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my opinion of section 6, third paragraph, of the civil service law, in connection with the subject matter of an investigation now pending, entitled “In the matter of an alleged violation of section 24 of the civil service law in the Department of the Fiscal Supervisor of State Charities."
I have examined the stenographer's minutes, forwarded to me, as well as the briefs of learned counsel.
I am of the opinion that you have jurisdiction to conduct the investigation now pending and incidental to that jurisdiction, there has been conferred upon the State Civil Service Commission the right to subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, as provided for in paragraph fourth of section 6 of the civil service law.
The pressure of other public business prevents my setting forth in this communication at length the reasons which have led me to this conclusion.
Briefly stated, however, I may say that while the specific language to be construed in the particular paragraph of the particular section in question might possibly have been more aptly framed, yet the intent of the Legislature is to be gathered from the whole enactment as well as from the history of legislation relating to civil service. It seems to me that when the Legislature passed the civil service law of 1899, it intended that there should be a complete and harmonious enactment relating to the civil service of the State and that for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of that enactment and investigating violations of any provision thereof or of any rules and regulations duly made, the State Civil Service Commission was invested with a supervisory power which, among other things, authorizes it to conduct an investigation concerning the action, among others, of any person in the public service who is charged with any violation of the act or of the rules and regulations prescribed therein.
To construe paragraph third of section 6 of the civil service law as limiting the investigation solely to a conspiracy or collusive act between an examiner or subordinate of the commission on the one hand and a person in the public service on the other, would be to exclude from consideration the right of your commission to investigate many matters which, as I view it, it was intended that your commission should have the right to inquire into.
For instance, under such a construction you would have no right to investigate the case of an applicant, not in the civil service, who had either alone or by collusion, been guilty of cheat, deceit or fraud in his examination.
I might add other illustrations but this is sufficient to emphasize the point referred to.
The question is one solely of jurisdiction and if the views here expressed are not correct, the remedy in the courts is speedy and ample.
I therefore advise you that you have the power to continue the investigation now pending.
THE CIVIL SERVICE LAW, RULES, CLASSIFICATION AND REGULATIONS,
AMENDED TO JANUARY 1, 1906.
THE CIVIL SERVICE LAW
Chapter 370, Laws of 1899
An Act in relation to the civil service of the state of New York
and the cities and civil divisions thereof, constituting chapter three of the general laws.
Chapter III of the general laws
THE CIVIL SERVICE LAW
sailors and marines.
representation; impersonation in examination,