of Governor Herbert R. O'Conor • 121
has been brought to a high level of efficiency and persons, like yourselves, not
only need offer no apology for being public employees but it is an indication of
merit to be included in such a system as Maryland enjoys.
My understanding and appreciation of the importance and value of your
services have not been the result of only ten months observation, since I as-
sumed the Governorship. As a result of years of observation of the work of
our State employees, during which period I have worked in connection with
many of your number, I have long since realized that you have made a distinct
contribution to the successful operation of those agencies designed to serve
the people of our State.
During my campaign for the Governorship I made a detailed statement as
to my views on the Merit System and told the people just what they could
expect of me in this regard, if I were elected. I quote from an address I de-
livered at Ellicott City, during the campaign, as follows:
"This (Merit) System was established in the State Government for the
purpose of eliminating politics and substituting demonstrated fitness as the
only test for employment in the classified service of the State, ***** The
Merit System properly administered will save the taxpayers of the State many
thousands of dollars each year and promote the usefulness to the public of
"Employees who are qualified and faithful in their services to the State
must be encouraged to remain in the service of the State; they must be paid
adequate and reasonable compensation; they must be spared the anxiety of
dismissal without cause, —of salary reductions for political reasons; they must
be given the security of permanent employment as long as they render efficient
service and there is need of their employment by the State. "
Following my nomination the Party, which honored me as its nominee,
went on record at its State-wide convention as follows:
"We favor an extension and strengthening of the Merit System to include
a number of positions now in the field of political selection, and to improve
the administrative efficiency of the service as a whole. We pledge ourselves
to a permanent retirement system for State employees, set up on a sound fiscal
basis, as a long-range program. We pledge our continued support to the Merit
System in the selection of State employees. "
The voting public by a decisive majority elected us on that platform and
I accepted their verdict as a mandate to carry out the pledges of the plat-
form. Following my election, a Commission appointed by me and headed by
Dr. Isaiah Bowman, President of the Johns Hopkins University, stressed the
desirability of adherence to the Merit System and of its extension in the
interest of the general public.
It is to be remembered that the State of Maryland was one of the first in
the Union to adopt a Merit System. Today, Maryland is one of the 18 states
with Merit System administration. We can therefore, find pride in the fact
that ours is one of the progressive states in this field, and let me say right
now that I would consider it a backward step if we were to repudiate the
Merit System, or. any of its essential particulars. Not only that, but I would
consider it a breach of faith with the public, after our campaign pronounce-
ments, to fail to live up to a pledge. I have not failed to undertake any other
betterments promised, and I do not intend to fail in this one.