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chief officials should each be thoroughly acquainted with the special field of service or organization committed to him, and able and prompt to adopt every facility which the growth of our population, the extension and perfection of our transportation systems, the march of inventions, or the experience of other countries may put at his disposal.
I believe that in this, my last report, I can truthfully affirm that the heads of the several bureaus of this Department have manifested this ability and have done their work in this spirit, and that as a consequence the United States postal service, with all the drawbacks of defective laws and an outgrown organization to which I have referred, was never so efficient as it is to-day. With the gradual inclusion of its employees in the classified civil service, in which reform the President's order of May 6, 1896, has made another step, it is becoming less and less a political machine and more and more a strictly business establishment. To complete this reform two more advances are necessary:
(1) To secure fixity of tenure during efficiency and good behavior to the three Assistant Postmasters-General, whose work is entirely nonpolitical, whose capacity to deal with the large machinery and great expenditures of their respective bureaus must come in great measure from experience, and who preserve the continuity of the Department not in mere desk or division work, but general administration. It is safe to say that the proper training of a bureau chief, up to the point where he may have a vigorous grasp and accurate knowledge of his duties, is a very costly thing for the Government.
(From the report of the Postmaster-General, 1897.] Among many methods of perfecting the organization of the service which have been from time to time suggested, none has proved more effective than the consolidation of post-offices. It is to be regretted that the development of this system has been retarded by restrictions placed upon it by legislation, but as these limitations are clearly prejudicial to the public interests, it is expected that they will not be continued.
· [From the report of the General Superintendent of the Railway Mail Service, 1894.] The civil-service laws and regulations as applied to the Railway Mail Service accomplish all the most sanguine expected. The eligibles for appointment who have been certified and selected excel in the fundamental qualities, such as suitable age, good physical condition and habits, activity and retentiveness of memory, and prospective growth and length of useful service.
Having such desirable undeveloped material to work upon, the management experience less difficulty in molding it into well-disciplined, industrious, thoughtful, efficient clerks. A much larger per cent of the probationers succeed in earning permanent appointments, and, under the system of development which obtains in the service, they continue to improve during their connection with it, and as opportunities occur, are advanced in class according to their merits. In the judgment of this office the present efficiency could not have been obtained under any other method.
[Report of General Superintendent Railway Mail Service, 1897.] There were 6,059,769,680 pieces of first-class mail matter handled during the year just closed, and 5,511,771,000 pieces of second, third, and fourth class matter, making a total of 11,571,540,680 pieces, exclusive of registered matter. Of the latter class of matter there were handled 14,640,832 packages and cases, 984,093 through registered pouches, and 631,738 inner registered sacks, making in all 16,256,663 pieces of registered matter. There were also handled 462,469,640 pieces of city mail. The increase of ordinary mail handled over last year was 405,217,440 pieces, or 3.7 per cent; a decrease of 329,943, or 2.2 per cent, in the number of single pieces of registered matter, and an increase of 150,436, or 10.2 per cent, in the number of through registered pouches and inner registered sacks handled, which explains the decrease in the number of single packages handled. The amount of city mail handled exceeded that of last year by 54,402,440, or 13.3 per cent.
H. Doc. 314. -4
The following table will show the number of clerks assigned to lines, the amount of mail handled, the number of errors in distribution, with the per cent of increase or decrease, for a period of ten years :
1888. 1889. 1890. 1891. 1892. 1893. 1894.. 1895. 1896. 1897..
6,528, 772, 060 5. 448 6. 95 7, 026, 837, 130 5, 836
1, 765, 821 7.63 1,777, 295 10.26 2,769, 245 8. 90 2, 005, 973 7.97 1, 658, 457 5.90 1, 367, 880 2. 62 1, 281, 094 3.43 1,166, 682 7.60 1, 134, 411 3. 63
7.12 7, 847, 723, 600 6,032 3. 36 8, 546, 370, 090 6, 417 6. 38 9, 227, 816, 090 6, 645 3.55 9, 772, 075, 810 6,852 3,10 10,033, 973, 790 7, 045 2.82' 10, 377, 875, 040 7,408 5.15' 11, 166, 323, 240 7,573 2. 23 11, 571, 540, 680
*Acting clerks pot included in this table.
From this it will be seen that while the amount of mail handled has increased 77.2 per cent in ten years the working force required to do the work has increased but 48.6 per cent, and the pieces of mail matter handled correctly to each error in distribution has increased from 3,694 to 11,960.
ERRORS IN DISTRIBUTION. The above table also shows that there were 967,538 errors in distribution charged against postal clerks during the year, as against 1,134,412 for last year, a decrease of 14.7 per cent. There were 722,276 errors in distribution checked against post-offices, a decrease, as compared with last year, of 80,295, or a little over 10 per cent.
[From the annual report of the Secretary of the Interior, 1894.] Permanency of service * * * is absolutely necessary to success. I believe it is possible to develop a competent, permanent, nonpartisan Indian service, and I hope before the end of another year that such progress will have been made in this direction that its realization will be assured.
[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.
[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 Board of Indian Commissioners, 1894.] We are pleased to observe the earnest care now exercised by Superintendent Hailmann and the Civil Service Commission in the examination of applicants for positions in this (Indian) service. And we were gratified to read in the report of the superintendent respecting the operations of the civil-service law that "in spite of the limitations it imposes upon the appointing officers, it eserts on the whole a
most salutary influence upon the character of the service.” We heartily agree with him in the “hope that in due course of time every position in the Indian school service will come within the provisions, or, at least, under the spirit of this law.”
the placing of the entire Indian service under regulations of the civil-service law.
[Report of Merrill E. Gates, president Board Indian Commissioners.] It is more evident with each year of experience that the lack of a systematic application of the approved principles of civil-service reform is the great lack of our (Indian) agency system,
(From the Twenty-seventh Annual Report of the Board of Indian Commissioners, 1895.] We note with special gratification the important and growing influence of the civil-service regulations to secure efficiency in the school service and permanence in tenure of office. Great care has been exercised in the selection of teachers, matrons, and physicians, and we have gladly given such assistance as we could in investigating the character and ability of applicants for these positions. We hope to see the system still further extended, until all the employees in the Indian service are brought under civil-service rules.
[From the report of the Superintendent of Indian Schools, 1896.) It is a matter of congratulation that civil-service rules have recently been extended over the entire school service. This will do away, thoroughly and permanently it is hoped, with the baneful influences of patronage, concerning which I have had frequent occasion to report to you, and it will establish in every department of the work the rule of efficiency and character as the only criteria both in appointment and in tenure,
Some difficulty may be experienced in providing suitable examinations for some of the minor positions, and in obviating needless hardship and exposure to employees with reference to examinations for promotions. In my conferences with the Civil Service Commission upon these points I have submitted feasible and practical plans for meeting these difficulties, and have reason to hope that these plans will be substantially adopted and will be in operation before this report reaches you.
[From the report of the Superintendent of Indian Schools, 1897.] The effect of placing the employees of the Indian schools in the classified service has be’n quite salutary. There is a marked increase in stability of tenure, efficiency, and real devotion to the work on the part of the service as a whole.
With reference to efficiency and devotion to work it is impossible to offer statistical tables, but the testimony of superintendents and inspecting officials indicates that in the great majority of schools there has been an increasing gain in these things under the influence of the civil-service rules.
The greatest gain, however, which has come to the Indian school service through the operation of the civil-service rules is to be found in the fact that in the filling of vacancies they exclude the influence of partisanship and patronage and place at the disposal of the appointing officer persons who have furnished proof that they possess many of the more important requirements of character and equipment needed for success in the work.
[From the annual report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1894.] The system of employing workmen at navy-yards through a board of labor, taking them without reference to politics and in the order of their application, giving preterence to veterans and those with former navy-yard experience, has been adhered to, and continues to be commended without exception by all naval officers and others wbose duties have brought them in contact with it.
[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 and divisions since this classification are unanimous in praising the enhanced value 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 decreased expense of the inspection work is largely due to this improvement in the force. Every person feels now that his standing, retention in the 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, there were 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 United 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 agricultural colleges, and thus made themselves especially skilled and expert in specific lines of investigation, 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, will 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, 1895.) During the year a movement originated among the employees looking to the extension of the civil-service law to the printing departments of the public service, and a petition addressed to the Civil Service Commission was signed by a large majority of them, asking the President for such extension. On August 1 the President issued an order placing the Government Printing Office in the classified service. The employees have reason to hope that the result of the application of the civil-service rules to appointments will hereafter protect the force from an overcrowding of the office-a condition sure to be followed by excessive discharges.
[Report of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, 1897.] It should be the aim and desire of those charged with the control of the affairs of the District of ('olumbia to conduct its business for the best interests of the United States and of the taxpayers. Looking to that end, all employees of the District government should be selected and retained wholly upon a basis of merit and efficiency. Partisan control of the affairs of the District has been ignored by every
President of the United States since the establishment of the present form of government in 1878, by the appointment upon the Board of District Commissioners of a representative of each of the great political parties.
With all the departments of the General Government under the protection of the civil-service law, every change in the Administration of the General Government brings to the officials in charge of the District government demands for appointments impossible of recognition, but which are dangerous to the interests of the District, and which seriously interrupt and sometimes practically prevent the conduct of its rapidly increasing business interests.
The Commissioners strongly recommend that the District government be included within the protection of the civil-service law.
UTTERANCES OF THE PRESIDENTS, 1789-1897.
[See Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1898.] 1. Intent of the Constitution as shown by the utterances of the first Presidents. 2. Period of operation of the first Civil Service Rules, 1872-1874. 3. Period succeeding the abandonment of the rules, 1874–1883. 4. Period succeeding the passage of the civil-service act of 1883.
1. INTENT OF THE CONSTITUTION AS SHOWN BY THE UTTER
ANCES OF THE EARLIER PRESIDENTS.
It (party spirit) exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.--Washington.
When I came into office it was my determination to make as few removals as possible—not one from personal motives, not one from party considerations. This resolution I have invariably observed.—John Adams.
Good men, in whom there is no objection but a difference of political principle, practiced only so far as the right of a private citizen will justify, are not proper subjects of removal.-Jefferson.
* the principle * that offices were the spoils of victory. I fully agree in all the odinm you attach to such a rule.
The principle conld not fail to degrade any administration.-Madison.
No person at the head of the Government has, in my opinion, any claim to the active partisan exertions of those in office under him.- Monroe.
I have been urged to sweep away my opponents and provide for my friends. I can justify the refusal to adopt this policy only by the steadiness and consistency of my adherence to my own. If I depart from this in one instance, I shall be called upon to do the same in many. An invidious and inquisitorial scrutiny into the personal dispositions of public officers will creep through the whole Union, and the most selfish and sordid passions will be kindled into activity to distort the conduct and misrepresent the feelings of men whose places may become the prize of slander upon them.-- John Quincy Adams.
The reign of an intolerant spirit of party among a free people seldom fails to result in a dangerous accession to the executive power introduced and established amidst unusual professions of devotion to democracy.-William Henry Harrison.
The power of appointing to office is one of a character the most delicate and responsible. The appointing power is evermore exposed to be led into error. With anxions solicitude to select the most trustworthy for official station, I can not be supposed to possess a personal knowledge of the qualifications of every applicant.
Unless persons every way trustworthy are employed in the public service