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Letter the Extension of the Merit System.

September 24, 1935

My dear Mr. Steward:

I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of the letter of September 6, 1935, from the Executive Council of the National Federation of Federal Employees urging strongly the strengthening and extension of the Federal civil service system.

The 73d Congress, as a part of its effort to meet the emergency with which the Nation was confronted, exempted from civil service requirements positions in the newly created emergency agencies. The 74th Congress made some additional exceptions.

In March, 1933, many of the eligible registers of the Civil Service Commission were several years old. It had been the policy of the Commission to extend old registers rather than announce new examinations. Hundreds of thousands of well-qualified persons who had lost their positions during the depression had been given no opportunity to qualify through open competitive examinations for Government employment. The appropriation of the Civil Service Commission had been greatly reduced, and because of this fact and the widespread unemployment which resulted in excessive competition in civil service examinations, the Commission was not in a position to supply immediately the personnel required by the emergency agencies. It was obvious, of course, that these agencies, if they were to be effective, would have to begin operations at once.

One of the early acts of my Administration was to secure for the Civil Service Commission a deficiency appropriation for the purpose of replenishing its registers to provide qualified personnel for the regular Government agencies. The Civil Service Commission's regular appropriation has also been increased, and recently I recommended to the 74th Congress a deficiency appropriation of $548,000 to enable the Commission to provide through open competitive examinations the additional personnel required by the Post Office Department as a result of the Forty-Hour-Week Work Bill for postal employees.

The merit system has been and will continue to be extended during my Administration. Civil service requirements have been applied either by Act of Congress or by Executive Order to the majority of the positions in the following Government agencies:

The Securities and Exchange Commission

The Federal Communications Commission

The Railroad Retirement Board

The Farm Credit Administration.

The Guffey Coal Regulation Act, the Motor Carrier Act, the Social Security Act, the Labor Relations Act and Public Utilities Act contain provisions for the employment, with some exceptions, of personnel in accordance with the Civil Service Law and rules. The Soil Conservation Act provides for the classification, effective December 27th, of the great majority of positions in the Soil Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture.

The Civil Service Commission is making progress in replenishing its registers and I hope that within the near future the Civil Service Law and rules may be applied to agencies that are now excepted from civil service requirements—at least to the extent that it is determined that such agencies are to become established branches of the Government.

Very sincerely yours,

Luther C. Steward, Esq.,

National Federation of Federal Employees,

Labor Building,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter the Extension of the Merit System. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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