Extension of the Merit System

June 26, 1939

Report Outline
Recent Action to Vitalize Merit System
Extension of Classified Civil Service
Reform of Presidential Appointment System
Reorganization of Civil Service System
The Problem of Expert Personnel

Recent Action to Vitalize Merit System

Extension and Reorganization of System in 1938

Action by the President and by Congress during the last twelve months has laid the groundwork for the most far-reaching extension of the federal civil service system since passage of the original Civil Service Act of 1883. Under an executive order issued June 24, 1938, which became effective last February 1, the President extended the competitive civil service to all positions in the executive branch which had previously been exempt, except those requiring senatorial confirmation and those expressly reserved by statute. At the same time, he authorized new machinery to strengthen administration of the civil service system and promulgated a new set of civil-service rules——the first complete revision since 1903.

Positions of postmasters of the first, second, and third class were brought into the classified service on June 25, 1938, when President Roosevelt signed the Ramspeck-O'Mahoney Act. Although the act provided for retention of senatorial confirmation, its approval, in the opinion of the Civil Service Commission, “marked a victory for the federal merit system second in importance only to the executive order issued by the President the day before,”

An executive order dated January 31, 1939, modified the order of June 24 by withholding from the classified civil service some 5,000 positions in the higher grades, pending a survey of methods of recruiting, and promoting administrative and professional personnel by a special committee of which Supreme Court Justice Reed was appointed chairman.

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Jun. 26, 1939  Extension of the Merit System
Jan. 20, 1932  Compensation of Public Employees
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