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THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE
WHAT A CIVIL SERVANT SHOULD
"HONEST WORK, HONEST WAGES,
AND NO FRILL."
At the annual meeting of the Public Ser- vice Association on Friday evening Mr. A. B. Moncrieff, the ' retiring president, de- livered a thoughtfni and able address, set- ting forth his \icws of what the association stood for. He said he had taken the posi- tion that the association existed not only for the benefit of the public service, but for the benefit of the State.
States arc not ;rrra.t.
Except at, mm may mike thom;
Mer» -ire not jrrrsil. exc«?pt us thc¿ do ami «¡arc:
lint Staffs, like rr.cn.
Ha\e destinies'that takc them.
That bear them on, not knowing how or where.
If the higher destinies of the State were to be reached, the existence of a trained, competent, and contented Civil Service was a factor of absolute importance. (Cheers.) A public servant could not be fully qualified without a touch of true devotion and a dash of enthusiasm, and the association had sought to arouse that enthusiasm among its members. They mnst not forget that the officers -ivcre for the State, and not the State for the officers. He would warn the association against the danger of over regulation. It was poa-ible to kill a service by over-regulation, just as it was possible to kill a man by winding him up in red tape. Un,formity as between one State and another was neither desirable nor neces- sary, neither wa» it desirable or possible to make distinct departments in a particular State uniform. By regulating on these lines they would bring men down to a dead level of mediocrity and kill their enthu- siasm. A pubLc service might be made ex- ceedingly automatic and pretty, but exceed- ingly dead. The -service would come to grief if it were over-regulated. With re- spect to the burning question of seniority, it was monstrous that a man who vas un- suitable for a position, should be put into it became he had been two months longer ¡n the service than another man who «as better fitted for the position. (Clieei-s.) The appointments of Messrs. Williams and Rushton were an emphatic protest by the Government against this principle of seniority, and it was gratifying to know that there was a chance for young men and the best men in the service. He would also warn the association against grasping nfter privileges. The age of privilege was dead. The democratic feeling of the day was in favor of honest work, honest wages, and no frill. They would kill the service and lo-e the gpodwill of the public if they went for unlimited privilege, as some had sought to.do. There was a sad want of cohesion in the service. He had met the man who was going about'continually in an atmos- phere of suspicion, as if every man's hand were ' against him. 'Such a man cast an eclipse and a gloom over -everybody
around hint. There were others who re- minded one-of ghouls. They were always digging up dead private grievances instead of allowing them to rest. Some, again, were continually detracting from the cha- racters of others. Such men never -had a good word to say, for anybody. He had every sympathy with the man who sought to rise on his dead .self to higher things; but the man who tried to climb by drag- ging somebody else down was despicable. (Cheers.) Men of this stamp wero not lift- ing the service, or bringing the State to its highest destinies. The man who was prepared to give his best for others was ,the class of man. they wanted in the service, and the association had such men among its members. There were men" who realised that whatever was put before them as the policy of the Government '.a power it was their duty to carry out that policy to the best of their ability, and with the utmost enthusiasm. If it were ¡t good policy, all the better; if it were a bad policy, the more they forced it the sooner it woidd fall.. It was the duty, of the association to create an environment in which ibis esprit de corps could be fos-
The Chief Secretary, who was cordially re- ceived, said he was interested in the very able and thoughtful speech of Mr. Mon- crieff. If Hr. Moncrieff had fairly set forth the aims and objects of the associa- tion, its ideals were noble indeed. He »as sure the public were proud of their Civil servants. Work«*-, whether ia the Go- vernment service or Outside it, were wise to unite together and consider what were their rights, because'if people did not look after their own rights, nobody else would do so. (Cheerfe.) - It wouíd always be the policy of the present Government to draw on men resident in the State to fill an> positions that weie vacated or created. Edu- cational facditics in the utatc were such that the State was capal of turning out men competent to take any position under the Government. The Ministry would al- ways be pleaocd to consider any communica- tions the association might make to them, and although the Government could not promise them everything they asked for they would give them all they were entitled to. (Laughter.)