Page images

Extracts from the Constitution of the State of New York.


Such acts of the Legislature of this State as are now in force shall be and continue the law of this State, subject to such alterations as the Legislature shall make concerning the same. But all such parts of the common law, and such of the said acts, or parts thereof, as are repugnant to this Constitu. tion, are hereby abrogated.


Appointments and promotions in the Civil Service of the State, and of all the civil divisions thereof, including cities and villages, shall be made according to merit and fitness to be ascertained, so far as practicable, by examinations, which, so far as practicable, shall be competitive; provided, however, that honorably discharged soldiers and sailors from the army and navy of the United States in the late civil war, who are citizens and residents of this State, shall be entitled to preference in appointment and promotion, without regard to their standing on any list from which such appointment or promotion may be made. Laws shall be made to provide for the enforcement of this section.



ALBANY, N. Y., December 31, 1895.

To the Governor:

The Board of Civil Service Commissioners herewith submits its thirteenth annual report.

On the 1st of January last, E. Prentiss Bailey and DeForest Van Vleet, commissioners, resigned, and in their places were appointed Willard A. Cobb and Silas W. Burt. These gentlemen, with Willard D. McKinstry, who had served also on the former commission held their first meeting March 6, 1895, and organized by electing Willard A. Cobb as president.

The Commission for 1894 was instrumental in obtaining an amendment to the Civil Service Law, whereby a penalty was placed in it, and by reason of which they were able to secure a complete roster of the State service, stop all violations and make a reclassification. This, together with the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution protecting the law against nullification in the future, furnished a good basis for the present Commission to bụild upon. It is with satisfaction that it is able to report that a very large advance has been made toward the entire fulfillment of the law; that it has been enforced in all departments of the State service and a large number of positions added to the competitive schedule.

It can further report that the enforcement of the law has won for it respect and friends, thus making the task of enforcement

constantly more easy of accomplishment. For many years after the original passage of the act, in fact until its amendment in 1894, the impossibility of rigid enforcement through the lack of a penalty, gave a widespread idea that it had become little more than a farce and a respectable cloak for the same operations practiced under the system which it was designed to correct. This sentiment has now entirely changed. It has become widely known that the law is accomplishing what its framers designed, and the result is a larger public respect, more ready compliance on the part of the appointing powers, and a larger number and higher grade of applicants at the examinations.

The enforcement of the law has developed several interesting facts, one of which is that the requirement of an examination in itself works for the improvement of the State service even though no other requirement were made; for only those who at least think themselves competent to fill the position for which they apply are willing to submit to the examination test. Under the old system they only asked of themselves as to their ability to draw a salary; under this system they must be confident of their ability to do the


We point with pride to the fact that at the recent annual meeting of the National Civil Service Reform League, held at Washington, the State of New York was given the advanced position among all the States for progress it had made in the reform of its civil service. When it is remembered that until within two years it held the least advanced position, it will be seen that progress under the amended law and the constitutional provision has been most rapid. The progress of the past year is best shown by a comparison with the corresponding statistics of 1894.

By the report of 1894, the number of positions in the civil service of the State was 5,370, divided as follows:

[blocks in formation]

The Commission of 1894 had doubled the number of places in the competitive schedule over that of 1893, thus commencing the work which this Commission has carried on. The present Commission are able to make the following statement:

[blocks in formation]

It will be seen by this statement that while Schedule A, the exempt class, has been decreased by 216 positions; Schedule B, the competitive class, has been more than doubled within the present year, and increased by 887 positions over 1894; that Schedule C, requiring no competitive examinations, has been decreased by forty-six positions; while there has been an increase in Schedule D, owing largely to the taking in, under the provisions of the Constitution, of the department of prisons, before exempt, and the Long Island State Hospital.

The number of competitive examinations held during 1894 was thirty-nine, and during the past year, fifty-eight. The total num

ber of applicants competitively examined in 1894 was 824, and during the past year, 1,460.

The total number of applicants for examinations of all kinds has been 2,948. The total number of appointments made from the eligible lists in 1894 was 183. During the past year the number has increased to 200.

These figures give some idea of the constantly increasing work of the Commission and also of its requirements. The increase of positions brought under the Civil Service Law has multiplied the number of examinations fourfold, and yet there has been no increase in the office force, or in the annual appropriations allowed the Commission since its original organization. A large number of new positions were but recently brought under the rule, for which examinations have not yet been provided, but must be very speedily, and the Commission has already exhausted its appropriation for such purposes which was provided to meet expenses until the 1st of October next. The Commission would, therefore, respectfully submit that the Legislature should provide for deficiencies in this department, and also for an increase in its annual appropriation, and a statement of the requirements will be presented for action in the appropriation and supply bills for this purpose. All departments in the State governments are now dependent for their smooth working upon this office, and it will readily be seen that its request for an increased appropriation is

a reasonable and necessary one.

The Commission of last year had left in the hands of the Governor a classification of the State prisons and public works departments, these being brought, it held, under civil service rules by the adoption of the new Constitution. The Superintendent of Public Works was of the opinion that such event did not take place until

« PreviousContinue »