« AnteriorContinuar »
Table 1. The departmental, railway mail, Indian, and Government printing
services, showing State, Territory, or District in which examina-
tions were held
VIEWS OF THE PRESIDENT, HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS, AND
OTHER OFFICIALS RELATIVE TO THE CIVIL-SERVICE LAW.
[From the annual messago of the President, December, 1896.] The progress made in civil-servico reform furnishes a cause for the utmost congratulation. It has survived the doubts of its friends as well as the rancor of its enemies, and has gained a permanent place among the agencies destined to cleanse our politics and to improve, economizo, and elovato the public service.
There are now in the competitive classified service upward of 84,000 places. More than half of these have been included from time to time since March 4, 1893. A most radical and sweeping extension was made by Executive orders dated the 6th day of May, 1896, and if fourth-class postmasterships are not included in the statement, it may be said that practically all positions contemplated by the civil-service law are now classified. Abundant reasons exist for including these postmasterships, based upon economy, improved service, and the peace and quiet of neighborhoods. If, however, obstacles prevent such action at present, I earnestly hope that Congress will, without increasing postoffice appropriations, so adjust them as to permit in proper cases a consolidation of theso post offices, to the end that through this process the result desired may to a limited extent be accomplished.
The civil-service rules as amended during the last year provide for a sensible and uniform method of promotion, basing eligibility to better positions upon demonstrated efficiency and faithfulness. The absence of fixed rules on this subject has been an infirmity in the system, more and more apparent as its other benefits have been better appreciated.
The advantages of civil-service methods in their business aspects are too well understood to require argument. Their application has become a necessity to the executive work of the Government. But those who gain positions through the operation of these methods should be made to understand that the nonpartisan scheme through which they receive their appointments demands from them, by way of reciprocity, nonpartisan and faithful performance of duty under every Administration, and cheerful fidelity to every chief. Vyhile they should be encouraged to decently exercise their rights of citizen. ship and to support through their suffrages the political beliefs they honestly profess, the noisy, pestilent, and partisan employee, who loves political turmoil and contention, or who renders lax and grudging service to an Administration not representing his political views, should be promptly and fearlessly dealt with in such a way as to furnish a warning to others who may be likewise disposed.
The annual report of the Commissioners will be duly transmitted, and I commend the important matter they have in charge to the careful consideration of the Congress.
(From the report of the Secretary of Agriculture, 1896.] Since March 7, 1893, the classified service has been extended until it includes every important permanent position in the United States Department of Agriculture. Reports from the chiefs of bureaus aud divisions since this classification are unanimous in praising tho enhanced valuo of the service rendered by their assistants and employees. In efficiency and economy the classification has very visibly improved the work.
The effect of placing the force of the Bureau of Animal Industry within the classified service has been very marked in increasing its efficiency and improving its discipline. This is particularly apparent with the employees stationed at other cities than Washington. The clecreased expense of the inspection work is largely due to this improvement in the force. Every person feels now that his standing, retention in tho service, and chance of promotion depend upon the interest which he shows and the care and fidelity with which his duties are efficiently performed.
On March 4, 1893, there were 781 persons employed by this Bureau, but on November 1, 1896, thero are only 758, notwithstanding the fact that the work has more than trebled.
Since March 4, 1893, 158 persons have been placed in this Bureau from the eligible lists of the United States Civil Service Commission.
In the future may it not be possible for an arrangement to be made, in accordance with law, between the presidents of agricultural colleges and the directors of experiment stations on the one hand and the Uxited States Civil Service Commission on the other hand by which the certificates of the former
as to industry, ability, and character will permit their graduates, under the direction of the Secretary of Agriculture, to enter the service without competitive examination? If a reasonable construction of existing law permits those who have devoted years of study at experiment stations and in agricul. tural colleges, and thus made themselves especially skilled and expert in specific lines of investiga. tion, to enter the scientific bureaus and divisions of the United States Department of Agriculture after a rigid examination by their preceptors and certification by them as to their merits, wiif not the country begin at once to realize direct benefits from experiment stations and agricultural colleges which under the present system seem to be wanting?
In short, by a judicious extension of civil-service rules can not the agricultural colleges be increased as to number of students and at the same time made a scientific rendezvous whence the Department of Agriculture may with certainty always draft into its service the highest possible ability and acquirements in specific lines of scientific research?
(From the report of the Public Printer, 1896.] The working force of the office during the year has been conducted most satisfactorily within the classified civil service. The new appointees selected from the certified lists have averaged as well as those who were selected heretofore at the will of the appointing power.
The annual leave of absence with pay to employees afforded an opportunity to provide work during the Congressional recess to the surplus force, and the usual large reduction at that time was avoided. The average daily number of employees during the year has been 2,828, an increase of 151 over the year previous. The changes in the force during the year were as follows: 27 died; 115 resigned; 15 were dropped from the service on account of absence; 25 were discharged because of reduction of force, and 19 were discharged for cause; 15 probationary appointments were canceled, and 10 probationary appointments absolutely refused; there were 161 persons reinstated to the service, and 163 probationary appointments made, of which 138 were permanently appointed. All appointments and reinstatements were made from names certified by the Civil Service Commission, and in all dis. charges and appointments made the full spirit of the merit system was observed.
(From the report of the Commissioner of Pensions, 1896.] On the 1st day of July, 1895, by Executive order, the clerks in the pension agencies were placed under civil-service rules.
The wisdom of the change has been demonstrated in the increased efficiency of the clerical force and decided improvement in the entire agency service.
(From the report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1896.] Indian service.-In extending the civil-service laws to include nearly all officials and employees of this important branch of the Government, marked improvement has resulted in the effectiveness of the work performed, but appointees competent in every other respect are totally unfit for this service if not imbued with a proper appreciation of the claims and character of these wards of the nation. The policy of those now in control of and those connected with the Indian Bureau has been humane, just, and elevating, and the Indians themselves have come to realize that the Government is sincerely desirous of promoting their welfare.
Experience in dealing with such a people is the best if not the only training one can undergo to become qualified to protect their interests and guide their development. The delay in their progress consequent upon a complete change in the personnel of those whose duty it is to care for them has been greatly diminished by placing most of the subordinates of the Department in the classified serve ice, but the head of a bureau determines largely the policy of the Government in the line that bureau represents, and if every change of administration means a change of policy in the Indiau Bureau the Indians will advance very slowly toward civilization.
Geological Survey. The civil-service rules were further extended in July, 1895, so as to make the positions of geologist, paleontologist, engraver, printer, and all other places the duties of which are scientific or technical in character, subject to competitive examination, and their operation proved satisfactory and productive of good results. Every position in the Survey, except that of laborer, is now within the classified service.
[From the report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1896.] When your Administration began there was in operation a system of civil-service rules for the employment of labor at navy-yards which was working smoothly and had commended itself generally to the officials having these stations in charge. These rules had been devised by my predecessor, Secretary Tracy. They were carefully drawn, with a manifest intention that no personal preferences or partisan considerations should obtain in the employment of labor. The fact remained, however, that up to the moment of the adoption of these rules the old system, under which such preferences and considerations always obtained, had existed at all the yards.
When the new rules were adopted they necessarily covered and kept in place present employees. No tests were, or indeed could well be, applied to them. The result was that a large majority of the employees covered by the rules were members of the political party then in power. Foremen, it is