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in regard to vacations were embodied in the report of a sub-committee which was presented and adopted at an adjourned meeting.
The committee, in its report, reviewed the conditions in the various departments, recognized the obvious impossibility of securing uniformity of practice in the matter of vacations throughout the many corps of employees connected with the various offices and commissions in different parts of the State, and finding that there was no provision in existing statutes relating to vacations recommended legislation recognizing the principle of vacations and authorizing the heads of departments to grant per diem employees vacations, with pay, of not to exceed two weeks in each year.
Covering these recommendations the Legislature passed and the Governor approved an amendment to the Public Officers Law, by the insertion of a new section (71), which authorizes the executive officers of every public department, bureau, commission or board of the State and of each county, city or other civil division, to grant to every employee under their supervision, who shall have been in such employ for at least one year, a vacation of not less than two weeks in each year at such time as the executive officers may fix and provides that during such vacations the employees shall be allowed full pay.
Pensions for Superannuated Employees. The committee of the conference of State officers above referred to was also charged with the duty of investigating the subject of pensions or insurance for superannuated State employees, and on this subject it reported as follows:
“We appreciate the fact that no provision has yet been made for those who have long since passed their maxim of efficiency and hold their positions because of faithful service in the past. Such a condition deters the appointive power from maintaining a maximum working capacity under appropriations for the purpose, and until proper remedy be found in a recognition by the State by pension or otherwise of its obligation to those who have given their lives to the service, the departments of State government will be increasingly hampered in affording effective administration.
This broad question, involving State policy, is so important that it seems unwise to your committee to form definite conclusions without a thorough study of the subject in the light of precedents as they exist in other governments and without a full knowledge of all the conditions that must be met.”
The committee was continued with directions to further consider this question.
As a preliminary, essential to any intelligent consideration of the subject, either as to the need for the adoption of some system for the retirement of employees who may have become incapacitated in the public service, or as to the practicability of imposing upon the State the burden, in whole or in part, of such a system, the President of the State Civil Service Commission, acting as a member of the committee mentioned, addressed inquiries to the heads of the several departments asking for information as to the number of employees now in the State service who had reached the ages of sixty and sixty-five years respectively, and as to what extent the efficiency and economy of administration of the several departments are affected by the retention in the service of men above the age last mentioned. Replies to this inquiry were received from the heads of twenty-seven departments, a summary of which shows that there are now employed in those departments one hundred and thirty-five persons who have attained the age of sixty years, of whom sixty-five are sixty-five years of age or over. The number of departments is as follows:
No. employees No. employees
60 years old.
65 years old.
The heads of the following named departments report that they have no employees over 60 years of age: the Attorney-General, the State Historian, the State Probation Commission, the State Superintendent of Weights and Measures, the State Board of Tax Commissioners, the Supreme Court Reporter, the Secretary to the Governor, the State Water Supply Commission and the State Civil Service Commission.
The number of employees over 60 years of age in the twentyseven departments from which replies to the inquiries have been received, constitutes 3 9/10 per cent. of the total number of employees in those departments, and the number over 65 years of age is only 1 7/8 per cent. of the total number.
In response to the query as to what extent is the efficiency and economy of administration of the department affected by the retention of men above the age last mentioned, there is expressed a variety of opinion. Several report that the work in their de partments has not suffered by retention of these employees, and one at least says that the long service, familiarity with departmental precedents and general usefulness by reason thereof, gives such employees efficiency not possessed by younger and less experienced men. But the concensus of opinion is that the work of the departments suffers somewhat by the retention of employees beyond the age of 65 years. The head of one department says he believes that it would be possible to do the work now performed by men in the service who have reached the age last mentioned more efficiently with half the number at half the cost. Another
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points out that the efficiency of his department is affected by the retention of persons over 65 years of age by reason of their physical rather than their mental infirmities. Another writes that “employees who have rendered faithful service and who become incapacitated in a degree by reason of impaired health or advanced years naturally receive and will continue to receive consideration that is inconsistent with the greatest amount of efficiency in the department.”
The tenor of the replies to the Commission's inquiry goes to show that, while there are many exceptions, the efficiency of men holding positions requiring clearness of vision and ability to climb stairs, rapidly deteriorates as their years lengthen. It is evident that employees are kept on in the service when their work could be better done and more cheaply done by younger men, the dictates of humanity preventing their dismissal and the consequent withdrawal of their means of support. The adoption of some system of retirement pensions or insurance, it seems in the light of the above statistics, would not involve even at its inception such a burden on the State as should preclude its consideration, and if organized on the lines suggested in the last report of the Commission, so as to require State employees to contribute from their salaries the fund from which they could later draw pensions or annuities the proposition would appear to be entirely manageable. The payment of such pensions or annuities, upon a public employee's retirement, to take a position in private service, or by reason of his disability, or on account of his having reached the age for compulsory retirement, or at death to his widow or dependent children, could doubtless be worked out as it has been so successfully by various railroad companies and large industrial corporations.
The pressure of the various civil employees' associations in favor of some pension scheme, and the example of European nations in making provision for the old age of employees in public or private capacities goes to show that the State ought not longer to delay frank and considerate attention to the problem involved and thereby avoid legislation hastily devised and of doubtful wisdom. The adoption of such a plan, avoiding the intolerable burdens that would attach to a noncontributing pension scheme, would operate, the Commission believes, to encourage the entrance into the public service, and the retention in that service, of men of efficiency who now shun it altogether or leave it in the search of occupation affording greater assurance of competency in the declining years of life, as well as to relieve the service of a considerable number of employees incapacitated in whole or in part for the performance of active duty.
The Commission desires to emphasize the necessity of coupling with any plan for annuities safeguards against an employee's interest in a pension fund operating in any way to give him a claim to retention in public employment. In its report for 1909 the Commission said:
“Any insurance system, it is believed, should be so organized that every individual would have his own particular insurance, paid for by himself and no one else, except tha State in the case of employees already advanced in service, and every insurance policy should have at all times an adequate surrender value, so that no question could arise as to property right in office, or in the pension fund contributed to by an employee which would be sacrificed by separation from the service. It is absolutely essential to the discipline of the public service that heads of departments should have the fullest right of removal for reasonable cause, without the necessity of proving in court a case of positive malfeasance. Any property right in a fund attached to the public service would tend unreasonably to hamper the exercise of that power, and to put the administration of the public service at the mercy of organized public servants.”
The Commission notes with gratification that President Taft, after a thorough study of the subject of civil pensions in his recent annual message, reaches practically the same conclusion as to the superiority of insurance or annuity to pensions in the federal service, and as to the necessity for the segregation of individual contributions and the return of the proceeds in case of separation from the service. He says:
“The experience of England and other countries shows that neither can a contributory plan be successful, human nature being what it is, which does not make provision for