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were between the ages of 21 and 26; more than one-half between the ages of 21 and 30; and more than three-fourths between the ages of 21 and 40.
While those appointed are, as a rule, in the prime of life, the very young and the very old are not necessarily excluded, but may be appointed to positions for which their age is not a disqualification. As the average age at the time of appointment was less than 29 years, it appears that about a dozen years of business experience elapsed between the time of leaving school and the date of appointment to the public service. Another fact to be observed in these statistics is that they afford no foundation for the charge that the merit system tends to lead to a civil pension. No question of superannuation could arise in many years respecting the appointment of persons whose average age when appointed is less than 29 years. The agitation of this question is almost entirely confined to those who were appointed before the civil-service law was enacted.
The statistics relative to the education of persons appointed to the departmental service during the year show that of the 666 appointed, 225 had only a common-school education; 123 attended high schools; 95 had an academic education; 64 had business-college training, and 159 attended college. It will be seen that 75 per cent of those appointed had no collegiate education, while most of the college men were appointed to places requiring technical qualifications, in which a collegiate education is essential, as Patent Office examiners, meat inspectors, specialists in the Department of Agriculture, etc. Thus it is evident that a common-school education is sufficient for entrance through civil-service examinations to the ordinary grades in the public service.
During the year the Commission has made a number of investigations where violations of the civil-service law were charged in the matter of political assessments or discriminations, fraud in examinations, illegal appointments and removals, and various other complaints. In some of the cases the charges were not well founded; in others they were sustained, while in all of the cases the investigations undoubtedly had a beneficial effect on the service. A synopsis of the more important investigations will be found in the appendix.
In August, 1897, a former letter carrier at Philadelphia, whose application for examination had been rejected, presented the card of admission of another person. Both were found guilty; the former carrier of impersonation and forgery, and the other person of conspiracy to defraud. They were each sentenced to three months' imprisonment and required to pay the costs of prosecution. In October and November, 1896, the custodian of the Federal building at Worcester, Mass., and the engineer of the post-office building at Denver, Colo., were concerned in receiving or soliciting political assessments, and were removed
from the service. The latter case has been referred to the AttorneyGeneral for prosecution.
Very few complaints of violations of the civil-service rules in the custom-house service were brought to the attention of the Commission during the year. One of the most serious of these was at the New York custom-house in January, 1897, where a clerk in the office of the secretary of the board of examiners furnished special and secret informatiou to another clerk to enable him to pass a promotion examination. The clerk who furnished the information was indicted, found guilty, and fined $500, which amount was paid. He was also removed from the service. At the Port Huron custom-house, in June, 1896, the chief deputy collector, a deputy collector, and the entry clerk, who were concerned in levying political assessments on employees in the office, were removed from the service by the Treasury Department. They were also indicted and fined $50 each.
Numerous complaints have been made of illegal appointments in the Internal Revenue Service in the districts where the collectors have been changed since the change of Administration. Investigations by representatives of the Commission have been made at Pittsburg, Pa., Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.; Asheville, N. C., Richmond, Va., Dallas, Tex., and Baltimore, Md. In several of the offices where deputy collectors have been removed there were eligibles on the registers, but appointments were made without examination and without regard to the civil-service law and rules. The Commission has brought all of these cases to the attention of the Secretary of the Treasury, urging the reinstatement of the persons shown to have been unjustly removed and the removal of persons shown to have been illegally appointed. It appears that the Treasury Department is deferring action on these recommendations pending a decision whether deputy collectors, in the force of which nearly all of the removals and appointments have been made, are properly subject to classification.
Late in 1896 several persons were discharged from the bureau of animal industry at South Omaha, Nebr., for alleged inefficiency and neglect of duty; but the employees claimed that they were removed for political reasons. Numerous affidavits were furnished by them to the Commission in support of their claims. A representative of the Commission was sent to South Omaha to ascertain and report the facts. The evidence in the case was referred, on its request, to the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment.
The attention of the Commission has been called to a number of alleged violations of the civil-service rules in the Bureau of Pensions, in the removal of pension examining surgeons from about twenty-five classified local boards, in the creation of additional boards without examination, and in a number of removals, reductions, and promotions in the Bureau at Washington. All instances of apparent violations of the civil-service rules in the Pension Bureau which have come to the knowledge of the Commission have been brought to the attention of
the Secretary of the Interior. Thus far the Commission has not been informed as to the action of the Department.
In an investigation held in November, 1897, at the Fort Peck Indian Agency, the evidence showed that three of the employees were concerned in levying political assessments. The Interior Department has been requested to remove the employees, and the case will be forwarded to the Attorney-General for criminal prosecution.
During the year covered by this report numerous removals have been made of office deputy marshals, clerks in offices of United States attorneys, and guards in the United States penitentiaries, all of which positions are under the Department of Justice. Although the Department reported these positions as classified, yet, between June 30, 1896, and October 30, 1897, 127 appointments were made to those positions without examination or certification by the Commission. A number of communications have been addressed by the Commission to the Attorney-General, calling attention to the apparent violations of the civil-service rules, but no response has been received.
In the early part of the present Administration the Public Printer was charged with having made removals and reductions of classified employees in his office in violation of the civil-service act and rules. From the statements made to the Commission it appeared that a very large proportion of those removed or reduced were Democrats, while nearly allof those promoted were Republicans. Several of those removed or reduced, as well as most of those reinstated, were honorably discharged soldiers. The Public Printer stated that he had made no reductions or removals for political reasons. The facts ascertained in the investigation are still under consideration. It is gratifying to state that since the investigation last summer, and the promulgation of the order of the President of July 27, 1897, concerning removals, the number of removals from the Government Printing Office does not appear to be more than would naturally occur during that period in an office where there are about 2,800 employees.
During the year covered by this report a service-records division was organized as a part of the office of the secretary of the Commission. This organization became necessary by the promulgation of Civil Service Rule XII on May 6, 1896, requiring every nominating or appointing officer in the executive civil service to furnish a list of all positions or appointments under his control or authority, together with the names, designations, compensations, and duties of the persons serving in said positions. Under this rule the Commission commenced the preparation, in card form, of a service history, which, when completed, will show the changes in the status of every classified employee in the executive civil service from the day of his entrance to the service to the date of his separation therefrom. The total number of employees in the executive
civil service on January 19, 1897, was 178,717, with aggregate salaries amounting to nearly $100,000,000. Of the total number of positions, 87,108 were classified, and the salaries received by the classified employees approximated $70,000,000.
STATUS OF DEPUTY COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE.
In September, 1897, the Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury the protest of the collector of internal revenue of the Second district of Virginia against any modification or limitation of the power vested in him as collector by section 3148 of the Revised Statutes with respect to the appointment and removal of his deputies."
The question was thus raised as to whether deputy collectors were legally within the classified service. The matter having been referred to the Attorney General for opinion, the Commission submitted a brief in the case, in which it discussed the questions as to (1) whether deputy collectors are officers of the United States or mere personal employees of the collector; (2) whether the term of office of a deputy collector ceases by reason of the appointment of a successor to the collector under whom he was appointed; and (3) whether deputy collectors are legally in the classified service. In the brief of the Commission relating to the appointment of deputies of internal revenue it was shown that their classification was in line with the clear intent of Congress, as indicated by the precedents established by that body, and is distinctly authorized by the direct language of the statute, which authority was duly and regularly exercised by the President.
After consideration of the question the Attorney General returned the case to the Treasury Department without decision as being a hypothetical question. The Secretary of the Treasury later submitted the question to the Solicitor of his Department for a decision. The Commission has not been informed as to the action, if any, of the Solicitor. In the appendix will be found a full brief relative to this question, together with the opinions of several eminent lawyers, in which they hold that deputy collectors of internal revenue come within the provisions of the civil-service law and are properly subject to the civilservice rules.
EFFICIENCY OF PERSONS APPOINTED THROUGH CIVIL-SERVICE
The rules provide that no appointment made upon certification of the Commission can become absolute until the probationary period of six months has been served. At the end of such period, and not sooner, the appointing officer, by giving absolute appointment, certifies in the language of the rules that the conduct and capacity of the probationer are satisfactory to him. If not satisfactory, the probationer must be
notified by the appointing officer that he will not receive absolute appointment because of such unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity, and such notification of itself dismisses him from the service. In other words, after an examination by the Commission the appointing officer has an opportunity of an absolutely practical examination last. ing six months. Such officer may dismiss the probationer at any time within the six months, but under no circumstances can he grant him absolute appointment until he has observed his conduct and capacity for six months. The rule requires some affirmative act upon the character and ability of the probationer. When that act is taken, it is a certification of even greater weight than that of the commission, because the granting of absolute appointinent by the appointing officer confirms the conclusions of the Commission as to the probationer's merit. There could be no greater testimony as to the value of the Commission's examinations than the success of the persons appointed through its examinations. During the last year, of 650 appointed on probation in the Railway Mail Service only 3 failed to receive absolute appointment. In the Government Printing Office, where mechanical skill is required in the trades positions, only 12 out of 151 failed to receive absolute appointment. In the departmental service, where appointments were made to various positions for which different examinations were provided, only 13 out of 894 appointed on probation failed to receive absolute appointment. In other words, less than 2 per cent of those secured through the examinations of the commission were rejected during or at the end of the probationary period.
APPOINTMENTS AND REINSTATEMENTS OF VETERANS.
Experience has shown that under no other method have the claims of the veteran soldier to preference in appointment been so fully recog. nized as under the civil-service law. The civil-service rules permit the reinstatement to the classified service of any person who served in the military or naval service of the United States in the late war of the
ellion and was bonorably discharged therefrom, without regard to the length of time he was separated from the position formerly occupied, provided he is capable of discharging the duties of such position.
Under section 1754, Revised Statutes, preference in certification is given to all persons honorably discharged from the military or naval service by reason of disability resulting from wounds or sickness incurred in the line of duty, provided they have passed a prescribed examination. Under this section the soldier coming within its provisions has the fol lowing advantages: He is released from all age limitations, and he has to attain a general average of only 65 per cent to become eligible, while for all others the required average is 70 per cent. Having attained a general average of 65 per cent, lis name is placed upon the register at its head, and he is certified before all others who have not been allowed preference; and, finally, he may then be appointed even though residing