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Summary of Principal Defects in Employment Conditions

The principal defects which have resulted from this lack of a businesslike basis for fixing compensation and work requirements may be summarized as follows:

1. Lack of equitable or logical rates of compensation.

2. Prevalence of misleading titles with resultant confusion of work and wasted effort.

3. Prevalence of unnecessary positions and employments.

4. Want of due consideration of all the conditions relative to the welfare and comfort of employees for which scientific management calls.

Summary of Related Defects

The establishment of standards of compensation and proper specifications of duties for the public employments is fundamental to effective civil service control and regulation. In the absence of these standards the civil service commission is unable to formulate a program which will be of real value either to the management or the personnel. As long as the above conditions exist there will be no exact basis for the selection, promotion, treatment or dismissal of employees.

The defects in the present system of civil service control and regulation which have resulted directly from the lack of standards of compensation and specifications of duties may be summarized as follows:

1. Lack of proper basis for the selection of employees by the civil service commission.

2. Lack of proper basis for the advancement or promotion of employees after selection; lines of promotion are not established; individual performance is not appraised and rated; no means are provided for the advancement of an employee while performing a certain kind of work on the basis of seniority and efficiency of service.

3. Lack of proper basis for dismissal or discipline of employees The uncertainty and injustice which result from such chaotic conditions narrow and limit the outlook of civil servants who feel that the civil service is not holding out proper rewards for meritorious service. As a result a condition of stagnation and indifference prevails.

Causes of Present Conditions

Civil service relationships and conditions of employments in the state of New York have been reached as a result of a development extending over the last century. This development has not been along the line of any defined plan or program. New employments have been authorized and existing employments modified as the functions of the

state have been expanded. This expansion represents a gradual evolution or transition-a more or less uncontrolled and inconsistent growth which has had very little reference to the real needs of the service. At no time has there been a truly intensive study of the employment conditions with a view to the enactment of rules and the installation of procedures which would place the public service on an economical basis.

It is true that during the last forty years the state employment conditions of New York state have been subject to the regulation and control of civil service commissions to whom have been entrusted the application and enforcement of merit principles. Up to the present time, however, the primary object of such control has been to remove abuses which were common to the spoils system. In this respect progress has been made. But the positive side of civil service control which contemplates the installation of standards of compensation, entrance and promotional examinations and a sound basis for discipline, removal and retirement has not been developed to the fullest limit, owing to the absence of proper constitutional and statutory provisions.

Steps Taken to Improve Present Conditions: the Senate Committee on Civil Service

The Senate Committee on Civil Service was created pursuant to resolution of the senate under date of February 15, 1915. This resolution provides that the Committee on Civil Service should have jurisdiction over all matters relating to civil service control and regulation. It may be said, however, that one of the principal objects and aims of the creation of this committee was to study employment conditions of the state civil service in order to formulate a basis for reclassifying civil service positions by standardizing salary grades and rates.

In accordance with the resolution establishing this committee, steps were taken to assemble data which could be used as a basis for the standardization of salaries and positions of employment in the state civil service. The information so collected was made the basis of a preliminary report characterizing present conditions and pointing to the need for further and more intensive investigation. An appropriation of $25,000, requested for this purpose, was made and the Senate Committee has organized an investigating staff for the prosecution of this work. This committee will report its findings and recommendations to the state legislature at the beginning of the year 1916.



Need for Preconception of Structural Plan

In laying the foundation for a government, there must be some preconception of the kind of superstructure that is to be erected. In any plan for the management of representative government, as well as for the management of a private business, some definite notion must be entertained with respect to the organization or institutional methods for determining what is to be done and the organization or institutional methods. for doing it. In fact, it may be said that this subdivision of duties and responsibilities is an essential to the successful operation of representative government. The prime reason for separation of the representative body from the executive is to provide a means whereby those who must settle questions of policy, shall have no direct responsibility for carrying them into execution, and may therefore act as independent critics of the administration. In other words, the underlying purpose of a representative system is not merely to reach decisions with regard to public policies, but also to provide the machinery for enforcing responsibility for acts of "the administration," which means "executive responsibility."

Common Structural Essentials of a Representative System

The common essentials of representative government, as previously stated, are (1) a numerous non-official personnel to perform the functions of an "electorate," and (2) a "representative" body which meets at stated times to discuss questions of public policy and reach decisions by vote as need for decisions may currently rise. The representative character, however, does not determine the organization or method for execution.

Types of Organization for Administration

Having provided for making the government representative, some means must be adopted for executing the policies and carrying on the business authorized. The expedients adopted in the organization of representative government for doing this work have been many. Broadly, organization for purposes of administration may be reduced to three general types, viz.:

1. Administration by legislative committee or commission-a type in which the elected body of representatives is made responsible for administering the business either directly

or through a committee, and in which no provision is made for a separate executive or administrative branch. 2. Administration under a responsible chief executive-a type in which both representative and executive branches appear, the chief executive being looked to for leadership and both branches being made responsive through provisions for submitting irreconcilable differences directly to the people.

3. Administration separately organized but not under a responsible chief executive—a type in which both an executive branch and a legislative branch appear, without any provision being made for responsible executive leadership or for the submission of irreconcilable differences to the electorate for decision.


Constitutions or governmental structures in which no provision is made for a separate executive branch are of two general classes, viz.: those which have been employed as revolutionary expedients and those which have been adopted for purposes of local self government.

Revolutionary Expedients-English and American

Of the first class, the most notable have been those governments in which the supreme power has been placed in a large body of official representatives, and the administration has been organized by this body under committees appointed by it, or has been left to other agencies over which it has had substantial control. Examples of this form of organization are found in the revolutionary parliament and committees of safety in England from 1642 to 1659, and in the representative bodies and committees of safety in America after the declaration of independence and before the states were permanently organized.

American Committees of Safety

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Says Hunt in "The Provincial Councils of Safety of the American Revolution" (pp. 9-10): “When the American colonists laid by the petition for the musket the executive attempted to silence the insurrection by dissolving the assemblies. But the people found other channels of expression. Representatives to colonial conventions were elected and gradually assumed entire control. These conventions served the purpose of deliberative and legislative bodies as well as the former assemblies but it was difficult for them to perform executive duties on account of their size. Moreover, it was impossible to keep such large bodies continually in session and in the frequent recesses and the intervals between a dissolution and the meeting of a new congress there was need

for some system by which the government could be carried on without interruption. It was to meet these wants that the conventions appointed committees of safety during the earlier years of the revolution. They served as the chief executive * * * in the transition period from colonial to state government." Under the same circumstances the "Confederation and Perpetual Union of the United States of America" was organized. The "Articles of Confederation Articles of Confederation" of the original thirteen states provided that "the United States in congress assembled should have the sole and exclusive right of directing the land and naval forces; and that the business of the confederation should be administered by Congress, or in their recess by a "Committee of the States," to consist of one delegate from each state.

The Failure of Committee Systems

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Such forms of organization where used as state and federal agencies, have in every instance broken down. While they have been adapted to making the government responsive, they have not been adapted to making it responsible for leadership, for fidelity, efficiency and economy. Their failure in New York is virtually admitted in the first sentence of the preamble of the first constitution of the state adopted in 1777, which runs as follows:

“Whereas, many tyrannical and oppressive usurpations of the King and parliament of Great Britain on the rights and liberties of the people of the American colonies had reduced them to the necessity of introducing a government by congresses and committees


* * * * * * ** *

And, whereas, many and great inconveniences attend the said mode of government by congresses and committees, as of necessity, in many instances, legislative, judicial, and executive powers have been vested therein * * * * * * * *

"This convention, therefore, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State, doth ordain, determine and declare that no authority shall, on any pretence whatever, be exercised over the people or members of this State but such as shall be derived from and granted by them * * * * * * *

It is clear that the legislative committee system of administration was originally a mere expedient of revolutionary times. Nevertheless, it has exercised a profound influence on the course of our constitutional and legislative development, although it was avowedly a temporary device resorted to at a time when executive power had been thrown into confusion by armed resistance. Domination of the administration by legislative committees is to-day a conspicuous and disastrous feature in American government.

The Commission Form of Government

The "commission form of government" as the term is now understood differs from the revolutionary expedients in this, that the represen

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