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Letter to President Mortimer M. Caplin of the National Civil Service League on the Civil Service Merit System.

February 27, 1975

[Dated February 24, 1975. Released February 27, 1975]

Dear Mr. Caplin:

I appreciate your recent letter commenting favorably upon my September 20, 1974, memorandum in support of the merit system under civil service. I also appreciate your suggestions for additional steps that might be taken to preserve the integrity of the merit system.

Throughout my career of public service, as a Member of Congress and as Vice President, I have thoroughly supported a strong merit system. As President, I have made clear my continued commitment to the merit system and I fully expect those charged with the responsibility of assuring the integrity of the merit system to live up to that responsibility.

As you are aware, the Civil Service Commission has uncovered evidence of abuses of the merit system in several agencies in recent years. After thorough investigation, these agencies were required to take prompt corrective action. In addition, disciplinary actions were initiated against individuals who were responsible for the abuses. I have made it plain to the heads of Federal agencies and the Civil Service Commission that I expect them to assure full compliance with all personnel laws and regulations. Furthermore, I wholeheartedly support congressional efforts designed to keep the merit system free from partisan politics.

You suggested that, by executive order, I prohibit the members of the Civil Service Commission and its staff from making any referral of candidates for Federal positions except in accordance with established procedures under civil service rules. Although the referral of candidates is not prohibited by law or regulations, the Commissioners have recently adopted a new standard of conduct for themselves and all Commission employees in recognition of the possibility that personal referrals may be subject to misunderstanding.

That standard prohibits all officers and employees of the Commission from making referrals or recommendations of individuals for Federal employment that are not part of their official duties. I view favorably this voluntary action of the Civil Service Commissioners, as I know you will.

I appreciate the fine work the National Civil Service League has done over the years in its effort to protect the Federal merit system. Like you, I am determined, as I stated on September 20, 1974, to keep the Federal career service just that--a career service in which men and women can be accepted in the first place on their ability and promoted on their merit.



[Mr. Mortimer M. Caplin, President, National Civil Service League, 917 15th Street, NW., Washington, D.C. 20005]

Note: Mr. Caplin's letter, dated January 16, 1975, is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 11, p. 225).

Gerald R. Ford, Letter to President Mortimer M. Caplin of the National Civil Service League on the Civil Service Merit System. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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