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To the Governor:
Three events of importance in relation to the civil service of the State are outstanding in the year 1921. These are:
First: The substantial decrease in the number of employees in the State departments, proper;
Second: The unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals that neither law nor rule can grant a preference in civil appointments and promotions beyond that allowed by article V, section 9 of the Constitution to veterans of the Civil War; and,
Third: The magnitude of the majority by which in a State wide vote of nearly 2,000,000 the merit system in its integrity was maintained.
The interest undoubtedly felt in these subjects and in matters associated with them, seems to the Commission to warrant their presentation at the beginning of this annual report.
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN STATE DEPARTMENTS,
PROPER For the first time in the history of the State, so far as recorded, a large lessening in the number of employees of the State departments, proper, has occurred. The table following gives comparative numbers for the past two years.
TO THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE LAW
1921 1920 Decrease State departments, proper .......... 6,161 6,789 628
Tables printed in this section of the report do not include, nor in former reports have they included, persons carried on payrolls as laborers or positions designated as labor positions. So far as can be ascertained, the number of state department, proper, laborers on December 31, 1921, was approximately 100. The year previous, the number of such employees was approximately 200.
Laborers or labor positions have not been included in compilations, for the reason first, that incumbents of labor positions are not subject to civil service examination; and, second, that their number from month to month, even in the same agency, as for instance in the Department of Highways or in the Department of the Superintendent of Public Works, necessarily fluctuates greatly.
TO THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE LAW
1921 1920 Increase State hospitals ................... 6,456 5,975 481 State charitable, reformatory and
penal institutions ............... 2,453 2,265 State courts .....
776 774 State commissions (financed chiefly by
city or county or both)........... 1,102 912 190 State schools and colleges.......... 790 755 35
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN COUNTY AND VILLAGE SERVICE . SUBJECT TO THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE LAW
DECEMBER 31, 1920 AND 1921.
1921 1920 Increase Decrease
Positions included in Tables 1, 2 and 3, arranged according to their civil service status, give the table following:
BER 31, 1920 AND 1921.
1921 1920 Increase Decrease Classified service: Competitive ....... ... 11,274 11,333
59 Non-competitive ........ 8,013 7,213 Exempt .......... 1,3491,520
Included in the unclassified service in Table 4 and in the county service in Table 3, are 424 positions or employees in sheriffs' offices which are subject to the civil service law only in so far as the certification of the pay of the incumbents is concerned. Such certification is mandatory by the court decision (Flaherty V. Milliken, 193 N. Y. 564).
The tables do not include officers, employees, or positions in several agencies which have not been brought under the jurisdiction of the State Civil Service Commission. Among such agencies are: The Adjutant General's office, and all commissions and offices thereunder; Department of State Police; Palisades Interstate Park Commission; State College of Agriculture and the State Veterinary College at Cornell University; State Schools of Agriculture at St. Lawrence University, and at Alfred University; State School of Clay Working and Ceramics at Alfred Univer
sity; Legislative Library, Legislative Bill Drafting Commission, and Legislative Officers and Employees.
It has been customary each year to obtain by inspection of State, county and village payrolls submitted to the Commission for certification, the basis for the figures in the annual report showing the number of employees and positions in the agencies under the jurisdiction of the Commission. These payrolls, however, are not submitted to the Commission for filing. Its function in this relation is to examine the names on the payrolls, submitted to it semi-monthly, and to certify the legal right, so far as the Civil Service Law is concerned, of the persons whose names appear to the positions and salaries indicated. Questions of original appointment, promotion, transfer, reinstatement, etc., are involved in such certification. The payrolls themselves, after examination and certification, when found correct, are returned by the Commission to the agency in which they originated. (See Report for 1919, section I.)
The Court of Appeals announced July 21, 1921, a unanimous decision (Barthelmess v. Municipal Civil Service Commission of New York) which had important bearing upon the administration of the Civil Service Law. The opinion, evidently prepared with great care and after most extended consideration of the arguments submitted, was written by Judge Cardozo. Concurring therein were Chief Judge Hiscock and Judges Andrews, Pound, Hogan, Chase and Crane.
The questions involved in the litigation in reality affected underlying principles of the New York civil service system. The judicial conclusion which sustained that system as it exists must therefore be considered of the greatest consequence. The opinion of Judge Cardozo, in part, says:
* * * “ The command of the constitution, (Art V, sec. 9), until changed must be obeyed. The preference which it concedes is restricted to veterans of the civil war. The statute gives or attempts to give a like preference to veterans of other wars. The restriction embodied in the constitution was not hasty inadvertence. It was established after long debate. The convention was reminded that other wars or other emergencies might come. With this reminder it conceded one preference, and one only. Neither legislature nor court is competent to add another. The legislature may * * * say that military or naval service (whether in the civil war or elsewhere) is something to be counted by the examiners, like experience in other fields, whenever service or experience qualifies for office or employment. Service so considered does not override the results of competitive examination, but enters into the results as a contributory factor. A different situation arises