« PreviousContinue »
Women's AUXILIARY OF MASSACHUSETTS: Miss Marion C. Nichols.
In response to invitations issued by the League to municipal reform associations and to other bodies interested in the reform of the civil service, delegates were present from such organizations as follows:
CLEVELAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: James A. Ford, Hubert E. Fuller.
CINCINNATI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: E. P. Marshall, Will L. Finch.
WASHINGTON BOARD OF TRADE: John Joy Edson.
CINCINNATI OPTIMIST CLUB: Robert Ramsay, Maurice J. Freiberg, N. H. Davis, Harry M. Levy.
MASSACHUSETTS REFORM CLUB: Samuel Y. Nash.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH Class: A. K. Hoag.
INVITED GUESTS: George W. Guthrie, Everett Colby, Henry F. Greene, W. F. Johnson, James R. Mulliken, Gardner Colby, Frank B. Jess, George R. Wallace, Vivian F. Gable.
MEETINGS OF THE LEAGUE.
ing were at the Hotel Schenley, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The proceedings at the sessions of the League, commencing on the afternoon of December 17th, were as follows:
Hotel Schenley. Thursday Afternoon, December 17th. THE League convened at 3:00p.m. The Chairman of
The minutes of the last Annual Meeting having been printed and distributed, their reading was omitted.
Hon. George W. Guthrie, mayor of Pittsburgh, delivered an address of welcome', to which Hon. Joseph H. Choate, President of the League, made response’, Mr. Choate then took the chair.
Mr. Richard H. Dana, Chairman of the Council, then read the report of the Council.3
Upon motion of Mr. Jenks, seconded by Mr. Hoag, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That the President and the Secretary of the League be instructed to send by telegraph to the President the enthusiastic thanks of the National Civil Service Reform League for his recent executive order by which 15,000 fourth-class postmasters were placed under the merit system, and to express to him the confident hope of the League that the results of this order will justify the extension of its scope.
The following reports from Associations composing the League and from the Auxiliaries were then read:
Mr. W. C. Coffin submitted the report from the Civil Service Association of Allegheny County:
Our local Association is a very young branch of the
Printed in full 'at page 60; at page 61 ; 'at page 43.
National League, the organization dating only from July 2nd, 1908.
We have a membership of nearly 1,200, made up of about 750 policemen, 350 firemen, and 60 odd civilians. We are expecting quite a large increase in the latter class of members, as the convention should stir up the latent interest that we believe exists and needs only such an educational function to bring out.
The heads of our municipal departments have been held to the closest fulfillment of the law, by both the mayor and the commission. So that most of the complaints about the inequitable or illegal enforcement of the law have not reached this Association at all, but have been settled fairly and legally by those in authority.
Our secretary has investigated a number of cases, but so far in only one case of discharge was the evidence strong enough to call for reinstatement in the opinion of our attorney, and the man was reinstated on that evidence. This was the case of Jacob Shunk, as painter in the bureau of parks.
Only one case of discharge for political reasons has been called to our attention, and that will come up for hearing next week. This case will involve a careful investigation of the methods of government, discipline and discharge followed at the North Side City Home, located at Claremont.
Another complaint of a very serious nature has come in recently from the city home at Marshalsea, but is still under investigation.
Most of the complaints so far received come from lack of knowledge of the provisions of the law, or of the rules of the commission.
Several men of high standing on the lists failed of appointment because they did not know that the appointing officer had the choice of three candidates, or because they did not understand that it was proper for them to have their friends say a kind word in their behalf.
The commission has been very lenient in its requirement that an appeal be taken within five days
from the date of discharge, otherwise good complaints would have gone unheard on a technicality.
Considerable difficulty has been experienced on the question as to what constitutes a promotion. Whether an advance in annual salary is the only test, or a change from lower to higher grade, or only a change from an inferior position with no control over others to a position where such control is exercised.
A great many employes and candidates for positions are inclined to think that they have a sort of vested right to their position or to their place on the eligibility list. And the act seems to recognize this when it says, "promotions shall be made whenever practical, rather than original appointments.”
The state act creating the civil service commissions or boards for Pittsburgh and Scranton has only been in effect a little over a year. So it is to be expected that some time will be required to establish rulings under the law that will cover all the questions that have come up or are disputed.
Considering the very firm hold that the political preference system has heretofore had on the whole community, we believe that the measure of popularity of the civil service already attained is a most hopeful sign for the growth and firm establishment of the merit system.
Mr. Frederick Almy submitted the report from the Civil Service Reform Association of Buffalo:
I am glad to say for the Buffalo Association that we have not done much the last year. There has not been much to do. With us this is no longer a reform, but the civil service commission is an established affair, with the normal faults of all established institutions. No newspaper, no alderman even, now attacks the principle of civil service reform, and the present commission is doing its work so well that we can stand by and look on The commission is now busy with a reclassification of the city offices under the civil service rules. The Buffalo civil service rules are twenty-four years old and were the first in the country, with the exception of New York and Brooklyn. There are
3,492 city offices in Buffalo, of which 50 are filled by election, 94 are exempt from examination, and all the rest are filled by civil service examinations. Eightyseven per cent. of the offices are filled by competitive examination. The rules are now being amended so that still more places will be in the competitive class. I wish to add that in Buffalo, although the front door to office is barred by a civil service examination, the back door is always open, and any person except a veteran can be dismissed without charges or a hearing. This we believe in. An interesting feature of last year has been an examination for superintendent of the county lodging house, which was entirely oral. About sixty candidates were called in one by one and marked on personality. An excellent man stood first and has been appointed. For other positions requiring personality, such as probation officer, for instance, it is the practice to hold first a written examination and then subject those who pass the written examination to an oral examination for personality. A most important and active part of the year's work of the commission is the old, old story of the contest with the board of public works, which has been a wilful violator of the civil service law. These violations have been checked at many points, but even last year it was the practice of the department of public works to designate clerks as foremen on the pay roll, so that they are in the labor schedule, and a Supreme Court decision has held that the civil service commission could not go behind the designation on the pay roll even if they knew that the work done was quite different. An investigation by the Buffalo Municipal League brought this conspicuously before the public. Several clerks in the department testified that they were not foremen and did not know why they were called so. This is now being corrected by an agreement with the commissioner of public works.
Mr. Charles G. Morris submitted the report from the Civil Service Reform Association of Connecticut:
As there are no civil service rules in Connecticut, except within the city of New Haven, our Association has no sustained watching to do. On the whole,