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not only for the narrow duties of the place immediately in view, but also for those to which the incumbent inay be transferred or obliged to assume in the varied exigencies of the business in every public office.
So far in the State service, competition has been confined to the educational examination, but the Brooklyn municipal examiners have extended it to matters of character, habits, reputation and business experience. The results of this interesting experiment will be of great value, and if successful, the method will undoubtedly be erally adopted.
In the published schemes for clerkships the range of subjects remains the same as at the date of the last report, except that to the optional list has been added "expert penmanship.” Handwriting remains as one of the obligatory subjects and carries a large relative weight, but in order to supply a demand from several offices for ex pert penmen to be selected under the third section of the seventeenth rule, candidates are now permitted to exhibit their skill with the pen as a distinct accomplishment.
Spelling is tested by accuracy in writing down the words in matter dictated, and grammar by the general correctness in this respect of the answers to the questions on all subjects, or by original composition, as in letter-writing. These methods, being a true measure of practical acquirements, are superior to those which require the correction of misspelt words, or of false syntax in given sentences, both of which tend to become scholastic.
There has also been added to the obligatory subjects for messergers, orderlies, etc., “ writing down from memory the substance of inatter orally communicated.” As the principal duties of employes in these grades are to carry out verbal orders, or to convey verbal messages, the above test of their intelligence, perception and memory is valuable.
The very comprehensive scheme of subjects for asylum physicians has been given under another head. A committee of the Bar Association of New York city has aided in the determination of subjects for examination of clerks and officers of the courts. A similar committee, appointed by the American Society of Civil Engineers
, is in consultation with the Commission in the preparation of standards of qualification for the several grades of engineers in the State service, and in determining the subjects and scope of examination for testing such qualifications.
Whenever desired by them, the competitors have been examined in such optional subjects as have been placed on the respective schemes, and several have availed themselves of this chance to demonstrate proficiency in special branches of education.
For clerkships the optional subjects selected have been book-keeping and the French and German languages. In an examination for places in the Immigrant Depot at Castle Garden competitors were tested in the German, Swedish, Norwegian, French, Italian and
Spanish languages. The successful competitor for the place of third assistant physician at the Hudson River Hospital, was examined optionally in Latin, German, French, and in practical microscopy, standing high on all, and maximum on the last subject.
EXAMINING BOARDS. The full statements accompanying the report of the Commission exhibit in the ample lists of examiners the great enlargement of its means for holding examinations not only at the capital but at all places in the State convenient to any considerable number of positions under the rules. The functions of the examiners under the civil service law are essentially judicial and great care has been taken to select for these positions citizens of such high reputation as would be a guaranty of absolute fairness in the conduct of the examinations. The discriminating care taken by the Commission in this respect has been reflected in the excellent condition of the records and in the fact that not a single allegation of injustice as to the conduct of the examination or in the grading of the candidates has yet been made. The notably high class of citizens who have accepted the position of examiner, in most cases as a gratuitous public duty, justifies the request of the Commission that induced the amendment to the law, permitting persons not in the State service to render these important duties. In every case where the citizen invited to act as examiner or representative could do so without injury to other trusts, he has accepted the appointment as an obligation of citizenship, and this in itself is a signal proof of the great popular interest in the regulation and improvement of the civil service under the law.
To these public-spirited gentlemen and to the capable general board at Albany I am greatly indebted for counsel and assistance in the examinations during the past year.
Their unselfish devotion to the highest public interests is convincing proof that in their hands there will be no retrogression in the work allotted to them in the future.
CIVIL SERVICE OF CITIES. Under the direction of the Commission I have given a great deal of time to the regulations for the municipal service and have been in frequent consultation with the mayors of the several cities, partienlarly of Brooklyn and New York, and also with the respective examining boards.
I have already spoken of the important work, especially in the extension of competition, accomplished by the examining board of Brooklyn. The very able advisory board at New York has given great time to the preparation of regulations for that city, as also to a thorough classification of the service and the elaboration of methods of examination. Its report as also that of the Brooklyn examining board gives in detail the transactions in the two cities during the
[Assem. Doc. No. 42.] 8
past year. I have visited several other cities and believe that their mayors are now generally prepared to enforce the regulations as required by the statute.
The beneficent results of a plan that rescnes the public service from partisan greed and abuses, and from selfish perversions through patronage, will be more patent in the great cities than elsewhere. The methods prescribed in New York and Brooklyn for the examination of candidates for the police force, based upon the report niade at your request by a committee of which Mr. Edward Cary, of New York, was chairman, are the most thorough and satisfactory tests of qualification for executive places yet devised anywhere.
When relieved from certain features of dependence upon the police board and certain antagonistic legal provisions which now weaken their force, these methods will in time raise the police force of these cities to the highest degree of efficiency.
The growth of a healthy public interest in municipal reform has been aided by the full application of the civil service law to the cities and that interest will sustain and encourage the officers intrusted with the enforcement of the regulations.
In closing this report I beg leave to return my thanks for the kind consideration, courtesy and cordial support in my official work extended to me by yourself and your associates. I have the honor to be very respectfully yours,
SILAS W. BURT,
AMENDMENTS TO RULES AND SCHEDULES, AND
STATISTICS OF EXAMINATIONS.
CHANGES OF DISTRIBUTION AMONG THE SCHEDULES UNDER RULE V.
Transfers from Schedule C to Schedule A. Principals, professors and teachers in normal schools; chief clerks of courts.
Transfers from Schedule C to Schedule B. Class II. Civil engineers and surveyors; chemists.
Class III, Subdivision II. Superintendents and assistant superintendents in charge of public buildings under the general superintendent.
Class IV, Subdivision III, Grade I. Rodmen and levelmen.
Transfers from Schedule D to Schedule B.
Transfers from Schedule C to Schedule E. Class VII, Subdivision III. All assistant physicians and pathologists in insane asylums, except those in the lowest grade.
ADDITIONS TO THE SCHEDULES. A. Counsel and cashier of the Excise Board of New York; law assistant of surrogate of New York.
B. Class III, Subdivision III. Interpreters in courts.
EXCEPTIONS FROM THE RESTRICTIONS AS TO RESIDENCE AND CITIZEN
SHIP IMPOSED BY RULE XXXV. By request of the trustees of the Hudson River State Hospital such restrictions were removed as to applicants for the positions of
assistant physicians in that institution by resolution of the Commission September 8, 1884. The reasons for this action were in the desire of the trustees to secure the most highly-qualified applicants in the United States.
Upon the representation of the superintendent of the Elmira State Reformatory that, on account of difficulty in securing candidates for the position of guard, he desired to open this position to residents in the neighboring parts of Pennsylvania, the restrictions were removed by resolution of the Commission December 5, 1884.
STATE OF NEW YORK,
OFFICE OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. Regulations for the examination of health officers. For the purpose of providing for the selection of competent phy sicians as health officers pursuant to the statutes for the preservation of the public health, there shall be a State Board of Examiners consisting of five physicians to be designated by the Commission, who, subject to the supervision of the Commission, shall prepare the examination papers, and after the examination of applicants, shall pass upon the standing and fitness of the persons examined as shown by the papers, and report the results of their examination to the Commission.
The examination papers, when prepared, shall be printed and transmitted to the county judge of every county where examinations are to be held, and the examination shall be before and under the supervision of the county judge, who, when the examination shall be completed, shall immediately transmit the papers to the Commission at Albany.
STATE OF NEW YORK,
OFFICE OF CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. Provisional rule concerning the employment of persons required in
the management of convict labor on State account in the prisons of the State.
In case the superintendent of prisons shall determine to employ convicts in the State prisons at any skilled labor upon State acconnt, and shall require persons in the management of such labor in addition to the regular prison officials, all such persons shall be classed in Schedule C. and shall be examined before appointment by a board of examiners for each of the prisons to consist of the agent and warden and two citizens not officially connected with the prisons. But this provisional rule shall cease whenever a permanent system of prison labor shall be established by lawful authority.
Approved October 14, 1884.