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possible, and directed to the special needs of the position sought. There is no need of discussing the advantages of the methods which we have grown to group together when we speak of Civil Service Reform. They have by long experience been proved to work admirably. In the postal service, for instance, the examinations for clerks, letter carriers and railway mail-clerks, are entirely practical, and the application of the reformed system to the postal service has produced a very great improvement in the character of the work done. In the navy yards of the nation the benefit resultant upon taking the appointment and retention of navy yard employees out of the hands of local politicians and making them consequent upon fitness and good conduct only has resulted in an incredible improvement, not only in the character of the work done, but in saving of expense to the Government. Our present navy would not have been able to do its duty in the war with Spain in the way that it actually did, had the Government service in the navy yard not been put upon a merit basis. What has succeeded in these great branches of the national service will surely succeed in the State service if given a proper trial. Let the clerks, stenographers and the like be appointed as the result of written competitive examinations. Let other employees be appointed after written competitive examinations where possible, and where it is not possible, then let the places be subject to other kinds of competitive examinations, or of non-competitive examinations, or be excepted from examination, in accordance with the actual needs of the service.
The veteran of the Civil War should be legally guaranteed preference in appointment to, and in retention in, office; that is, he should be appointed to any vacancy when he can show his fitness to fill it, and he should not be removed without trial by the appointing officer, at which he can make his defence. There is no intention to condone corruption or pass over inefficiency in a veteran; but, if he is honest and efficient, he is entitled to preference.
Over-legislation And Biennial Sessions I invite the attention of the Legislature particularly to the evils of over-legislation. The tendency to pass laws which are utterly unnecessary, even when not .pernicious or which are enacted purely to favor certain special private interests, seems to grow instead of diminish. It is difficult to devise an efficient check for it, but strenuous efforts should be made to find out and put into operation some such check. The State suffers very much more from over-legislation than it does from lack of legislation. One partial remedy for the evil would be to amend the Constitution so as to provide for biennial sessions of the Legislature. The Legislature has already passed this proposed amendment once. I recommend that it be passed again this year, in order that it may be submitted to the people next fall. I also advise that an investigation be made of the methods employed in other representative bodies for getting rid of the evil. I direct your attention to the custom of the British Parliament, which puts upon the would-be beneficiary the cost of all private and special legislation, and wisely makes it difficult to obtain at all, and impossible to obtain without full advertisement and discussion. No special law should be passed where passing a general law will serve the purpose.
School Suffrage I call the attention of the Legislature to the desirability of gradually extending the sphere in which the suffrage can be exercised by women.
The Legislature should see that the excellent movement to better our roads is continued, and that it is conducted primarily in the interests of the farmers and market gardeners.
The Forests Of The State The Forest Reserve will be a monument to the wisdom of its founders. It is very important that in acquiring additional land we should not forget that it is even more necessary to preserve what we have already acquired and to protect it, not only against the depredations of man, but against the most serious of all enemies to forests — fire. One or two really great forest fires might do damage which could not be repaired for a generation. The laws for the protection of the game and fish of the wilderness seem to be working well, but they should be more rigidly enforced.
Every effort should be made to reduce the expenses of the State Government. Appropriations should be itemized and not, save in rare cases, made in lump sums. All needless offices should be abolished. For instance the Attorney-General's office should do the work now done by the special counsel for the different hospitals for the insane; and these special counsel should be abolished. Wherever possible commissions should be consolidated and the number of commissioners and of their employees reduced. In the State's charitable work, which is now very expensive, especially as regards the care of the insane, care should be taken not needlessly to multiply institutions nor to erect buildings more costly than is absolutely necessary, and the salary list should be kept down. The economical and efficient administration of these institutions is interfered with by the custom which has grown up of treating each as if it existed for the benefit of the locality in which it exists, whereas of course this is an utterly improper view, as the administration should always be simply in the interest of the State at large. Great improvement has resulted from putting the care of the insane under the control of the State instead of the counties.
University Of The State Of New York For more than a century New York has taken a leading position in fostering secondary and higher education. This work she accomplishes through the agency of her University. The growth of these interests has been specially marked since i889. Within this decade, though the increase in attendance on our public elementary schools has been less than 20 per cent., there has been an increase of more than i00 per cent, in those completing requirements for admission to the high school and of more than 200 per cent, in high school graduates. By setting the standard for graduation from the elementary schools and bv providing teachers for these schools the University has been a potent factor in improving the whole school system. In comparison with results attained and with other expenditures the State appropriations for high schools are small. In i898 the State expended about $i50 for each convict in her prisons and $i85.3i for each lunatic in her asylums. The cost to the State of each student in her high schools was $4.45.
In the medical schools of New York are nearly one-fifth of all the medical students in the United States. In her law schools are fully one-quarter of all the law students. In other higher educational lines she is equally prominent. The standards for admission to the professions, which are recognized as the highest in the country, are determined by the University.
The reputation of the University has been increased by the valuable work of its museum, its paleontologist, botanist and entomologist. Important original research in these fields has added to the knowledge of the natural history and of the resources of the State.
The New York State Library, another department of the University, has moi'e than doubled its efficiency within the past ten years and is an inspiration to intellectual life throughout the State. Through its local public libraries, its traveling libraries, its valuable photographic reproductions which are sent from school to school, and its other facilities for home education, it comes in direct contact with every class of the community.
The State owes loyal support to an organization which so guards and unites her most vital interests.
Rapid Transit In New York City I call the attention of the Legislature to the need of improved facilities for rapid transit in the city of New York. As the city extends, the need for the establishment of an improved system of rapid transit become more and more