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Series Information
(Civil Service Commission)

Series Description

The Baltimore City Civil Service Commission, known as the City Service Commission until I960, was created in 1919 by an amendment to the City Charter. Three unpaid commissioners were appointed by the Mayor for six years each and these commissioners annually elected one of their number as president. A salaried Chief Examiner, who acted as both the Secretary of the Commission and the Administrator of Examinations, was initially appointed by the commissioners, but later hired on the basis of an examination.

The creation of the commission in 1919 marked the culmination of a lengthy effort to organize the employees of the city. This body was authorized to classify and reclassify all municipal jobs (with the exception of Mayoral appointments and appointments involving teaching or supervisory work) and to make appointments based on a merit system. In 1946 the commission also was given power to establish additional laboring classes as it deemed necessary and was authorized to rule on classes involving job performance and on both individual and group appeals concerning such matters as leave, dismissals, and transfers. The maintenance of a list of eligibles was required, as well as an annual report to the Mayor.

The Baltimore Civil Service Commission was instrumental in the establishment of a general municipal pension and retirement system in 1926. This plan was the first of its kind in Baltimore and provided retirement, disability, and death benefits for municipal employees. A board of trustees determined the eligibility of employees for this retirement fund and was authorized to allow city employees credit for service prior to 1926. The retirement of Baltimore civil service employees at the age of seventy was made mandatory with the creation of this retirement fund.

Although there were sporadic attempts to improve the efficiency of the commission from its beginning, the first successful effort came in 1954. An independent company was hired by the commission to develop a classification, wage, and salary survey to determine the effectiveness of the commission. Additional studies were conducted in subsequent years in an effort to modernize city personnel functions. From 1960 to the present, the commission has concentrated on issues pertaining more to special interest groups than to individuals and its improved efficiency. Through all of this the form and function of the commission has remained basically the same from 1919 to the present.

More detailed information about the Baltimore City Civil Service Commission can be obtained from Ord. 553 (1926); Ord. 584 (1934); Rules of the City Service Commission, adopted June 1952, p. 7; and the Baltimore City Charter of 1946.

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DateSeries NameDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1919-1985Minutes, Baltimore Civil Service Commission

Entries from 1919 through 1922 describe general organizational matters such as the establishment of the administration of the commission and job classification guidelines. The minutes from 1922 through 1950 are concerned with both the classification and reclassification of city jobs including decisions made by the commission regarding transfers, leaves, and dismissal appeals of individual civil service employees. A few group appeals are also described in the minutes of 1932-50. From 1939 until 1947 the minutes describe the effect the Second World War had on the commission, especially the labor shortage and new rules pertaining to the military service of city employees. Entries from 1950 until 1973 generally describe the commission's actions with regard to examinations and from 1967 to the present, special meetings for individual appeals. Group appeals (some concerning racial discrimination) are described more freguently in the entries from 1950 to the present.

These records are restricted to microfilm (BCA 2-25). Minutes after 1973 are available in the offices of the commission and eventually will be transferred to the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1929Medical Examiner DiaryDaily records of medical examinations performed by John Gindwood on potential employees of the municipal government. Includes listings of daily visits, examinations, rejections, acceptances, and travel mileage.BRG7-2
  Details1966-1974General Correspondence

Mostly outgoing letters of Thomas J. Murphy, personnel director of the commission. Outgoing letters of commission employees Harry Smith, Joseph Caplan, and Austin Henning are also present along with a limited amount of incoming mail. Subjects discussed cover many aspects of civil service policy formulation and administration including: federal, state, and local legislation; disciplinary actions; complaints; affirmative action programs; negotiations with employee unions; and position reclassifications.

See also Series 4 for related materials.

  Details1921-1978Subject Correspondence

Central files of the commission including correspondence, reports, forms, legal documents, and printed material concerning the personal needs of the municipal departments and comprehenseive policy formulations and changes.

See also Series 3 for related material. A complete list of file folder headings is available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1920-1976Personnel File Cards

There are six types of personnel file cards: cut-off tickets, temporary appointment cards, laborer cards, entry tickets and commission roster cards. All of the cards include employee name, address, classification, department where employed, employee number, and salary. The laborer ticket provides payroll information and roster cards include sick leave, vacation, changes in employment status, and absentee and efficiency records. Cards for deceased and pensioned employees are arranged separately.

This is not a complete listing; for additional coverage see Series 6-9.

Certain restrictions apply to the use of these records.

  Details1935-1954Labor Registration Bureau Registration Cards

The cards include employee name, address, age, race, marital status, sex, registration number, and the type of labor permissible. For additional coverage see Series 5 and 7-9.

Certain restrictions apply to the use of these records.

  Details1920-1974Classification Applications

Forms completed by applicants for municipal employment. Information includes name, address, age, experience, medical history, and education. For additional information see Series 5, 6, 8, and 9.

Certain restrictions apply to the use of these records.

  Details1920-1965Roster Index Cards of Ex-employees

Partial listing of individuals formerly employed by the municipality. Information includes type of work performed, classification, department, and date of fitness test. For additional coverage see Series 5, 6, 7, and 9.

Certain restrictions apply to the use of these records.

  Details1926-1957Roster Cards

Cards indicate employee classification, salary, sick leave, vacation time, and payroll record. This is an incomplete listing of municipal employees. For additional coverage see Series 5-8.

Certain restrictions apply to the use of these records.

  Details1941-1978Medical Services Division Administrative Subject File

Correspondence and reports divided into two separate groups. The first relates to the disability compensation and accident clinic established under the Central Payroll Division in 1945. This agency worked with municipal employees who claimed workmen's compensation or who required first aid treatment for on the job injuries. The second group of records pertains to the present day medical services division, which was formed in 1966 by merging the disability compensation and accident clinic with the Civil Service Commission's pre-employment physical examination clinic.

See separate container list available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1977-1979Personnel Files

Individual files relating to persons employed by the municipality. Information provided varies but can include entry and cut-off tickets, employment applications, documents relating to Civil Service Commission hearings, and forms for attendance, efficency ratings and roster cards. Also available are letters pertaining to commendations, dismissals, layoffs, resignations, retirements, and other personnel actions.

Certain restrictions apply to the use of these records.

  Details1920-1957Fire Department Roster CardsTwo separate listings of Fire Department personnel. Reel 1213 covers the period between ca. 1920 to ca. 1952 and provides the name, address, application number, status changes (primarily pay increases and disciplinary measures), and attendance record for each firefighter listed. Reel 1214 dates from 1957 (the material appears to cover this year only) and provides the name, salary, classification, address, and date of birth for all firefighters listed.BRG7-12
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