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CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.
ALEXANDER C. EUSTACE.
JOHN A. SLEICHER.
The New York Civil Service Commission has the honor to submit its ninth annual report.
The number of persons in the public service of the State who are classified as subject to the civil service regulations at the date of this report is 4,823; the number of persons in the classified service of the cities of the State is 13,154. The aggregate of 17,977 which these figures present, marks an increase during the current year in the number of public servants in the State amenable to the civil service rules of 735. Of this increase 116 are in the State and 619 in the cities service. No more assuring evidence can be noted of the energetic advance of
civil service reform in this State than that afforded in the contrast presented by a comparison of these figures with those submitted by the Commission in its second annual report. That report, which was made in January, 1885, and which was the first to contain an enumeration of the civil service, showed the whole number of persons in the classified service of the State and cities to be 12,323, of whom 3,600 were State employés. Thus, in seven years since 'the first classification of the State service, the scope of the system has been extended more than one-third, while in the service of the cities the extension has been quite as encouraging. Some slight part of this increase since the report of 1885 is doubtless to be accounted for in the necessary enlargement of the force of public servants to keep pace with the increased business of government, but this element is comparatively unimportant. The chief occasion of the increase has been the gradual extension of the civil service system to branches of the public service, and to classes of employés, to which it was not originally deemed expedient to extend it, but which experience has demonstrated are proper objects of the reform. It is worthy of remark, also, that were it not for the constitutional limitations which, as interpreted by the courts of the State, have placed the large body of employés in the department of the Superintendent of Public Works outside of the civil service rules, the percentage of increase would be still more gratifying
The administration of the law, however, is still much embarrassed, and the free extension of the system is still much retarded by the unseemly anxiety too frequently manifested by superiors to exempt from the application of the law those branches of the public service in their immediate keeping. Frequent and persistent pressure is brought to bear upon the Commission for the relaxation of the rules and regulations. Nor do these hindrances come alone from those who are popularly
looked upon as opponents of civil service reform. On the contrary, such applications as often emanate from quarters whence they should naturally be least expected. Exemptions are sought in many instances by those who are popular advocates, and professed friends, of the system, but whose jealous watchfulness in in the cause of the reform is confined to securing the observance of civil service methods in other official households rather than in their own. A notable instance during the current year has arisen in connection with the two offices of academy inspectors under the Board of Regents. These offices were created last year by the Board of Regents and were filled by them in disregard of the requirements of the civil service regulations. A general rule of the Commission, in force for several years, provides that all newly-created offices not belonging to
general exempt class, shall be subject to competitive examination. After making appointments to these offices the Board of Regents applied
the commission for their transfer from the competitive the non-competitive schedule. They were highly remunerative offices, as public employment goes, and, being in the educational branch of the public service, were looked upon by the Commission as affording an opportunity to make a desirable test, which, if successful, would refute the claim that the competitive system was not calculated to fill the better class of subordinate places. Careful inquiry was instituted and full information obtained by the Commission as to the duties of these offices, and the requirements which the Board of Regents believed that persons filling them should possess. With this knowledge in hand it seemed to the Commission, after mature consideration of the subject, that it would be entirely practicable to determine satisfactorily by competitive tests all the essential qualifications required, and the application for a change of classification, accordingly was denied; but in order that the Board