeight years of operation of the printing plant*s history also found employment a patronage proposition. In 1913 a Civil Service plan m s instituted. State of California, o^,* cit*, pp. 13V—38* State of New York,



cit.. p. 250.

114 who are against all government operation on principle; (5) certain members of the administrative hierarchy* The most important of these pressures stems from the commercial printing industry*

Various industry organizations

have carried on propaganda campaigns for years against the establishment of their own printing plants by large organ­ izations, either public or private*

Some of the arguments

used by the commercial printing industry in its literature are:

(1) printing is too highly specialized to be handled

on a side-line basis; (2) printing can be purchased more cheaply from specialists than it can be produced by a firm engaged primarily in another business; and (3) the equip­ ment required for quality work is too e:xpensive for a limit­ ed volume* The opposition of labor groups usually stems from the fear that a union contract will not be signed and that union working conditions will not be adopted. is not without foundation.

This feeling

Many of the operators turning

out printing jobs on multiliths today are receivingjbetween $150 and $250 per month. vari-typers.

Office stenographers are operating

In plants using the letterpress process a

forty hour week is still common, as compared with the thirtyfive and thirty-seven and a half hour week in private industry. The labor groups also fear that even if union wage scales and working conditions were established, most employees

115 of public plants would not become members of the union*


widespread creation of public printing plants would thus mean a decline in union membership and dues. One of the most Interesting aspects of the political dynamics of public printing is the role played by some of the administrators themselves.

These are the people who

tend to lose status or prestige through the establishment of a public printing office.

In most cases they are pro­

curement officers who see that their jobs will be greatly reduced in importance or eliminated entirely by the establish­ ment of a plant.

Such administrative officials often serve

as the unofficial fountainhead of opposition.

They are in a

position to gain information as to government plans and then to pass it on to commercial printers. The attitude of some printing procurement officers is well typified by this excerpt of a letter received from such an official: . . . There is no thought or consideration by the State . . . to own and operate a Printing Plant. We just do not believe that the State Government should enter into the processing of anything that can be purchased in the open market. Realizing that it would be taking not only printing from the printing companies but deprive them of their making a legiti­ mate net profit on their endeavors. V.


Specialty items. specialized.

Printing Is becoming increasingly

This is due in part to technological advances

116 which enable expensive, intricate machinery to produce work at a fraction of that charged by the average shop. administrative methods are continually improving.

Secondly, New con­

trol techniques, involving especially the use of office machinery, are being developed. The magazine, Arizona Highways. which is owned by the state and operated as a means of attracting visitors, illus­ trates the equipment problem which is faced in most plants. This is one of the most expensively produced publications in the nation.

It runs many color process pictures which

necessitate accurate register. azine is very large.

The circulation of the mag­

Its production requires presses which

would otherwise stand idle most of the time in Arizona.


result is that no commercial plants have even equipped to handle the magazine and it is printed in California. The increasing trend toward specialty items is best typified by the growing use of tabulating cards, continuous forms, fan-folds, and other similar types of printing.


cards require register so accurate that most presses cannot do the work satisfactorily.

Continuous forms are printed

on specially designed, high speed presses that enable man-

^ The City of San Diego officials report, however, that they have successfully used the multilith for short runs of IBM cards. The savings are quite considerable. IBM’s lot charge runs the price on 2,000 cards up to $40. The City of San Diego can do them on its multilihh for $10.

117 ufacturers to turn this work out at a fraction of the cost ordinary printers would have to charge* Envelope manufacturers were the first to see the advantages of specialization.

High-speed presses now print

a large share of the average governmental unit*s envelops be­ fore the manufacturing process begins*

The use of this method

has made a printed envelope available at little more cost than unprinted ones* The report of the Department of Purchase investigating the establishment of a public printing plant in New York City showed that nearly $300,000 of the eityfs $2,000,000 printing bill could not feasibly be produced by a public plant*


items as decalcomania stamps, envelopes, fan-fold and con­ tinuous forms, tabulating cards, labels, maps, and tags made up the list*27 Obviously no public printing plant is producing all the needs of the governmental unit it serves.


the increasing specialization of printing will probably cause the public printing plantfs proportion of work to the total to descend further* ment plant.

This does not mean an end of the govern­

It merely means a reshaping of printing policy

in some jurisdictions.

Commercial procurement will become a

necessary adjunct of public production.


City of New York,



cit., p* 135.

1X8 The yardstick theory*

This decline in the "monopoly11

of government printing plants and the pragmatic trend toward the commercial procurement of many items has a thoretical counterpart.

It is called the yardstick theory, and is based

on the idea that public printing plants and commercial concerns should compete against each other. Elements of the theory ares

(1) a planning agency

will be established; (2) it will receive bids from both private and public plants; (3) it will award the job to the lowest bidder.

In no case, however would the public plant be equip­

ped to do more than 60 per cent of the jurisdiction^ total work.

The British work under such a system, approximately

33 per cent of their printing being produced in public plants.

An English Committee of Inquiry into Government

Printing Establishments reported in 1927 that It would clearly be the reverse of economical for the State works to be equipped on the basis of the maxi­ mum requirements of the Government departments, and secondly, it seems to us essential that the State should be in a position to maintain a comparison between the cost of work carried out by the Govern­ ment presses and that executed by private contractors under competitive conditions • • • • We recommend that all this work should be put up to open compe­ tition^ and that where the State works are able to show from their own figures an estimated saving by comparison with the.lowest satisfactory tender received, the work should be allotted to the State works at the rate of such tender. °

28 state of New York, ojd. cit., p. 243.

1X9 The leading proponent of the yardstick theory in America has been Professor Sparlin.

“It seems axiomatic,”

he said, “in view of the cyclical process of corruption, investigation, reform, corruption, which has been going on for over a century, that there is urgent need for some type of automatic checking system to play state plant against the contractor* His answer is the establishment of a public plant which would produce 25 to 50 per cent of the jurisdiction^ needs*

Besides its use as a yardstick^ he cites the follow­

ing advantages such a production scheme would have:

(1) there

would be a steady flow of printing in the government plant and extra work would be

let commercially; (2) the savings

of standing type could be taken by the government plant; (3) the government plant could be used for confidential work; (4) If there were a spoils system in the public plant, it would not apply t o all printing; (5) the initial cost would not be as high; and (6) this type of plant has all the good points of the public plant and private procurement systems, but it eliminates most of the flaws* VI.


Importance of duplicating machines*

The utilization

29 Sparlin, National Mmlcipal Review* 30:210.

120 of the yardstick method in printing administration has re­ ceived its greatest impetus from the development of the multilith and other similar photo-offset machines.

Their increas

ing use to satisfy a large part of government printing needs is indicated by the fact that only $114,000 worth of such equipment was inventoried in 1920, as compared with $650,000 worth in 1956.30

During the War, in 1943, $750,000 was

appropriated for the operation and maintenance of duplicating plants In the Office of Emergency Management.

This equips

ment has since come under the jurisdiction of the Government Printing Office.*^ The trend toward use of multiliths seems even more striking on the local level.

While no figures are available,

developments in Southern California give some indication of its size.

Since World War II, both the City of San Diego

and the County of Los Angeles have installed multilith-type machines.

Even the City of Santa Monica (population 77,000)

has given the matter some consideration and abandoned the idea only because it was felt that volume would not be large enough to support the cost. The investment, however, in such a plant is not large.

^ Leonard D. White, Introduction to the Study of Public Administration (New York: The Macmillan Company), p. 79. ^ p. 141.

United States Government Printing Office, op. cit.,

121 It is estimated that a one-machine plant with plate-making equipment and the other necessities can be established for less than five thousand dollars.

Undoubtedly this has been

the primary reason for their rapid adoption, a result which now finds three of the four major jurisdictions in the area (City and County of Los Angeles, City of San Diego) equipped with their own printing facilities. These mul till thing units have proven themselves excep­ tionally well suited to the yardstick theory. two main reasons for this.

There are

First, the size and capacity of

the multilith plant is definitely limited.

The machine can

print a sheet no larger than nine and one half by thirteen inches.

It has already been pointed out that there are many

types of printing which are not suitable to offset.


facts have made it impossible to centralize the control of all printing at the plant level# Secondly, since the control structure for printing has been centered above the plant echelon, there has been a more conscious effort to plan its flow.

There seems to have

developed in these units a better understanding of the rela­ tionship between commercial and public production.

In these

jurisdictions Professor Sparlinfs theory has been validated by the savings which have been reported in the competitive bidding between private and public plants.^ ^

Cf. ante, p. 63, footnote 23.

122 War and high prices * A second reason why governmental units have considered doing their own printing is the result of the War#

iDuring that period nearly all printers were

running at capacity, paper was short, and prices were high# This situation created numerous headaches for public juris­ dictions that might have been ameliorated by the operation of a public plant.

There was a delay in delivery that caused

many administrative difficulties#

Governmental jurisdictions

which relied on individual printers to supply their paper were especially hard hit by war-time shortages# substitutions, delays and other problems.

This resulted in Where the jurisdic­

tion purchased its own paper, however, it was generally guaranteed an allotment and was not dependent upon the good will and judgment of its printers* Another e;xperience of the 1940fs which will not be forgotten for some time is the breakdown in the operation of the individual bid system#

This resulted in abnormally high

prices which most administrative officials believed them­ selves powerless to prevent under a commercial procurement plan# This attitude, it is interesting to note, is a far cry from that held in 1940 when the nationfs printing plants were running at about 40 per cent of capacity#


Frederick Crane of New York believed this situation would continue indefinitely, and it was on this assumption that

123 he recommended against the establishment of a plant by the State of New York.

At that time he said:

In New York there is a great concentration of large and well equipped plants capable of supplying all the State's needs and furnishing whatever services might be required. Furthermore, these plants are collective­ ly considerably over-equipped for the available annual volume of business. This has created a buyer's market which has existed for a number of years and will probably continue for years to come. The prices at' which the State should be able to purchase its print­ ing should be so close to the cost of production by a State plant that a large investment would not be warranted.

The degree to which Commissioner Crane erred in his conclu­ sions can be attested to by many purchasers of printing. The situation now.

In a survey of printing practices

in the State governments, the question was asked:

“Has there

been any consideration of a state-owned printing plant? so please discuss.”

Of the twenty-eight states answering,

five already had state plants; ten answered a flat “no“; seven replied in some detail and six did not answer the question. Some


of the more interesting answers were: 34

West Virginia: ‘U p to the present time little or no consideration has been given to the possibility of the State installing its own printing plant. If present price trends continue, we may be forced into such a move*11

33 State of New York, op,* cit♦» p. 256. 34 Cf. ante, p. 115.

124 Maine: “Once in a while some mention is made of it now but nothing would indicate any trend in that direction. I would say that at the present time it is not being considered*“ Texas:


Never succeeds.”

Oklahoma: “There is no consideration being given to a State-owned printing plant, and in fact the wisdom of such an enterprise may be seriously challenged. The management engineers1 report just . mentioned recommended employment of a qualified expert or technician who could assist in the selec­ tion of the proper type, paper* and so forth for all buying agencies but leaving the actual purchasing when the specifications were prepared to the agency itself*” Wyoming? “As you are no doubt aware, Wyoming's population is small and the printing work necessary to carry on the business of the state would hardly warrant the establishment of a printing plant for that purpose alone•“ Montana: “There has been no active consideration by either our State Legislature or State administra­ tive heads toward the creating of the State's own printing plant. However, we in the purchasing department believe that there would be some con­ siderable savings made to the State if the Legis­ lature would see fit to appropriate funds for the establishment of a state plant*" The results of this questionnaire are of course interesting; but they are not really enlightening*

In the

first place, the definition of a public printing plant was not adequately presented in the questionnaire*


most of the replies were made in terms of large scale letter­ press plants.

Secondly, it is altogether possible that had

a more explicit definition been used, many states operating so-called duplicating machines would not have admitted they were in the printing business*

Certain legislative members

125 and other politicians might not like the idea* Therefore the survey should be given consideration only as an indication of the thinking of some governmental groups on the problem of public printing production. VII.

RELATIVE EFFICIENCY OF PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PLANTS It is axiomatic that the governmental unit should

obtain its printing in the most economical way possible. Therefore it would seem that the aged debate of commercial procurement versus public production should be resolved by the simple measurement

of the costs of their product to the

state. Lack of adequate cost accounts.

Unfortunately, how­

ever, the information necessary for such an evaluation does not exist.

The cost accounting systems of government printing

plants are uniformly characterized by their failure to give an accurate picture of the expenses involved in their main­ tenance and operation. This situation certainly seems inexcusable.


run commercial printing firms consider a good cost accounting system indispensable to the operation of their business. Public printing plants should be impelled not only by these same motivations but also by the fact that such a record is a necessary part of good public relations•

126 Cost systems in use#

In 1936 California installed a

conventional standard printing plant depreciation cost system, under which operating costs are charged monthly, along with the amount of depreciation accruals.

No allowance

is made in these cost centers, however, for the investment in the buildings occupied by the printing plant, and these were worth approximately $450,000 before the w a r . ^ The United States Government Printing Office uses a similar cost accounting system; and, as in California, no depreciation or obsolescence charges are made on the buildings occupied by the plant. The Los Angeles Police Printing Bureau employs a system of billing which was discarded by the U. S. Govern­ ment Printing Office in 1938 because of its inaccuracy. 9

Under this system time is kept on the cost of labor. expense is then added.


This total, plus a certain percentage

over-ride for other expenses, constitutes the charge.


the Police Plant the over-ride has varied considerably, going as high as 70 per cent. cent.

At the present time it is 30 per

This same type of billing is used in San Diego where

15 per cent is added to the cost. The failure of this system to place a fair price on each job was noted by the Government Printing Office.

State of California,






127 said: Overcharges were • • * caused by the unscientific manner in which price scales had been increased or decreased by flat percentages to correct over- or under-cost recoveries of the Office. Such action was patently inaccurate, since individual operations of productions do not remain in actual cost relation to all others*36 A review of the financial statement of the City of Los Angeles plant will also reveal that no account is taken of such expenses as insurance, rent for the large space used in the City Hall, telephone, and retirement benefits. In San Diego approximately the same situation prevails* The accounting system utilized by the County of Los Angeles is perhaps strangest of all.

A time card Is

kept on each job, but this has little bearing on the final price.

The bill to the using agency is based on the price

a commercial printer would charge for the job.

The multilith

ing plant thus achieves a large surplus over its actual labor and material costs and this Is all returned to the general fund.

Little can be said for such a system.


certainly does not benefit the using agency, and it does not give the printing controller and planner any practical basis on which to compare the costs of commercial procurement and public production. There is one other item of expense that is noticeably

36 U . S. Government Printing Office,



cit., p. 20.


lacking from all the accounting systems mentioned. the interest on investment.

That is

The proposals for establishment

of a New York Gity Printing Authority, to be financed by revenue bonds, stipulated that all costs, including interest 37 on the bonds, were to be paid out of printing revenues. Summary.

Managers of public printing plants have

often asserted that their units charge prices 20, 30, 40, and even 50 per cent below those of commercial concerns.


the other hand, it has been claimed by critics that public printers do not produce the same dollar value of work as private companies. 38 Actually such comparisons are based on a false assump­ tion.

At the present time there is no common standard by

which the costs to government of public and private printing can be evaluated.

Such dollar comparisons as the above tend

to show that government printing plants charge very low prices and at the same time are extremely inefficient. A combination of these extremes is clearly impossible and can be explained only by the inadequate cost accounting of government plants.

Charges are small because they do not

reflect all costs; and since jobs are being billed for seven dollars where private concerns would get ten, the money out-


City of New York, op.. cit., p. 202.f.

38 Cf. ante, p. 108.

129 put per man is bound to be lower*

On the basis of present

cost information, then, it is impossible to draw any valid conclusions* A comparison of the relative costs of public produc­ tion and commercial procurement to government is, however, vitally essential to an intelligent analysis of the problem Since private printing charges to government are quite clear, the burden of supplying similar cost details rests with the public plants*


INSPECTION, STORAGE AND FISCAL FUNCTIONS It Is important that all printing be inspected*


safeguard must be taken to insure that the government is getting the goods it is paying for*

Laxity in inspection

will only create continued and more flagrant breeches*


government jurisdiction, to varying degrees, is concerned with the problem of printing storage.

It may consist only

of the safekeeping of a small stock of standard forms or it may be the warehousing of a large inventory of blank paper to be supplied to individual printing contractprs. Only in one area does printing appear as a unique problem in its fiscal aspects*

This relates to the question

of proper audit of statements to make certain that charges of commercial contractors tally with what

the printer has

actually delivered. I. Delivery*

The inspection function begins with the

delivery of the job. can be made:


There are two ways In which delivery

(1) to a central point, a system which eases

the problem of inspection by concentrating personnel and facilities; and (2) to the ordering unit on a decentralized basis, which considerably complicates the problem of

131 uniform inspection. The justification of a central delivery plan basically hinges on the importance attached to a central inspection system.

Proper inspection requires the employment of skilled

personnel, as will be seen in the discussion of the inspection process.

Decentralization of delivery to the. using agency,

however, almost inevitably means that the inspection function will be delegated to the agency itself.

There such work is

looked upon as merely an odious infringement on the major purposes of the unit.

It is generally performed in a cursory

manner by anyone who happens to be available at the time of delivery* Central delivery of printing also means that the prob­ lem of the contractor is simplified. run delivery service over a wide'area*

He is not required to In some of the large

jurisdictions this can constitute a real difficulty. A third advantage of the central delivery system is that it generally means better record-keeping, a more faith­ ful adherence to standards, and less chance for error* On the other hand, the opponents of central delivery say that such a system merely means an extra operation, since many items must be routed out again. extra delay and extra expense.

This results in

Furthermore, there is no

guarantee that central inspection is more effective.


jurisdictions have such poor personnel at this level that

132 the using agency will generally do as good a job**** The contention is also made that it is possible to combine decentralized delivery system with central inspection. By this plan the job is delivered to the using agency but the contractor sends a sample with his invoice to the printing agency where it is checked for compliance with specifications. On balance, it would seem quite apparent that the centralized delivery, centralized inspection system is more «


Nevertheless its opponents are quite right in

asserting that such a method does not guarantee proper in­ spection,

The unfortunate facts are that in most jurisdic­

tions little effort is being made at most central delivery points to do the total job.

Such an indictment, however, is

not so much a failure of the system as it is an admission of inability on the part of the printing controller to provide proper personnel and procedural inspiration at the inspection level.

Little can be said to recommend the compromise system

of sending a sample to the printing office.


printers are still able to make paper substitutions, reduce the quality of work, and perform binding and trimming opera­ tions in sloppy fashion.

The compromise, then, does not even

This is the attitude of Mr, A. D. Shaw, the Pur­ chasing Agent of Santa Monica, who says that he has had an exceptionally good experience with decentralized inspection. He thinks that the operating departments have been extremely conscious of their inspection obligations.

133 have the advantage of inspection by the using agency.


at least, responsibility is centered; but under the sample system neither the printing office nor the using agency assumes full accountability. Generally speaking, the inspection and stores functions are located in the purchasing office* ever, is not universal.

Such a system, how­

In New York City, for example, the

inspection job is performed by the Office of the Comptroller. The inspection process*

There are three general areas

In which a printing inspection must be made. should concern himself with:

The inspector

(1) general performance of the

printing job; (2) the paper used in the printing; and (3) the quantity furnished. If the inspector is to make a careful check of the work performed, he must have a copy of the specifications. This should be furnished him by the planning office.


this information as a guide, he should check the following printing aspects of the job: (1) Quality of impression, including uniformity of ink. (2) Color of ink used. (3) Numbering. (4) Collating. (5) Stitching. (6) Padding. (7) Folding.

154 (8) Perforating. (9) Punching* (10) Carboning. (11) Proof read the job roughly to make certain that no major errors were made* The paper used in the job should be checked for: (1) Weight.


(2) Grade* (3) Color* (4) Size. Finally, a check should be made of the quantity fur­ nished.

This should include ascertaining that the order

was packaged in numbers as directed.

Counting the number of

pieces of paper in wrapped packages poses a rather difficult problem.

Most jurisdictions merely total the packages with­

out making any attempt to check the contents.

It would be

a good idea, however, to make spot checks both as to printing and

quantity aspects.

There is a small mechanical device

which can be purchased reasonably and will provide a fairly accurate count of the sheets in a package. From this discussion, it becomes readily apparent that the inspector with these duties must have a certain degree of integrity and ability.

A considerably understanding of

printing is to be hoped for but will be seldom attained. An inspection check list, with a small folder of sample

135 paper, as supplied by most wholesale houses, should provide a valuable aid to the average inspector.

Under a decentralized

delivery system such a list and paper samples might be supplied to the using agencies. Certification. two ways.

The need for certification occurs in

First, there must be a guarantee that the job

has met all specifications.

Secondly, there must be assurance

that the price charge Is in accord with previously established agreements.

This does not pose a great problem where jobs

are taken on an Individual bid basis.

The price has been

established in the bid and adherence to specifications is the only important problem of certification. Ffoere the standard rate system is used, however, there is the matter of checking the statements of the contractor against the work actually received. real problem.

This constitutes a very

Failure to make such a reconciliation can be

used by unprincipled printers to great advantage.


eight point type on a nine point rather than an eight point slug is unnoticeable to the average


Yet it means

a 12 per cent greater typesetting bill unless it is caught at the time of certification. At the present time various jurisdictions locate this certification function in different places. which are most common: delivery point;

There are four

(1) the inspector at the central

(2) the printing buyer; (3) auditor; and

136 (4) the planning or control unit.

The most prevalent system

places this responsibility with the inspector; and if one could be certain that a printing expert was on the job, this would be good organization.

It has been pointed out, however,

that such positions are poorly paid and even the more routine tasks of checking have been generally neglected. Neither can the printing buyer nor the auditor be expected to have the technical printing knowledge necessary to perform this aspect of certification properly.


more, there seems little point in establishing another printing expert in either of these offices.

If the average

agency is fortunate enough to find one man with experience to

plan the printing program and supervise its general

operation, it will Indeed be fortunate.

Since these techni­

cal qualifications are restricted primarily to the planning office, then it would be the logical unit to certify to .the validity of charges on printing.

Negotiations on discrepan­

cies noted should be handled through the printing buyer. Summary.

Inspection is perhaps the most neglected

aspect of public printing administration.

Even though they

do nothing about it, many administrative officers recognize the value of standardization, or.of printing analysis, or the need for cost accounting in a public plant.

Ask them

about their Inspection procedures, however, and the answer is not only negative but also apathetic.

This attitude seems

137 to b© rather general in purchasing departments.

It is par­

ticularly bad as applied to printing because the standard of performance of each individual job can vary so greatly. II. Importance.


Storage generally Implies the existence

of a central stores operation in the jurisdiction.


are many units without a central stores systems of course, and in such cases there has been less attempt to standardize and stockpile items.

Purchases have been made as the need

arises. A central stores system is important in the adminis­ tration of printing for three reasons:

(1) it may provide

warehousing for standard forms; (2) it may provide space for storage of paper purchased in bulk by the government and issued to the individual contractors; and (3) it may be a convenient place for the central delivery and inspection of printing work. Storage of forms and documents.

If an effective forms

standardization program is to be put into effect, a central stores system is almost essential.

Inventories should be

centralized so that they can be kept at a safe operating level.

The chief printing tasks of the stores unit are the

maintenance of inventories, distribution of printing, and reordering.

The point at which forms and documents will be

138 reordered, is determined by the inventory account, records of actual use, and the length of time necessary to produce the printing requirement* Storage of paper*

Few jurisdictions attempt to buy

paper in bulk unless they maintain a central stores system for its receipt, storage, and distribution. a considerable amount of storage planning. in a fireproof building. area.

Paper requires It must be placed

It cannot, however, be in a damp

The handling of paper must be fairly careful; and

since it is a rather heavy, bulky, unmanageable commodity, it should be s tored so that its distribution can be effected without excess moving* Maintenance of a paper Inventory control is essential. The state of Wisconsin has had long experience with this type of operation and uses a cardex file which contains the following information:

date, order number, reams and sheets

in and out, total out to date for month, job selling price, value balance in terms of job cost and inventory, unit bal­ ance in terms of reams and sheets. The distribution of paper under such a system contains certain administrative problems.

The first is the determin­

ation of the stock to be distributed for the individual job* Generally the simplest and most effective method provides


QJL* a n t e »

PP* 39 ff.

139 that the planner will make such allocation when he analyzes the job.

He should allow a spoilage of approximately 1 to

3 per cent depending on the type of printing involved.


jurisdictions that do not cover too large a territory, such as Los Angeles County, printers are required to pick up paper for the individual order.

At the time of,each pickup

a stock delivery sheet is completed and transmitted to in­ ventory control. Where the jurisdiction covers a large territorial area, such as the State of Wisconsin, provision Is made to allow contractors to store a certain amount of state paper. In this case quarterly reconciliations are made. The governmental unit which is supplying its own paper to printing contractors should require that insurance be carried.

Michigan, whose contractors furnish all storage

facilities, places the following provision in its contracts: All paper issued from such storage to the contractor for printing jobs shall immediately upon such issue become the responsibility of the contractor and shall be covered by his insurance providing the state with complete protection against any loss whatsoever.4 Summary.

Warehousing and distribution of printing

and paper poses few unique problems.

Generally speaking, an

effective central stores system will find little difficulty in coping with the printing aspects of its work.

^ State of Michigan, pp. cit., p. 3.

140 III.


As was the case In storage,

sound financial practices

will normally guide the controller5 In executing his duties related to printing* Appropriations*

Printing administration, like nearly

all other units of government, is benefited by sound budget­ ary practice.

Where separate detailed items of the budget

are appropriated individually by the legislative body, the printing controller is faced with certain rather severe difficulties.

Basically it means the printing controller

has lost his authority over a large share of the printing program.

The using agency is final custodian of its funds

and a saving in one place only results In the agency’s seeking another place to spend its appropriated money*

Such appro­

priation methods, which are still used In many jurisdictions including the Federal Government, usually end in a sudden rash of buying before the end of the fiscal year, simply to expend the appropriation.

This Is said to be the way some

Federal agencies amassed the large stockpiles of light bulbs that were discovered by the Hoover Commission*

5 The author is using the work controller to describe the official in the executive hierarchy who makes the current audit and is generally responsible to the Chief Administrator* He does not perform the post-audit function. He is variously called the controller, comptroller, auditor and treasurer.

141 Experts in budgeting now feel that a more effective system of operation results when the legislative body votes the appropriation in a lump sum.

The various units still

operate under a planned printing expense for the year, and this detailed breakdown is submitted to the legislative body as part of the appropriation justification.

If, however,

the printing planner is able to save money in supplying the agencyfs accounts, the Chief Administrator may at his discretion transfer these monies to other purposes. Encumbrance♦


Before commercial procurement or public

production is started on a job, it is necessary that funds be available for payment.

This is most often done by the

transmittal of a copy of the printing request to the con­ troller.

The price estimate is usually based on past costs

or on a rough figure supplied by the printing officer.


controller encumbers the using agency’s funds for the amount of the estimate and the approval is dispatched to the print­ ing officer.

The State of California calls its printing

request an Estimate of Printing.

Its procedure requires a

detailed estimate by the Printing Division, and clearance is then obtained from the controller. 7

® For a more detailed discussion on adoption of appropriation measures, see The International City Managers1 Association, op. cit.. pp. 123 ff. 7 Cf. ante. p. 44.

142 Vouchering and fund accounting*

In some large juris­

dictions the vouchering and fund accounting functions are not centralized*

This situation, which is invariably accompanied

by a detailed' type of legislative appropriation, can cause trouble in a printing program.

In many cases printing

agencies operate under revolving funds*

This is especially

true where the jurisdiction has its own productive facilities but also is the case in some places where only commercial procurement is utilized* The revolving fund is an appropriation provided by the legislative body as operating capital*

It is not antici­

pated that the fund will increase or decrease. expected to balance expenditures.

Income is

When, however, some agencies

are slow In paying, the printing agency may face grave finan­ cial problems.

The United States Government Printing Office,

which operates under these handicaps, is reported to have experienced difficulty in meeting its bills at various times.® This system of operation works similar handicaps in commercial procurement.

Purchasing agents in some juris­

dictions have been unable to take advantage of discounts because of departmental laxity in payment. Within a centralized jurisdiction, vouchering and fund accounting may be handled in one of two offices.

In New


Sparlin, Public Printing in the States. p. 75.

143 York City this function is handled by the Department of Pur­ chases and has been cited as a considerable improvement on the old system under which each major unit did its own fund accounting and vouchering. The general practice, however, is to consider this r

operation as part of the accounting function and to central­ ize it in the controller^ office.

This procedure is effec­

tive when the correctness of the price has been certified by the printing planner.

In New York City, however, the inspec­

tor who is certifying officer is seldom a person experienced in printing.

An extra check is therefore provided in the

purchasing department.

Los Angeles County uses roughly the

same procedure on its standard rate jobs, which is where most of this kind of trouble arises. This is a whalf a loaf11 solution, however.

The price

certification should be made by the printing planner.


the actual accounting may be turned over to the controller* s office for vouchering and fund accounting with no qualms. IV.

RELATING- INSPECTION, STORAGE, AND PISCAL FUNCTIONS TO THE PUBLIC PLANT Generally speaking, the need for rigid inspection is

less when jobs are manufactured in the government printing plant.

Printing should, however, be delivered in the same

manner as private work and pass through the same inspection

144 and distribution channels.

The invoice usually serves as

the certification of quantity and quality of printing and paper.

It may be prepared either at the plant level or by

the printing planner.

Both systems are in use and seem ade­

quate. Upon receipt of the invoices, the controller makes the usual audit.

He then debits the revolving fund of the

printing plant and credits that of the using agency. V.


As an indication of the rather scant attention general­ ly given to the subjects discussed in this chapter, it is interesting to note Commissioner Frederick E. Crane devoted only two brief paragraphs to inspection, delivery, and accounting in his report on New York State printing to Gov­ ernor Lehman in 1940.

No mention was made of the problem of

forms and document storage.

Crane probably conducted the most

intensive investigation of one jurisdiction's printing admin­ istration in the history of the nation. totaled 257 pages.

The printed report

Crane's explanation of the procedure

indicates, moreover that the system was clumsy and lacked adequate controls: tilhen the Printing Bureau receives from the contractor an original and three copies of the invoice, a sample, and a delivery receipt signed by the using agency, . it approves the invoice as to quality and quantity, and transmits all of this material, together with the job envelope to the Audit Unit. The latter checks

145 *

the invoice for rates, extensions, and extension totals. This is practically the sum and substance of the duties of the Audit Unit. Thereafter all it does is forward the original and one of three copies to the using agency and .one copy to the Printing Bureau, retaining one in its files. The using agency retains the copy, certifies the original, and returns the latter to the Controller, whereupon payment is ordered • • • .9 An analysis of this paragraph shows an almost complete absence of control at the inspection stage.

Certainly the

whole history of New York City and State printing indicates that a sample sent by the contractor would hardly prove an adequate check on the quality of printing and paper. Crane did raise a mild objection to the certification as to quantity by the Printing Bureau.

The Bureau has no

check on the number received and relies completely on the using agency’s delivery receipt.

Crane say this as an un­

necessary duplication. The cumbersome aspects of New York’s system of print­ ing accounting are indicated in the

first placeby the

establishment of a special printing

audit unit.

If the

Printing Bureau experts carefully check the invoice, delivery receipt and sample, and attest to the correctness of prices, it would seem that the analysis of "rates, extensions, and extension totals" could be made by any experienced accountants. The audit unit then returns the invoice to the using

^ State of New York, op. cit. . p. 211.


agency a

second time for certification.

There may be a

particular reason in New York*s accounting provisions for this, but from the standpoint of printing administration, it offers no control at all*

The using agency had already-

made its certification as to quantity via the original deliv­ ery slip. The whole process of inspection, certification, and vouchering should be conceived of as a series of checks available to the printing controller.

They should be develop­

ed and planned only in terms of the degree and types of con­ trols they produce.

If they do not make such a contribution

or are unnecessarily redundant, they should be discarded. The New York procedure illustrates how completely this fundamental principle can be ignored.


CONSIDERATIONS IN EVALUATING A PRINTING PROGRAM It has been repeatedly pointed out in this paper

that much of the wastefulness in the administration of public printing is the result of a failure to understand the tech­ nicalities of printing.

How, theifi is the chief administrator

expected to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of his printing operation? Lack of agreement.

The point must be conceded that

this represents an extremely difficult problem.

In the first

place, printing requires time and consideration far beyond its proportionate cost in the governments overall expendi­ tures.

In the second place, the printing problem is never

the same in different places, at different times, and in different situations.

So-called experts, moreover, consistent­

ly disagree on matters of organization, method and technique. The recommendations of a management engineering firm In Oklahoma*** would seem to be in violent conflict with most expert opinion.

That report, it Td.ll be recalled, suggest­

ed that there be a central printing planner but that actual

^ ££• ante. p. 124.


procurement be handled by the individual agencies themselves. This violates all the widely-held ideas on centralized plan­ ning; and yet there may have been very good reasons vfoy such a plan seemed desirable for Oklahoma. The chief administrative officer can, however, reach certain tentative conclusions concerning the effectiveness of his printing operation.

He should make these evaluations \

in terms of two factors, cost and control.

Control, of course,

involves responsibility for the total printing program, but the administrator should be most concerned that mechanism exists to guarantee that only needed items are ordered; fur­ ther, that the printing utilized is no more elaborate than the purpose demands; and finally that the government is receiving the type of work for which it has contracted and is paying. II.


Price comparisons.

There is only one way to check on

the prices the government is paying on its printing.


is to compare them with those being paid in private business, in similar government units, and with those being charged by manufacturers of alternative methods of printing. Assuming that criteria are similar, the government unit may undertake its survey in several different ways. can develop a series of standard printing jobs and canvass


149 certain of the

larger business institutions.

The same

series might also be sent to other governmental units in the same general geographic area. A second method of price comparison would come from an analysis of reproduction methods used.

There are some

jobs that are more suitable to letterpress, others to off­ set.

If the jurisdiction is restricting itself to only one

type of process it is a safe wager that a premium Is being paid for certain types

of printing.

In such a case it

might be worthwhile to solicit bids from lithographers on jobs which are deemed suitable. The large continuous form manufacturers will also provide a

basis of price comparison.

They have assembled

forms for complete administrative systems; and the costs of this type of service might lend some clue as to equitable prices. Implementation of the yardstick theory will generally give the top administrator the easiest, most automatic method of comparing prices.

This idea, it will be recalled, en­

visages the governmentfs owning enough printing facilities to do between 25 and 50 per cent of its own work. are let to bid, as in commercial procurement.

All jobs

Both public

and private plants are thus forced to compete against each other, and the theory is that this competition will operate as a police device on the pricing structure.

In utilizing

150 such a plan, however, It should again be emphasized that an accurate cost accounting system must be installed in the public plant, otherwise comparisons will be meaningless* Causes of excessive charges*

If it is found that

prices are high, the entire procurement system should be investigated*

The procurement climate is always changeable

and this is especially so in printing.

A system successful

in one place may be a failure somewhere else.


speaking, It appears that competition in times of capacity production is not a sure guarantee of low prices.


seems to indicate that lower prices can often be effected where prices are negotiated and the printer can plan on a steady flow of work*

If he must spend valuable time bidding

on each individual job when his plant is already operating at capacity, the chances are he will make no price conces­ sions • Although competition In the bidding sense may not always be desirable, every effort should nevertheless be made to have a large number of printers participate in the total program.

Local preference tends to restrict this kind

of participation, as does the requirement of performance b onds• High prices may also be the result of ineffective operation of the public printing plant.

A number of admin­

istrators have accepted the philosophy of Professor Schmecke-

151 bier who said that since the government funds emanate from the same source, "The money is not lost to the government as it would be if overpayments were made to an outside private contractor."


This is essentially a fallacious assumption,

for it takes no account of the fact that the payment of salaries to unneeded personnel is also a waste.

A good cost

accounting system will thus not only provide a check on the expense of the plant to the government, but it will enable the top administrator to compare employee performance. III.


Organization. In Chapter II it was stated that print­ ing control involves the responsibility for seeing that the total printing program is exercised properly.

In determining

the effectiveness of an agency’s printing administration, then, the question must inevitably be asked, "Is an office provided in the organization for the exercise of the total control function?'1 There must be established in the unit the responsi­ bility for establishing over-all procedures, making inspec­ tions, and providing periodic reports to the top administra­ tor on the progress of the program.

Administrators may

expect better results if the function is placed in a central-

^ State of New York, op. cit., p. 251.

152 ized staff agency*

Assignment of this duty to elective

officials, ex-officio boards, and line agencies has not, as a rule, proved very successful* Planning*

The administrator’s evaluation of his print­

ing system should be made with two particular elements of control in mind, planning and inspection*

The planner’s job

is to see that the various agencies’ printing needs are handled in the most economical and expeditious way.


considerations thus present themselves in enabling the top administrator to determine the effectiveness of his planning section. In the first place, an investigation should be made of the personnel situation in the planning office.

Does the

printing planner himself have experience in the work?


he supported by a staff which is large .enough to allow him to take the full breadth of his duties?

Are the physical

facilities available for carrying out the planning operation? It is quite obvious that an inexperienced printing- planner, without clerical help, and sharing a desk with the printing buyer,

could hardly be expected to perform effectively* The second question which should be raised by the

administrator concerns the attempts which have been made toward standardization of forms and documents.

The most

obvious physical sign of a start toward standardization is a complete record of all forms.

A second, fundamental sign

153 that some action has been undertaken is the provision of central storage for forms and documents. are vital to standardization.

Both of these steps

Unless a unit has a record

of all its forms, it can make little progress toward uni­ formity and even less toward eliminating duplication.


the forms are standardized a central storage facility must be provided.


level becomes impossible.

maintenance of a proper inventory Re-ordering is also complicated

by the lack of centralized rate of use data. To cover the less obvious aspects of a printing plan­ ning program, the top administrator should require a detailed report from the printing controller, detailing forms and documents that have been standardized and the duplications that have been eliminated. A third question addressed by the administrator should involve the aids which are being furnished the using agency to promote more effective planning at the time the job is initiated.

Has a basic chart, comparing the various types

of reproduction processes, been distributed to the using agency for guidance?

Do the printing request forms require

complete information concerning the job?

The failure of an

agency to provide this information often results in costly mistakes and the blame should properly be laid to poor form structuring by the planning office. Fourthly, a study should be made of general typograph-

154 ical appearance of the government’s printing. style fairly uniform? to the eye?

Is the type

Is the layout of most jobs pleasing

How does the general standard of work compare

with that observed in other jurisdictions? Fifthly, some indication of the ingenuity of the printing planner can be determined by the amount of pen ruling still being ordered.

This is a particularly expen­

sive method and efforts ought to be made to discourage its use.

Many forms can be redisigned to do the same job by

the use of different

thicknesses of rules and parallel

lines. Inspection.

Once the job has been produced and de­

livered, another aspect of printing control appears.


government must be certain that it has received what it is paying for.

To guarantee this, the individual jurisdiction

must assure itself of two things:

(1) that the printing

lives up to the specifications issued and (2) that the price charged is in accord with previous bids and agreements.


the Chief Administrator will view the inspection process from the standpoint of satisfying these two requirements, he should be able to make a fairly penetrating analysis of its effective operation. IV.


Printing is highly complicated, technical and ever-

155 changing.

Administering an effective and economical program

is therefore not easy.

The ultimate accountability for its

success or failure, as with all other aspects of government operation, must fall on the Chief Administrator.

He there­

fore owes it to himself to make certain that his personnel is able to perform their work and that the tools to control the total printing program have been provided. A statement by Professor Sparlin bears repeating because it still remains the heart of a good printing pro­ gram. The best law in the world will not give good results if the administrators are not alert and at all times trying to do a good job in the best interests of the people.5 Printing is not restricted to any particular depart­ ment or agency.

Its services cut across all boundaries.


effective implementation depends on coordination between the using agency and the many units concerned with planning, procuring, producing, inspecting, storing, and auditing. The administration of printing can never be rote, but qualified personnel and a total approach to its problems will somewhat simplify the task.

3 State of New York, ojd. cit.. p. 230.




Anderson, Dewey, California State Government* Stanford Universitys Stanford University Press, 1942* xiii, 349 pp. Armitage, Mark, Notes on Modern Printing* Rudge*s Sons, 1945* 71 pp.

New York:

W. E.

Beckett, Paul and Plotkin, Morris, Governmental Purchasing; in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area* Los Angeles: Bureau of Governmental Research, University of California at Los Angeles, 1941* 186 pp. California, State of, California Blue Book and State Regis­ ter* Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1938* 670 pp. Porbes, Russel, Governmental Purchasing. New York and Lon­ don: Harper and Bros., 1929. xvi, 370 pp. The International City Managers* Association, Municipal Finance Administration. Chicago: The International City Managers1 Association, 1949. Revised Edition, xiv, 489 pp. Los Angeles, City of, Organization. Adminlstration and Man­ agement of Administrative Services in the City of Los Angeles. Part III Printing and Duplicating Service. Los Angeles: Bureau of Budget and Efficiency, 1947. 38 pp. _______, Police Department Printing Bureau Annual Report 1948-49. Los Angeles: 1949. 24 pp.


McMurtrie, Douglas C., A History of Printing in the U. S. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1936. 540 pp. New York, City of, Administration of Municipal Printing in New York City. Report to Honorable P. H. LaGuardia. Mayor of the City of New York. New York City: 1940. xiv, 212 pp. New York, State of, Report to Honorable Herbert H. Lehman. Governor of the State of New York by Frederick E. Crane, Commissioner, appointed pursuant to Section 8 of the Executive Law to examine and investigate the making and performance of contracts for printing between any depart­ ment . agency board or commission of the State and any printing firms or companies. New York: 1940. xii, 255 pp.

158 Schmeckebier, L. F., The Government Printing OffIce. Balti­ more: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1925. xil, 143 pp. Simon, Oliver, Introduction to Typography. Cambridge: vard University Press, 1949. xi, 137 pp.


Sparlin, Estal B., Public Printing in the States. University of Missouri Studies. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1937. 135 pp. United States, Bureau of the Budget, Simplifying Procedures through Forms Control. Washington: Executive Office of the President, 1948. 51 pp. United States, The Commission on Organization of the Execu­ tive Branch of the Government, Budgeting and Accounting. A Report to the Congress. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1949. 102 pp. United States Government Printing Office, Annual Report. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1947. 320 pp. Virginia, Commonwealth of, Report on a Survey of the Division of Purchase and Printing. Richmond: Governor’s Office, n.d. 59 pp. White, Leonard D., Introduction to the Study of Public Administration. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947. Revised Edition, xii, 632 pp. B.


Bamum, C. L., "Standardization of Printed Forms and Stationery,11 Annals,.(May, 1924), 286-91. Davisson, H. L., "Municipal Purchasing Now and Later," American City. (September, 1944), 27-8. Johnson, B. if., "Centralized Purchasing," MunicipaI Finance. (May, 1948), 29-32. Mack, C. E., "Director of Purchases: A New Partner of Top Lianagement," Purchasing. (August, 1946), 85. Martino, R.*A. "County Purchasing Methods,” National Municipal Review. (June, 1940), 388-395.

159 Molitor, W. D., "Eight Cost Saving Devices for Buyers of Printing," Printers Ink, (October 26, 1945), 25-6. Nicholson, Joseph, "Some Essentials of Municipal Purchasing," Municipality. XL (April, 1945), 65-6. _______, "More Value for your Tax Dollar," Purchasing. (February, 1947), 129-31. Olson, H. A., "Purchasing for Small Cities," Municipal Finance. (May, 1947), 8-11. Rosenbaum, Nelson, "A Survey of Competitive Bidding Pro­ cedures," American City.(March. 1946), 133. Rundell, Forrest, "How to Save In Printing Specifications,11 Printers Ink. (July, 1941), 15-16. , "Save Money These Ways on Printing,” Printers Ink. (March, 1940), 45. Sparlin, Estal E., "Printing Scandals Investigated. New York and Missouri Inquiries demonstrate urgent need for thoroughgoing analysis of present public printing procurement methods," National Municlpa1 Review. XXX (April, 1941), 204-10. _______, "Public Ownership vs. State Purchasing: The Case of Printing," Journal of Polltical Economy. XLVIII, (April, 1940), 211-21.


Wallace, L. F., "Municipal Purchasing,” Purchasing. (January, 1948), 127-8. _______, "Upheaval in Printing," Changing Times. (July, 1949), 39-41. C.


California, State of, Bureau of Printing, Instructions for Use of Form 67, October. 1949. Illinois, State of, Specifications Instructions and Proposal for Printing Paper and Other Paper, for Period Ending June 30, 1951.

160 Illinois, State of, Printing Law for Public Printing. Paper,. Binding, Typewriter and Stationery Supplies (Including All Amendments thereto as of acts approved June 24. 1945 and July 23, 1945. Indiana, State of, Printing Contract Price List July 1, 1949 to June 50. 1950. ' _______, Specifications State Printing Contract. Iowa, State of, State Printing Board Law. 1942. Michigan, State of, Proposals and Specification for Printing and Binding. Minnesota, State of, Act Relating to the Organization and Administration of the State Government, the State Print­ ing Commission. State Printer, and their Duties. Mississippi, State of, Schedule for Public Printing and Stationery. Missouri, State of, Revised Rules and Regulations. Division of Procurement. Department of Revenue. State of Missouri, North Dakota, State of, Printing Laws of North Ddc ota. Pennsylvania, Commonwealth of, General Instructions for Furnishing PubIic Printing and Binding, July 1* 1949 to June 30, 1950. ~ Wisconsin, State of, Wisconsin Statutes. Chapter 35, Public Printing. _______ , Data of Interest to Prospective Bidders. , Specifications and Information for Wisconsin State Printing.

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