The President's Position on Patronage

September 10, 1923
Entire Report

(NOTE: The statistics presented in this report are note available in any published work but probably will be included in the annual report of the Civil Service Commission).

  1. The statement made by William Dudley Foulke, president of the National Civil Service Reform League, following his recent conference with the President, in which he predicted “important advances for the merit principle during the administration of President Coolidge” was based upon assurances given by the President of his whole-hearted support for the reform, and the position by the President on three specific matters brought to his attention by Mr. Foulke's committee.

    1. The President indicated his willingness to include in his first message to Congress a request for authority to bring into the competitive system such positions in the federal civil service not now subject to the merit principle (numbering in excess of 120,000) as may appropriately be filled through competitive examination. The ground for this request would be the general desire to relieve the Chief Executive of all unnecessary burdens. The settlement of patronage disputes preceding and growing out of appointments to places outside the classified service is at present one of the most exhaustive burdens of the Presidential office.

    2. The President saw no reason why he should not issue an executive order providing for the selection of the first name (instead of any one of the first three) on the Civil Service Commission's eligible lists for postmastership appointments. Such an order was recommended to the President as an essential step in ridding the Post office Department of politics.

    3. The President indicated his willingness to recommend increases in the salaries for members of the United States Civil Service Commission in order that men may be secured for these positions who will command the respect of Congress, administrative officers and the general public. There are three members of the Civil Service Commission. Their present salaries are $5,000 a year, as compared with salaries ranging up to $10,000 paid to members of other federal commissions.

  2. There are four classes of positions in the federal civil service at present excepted, wholly or in part, from the requirements of the civil service rules.

    1. Positions excepted from examination by statute which cannot be brought within the competitive system without further legislation by Congress. This class is made up principally of positions created by comparatively

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