Page images
PDF
EPUB

of each other, and subject to no control except the nominal supervision of the Governor. The assumption by the state of each new function, as a rule, involved the creation of a state administrative board, commission or officer, to which was entrusted the direct exercise of the function. These independent agencies tended toward the decentralization of the executive power, for the increase in the number of appointive offices did not bring about a corresponding increase in the administrative importance of the Governor.

A state board of equalizaton had been created in 1867 and its administration of state revenues seems to have caused the first tangible dissatisfaction with these independent agencies. Its members were elected, from each congressional district, and it grew to be and long remained an important factor in state politics. A legislative commission appointed to investigate the revenue system of the state recommended its abolition as early as 1886, and a tax commission made the same recommendation in 1910.

Consolidation. Naturally, this irresponsible system of independent state boards was particularly bad for the state institutions, and because of their large number, geographical distribution, and the fact that they were spending the bulk of the appropriations, the conditions eventually became known to the people. In response to insistent demands because of some specific abuses, Speaker Edward D. Shurtleff appointed a special investigating committee January 14, 1908, in accordance with a resolution passed by the House of Representatives. This committee published an exhaustive report of over a thousand pages. It found the institutions in an unsatisfactory condition and recommended the creation of a central state board of control for their administration. Accordingly, a board of administration was created the following year (1909), to which was given the management and control of all the state charitable institutions.

The same session of the General Assembly that provided for the investigation of state institutions also passed a résolution directing the Governor to appoint an educational commission to investigate the common school system of the state. This commission published a comprehensive report on this subject and drafted a bill providing for the creation of a state board of education to strengthen our common school system. This board was to consist of the superintendent of public insruction, as chairman, and representatives of various school interests selected by the Governor with the approval of the Senate.

In 1913, the work of the fish commission and the game commissioner was consolidated, and a game and fish conservation commission was created to perform their functions.

In his inaugural address, in 1913, Governor Edward F. Dunne recommended the abolition of the state board of equalization, the consolidation of the park boards of the city of Chicago, and an examination into the affairs of the public institutions of the state

with a view to the reduction of expenditures. Subsequently, a resolution was passed by the General Assembly directing an investigation of the state boards, commissions and bureaus in order to determine whether greater efficiency and economy could be secured by a reorganization and consolidation of administrative machinery.

The committee appointed to carry on this work was known as “The Efficiency and Economy Committee.” After an exhausive investigation, the committee submitted a report recommending the consolidation of more than a hundred state offices into ten departments, under authorities directly responsible to the Governor for the conduct of their departments. The committee also recommended a revision of the laws relating to state contracts, and this revision was made by the General Assembly in 1915. The office of printer expert was abolished and a superintendent of public printing created with extensive and effective powers, but responsible to the Governor. This was practically the only change recommended by the Efficiency and Economy Committee made at the session of 1915, but the report of the committee formed the basis for the Civil Administrative Code, which was enacted two years later.

In 1916, Governor Frank O. Lowden made his campaign for the Republican nomination and for election largely upon the issue of state administrative reorganization. After his election, the General Assembly, in 1917, passed the Civil Administrative Code. It consolidated into nine departments more than fifty functions and departments previously independent of each other. It also provided for an executive budget. It is probably the most important and effective measure relating to governmental reorganization that has been enacted in any state in the Union.

The 51st General Assembly, in 1919, abolished the board of equalization and created a state tax commission in its place. This General Assembly also provided for the appointment of a commission to investigate and report a plan for the standardization of compensation of employes of the state, which is closely related to the important question of civil service. We have been discussing administrative officers and agencies. There remains to be considered the employes in the various divisions of the executive department.

Civil service. The demand for a state civil service system was first made a political issue in 1900. At that time there were but two state civil service commissions in the country-New York and Massachusetts. In 1905 a civil service law was enacted which applied the merit system of appointment to persons employed in the charitable institutions of the state, excluding all members of charitable boards, trustees and commissioners, superintendents of charitable institutions, one chief clerk and one stenographer for each institution. In each succeeding political campaign, both leading parties pledged their support to the extension of civil service. In 1909, with the establishment of the state board of administration, forty-seven new positions came under the merit system. The following year the question, “Shall the next General Assembly extend the merit system by the enactment of a comprehensive and adequate state civil service law?" was submitted to the voters of the state under the public policy law. The result was 411,676 in favor of extension and 121,132 against extension. The civil service law was amended in 1911 by extending the merit system to many additional positions and places of employment in the state service, with certain exemptions. As a result of this extension, about two thousand new employes were brought under civil service, or eighty per cent of the entire service of the state, making a total of 4,479 employes under civil service as compared with 2,259 during the previous year.'

The following year the constitutionality of the law was upheld by the Supreme Court in the case of People, ex rel Gullett v. McCullough, 254 Ill., 9 (1912), which is discussed in this bulletin under the functions of the civil service commission. The act has been repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court. The court has decided. however, that the state board of agriculture (which was abolished January 1, 1919) and the farmers' institute are not state departments, their employes are not state employes, and, consequently, they were not under the civil service law, although supported by state appropriations.?

The next session after the extension of the civil service law (1913) saw the beginning of a movement to increase the number of exemptions from civil service. The state highway department and the public utilities commission were created and several positions in these departments were exempted from civil service. The Civil Administrative Code enacted in 1917 did not amend. modify or extend the application of the civil service law. When the code went into effect practically every employe in the classified service of the agencies that were abolished was transferred to a corresponding position under the new organization.

The Fiftieth General Assembly (1917), however, also enacted a statute providing that removals from civil service could be made without a trial or hearing, and that the civil service commission had no jurisdiction to review the act of the removing officer, nor to investigate the removal or a reduction in rank unless it was alleged that the removal or reduction was made for political, racial or religious reasons. The act also removed from the classified service of the state the superintendent and assistant superintendent of the capitol building and grounds, all law clerks and special investigators in the office of the attorney general, a private secretary and a stenographer for each elective officer, a private secretary to each director under the Civil Administrative Code, and insurance actuaries and examiners of insurance companies. The Fifty-first General Assembly in 1919 still further extended the exemptions by providing that all regularly licensed veterinary surgeons employed by the department of agriculture, and all clerks, watchmen and policemen employed in the offices of the elective officers in the executive department, and in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court should be exempt from the classified service. It established a precedent by providing in an act creating a new board, the board for vocational education, that the board might appoint without reference to the civil service law such technical assistants, clerks and stenographers as might be necessary.

1 Sixth annual report of the civil service commission of Illinois. 1911, v. 1, p. 8.

? State Board of Agriculture v. Brady, 266 ill. 592 (1915); Illinois Farmers' Institute v. Brady, 267 Ill. 98 (1915).

On December 1, 1919, there were 6,285 persons in the classified civil service of the state. Of this number 3,943 were in the department of public welfare.

Increase in appropriations. The appropriations for the biennium 1873-1874 were $6,648,187. According to the statement issued by the auditor of public accounts, the appropriations for the biennium 1919-1920 were $172,631,183. Of this amount $60,000,000 is to be expended for a state system of hard roads, bonds for this amount having been authorized by popular vote; $20,000,000 is for a deep waterway, this expense also to be defrayed by a bond issue; and $29,195,124.is for state and federal aid roads. That is $109,195,124 is for roads and waterways, leaving $63,436,059, the amount appropriated for governmental expenses for the biennium. It is difficult to make any comparison of appropriations by departments because, in some cases, large amounts are appropriated to various officers and departments which have little contol over the expenditure of the appropriations. The school fund which amounts to $12,000,500 for the biennium 1919-1920 is appropriated to the auditor, but the superintendent of public instruction is the officer most closely related to its expenditure.

The department of public welfare and the University of Illinois also receive large appropriations. The appropriations to the department of public welfare for the state charitable, penal and reformatory institutions for the biennium 1919-1920 are $19,636,213. The University of Illinois has an appropriation of $5,000,500 for the same biennium.

The amount appropriated for the biennium 1919-1920 was nearly ten times the amount appropriated for 1873-1874. This increase was due largely to the increase in functions within the last half century. Many new functions have been assumed by the state and these functions are performed primarily by the executive department.

Summary. In summarizing the development of the organization of the executive department we find that the executive department of the state of Illinois is now composed of the Governor, and six other elective constitutional state officers, practically independent of him; nine departments operating under the Civil Administrative Code; and twenty-one independent statutory boards, commissions and offices, less than half of such boards, commissions and offices being appointed by the Governor. There is also a classified civil service consisting of more than six thousand employes, and, in addition, numerous officers and employes exempt from civil service.

The constitutional convention is confronted with the problem of framing an executive article in a new constitution broad enough to form the fundamental basis for the operation of this complex executive department.

Every passing year sees the assumption by the state of new functions, and it will be necessary to have broad constitutional provisions, not requiring frequent change, to provide for an executive department to exercise these constantly changing and increasing statutory functions.

« PreviousContinue »