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No. 62.


MARCH 29, 1898.




ALBANY, March 28, 1898.

To the Legislature:

I have the honor to transmit herewith the fifteenth annual re

port of the New York Civil Service Commission.



To the Governor:

ALBANY, N. Y., March 15, 1898.

The fifteenth annual report of the State Board of Civil Service Commissioners is herewith respectfully submitted.

The Commission has remained unchanged the past year, namely: Willard A. Cobb, George P. Lord and Silas W. Burt.


In accordance with the law adopted by the Legislature of 1897 (chapter 428), supplemental to the State Civil Service Law of 1883 (chapter 354), and in accordance with the provisions of the ninth section of the fifth article of the State Constitution, the Commission on June 4th revised its rules for the conduct of the State Civil Service. Such rules were approved by your excellency July 1, 1897. Inasmuch, however, as it was deemed impossible to hold new examinations in less than six weeks from the time the new rules went into effect, the old eligible lists were voted operative until September 15th. Since that time examinations under the new law have been held throughout the State and all the requirements promptly met. As circumstances, therefore, have as yet allowed only a comparatively short period for ascertaining the practical workings of the civil service law as supplemented, obviously it is still experimental. But such results as have been already obtained fairly indicate not only maintenance of constitu

tional requirements but faithful civil service administration of State affairs. By the co-operation of heads of departments, themselves vitally interested, even increased practicability and efficiency have been attained.


Any reference to present duties of the State Civil Service Commission compared with even a few years ago must emphasize increased labor and responsibility. The addition of the State prisons and the canals added materially to our work. There is to-day hardly a department of State or subject of vital public interest with which the Civil Service Commission of the State is not in close touch. And yet so accurately is all now adjusted as the result of time and experience that the system although multiplied many fold, works with substantial unanimity and unvarying precision. Something of the advance thus made may be realized from the condition of affairs two years ago when the original law had been in operation fully twelve years. We quote from the Civil Service Commissioners report of 1895: "The law was passed during the legislative session of 1883. January 1, 1884, was fixed as the time when it would go into effect under rules adopted by the first commission and approved by the governor. The rules adopted were very elaborate, so elaborate and complex in fact that they have never been fully followed. They involve among other things so complex a system of classification and examination that it has never been found practicable by any commission to carry it out in its entirety. Moreover the law and rules made under it provided for the subjection to them of every branch of the civil service of the State. * The result of all this was that the State law was not fully in force by the first commission, only 18

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