Civil Service in Public Welfare: A Discussion of Effective Selection of Public Social Work Personnel through the Merit System

Civil Service in Public Welfare: A Discussion of Effective Selection of Public Social Work Personnel through the Merit System

Civil Service in Public Welfare: A Discussion of Effective Selection of Public Social Work Personnel through the Merit System

Civil Service in Public Welfare: A Discussion of Effective Selection of Public Social Work Personnel through the Merit System

Excerpt

Civil service concerns social workers today because in rapidly increasing numbers they have sought, or will seek, employment in government departments and agencies; and because personnel standards set for these bodies directly affect the caliber of service which social workers in public service can give to their clients, as well as the freedom, opportunity, and security which as public employes they will themselves enjoy. It concerns them because as a profession social work is challenged by civil service commissions for answers to questions about the duties and responsibilities of social work positions and the skills which they demand.

The shift of the burden of relief from private to public auspices, accelerated in the recent period of emergency relief, and culminating in the social security program, has taken place simultaneously with an extension of the civil service movement to new jurisdictions and new areas of government, including that of public welfare. The effect of these concurrent developments is to bring civil service problems into the forefront of the professional social work picture.

Hitherto, social workers, together with other educated socially minded persons, have been concerned about civil service procedures and programs, as they may have been about other good government causes, only in a remote sort of way, as something which they were more or less vaguely "for." Suddenly they are coming to realize that not only considerations of a general social nature, but also professional considerations and even self-interest urgently suggest that vagueness be resolved into alert understanding.

Our mental images of social institutions tend to remain the same long after the institution itself has changed.

The traditional picture of civil service--a roomful of government clerks working in retarded tempo at a job which, barring ac-

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