Page images
PDF
EPUB

both the police force and the teachers are at the present time under a civil service system of their own.

The police are selected after examination by a nonpolitical board of three men, appointed by the Governor. Politics are not considered we are told and during the the three years of Governor Winthrop's administration this method of selecting the police worked very satisfactorily, because of the Governor's personal interest in the maintenance of the merit system in all possible branches of the service. Promotions to the position of corporal are made after examination, and above this grade without examination, the Governor making all appointments above the rank of sergeant.

With regard to the appointment of teachers the law provides:

“Teachers of English shall be graduates of a firstclass high school, normal school, college or university, or teacher of extended experience holding a high-grade certificate from some State of the United States, or they shall pass an examination in the English language, including writing, spelling, reading, grammar, arithmetic, geography, history of the United States, physiology and methods of teaching.”

Under this law all applications received are systematically investigated as a preliminary to a careful and discriminate selection.

With regard to teachers speaking other than English, licenses are issued originally upon the results of examinations held by the department of education of Porto Rico. Upon presentation of diplomas, graduates of the normal school of Porto Rico, both in the elementary course of two years and the full course of four years, are entitled when they have the age required by law, to receive licenses as graded teachers. If too young to be granted this grade, they receive rural licenses, or licenses to teach in the elementary rural schools.

In the case of Porto Rican graduates of normal schools in the United States, the department has author

ity to issue a rural but not a graded license. One year's experience in the schools of Porto Rico is required before a graded license can be issued.

The selections of both the police and the school teachers proved satisfactory under Governor Winthrop. This being the case, it was deemed inadvisable by the legislature to change the existing law, especially as we are advised that any such attempt might have jeopardized the passage of the law itself.

The present Governor of the island has appointed the three members of the civil service board as required by the provisions of the new law. The chairman is Mr. Harry C. Coles, at the present time connected with the United States Civil Service Commission. The other members are Don Lugo Viña, formerly attached to the Medical Department of the United States Army in Porto Rico, and Mr. Rafael Palacios Rodriguez, who served as Municipal Judge and Acting District Attorney with great satisfaction during Governor Winthrop's term of office as Governor.

Your Committee believe that the law on the whole is a very good one, although the provision exempting the police might from some aspects of the question and under some circumstances call for criticism, because after all the existing method is nothing more than a selection after an examination by a non-political board of police commissioners who also control the administration of the police department. It is not in accordance with sound theory and practice that the examining board and the appointing power should be one and the same, especially where there is no rule for competition. There is no doubt that there is a strong feeling, however, that the Governor should not surrender the power to recruit the police force from adherents to the United States in the island. Moreover, the present arrangement has worked well under Governor Winthrop, and we have no reason to anticipate any other result under the present administration.

The registrars of property who are exempt from the provisions of the rule are, we are in formed, quite unimportant, receiving small salaries.

Your Committee reports these facts to the Council with the feeling that they constitute a gratifying development in the right direction, and while there are some provisions which might, with advantage, be changed, the Act of March 14th, 1907, represents a very decided advance and on the whole an encouraging outcome of the years of effort made to secure a law on the subject in Porto Rico.

Respectfully submitted,

HENRY W. HARDON,
CHARLES RICHARDSON,
ANSLEY Wilcox,
R. FRANCIS Wood.

Mr. Clinton R. Woodruff, Chairman of the Committee on Dependencies, presented a minority report concursing in the majority report, with the exception that the sentence “Moreover the present arrangement has worked well under Governor Winthrop and we have no reason to anticipate any other result under the present administration" should be changed to read: “Moreover the present arrangement has worked well under Governor Winthrop and we have no reason to anticipate any other result under the present Governor, and for that matter so long as Theodore Roosevelt continues as President of the United States with the power of appointing the Governor of Porto Rico.”

Address of Welcome.

BY HON. J. N. ADAM, MAYOR OF BUFFALO.

As Mayor I frequently enjoy the privilege and the pleasure of extending civil courtesies to associations meeting here in convention to discuss and further their own particular interests --we are always glad to have them here,—but coming as you do in the furtherance of our interests, it affords me very special pleasure to welcome you.

In this instance Buffalo is thrice honored. We always try to welcome the distinguished Chief Executive of our state whose course enables every citizen to follow loyally where he leads; we are also glad to greet the eminent men of the country who, with the Governor, are in attendance at this gathering, and we are happy to extend the hospitality of Buffalo to the League as a force working for justice, efficiency and right in the public service throughout the nation.

I was reading last night an address which Rudyard Kipling made a few days ago in Toronto. He spoke of a man who had stepped aside from the sheep tracks of little politicians and who in his declining years had put aside ease and comfort that he might lead the younger generation to follow a new path, and he spoke further of other men who for objects in which they had no specific interest except the honor and integrity of their city, their state or their country were willing to endure hardship and misunderstanding. When I read it I could not help think of George William Curtis and the members of the Civil Service Reform League.

In spite of many adverse circumstances the grand work of the League has gone steadily on. It was a fight against corrupt practices, against wickedness in high places, against an entrenched army of spoilers, but it has been won, and if there are still hovering on the outposts little bands of marauders, these, too, will finally be sub

dued. To this conference of generals the rank and file look for guidance and inspiration. In Buffalo we have a coterie of ardent, buoyant and persistent men, working with a quiet determination to uphold the standard of civil service. Some of them will have a word to say of their progress to date and of the further progress they hope to make. I am pleased also to speak in high terms of our civil service commission. They are men who know and do their work and do it well. If they did it ill we would probably hear more about it. It is a great relief to the mayor and it is a comfort to him to know that its services are rendered without grudging. Gentlemen, we are proud of our city and proud of our guests. It is a pride signifying our deepest pleasure over your presence, and in the name of the City of Buffalo I bid you a sincere and hearty welcome.

« PreviousContinue »