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Mr. SCHWENGEL. The county chairman of what?
Mr. PRICE. That's right. He said, “You have been a good man and all, and if there's something, why we'd like to get you it.” I said, “It depends on what it is. I have a job as a salesman. It would have to be some better than I've got."
Mr. BALDWIN. Mr. Price, I can't understand your testimony. Will you speak closer to the microphone?
Mr. PRICE. Yes. He said, “You have been a good man and worked along with us always, and if there is something you would like, why, we'd be glad to help you to get it, if we can." I said, “Well, it depends now what it is. I have a job and if it's something better, of course, I would like to have it, like anybody else. If I can get more money I would like to have it.” And he said, “What do you want ?” And I said, "It depends on what it is, whether I would want it or not.” He said, “How about checking these beer joints?” I said, “No, forget about that. If that's all you have, forget about it.” And he said, “How about checking liquor stores ?" And I said, “If that's all you have, forget about it. No liquor and no beer for me. I wouldn't want a job of that type.”
And he said, “What do you want?" And I said, "I don't know yet. I might not want anything now.”
Well, later, why, he talked to Fleet Greene and Fleet said, “Henry, would you take a job over at the Capitol ?” And I said, “Well, that depends on what it is.'
Mr. WRIGHT. Mr. Price, would you identify Mr. Greene?
Mr. PRICE. Well, he was in personnel. A personnel man over there in building 3. J. Fleet Greene —G-r-e-e-n-e.
Mr. May. And Bob Hanna was business manager of the State road commission?
Mr. PRICE. Yes, sir. You know Bob Hanna.
So Bob talked to me and Fleet both, and he said, “Well, what do you want?” And I said, "It depends on Mr. Hanna, what you want to give me and what the pay is, whether I want it at all."
And he said, “How about the right-of-way agent ?" I said, “Well, I don't know. What would it pay?" And he said, “I don't know yet.” I said, “Write me a letter and let me know.” So they written me a letter and told me to come in. So I went over and he said, “When can you go to work ?” That was about the first of May, and I said, “Well, I can go to work before July 1,” because I wouldn't leave Mr. Mullins with Boone Motor Sales. Í wouldn't leave him until I gave him notice.
Mr. May. You were working as a car salesman for Mr. Mullins ? Mr. PRICE. That's right. And I said I wouldn't leave Mr. Mullins
. . because we had been good friends, and he used to work for me in the car business, and I used to work for him, and so I wouldn't leave him without giving him a month's notice.' And he said, “Can you be here July 1?" And I said, “Yes, I will come July 1.”
So I'd taken the job July 1.
Mr. May. What sort of work had you done prior to that, Mr. Price?
Mr. PRICE. Well, most of my work from about 1914-before that I was clerk of a store. Store manager of West Virginia Timber Co. and different people.
Mr. BALDWIN. What kind of a store did you say? I'm sorry. I'm having difficulty understanding.
Mr. PRICE. Fine. If you have difficulty I'll try to talk louder. I worked in a store for Stephens Bros. and for the West Virginia Timber Co. in a company store at Reece, W. Va., and went on the road for Russell Bros. in Charleston, W. Va., and wholesale grocery job work in 1914. And I practically spent most of the time, 18 years, in selling groceries in Huntington in Russell Bros., Charleston, and Madison Bros. in Madison, and traveled on the road and sold groceries.
Mr. May. Prior to 1950 you were in the grocery business ?
Mr. May. You would have no real estate or appraising experience of any type?
Mr. PRICE. Well, some for the county there. The county court had me appointed three or four times to help them make some appraisals on the property, when the county had the charge of county roads.
Mr. May. What would you do in that situation? How would you go about establishing values ?
Mr. PRICE. Well, the only thing we could do is appoint five of us to go out and try to assess the values of the property for the land owners, and make a definite agreement with them.
Mr. May. This was as a commissioner?
Mr. PRICE. Oh, I don't know. About three times before the State had taken over the county roads.
Mr. May. Do you remember what year, about?
Mr. PRICE. Along then in the thirties and thirty-twos. You see, they taken it over in thirty-two, wasn't it? The State taken over the roads in thirty-two? Thirty-three. Well, along about thirty, thirty-one, and thirty-two and in there I had some experience with the county.
Mr. May. Mr. Price, in order to obtain the position of right-ofway agent did you submit an application, do you recall ?
Mr. PRICE. For this job?
Mr. May. There must have come a time when you did fill out an application form. We have it here. It says application for State employment.
Mr. PRICE. Oh, yes. After I came over there.
Mr. WRIGHT. This form was filled out after you had begun working as district No. 1 right-of-way agent. Is that correct?
Mr. PRICE. No. I don't know. Probably a week before.
Mr. May. Mr. Chairman, we have noticed this, that this form apparently has been in existence for a number of years in West Virginia. İt has down at the bottom a part of the form which says, “Committee man and committee woman,” and another portions says, “County chairman.” Above that:
" We recommend the above applicant for a position as assistant district rightof-way agent, district No. 1.
You notice it says assistant district right-of-way agent, but actually you became district right-of-way agent?
Mr. PRICE. That's right.
Mr. May. And it carries the signatures of the committeeman and committeewoman and county chairman.
Mr. CRAMER. You say that form has been in use for some time? Mr. May. Apparently so.
Mr. CRAMER. Previous administrations used it and the new one used it. Isn't that right? It has been well established on the record that both parties in all administrations used largely patronage in hiring employees for many of the jobs, and you come to the question of whether, that
being the case, they were qualified as well. Mr. May. Yes, sir. It gives here a history of previous employment. Presently salesman for Boone Motor Sales, previously Akers Motor Sales, Aker-Radcliffe & Co., and gives the dates of employment for each. Position desired, assistant district right-of-way agent, district No. 1.
Mr. WRIGHT. To your knowledge, Mr. Price, was this form used as a standard for employment in all positions with the highway department?
Mr. PRICE. That was my understanding. Yes.
Mr. WRIGHT. And it was a standard matter for anyone applying for a job to get the recommendations of the committeeman and committeewoman and the county chairman of the political party that happened to be in power at the time in the State.
Mr. PRICE. That has been my understanding always with both parties in our county.
Mr. WRIGHT. This was the standard procedure that was followed in the employment of right-of-way people?
Mr. PRICE. The thing of it was with both parties, as I say, ever since I know anything about politics, and I didn't know too much about it then.
Mr. WRIGHT. So far as you know, this is the standard procedure, or was the standard procedure ?
Mr. PRICE. Yes.
Mr. WRIGHT. And so far as you know these were the recommendations that were necessary for a person to get a job in the Highway Department of West Virginia ?
Mr. PRICE. Yes, sir.
Mr. WRIGHT. This would be the county chairman of the political party?
Mr. PRICE. That's right.
a that be a district No. 1 committeeman or a county committeeman?
Mr. PRICE. County committeeman.
Mr. WRIGHT. County executive committee in this case of the Republican Party?
Mr. PRICE. That's right.
Mr. WRIGHT. But so far as you know, this was true also when the Democratic Party was in the majority and in the Governor's mansion?
Mr. PRICE. That has always been my understanding. Mr. WRIGHT. And while you served as right-of-way agent for this district, did you find that people who came to you for employment, or who were employed to work under you, also had the same requirement? That they be recommended by the county political chairman?
Mr. PRICE. Yes, sir.
Mr. WRIGHT. And a committeeman and committeewoman from the political party in that county?
Mr. PRICE. Yes, sir. Mr. WRIGHT. I see. Mr. May. Can we make that' application form exhibit 15, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. WRIGHT. Without objection, so ordered.
(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 15” and will be found in the files of the committee.)
Mr. SCHWENGEL. I would like to ask a question.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. Mr. Price, after you were put on the payroll did anybody on the highway commission make any plans to have you trained for this job, or were you trained or instructed in any way to be qualified to take on the responsibilities?
Ńr. PRICE. I told them just about what I'm telling you gentlemen about what my experience has been.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. After you were put on the payroll did they give you any opportunity to learn about the responsibilities of your job?
Mr. PRICE. Well, if I didn't know I would call on Mr. Kinzer, or Mr. Horan, or Mr. Taylor, which is an attorney.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. Who were they?
Mr. PRICE. And Mr. Horan you know. Mr. Duffy Horan. He is chief.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. Chief engineer?
Mr. PRICE. Chief right-of-way.
Mr. PRICE. Oh, they talked to me sometimes about different things there. They would call me in and talk about different projects and different parcels we were taking, and what we should have it for, and gave us the price. And Mr. Thompson would make us a price on it and tell us not to go over that price. Stay in that price.
. Mr. SCHWENGEL. Did they give you any rules and regulations to go by, or any guidelines to use, in making these appraisals ?
Mr. PRICE. Well, yes. Some.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. Are they furnished by the State? Are they in printed form in any way?
Mr. PRICE. Well, they would tell us to negotiate the projects as cheaply as we could and not go over these prices now that are set out for us to go by. And when you had to go above that, that is, we would have to handle it from there on with the court. If it went out to the commissioners it went out of my hands.
Mr. WRIGHT. What Mr. Schwengel had reference to, I think, was whether or not there was some manual of procedure.
Mr. PRICE. No manual. I didn't have no manual of procedure.
Mr. WRIGHT. As far as you know, there is no written instruction or job description that was furnished you upon assuming this position as district right-of-way agent in district No.1?
Mr. PRICE. No, sir. I didn't remember so.
Mr. WRIGHT. Was there any seminar of instruction given to you by the State right-of-way agent, or by someone else in the highway commission?
Mr. PRICE. Well, of course, Mr. Horan, or Mr. Thompson, talked to us at meetings and the like about what we should do and what we had to do about buying this right-of-way.
Mr. WRIGHT. Mr. Price, I think what the committee is trying to ascertain is, what effort, if any, was made to develop a standard systematic plan for the acquisition of right-of-way? Were you schooled in such things, for instance, as the matter of taking comparable values on real property in the adjacent area?
Mr. PRICE. Ïes; there was. Comparable to other property adjoining. Is that what you want to know about?
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes.
Mr. WRIGHT. What were the basic elements of appraisal that were discussed with you at this time, in which you were instructed ?
Mr. PRICE. Well, comparable sales of property adjoining, as near as we could get to it. And not to go over a certain amount that the appraisal was made on by the appraisers. To be sure not to go over that.
Mr. WRIGHT. Was this a certain amount for an entire project?
Mr. WRIGHT. Or would this be a certain amount established for each individual taking—each piece of land?
Mr. PRICE. That's right.