« PreviousContinue »
ganization of a local commission and presenting its powers and duties. The other was a brief measure authorizing the common council by ordinance to establish the merit system, and was urged as being more consonant with the demand for home rule than the more detailed measure. Here again there seems ground to suspect that the two proposals were presented for the sake of preventing any action; and at any rate it had that result. The Detroit delegation was divided in its support of the two measures, and under these circumstances the passage of either was impossible.
Throughout the state as a whole, there seems apparent no strong demand for this reform. The state is so strongly controlled by one political party that wholesale removals for political reasons are not frequent; and while incompetent persons are often appointed, and still more often political considerations have the most weight in determining the selection, the subordinate service of the state has on the whole a tolerable stable tenure. There is indeed some complaint on the part of younger political workers that the old employees are too firmly entrenched. In some local districts changes for political reasons are inore frequent, and under the decentralized system of administration there seems to be greater need for an improvement in these districts.
In the summer of 1906 an effort was made to organize a state civil service reform association. But although a considerable number of persons indicated their interest in the matter, the movement did not make enough headway to result in the formation of any organization. The active workers for political reform in Michigan have turned their attention to such questions as the initiative and referenduin, which seems to offer better prospect of popular support, but which seem to me too radical and a far from proven success as a means of securing better government.
During the present vear a convention is in session to revise the constitution of Michigan, and this gives opportunity to insert in the fundamental law a general statement of the fundamental principles of the merit system. In an article discussing some suggested changes in the
constitution, written last spring, I called attention to the provision on the subject in the New York constitution, and urged the importance of action being taken to bring Michigan in line with the movement that now includes the states of Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin and Illinois.
In the convention, of which I have the honor to be a inember, I have introduced during the present week a proposal for a section in the constitution substantially similar to that in the Constitution of New York. This piroposal is worded as follows:
"All positions in the administrative of this state and of its civil divisions (including cities and counties), shall be held only by persons qualified and competent to perform the duties thereof. Laws shall be enacted to provide practical methods for ascertaining the qualification and fitness of candidates for appointment and promotion, without reference to political or religious considerations; and so far as practicable such qualifications shall be dedetermined by competitive examinations."
What prospect of success there is for this or any similar provision it is too early to say. The convention is composed in the main of a much more intelligent and more serious body of men than have been the Michigan legislatures; and a large proportion of its members are not interested in the scramble of political workers for petty offices and employments. But, on the other hand the general lack of interest and absence of discussion over this question characterizes the convention and at this early stage in its work no definite promise of success can be given.
National Civil Service Reform League.
[REVISED DECEMBER 13, 1900.]
ARTICLE I. The name of this organization shall be the National Civil Service Reform League.
The object of the Civil Service Reform League shall be to promote the purposes and to facilitate the correspondence and united action of the Civil Service Reform Associations, and generally to advance the cause of civil service reform in the United States.
ARTICLE III. The League shall consist of all the Civil Service Reform Associations in the United States which signify their willingness to become members thereof. Any such Association hereafter expressing such willingness shall become a member of the League upon its being accepted as such by the League or the Council. Any member of any such Association, and any individual specially invited by the Council, may be present at any meeting of the League and take part in the debates or discussions subject to such restrictions, if any, as the By-Laws may prescribe. The Council may in its discretion invite representatives of any other society or organization to take part in any designated meeting of the League.
With the approval of the Council the Secretary may organize Correspondence Committees, of not less than three members, for the promotion of the work of the League in localities where there is no Civil Service Reform Association ;
the members of such Committees shall have the same status at the meetings of the League as the members of a Civil Service Reform Association.
At any meeting of the League all questions shall be de. cided by a majority vote of the individuals present and entitled to take part in the proceedings, unless a majority of the represertatives of any Association shall demand a vote by Associations, in which case each Association represented shall be entitled to one vote, which vote shall be cast by the delegates from such Association present at such meeting or by a majority of them.
ARTICLE V. The officers of the League shall be a President, a Secretary, and an Assistant-Secretary, and a Treasurer, who shall discharge the usual duties of such officers, and not less than ten Vice-Presidents; and there shall be a Council, to be constituted as hereinafter provided. The said officers and Council shall hold office until their respective successors are chosen.
ARTICLE VI. The President and Vice-Presidents shall be elected by ballot at the annual meeting of the League.
The Secretary, Assistant-Secretary and Treasurer shall be chosen, and may be removed, by the Council.
The Council shall be elected by the League at the annual meeting, and shall consist of at least thirty members, of whom there shall be at least one member from each Association belonging to the League. Ten members of the Council shall be a quorum.
The officers of the League, except the Vice-Presidents, shall be ex officio members of the Council, and either the League or the Council itself may from time to time elect additional members to hold office until the annual meeting next following. Any member of the Council may act by proxy.
The Council shall elect its own chairman. It shall keep a record of its own proceedings and shall make a report to the League at the annual meeting. A vacancy
office except that of Vice-President may be filled by the Council until the annual meeting next following.
ARTICLE VII. The Council may, subject to these articles, manage the affairs of the League, direct and dispose of the funds and, from time to time, make and modify By-Laws for the League and for its own action.
No debt shall be contracted by the League or by the Council beyond the amount in the hands of the Treasurer.
ARTICLE VIII. There shall be an annual meeting of the League at such time in each year, and at such place as the Council may
determine, at which officers shall be elected for the ensuing year, and other appropriate business may be transacted.
A special meeting of the League may be called at the discretion of the Council, or of the President, at any time, upon at least ten days' notice to be given by the Secretary.
ARTICLE IX. Any provision of this Constitution may be suspended or amended by a vote of two-thirds of the members, or of the Associations, if a vote by Associations be demanded, present at a meeting of the League, due notice of such proposed suspension or amendment having been given at a previous meeting of the League, or of the Council.