Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

(6) Inspectors to be appointed for emergency at reduced compensation.—Whilo af pointment may be made to a place the compensation of which is less than $900 per annum without examination and certification, the Commission thinks it would be better to appoivt to such places by examination and certification in the regular way. It would not then be necessary to make them temporarily for an emergency, and the compensation could be increased to the usual rate without any question arising as to the right to do so under the civil-service rules. (Minutes, May 2, 1888, clause 16, vol. 7, pp. 332, 333.)

(c) Employés receiving $4 per diem, exclusive of Sundays, or $1,252 per annum, are in class 1. Case of assistant weighers at port of New York. (Letter book N, p. 17.) 3. DAY INSPECTORS.

Rule IV, which provides that entrance to the customs service must be at the lowest class or grade, except as otherwise provided, must be construed in connection with Rule II, prescribing examinations for admission to the service. The words "lowest class or grade” as used in Rule IV is held to mean the lowest class in the grade for which an entrance examination is provided, e. g., an entrance to the grade of clerk must be to the lowest class in that grade. As there is but one class in the grade of day inspector, entrance to that grade is necessarily to that class, the lowest class. The grade of night inspector is a grade by itself and not a lower class in the grade of day inspector. It follows that in making a certification to fill a vacancy of day inspector, certification should be made according to grade from the register of day inspectors. Promotions may be made from grade of night inspector to day inspector under Rule V, clause 1 (e). (Minutes, May 21, 1888, vol. 7, pp. 397, 399. And see “Promotion (e)post.) 4. EXCEPTED PLACES.

Prior to the revision of the civil-service rules in March, 1888, all deputy collectors were excepted from examination, whether they had other designations in connection with that of deputy collector or not, the effect being at the border ports -such as Burlington, Port Huron, Detroit, etc.—to except from examination nearly the whole body of employés, most of such employés having the title of "clerk and deputy" or "inspector and deputy.” The object of the rule in its present form is to take out of the excepted class all deputy collectors with other designations in connection with that of deputy, and who have the title of deputy simply to enable them to administer oaths or perform some function which they might not perform lawfully without such designation. Under the rule the cashier of the collector and the assistant cashier of the collector are excepted from examination, but the Commission thinks it would require a very liberal construction of the rule to treat deputy collector and cashier and deputy collector and assistant cashier at subports as excepted under the rule; and that there is no authority for treating as excepted persons having charge of Government funds for which a principal customs officer is responsible under his bond, unless such persons have the specific designation of cashier or assistant cashier of the collector. (Minutes, September 22, 1893, clause 12.) 5. PROMOTION—Customs Rule V.

(a) No part of Rulo V applies to the district of New York, promotion regulations having been applied to that district. Clause D of that rule which authorizes the promotion of a messenger, after passing the clerk examination, to the lowest class in the grade of clerk in any customs district to which promotion regulations have not been applied, applies only to those messengers who are in the classified customs service by reason of the fact that their compensation is $900 per annum or over, but it does not authorize the promotion into the classified service of those messengers whose compensation is less than $900 per annum, and who are for that reason outside of and below the classification. (Minutes, March 19, 1888, clause 1, vol. 7, n. 173, 174.)

(6) The nominating officer is not the promoting officer contemplated by section 2, Rule V. The Secretary of the Treasury is. But the approval by the Secretary of the test applied by the nominating officer makes that test the test required by clause 2, and justifies the promotion upon the nomination made. (Minutes, August 3, 1888, clause 1, vol. 8, pp. 260, 261.)

(c) The object and effect of Rule V, subdivision (a) of clause 1, is to require that promotion of clerks shall be made from grade to grade. A person may not, therefore, be promoted from class 1 to class 4. (Book L, p. 374, November 27, 1889.)

(d) Tests of fitness to be determined upon by the nominating officer need not be supervised by the board of examiners. The test provided for by Rule V is in the nature of an examination to test fitness for the particular place to be filled. (Minutes, June 4, 1888, clause 16, vol. 8, p. 24.)

(e) Promotion of assistant weigher to day inspector may be made under Customs Rule V, clause 2, in the discretion of the promoting officer, upon any test of fitness determined upon by him. The Commission thinks that the proper test would be the day inspector examination, as the examination for assistant weigher is much easier than that for day inspector. Under clause 1 promotion may not be made until after absolute appointment at the expiration of the probational period of six months. 6. PROMOTION REGULATIONS. (Apply only to the customs district of New York.)

(a) Regulation IV does not authorize the transfer of an inspector to clerk of class 2 in any other customs office than that of the collector. Inspector is required to pass only a limited examination, but a clerk of class 2 must pass two examinations to attain that grade—the general examination for admission and an examination for promotion from class 1 to class 2. Inspectors are not in the surveyor's office in such a sense as to require the surveyor's consent to their transfer; but are considered as within the office of the collector. Compensation not to be considered; but the character of the examinations provided for the two classes. (Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, February 16, 1887, and letter to New York customs board, August 19, 1890, Book , p. 201.)

(b) Storekeepers now classed as clerks of class 2, with compensation of $1,400 per annum, may be transferred without examination to inspectors’ positions, which are in the same class, compensation being $4 per diem, as the clerk examination, which storekeepers are required to take, is of a higher grade than that to which inspectors are subjected, and as the two positions are in the same class relatively as to compensation, subject to the provisions of section 2, Customs Rule VI, and Promotion Regulation IV of the New York customs regulations. (Letter-book I, p. 123.)

(c) An honorably discharged soldier or sailor or widow or orphan of deceased soldier or sailor serving in the customs district of New York can not be required to enter examination for promotion. No such person can be promoted without first passing the promotion examination to which other persons in that district are compulsorily subjected. (Minutes, April 10, 1888, clause 1, vol. 7, pp. 249–250.)

(d) Any change of grade, position, or designation for which examination and certification by the board of examiners are required is a promotion in the contemplation of the regulations; and no such change can properly or legally be made without such examination and certification. Case of McGay (letter to the Secretary of the Treasury April 3, 1890.)

(e) As the promotion regulations now in force at the New York' custom-house took the place of others under which examinations for promotion were held, similar to those now required, the Commission holds that any person in that office who obtained promotion to any grade through the prescribed examination, either under the present regulations or those which preceded them, and who has been reduced to a lower grade through no delinquency or misconduct, may be restored to the grade from which he was reduced or to any grade below that without further examination or certification. (Letter book Q, 116, New York B’d Ex’rs, November 29, 1890.)

(f) The collector at the port of New York wishes to transfer Mr. J. J. Couch, comptroller in the naval office, to the position of chief clerk of customs in the collector's office. It appears that the place which Mr. Couch now occupies is an excepted place under section 5 of Customs Rule II, and that he was appointed to this position by promotion from the lower grades of the service. This being the case, he is eligible, under a recent ruling of the Commission (see letter to naval officer, New York, of October 29, 1889), to transfer without examination to any place in the naval office not excepted from examination, and from any such place not below class 4 to transfer under regulation 4 of the promotion regulations in force in the customs district of New York, without examination, to the place in the collector's office to which his transfer is desired, that being a place in class 4 not excepted from examination. Therefore, as no examination would be required under any existing rules for the transfer of Mr. Couch, in the manner stated, from his present position to that to which his transfer is desired, the Commission is of the opinion, and so decides, that a certificate may issue for his direct transfer from his present place to that of chief clerk of customs in the collector's office.” (Letter book N, p. 112, March 10, 1890.)

(9) Any person in the New York custom-house who has obtained promotion to any grade through the prescribed examinations since July 16, 1883, and who had been reduced to a lower grade, the reduction not being occasioned by his fault, delinquency, misconduct, or inefficiency, may be restored to the grade from which he was reduced, or to any other grade below that, upon proper requisition of the appointing or nominating officer and the certification of the secretary of the board of examiners that the grade from which he was reduced was attained through examination in accordance with the terms of this ruling. (Letter to New York customs board of December 4, 1890, in Carle case.)

(h) A promotion examination can not properly be held during probation, as there is no sufficient basis for an efficiency inark. (Minutes, November 18, 1891.) 7. RESIDENCE.

Statute requiring an inspector to reside in a place where duties are to be performed. Certification made in strict accordance with the rules not in contravention of the statute. The statute does not require that the applicant shall reside at a certain place, but only that the inspector shall reside there. Conforms to practice of the Treasury Department. (Minutes, December 13, 1889, clause 1.) 8. TRANSFERS—Rule VI, section 1, clause (c).

A person who is transferred from a classified customs district to a bureau of the Treasury Department in which business relating to the customs is transacted can not be transferred to a bureau in which business relating to the customs is not transacted. (Letter book M, p. 237, letter to Secretary of the Treasury.)

IV.--POSTAL SERVICE.

1. AGE LIMITATION—Postal Rule II, clause 2.

The maximum limits for carrier, messenger, stamper, and junior clerk do not apply to those allowed preference under section 1754, Rev. Stat. 2. ASSISTANT POSTMASTERS.

Under clause (a) section 5, Postal Rule II, assistant postmasters are excepted from examination, but only those whose official roster title is assistant postmaster, are excepted under this provision of the rule. Assistant postmasters are so designated only at offices of the first class. If any chief clerks are excepted from examination they can only be excepted under (f) section 5 of Postal Rule II, as the custodians of money, stamps, etc., and those only, upon the formal designation of the PostmasterGeneral, this Commission to be advised in all cases, of such designation. (Minutes, May 6, 1893, clause 5.)

3. CLASSIFICATION-Act, sections 6 and 7, and Postal Rule I.

(a) The classification of those in the post-offices to which the act extends was made into four classes by the Postmaster-General on April 4, 1883. The highest class embraces those who receive an annual compensation of $1,800 or more, and the lowest, those who receive a compensation of $800 or less, but the latter is held by the Commission to include no person employed merely as a laborer or workman. Section 7 of the act declares that "no person employed merely as a laborer or workman (shall) be required to be classified hereunder.” The classified service does not include any employés not classified in conformity with the act, whatever the duties or positions of such employés, and laborers and workmen are therefore not within the classified postal service. (See letter to the Chicago postmaster of March 12, 1888, Book H, p. 279.)

(6) All clerks or persons employed or in the public service at any post-office or under any postmaster, no matter what their grade or position, are to be counted in determining whether an office has reached as many as fifty employés within the meaning of the act, section 6, and Postal Rule I. (See also Postal Laws and Regulations, section 665.) But section 7 of the act provides that those employed merely as laborers or workmen shall not be required to be included in this classification, which is a classification of employés for the purpose of examination. (Letter to postmaster at Nashville, Tenn., October 11, 1889, Book L, p. 65.)

(c) Messenger not to be engaged in the handling of mails, but with duties strictly of messenger, is not within the class of places intended by the law to be filled by competitive examination. (Book L, p. 452, December 9, 1889.)

(d) Watchmen are not, strictly speaking, workmen or laborers, and therefore are not outside of the classified service. They are positions of some responsibility, and should be filled by persons of such character and intelligence as is guaranteed by the messenger examination. (Minutes, May 23, 1888, clause 4, vol. 7, p. 406.)

(e) Under the opinion of the Attorney-General of May 5 the free delivery offices embraced in the President's order of January 5, 1893, become classified offices when the first examination is held. (Minutes, June 16, 1893, clause 1.)

4. ENTRANCE EXAMINATIONS—Postal Rule II, clause 2.

(a) Where a person is in the classified service and his advancement by promotion discretionary with the postmaster, subject only to the couditions and limitations of the civil service rules, the Commission thinks it would be contrary to public policy and the principles of good administration to admit him to an entrance examination with a view to original appointment in a higher grade. (Letter to Leopold Hindenlang, February 13, 1890, Book M, p. 447.) EXAMINER.

(a) Carrier entitled to compensation while serving as examiner.-Opinion of Assistant Attorney-General for the Post-Office Department, dated July 23, 1892. Whether the payment of a salary to a letter-carrier when engaged in the duties of civil-service examiner can be fully paid to him during the time he serves as such examiner, and payment also made to his substitute during said period. Section 3 of the civilservice act authorizes the Civil-Service Commission “ to designate and select a suitable number of persons, not less than three, in the official service of the United States, to serve as an examining board in one or more places in each State and Territory.” Section 14 of general Rule III of the Civil-Service Rules provides that: “An examiner shall be allowed time during office hours to perform his duties as examiner, which duties shall be considered part of his official duties.” If this section is not inconsistent with the law referred to (and I think it is not), it has the force and effect of law itself. The law provides that the examiners “shall be in the official service of the United States, and, of course, entitled to the compensation of the positions they hold.” It is within the spirit and, as a consequence, within the clear meaning of the letter of the law, that the examiner during the time he is engaged in conducting civil-service examinations is attending to his official duties, and it is

quite clear that he should be paid the compensation attaching to his office daring that time.

The act of August 2, 1892, to which reference is made, clothes the Postmaster-Gen. eral with authority to appoint substitute letter-carriers “whose compensation shall be $1 per annum, and the pro rata compensation of the carrier on whose route they may be required to serve.” It does not necessarily follow that in all cases the compensation of the substitute shall be deducted from the pay of the carrier; and, as the right of the carrier to be paid his compensation while serving as an examiner aforesaid is unquestionable, it follows that the substitute should be paid out of the general appropriation for the free-delivery service.

(6) Pay of Substitute Carriers Employed as Examiners.—The Post-Office Department holds with the opinion of the Assistant Attorney General for the Post-Office Department, rendered July 23, 1892, in relation to the pay of a letter-carrier while serving on boards of examiners, and of their substitutes, covers the case of a member of the board of examiners for the post-office who is a substitute letter-carrier. (Minutes, May 31, 1893, clause 11.)

(c) Selection of examiners from different political parties.—Whereas it has been impossible in choosing the examining boards in the newly-classified post-offices to avoid in a majority of the cases having the boards composed exclusively, or nearly exclusively, of Republicans,

Resolved, That whenever the conditions of good administration warrant it, and without any reflection upon the character of the individuals upon the existing boards, but in the interest of having the various parties represented so far as may be on the board, the better to insure fairness,

It is ordered, That whenever in any office all the members of the board are of one political party, as rapidly as practicable one or two of the members of the boards shall be changed, so as to have two or more parties represented. (Minutes, May 29, 1893, clause 12.) 5. EXCEPTED PLACES.

(a) If an excepted position in a classified post-office is, by formal action of the Postmaster-General and this Commission, placed within the nonexcepted class, the occupant of the position is also placed within that class, and thereafter has the same status as if he had been originally appointed to that force through regular examination and certification. He may be assigned to any position within that force, upon any test of fitness determined upon by the postmaster, provided that he has served his term of probation and that he is within the age limitations prescribed by Postal Rule II, section 2, for the position to which he is to be transferred. (Letter of August 26, 1892, to postmaster at Milwaukee, Wis.)

(6) Rearrangement of, prior to change of postmasters.—Letter of Post-Office Department in reference to excepted places at the Philadelphia post-office. As it appears that the action taken by the Postmaster-General on March 3 last, in reference to these excepted places was taken without consultation with or approval by the Commission, it can be revoked in similar manner. Moreover, the Commission has already, in the case of the Richmond post-office, refused itself to take the initiative in recommending a great reduction in the excepted places at the moment that a postmaster is going out just before his successor is to come in, and quotes with approval the letter of Chief Clerk Cooley, of January 28 last, in reference to the Philadelphia post-office, wherein he says:

If such a radical rearrangement were to be made in the case of your office it would establish a precedent which would have to be followed, to be logical, for all the other large offices; and to do so at this particular time, within a few weeks of the date when the present administration will end, might create suspicion that the action was taken for other motives than the good of the service.

The Cominission has always advocated a radical and sweeping reduction in the number of excepted places in all these offices, but it believes that this should be

« AnteriorContinuar »