Harry S. Truman photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing the New Classification Act.

October 28, 1949

I HAVE today signed H.R. 5931, the Classification Act of 1949. This act completely revises and brings up to date the salary structure for nearly half the civilian jobs of the Government--that is, nearly all of the jobs in the executive branch except those in the postal service and those paid on an hourly basis which are covered by other legislation.

This legislation makes a number of significant improvements in the pay structure of the Government. It greatly simplifies the salary system by reducing the number of pay grades from 41 to 28, and at the same time, corrects inequities among the different grades which were created by piecemeal legislation over a period of years. It authorizes longevity step-increases above the maximum scheduled grade rate for employees with long, faithful, and efficient service.

The act also adds three new grades at the top of the pay schedule, which will permit a limited number of the top career positions to be paid up to a maximum of $14,000. As a result of this action, it will be possible to increase the salaries of some top career positions whose incumbents have been paid the same salary as many of their subordinates. It will also make it possible for the Government to compete more effectively with higher-paying private employment for the services of outstanding people, and to offer a greater incentive to able young men and women considering whether to enter public service as a career.

The new Classification Act also improves Federal personnel administration by decentralizing to the departments and agencies the responsibility for fixing the pay rate for each position, except those in the top three grades. This will eliminate one source of delay in appointing qualified personnel. At the same time, it will increase the responsibility of the departments and agencies for meeting their own position classification problems. These responsibilities must be carefully exercised. The Civil Service Commission, in carrying out its responsibilities for maintaining the consistency of salaries on a Government-wide basis, must also exercise its authority for prescribing standards and reviewing and inspecting the operations and decisions under the act to assure that its provisions are judiciously administered by all alike.

The management improvement provisions of the act further assure economy and efficiency by requiring the department and agency heads to review their operations on a systematic and continuing basis. This provision recognizes the importance of improving the management of Government operations which was emphasized so strongly by the Hoover Commission and which is the purpose of the program provided for by a recent Executive order establishing the Advisory Committee on Management Improvement. Furthermore, it provides for the reward of those persons or groups of persons who have done an exceptional job in promoting economy and efficiency in the Government's work.

This act is a major step forward toward better personnel administration and more effective management in the executive branch.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 5931 is Public Law 429 (63 Stat. 954).

Harry S. Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing the New Classification Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230266

Simple Search of Our Archives