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examination more objective in character a "predetermined standard" has been established. If there is such a standard, why is it kept a secret? Other qualifications and requirements are announced before the examination. On March 8, 1940, I requested that the Commission furnish me a statement setting forth this "predetermined standard" in respect to the nature and extent of each of the fol. lowing factors in connection with the position of junior field civil-service examiner: 1, initiative; 2, perseverance; 3, variety of human experience; 4, cooperation obtained ; 5, decisions made evidencing judgment; 6, responsibility accepted; 7, appreciation of values, evidencing understanding of ethical values. To date I have received no reply. The examination in question was given last year.

On the rating scale for the oral test for one class of positions there is the direction : "A check on the double portion of any rating line will disqualify candidate regardless of any other ratings." Therefore, if one of the examiners does not think that candidate A, on the basis of his story, has the capacity to cooperate with others to a sufficient degree, he becomes ineligible, regardless of whatever knowledge he has shown in the written examination and the amount and quality of his experience as shown on his application form, which could be verified by the usually accepted methods. Thus examining technique becomes fantastic. The results of the examination reflect the personal characteristics of the examiners as much as, if not more than, they do those of the candidate. The inability of the Commission to conduct examinations of an objective nature is no reason or excuse for such procedure.

I quote from the Commission's Annual Report for the year ending June 30, 1939: "The effectiveness of the examining process depends to a material degree upon the cooperation of the Research Division with the Examining Division. This phase of the work of the Research Division is concerned with the development of new types of examinations and the improvement of those already in use” (p. 21). From page 18: "With a view to improvement of the objective procedure now used in oral examinations, the Commission has conducted extensive research and experiments in this phase of testing. As a result it has evolved the type of oral test which now forms an integral part of many current examinations for more responsible positions in the Federal service.” In reply to an inquiry concerning oral examinations, Dr. L. J. O'Rourke, Director of Research, stated in a letter addressed to me on December 12, 1939, "I regret that I am unable to comply with your request for reports of studies or experi. ments on the use of oral examinations. Our division has nothing to do with oral examinations. We do not, therefore, have any information of the type you request."

The recent increase in the use of the oral examination by the Commission appears to be the result of the promotion of a hobby by ex-Commissioner Ordway, assisted by Mr. James C. O'Brien, Chief, Board of Oral Examiners, who recently was appointed Director of Promotions in the Federal service. Messrs. Ordway and O'Brien last year wrote a pamphlet for the Society for Personnel Administration entitled “An Approach to More Objective Oral Tests." In this publication the authors state their arguments for the use of the oral test, but they do not disprove the defects of the method which I am presenting. The method, even as they state it, does not approach close enough to an objective test to justify its use.

Dr. W. A. Bingham, faculty member of Stevens Institute of Technology, member of the technical board, occupational research program, United States Employment Service, and consultant, occupational information and guidance service, Office of Education, wrote in pamphlet No. 13, 1939, of the Civil Service Assembly, entitled "Oral Examinations in Civil Service Recruitment, with Special Reference to Experience in Pennsylvania" that "oral examinations are under fire from several quarters, [from] budget makers, applicants, lawyers and courts, psychologists, statisticians.

Litt wonder ha civilservice commissions have headaches when criticism menaces them from SO many directions" (pp. 5-6). The following is quoted from the twelfth annual report, State Personnel Board, State of California, 1937 (William Brownrigg, executive officer) pages 31-32: "It is conceded that the interview method of appraisal has not yet been developed where it is an entirely precise and completely effective instrument of measurement. It is still in that stage of development where in the hands of unscrupulous individuals, it may be the source of untold abuse.

Mere changes in the procedure and rules governing this activity are but superficial remedies; the final determination of a valid and reliable means of measuring attributes now characterized as 'intangible' requires

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* The effectiveness of the interview in its present form is in direct proportion to the ability and integrity of the individual members of the interviewing boards.” Mr. Brownrigg was recently for a short time Director of Personnel for the Department of Justice. In 1 year of civil service (Pennsylvania), M. L. Jacobs, director of civil service, and C. H. Smeltzer, consultant in civil service, November 1938, wrote on the defects of the oral examination as follows: "The evaluation of education and experience and the scoring of the oral interviews represent the most subjective phases of the entire program.

Whenever criteria other than objective tests are used for determining eligibility, then look for weaknesses in a program. If candidates are declared ineligible on the basis of a personal interview, the whole basis of the program may be questioned. In such manner, it is possible to place almost anyone one a list and also to keep anyone off a list" (p. 46). Dr. Leonard D. White, former Civil Service Commissioner, and now a member of the President's Committee on Civil Service Improvement, said in his Introduction to the Study of Public Administration (1926) "* it is extremely difficult to standardize the interview, the personal bias of the examiners may enter into the evaluation, the identity of the candidate, of course, becomes known, and there is full opportunity to allow for the play of political influence." In the revised edition of 1939, after his terms as Civil Service Commissioner, Dr. White shows that he has found little reason to change his appraisal of the oral examination, for he says:

"With an examining board which commands public confidence and with precautions to insure recognition by the examiners of the sources of error, the oral test may add useful data to the information available on the written test. At best, however, it can hardly be expected to do more than to eliminate the clearly unfit or to identify the unusually superior applicants. The interview which usually takes place between the appointing officer and the individuals certified for consideration is another form of oral test, and is one which gives rise to practically no criticism. It is an adequate barrier against the employment of the personality misfits so far as any interview may serve to this end

(p. 323). I quote from the opinion of the court in the matter of Fink v. Finegan (270 N. Y. 365, 1 N. E. (20) 462 (1936)) as being descriptive of the oral examinations given by the United States Civil Service Commission:

"No one questions that in all the tests given the petitioner, except perhaps the oral one, there was competition. Nor is the oral test questioned insofar as it tested technical ability. The examiners, however, in giving the oral tests also attempted to test the personalities of the candidates. They have eliminated the petitioner on the grounds that he is lacking in force and executive ability. The test or measure of executive ability nowhere appears. All that the record shows is the conclusion that the candidate lacks these qualities. A test or examination to be competitive must employ an objective standard or measure. Where the standard or measure is wholly subjective to the examiners, it differs in no respect from an uncontrolled opinion of the examiners and cannot be termed competitive.

* Noncompetitve examinations may readily be manipulated by the unscrupulous with little likelihood of detection. Politics, passion, and friendship play their part. Even the most scrupulous may be influenced in his determination by unconscious prejudice and bias."

What is the source of the demands for the use of the oral examination? The enthusiasm for its use appears to come only from the examining agencies in some civil-service agencies, while recognized writers on public administration and educators claim in effect that such procedures are not real examinations at all. The use of the oral examination creates much the same situation as that which the competitive classified civil service is expected to avoid. In respect to placing certain officials under the municipal civil-service system, with selection on the basis of oral examinations, The Chief, a civil-service employee's weekly, published in New York City, said, January 26, 1940: "The present method is far more honest than the hypocritical procedure of cloaking such appointments under a pseudo-civil-service disguise. An outright patronage appointment is much to be preferred to a suspicious civil-service qualification.” The spread of the civil-service system is being accompanied by an increasing reluctance on the part of the civil-service commissions to operate within their proper limitations-a not uncommon propensity of governmental agencies. The ostensible purpose of oral examinations may well be taken care of by the oral interview after certification, as claimed by Dr. White and others. Whether by deliberate intent or not, it appears that oral examinations leave the way open

to serve the interests of internal politics, pressures, interests, and personal connections. To state this as a possibility would seem to be an understatement of the situation. The procedure of having a member of the appointing agency to participate in the oral examination to determine eligibility of the candidate increases rather than decreases this danger. It would seem that Professors Mosher and Kingsley are well supported in their judgment of oral examinations when they say in their Public Personnel Administration (1936): "Regardless of the administrative set-up that is employed with the oral examination, it is of distinctly low reliability and validity."

Rule VII, paragraph 2, of the civil-service rules as amended by Executive order, effective February 1, 1939, provides: "When the Commission finds that there is no register in existence appropriate as a whole to fill a particular existing vacancy, the Commission in its discretion may certify selectively from the most nearly appropriate existing register in the order of their ranking, the names of any individuals thereon found by it to be adequately qualified to fulfill the particular requirements of the vacant position." This provision for "selective certification" undoubtedly enables certification officers to exercise necessary freedom of action in certain instances. However, as the number of positions in the professional, scientific, and administrative services under the competitive classified civil service increases, especially positions involving the social sciences, large numbers of positions with varying requirements will be filled, and are being filled, from registers of more general specifications. There is the constant danger that eligibles of high standing on some registers will be passed over in the process of “selective certification” for reasons known only to the certifying officer and possibly to the appointing officer. Having one's name among the highest on a register may not give a person any right to certification to a particular position, but it would seem that he should be entitled to a reasonable expectation of certification, if public confidence is to increase in the civil service.

Complete registers, or lists of names comprising registers, should be available for public inspection, showing names and relative standing of eligibles, including names and standing of those already certified and who have been appointed as a result of such certification. If such lists could not be kept current, they should be compiled as of certain dates. This, of course, would entail some expense, but it would provide information to which the public, including the eligibles on the registers, is entitled, and which it does not now have available. The matter of abandoning registers from which a relatively small number of appointments have been made and giving examinations in order to set up new registers should be examined from the standpoint of those who have qualified already and from the standpoint of economy. For examples, I refer to the social-science analyst registers and to the junior professional registers. If it is the policy of the Commission to certify only those above a certain grade on a register, which grade is above the minimum passing grade set by the rules, that fact should be made known. If it is the policy to certify and the policy of the appointing officers to appoint only eligibles below a certain age, or if other restrictive factors enter into the matter, those facts should be made known. The leaving of names stranded high on a register, while a new register is set up, needs something more than an explanation. I understand that some veterans' organizations have already urged the publication of registers. The need for such lists outweigh any administrative difficulties that might be involved in their preparation.

The requesting of names of college and university professors of courses taken, information as to whether such classes were day or night classes, and whether full- or part-time courses, in addition to the official transcript of such credits submitted with the application form, raises the question as to the purpose for which such information is to be used. It is doubtful whether such information should be available at any time to the examining and certifying officers.

With the extension of the competitive classified civil service, together with the assumption that a merit system obtains in the public service, it is to be expected that an informed public will become more critical of the examining and certifying methods of the Civil Service Commission. In order that the intent of the Civil Service Acts may be carried out and the confidence of the people in the system maintained, it is essential that the Congress keep a close and continuous scrutiny over the activities of the Commission. Few, if any, of its activities are of more importance than the processes of examination and certification. Respectfully yours,




WASHINGTON, D. C., April 10, 1940. Senator WILLIAM J. BULOW,

Chairman, Civil Service Committee, United States Senate. MY DEAR SENATOR BULow: Your kindness in notifying National President Leon Armour as well as the word sent to me is deeply appreciated relative to the date for the hearing on H. R. 960 before your committee.

The following contents of a telegram was received from Leon Armour, National President of this Association, to be entered into the testimony relative to said hearing, it is my duty to submit same as instructed.

The Federal Employees Association for National Defense wishes to go on record as favoring H. R. 960 as passed by House of Representatives with the exception of the amendment eliminating administrative personnel of Works Progress Administration and the quota amendment.

Jos. Thos. WARD,

National Director, Federal Employees Association for National Defense.



APRIL 12, 1940. Honorable WILLIAM J. Bulow,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR Bulow: I should be very grateful if I might record the specific change in H. R. 960 which I recommended in my testimony this morning with regard to section 2 of that bill. Our recommendation is that everybody covered in should receive civil-service status only upon passing a noncompetitive examination, but that persons who fail to pass the examination could, if they were doing good work, continue in their present positions without civil-service status, and without the privilege of transfer to other civil-service jobs. This could be accomplished by the following modification of the text of the bill:

Page 2, line 12, beginning with and including “(1)”, strike out from there down through line 19 to and including “(2)".

Beginning with the word “shall", line 22, strike out down through line 25. Insert, line 20, after the word "the", "Civil Service".

Line 22, insert "may upon recommendation of the head of the agency concerned be continued in his present position but without classified civil service status".

This would make section 2 (a) read as follows:

"SEC. 2. (a) The incumbent of any office or position which is covered into the classified civil service under the provisions of section 1 of this Act shall not thereby acquire a classified civil service status, except upon passing such suitable noncompetitive examination as the Civil Service Commission may prescribe: Provided, That any such incumbent who fails to pass the noncompetitive examination provided in his case may upon recommendation of the head of the agency concerned be continued in his present position but without classified civil service status."

Section 2 (b) should be amended to strike out, on page 3, line 2, "covered into the civil service," and, line 3, “transferred, or promoted”, thus making the Apportionment Act apply to all of these new positions, but eliminating the terrifle administrative difficulties that would be presented by the bill as it now stands. I shall be grateful if this may be included in my testimony. Yours very sincerely,




APRIL 29, 1940. Hon. W. J. BULOW, Chairman, United States Senate Committee on Civil Service,

Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I am the national legislative officer for the National Association of Regulars and our organization is very much interested in the enclosed amendments to the civil-service bill.

Our only interest in this bill is to amend section 2 (b) of H. R. 960 pertaining to preference of ex-service men. I will appreciate it if you will accept the enclosed amendments which we propose, together with the above statement, and make it a part of the record of the hearings. Thanking you very kindly, I remain, Yours very truly,

RALPH E. UPDIKE, National Legislative Officer and General Counsel, N. A. R.



Amend section 2 (b) by changing the period at the end of the first sentence to a semicolon and by adding the following language: "Provided, however, That this shall not apply as to any person who, under the provisions of rule VI of Executive Order No. 7915, June 24, 1938, would be entitled to have five or ten points added to an earned rating on an original civil service examination


Strike out all of the language under section 7 and, in lieu thereof, insert the following:

“SEC. 7. Section 7 of the Classification Act of 1923, as amended (42 Stat. 1490; U. S. C., 1934 edition title 5, sec. 667) is hereby amended by striking out the words, "the appropriate efficiency ratings,” and inserting in lieu thereof the words, "satisfactory service."

Add a new section to read as follows:

"Sec. 8. Section 9 of the Classification Act of 1923, as amended (42 Stat. 1490; U. S. C., 1934 edition, title 5, sec. 667) is hereby amended by striking it out in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

“ 'SEC. 9. That in any reduction in personnel in any civilian service of the United States, employees, in the class to be reduced, shall be released in the inverse order of the length of their total Federal service: Provided, That the length of time spent in active service in the Armed Forces of the United States of each such employee shall be credited in computing length of total service.'”



Washington, May 3, 1940. Hon. W. J. BULOW, Chairman, Committee on Civil Service,

United States Senate, Washington, D. O. MY DEAR SENATOR: Further reference is made to your communication of April 23, 1940, in regard to the hearings on H. R. 960, a bill giving the President authority to extend civil service to those positions now exempt by statute. You state that the extension of civil service to field employees of the Internal Revenue Bureau has come up in these hearings a number of times and that the committee would be pleased to have a representative of the Treasury Department appear before it to present the Department's views or include in the hearings a written statement of the views of the Department.

In view of your suggestion, the following statement is submitted for the record :

The Treasury Department is in favor of the principle of extending the civil service to include excepted positions and believes that the adoption of the proposed legislation would be definitely in the interest of more efficient and

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