Administration of Public Welfare

By R. Clyde White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
MERIT SYSTEM PROCEDURE

The success of a merit system for the selection and appointment of public employees depends in no small degree upon the use of objective methods of establishing eligibility and of certifying persons from the eligible list to vacancies. Selection has, of course, to be made from those who apply for admission to the examination; the number and qualifications of these are affected by many things, but technical requirements of the job, the salary, general working conditions, and opportunities for advancement may be mentioned. If properly qualified people are to enter the public welfare service, the inducements have to be comparable to those offered people of similar qualifications in other lines of public and private employment, but, assuming that public welfare administration is an attractive field for employment, the procedure for determining relative ability and certifying to vacancies is the chief concern of the personnel agency.

The administrative problems of a personnel agency are similar for civil service and a special merit system; they differ chiefly in that a civil service law is likely to apply to many different government services, whereas a special merit system is set up to select and certify qualified persons to a particular government service, such as a state public welfare department. Some special merit systems have been created on the assumption that a personnel agency which deals only with public welfare personnel can become more efficient than one which is concerned with all types of governmental departments. That assumption is probably unjustified, because the administrative procedure for selecting any type of public employees is similar to that required for any other type, and a general civil service agency can employ a few specialists who can give attention to the peculiar personnel problems, if any, of particular government services. If a state has a general civil service law, there is every reason for extending it to include the selection of personnel for the public social

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