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Burke Appointed General Counsel Of OPA By Brown

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Burke Appointed General Counsel Of OPA By Brown
Prominent Ann Arbor Attorney In Agreement With Administrator On Best Set-Up For Organization
By Mark Foote
(News Washington Bureau) WASHINGTON-Prentiss M. Brown, administrator of the Office of Price Administration, today' named George J. Burke, distinguished Ann Arbor, Mich., lawyer, as general counsel of OPA to succeed David Ginsburg, who has resigned to enter the Army. The appointment was made after extensive conferences between Brow MON BUPIR dugng the last two days, during which they found thief sel 143in general agreement as to policies necessary to “sell” wartime price fixing and rationing to the people of the country.
Focal in the discussion between the two was a feeling that the whole setup should be, as far as possible, put on a voluntary basis, in place of the coercive methods employed under the regimes of Leon Henderson and David Ginsburg.
Administrator Brown is gradually displacing hold-over key men with those of his own choosing, in whom he has confidence. It is believed this will obviate the clashes and disagreements like that in which the orders for cutting the value of "A" gasoline coupons from three to 172 gallons was issued without Mr. Brown's knowledge, and when Brown was absent from the city, by John E. Hamm, a deputy who is a relative by marriage of Mr. Henderson. Discusses Ideas
Mr. Burke discussed at length his ideas and theories about the enforcement of price fixing and rationing. Stated in simplest terms, he believes that the pyramid should be reversed, with the base of enforcement in the local communities which know local conditions, rather than in Washington, which is remote, slow of action and bureaucratic in methods.
Having a deep-seated faith in democratic processes, Mr. Burke believes the government can trust the people to live up to regulations if they are reasonable and are sufficiently elucidated. He believes that 95 per cent or more of all the people wish to co-operate with their government, in every measure necessary to winning the war, and cannot understand the attitude of those in government or out who doubt the loyalty of people who are sending their boys out of every home to the battlefields, enduring heavy taxes and voluntarily buying bonds.
Necessity of reversing the pyramid, he illustrated by the procedure now necessary when a complaint about price fixing or rationing comes to a local rationing board. Usually the board says it has no authority to act. It therefore refers the complaint to the state office at Detroit. From here it is referred to the regional office at Cleveland, and finally reaches Washington. This makes for inefficiency and delay, and many times the condition complained of ceases to exist when the complaint is passed on. Criticizes Appeal Form
Mr. Burke particularly criticized the form which an OPA appeal to the courts for an interpretation takes these days. Whereas in courts of counties, states and the federal government from time immemorial it has been the custom of citizens and government officials to "petition” for an interpretation, today the rule seems to take the form of a demand.
Soldiers home on furlough, perhaps for the last time before being sent overseas to the battle fronts, Mr. Burke believes, should be given special consideration in gas rationing. And the local boards should decide. If their record as operators of an automobile is good, and if their general reputation in the community is good, the local board will know it and grant them special consideration. Regulations should be sufficiently elastic to permit this.
Mr. Burke told of an old lady who was found to have some 27 pounds of sugar which she had not "declared.” A court official was asked to move for an indictment against her. Mr. Burke declared that in a case like this no indictment, should be had. Rather the lady should be told of the bad example she is setting, and made to feel she was committing an unmoral act, without being unnecessary sarily humiliated. But he has no patience with "black market" operators and believes they should be prosecuted to the limit.
Although an attorney all his life, and having the greatest respect and regard for his profession, Mr. Burke agrees with Prentiss. Brown that 2,700 lawyers in OPA is altogether too many, especially in view of the fact that the British replica of OPA is being efficiently operated with but ten.
Born in Northfield township, Washtenaw county, Dec. 5, 1885, Mr. Burke graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree of LL.B. in 1907. He is married and has three sons and a daughter.