The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
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THE COMMITTEE ON OFFICE PERSONNEL

PRIOR to 1912, appointment, promotion, dismissal, and salary changes were primarily under the direction of the unit utilizing the services of office employees. Requests for such appointments or for changes in salary were either made directly to the Regents or included in the annual budget of the unit. As this group increased in number, the burden of acting upon separate requests during the year led the Regents, in February, 1912, to place final authority for recommendation in the secretary of the University. They also declared at that time "that those employees whose duties are of a stenographic or clerical nature are to be regarded as employees of the University as a whole no matter to what department or office assigned" (R.P., 1910-14, pp. 360-61).

The Regents, in February, 1920, authorized the president, the secretary, and the dean of the school or college concerned to expend sums not exceeding $500, ad interim. The effect of this resolution was broadened in March, giving this committee power over employment and salary adjustments of clerks and stenographers. Later that year (R.P., 1917-20, p. 945) the salaries of the clerical-administrative staff were segregated for separate study by the executive committee and the secretary. No general bylaw was prepared until 1926. The Regents continued, however, to refer specific requests to the secretary, and his office in addition exercised in limited degree the powers implied in the passages just recited.

In June, 1925 (R.P., 1923-26, p. 620), the finance committee of the Regents, in reporting the budget for the next biennium, declined to make any recommendation on one large class of salaries. The committee stated that budget requests seemed conflicting, and that no satisfactory University policy existed. However, they presented a resolution, which was adopted, as follows:

That … Professor Edmund E. Day, Dean of the School of Business Administration, be requested and authorized to make a general survey and report upon all positions on the University staff of the following general classifications:

Assistant secretaries, assistant registrars or recorders of schools or colleges, secretaries to deans and all other University officials, accountants, stenographers, typists, clerks, and in fact all members of the staff with duties of a similar nature to any of those indicated in the above list.

Further, this report should "embody recommendations as to classification of such employees, their salaries, duties, responsibilities and other pertinent matter, if any, and also a general plan of University procedure with respect to matters involved." Dean Day presented his report at the October meeting.

The report contained a classification and an appropriate range of salaries for each class. It recommended maintenance of a file of information on comparable rates of pay elsewhere, smaller increases at shorter intervals, a consistent and significant system of titles, a plan of some centralized review to prevent disparities of treatment, and constant revision and amendment of duties and qualifications. The report also suggested that work of this sort could be satisfactorily carried on in the office of the secretary of the University.

The Regents received and filed the report. In January, 1926, they created a "committee on non-academic and non-officer personnel" charged with advising Page  278them "in every case involving salaries, duties, titles, office hours, vacations, and hours of absence, and other conditions affecting or involved in the service of employees of the general classes mentioned" (in a preceding paragraph of the resolution). This committee consisted of the president, the secretary, and the officer whose staff member was under consideration.

A further study of these positions was authorized in May, 1929. In addition to reclassification, this study was directed to determine "whether any generally applicable, equitable regulations for appointment and for promotion within or between such groups can be advantageously developed, with equitable and just provision for salary payments based on value of services and on responsibilities carried." Professors C. S. Yoakum and Margaret Elliott were directed to make the study.

The informal report of findings was presented to the Regents in September, 1931. The formal report was received and placed on file at the November meeting. After considering the earlier informal report, the Board established a standing committee on office personnel. This committee consisted of the then "two Vice-Presidents and Mr. H. G. Watkins, Assistant Secretary, as 'standing' members, with the addition, in each individual case to be considered, of the Dean or other divisional head concerned." The committee was given authority to employ a permanent secretary and was instructed to function as a personnel office with respect to the general groups of employees previously mentioned. Dr. Haynes, Director of the University Hospital, was made a standing member of the committee in 1935.

The committee on office personnel was organized mainly to promote efficiency and to prevent inequities in working conditions, in work hours, and in salaries. Each of the several hundred positions was studied, classified, and accorded a salary range. Since the establishment of the committee this work has been carried on continuously. It was agreed that vacancies should be filled wherever possible by promotions and transfers from within the clerical staff. This procedure recognizes worthy employees, capable of carrying more difficult duties, or better suited to another task. Continuously, from the establishment of the committee emphasis has been placed on encouragement and growth of each employee; and a constantly increasing number of transfers and promotions has been possible.

To avoid possible hasty consideration which might result from studying hundreds of cases at budget time, the anniversary system for salary increases was adopted. Each month the committee meets and carefully reviews the case of each employee whose anniversary month of employment occurs in the following month. Graphs are prepared so that at a glance committee members and the dean or department head can observe his particular employee's position in relation to other employees within the same classification.

In addition to considerable numbers of permanent appointments, transfers, and promotions, each year hundreds of temporary workers are sent out from the personnel office to departments calling for extra help. An active file is maintained, giving information on approximately seven hundred applicants for all different types of clerical and secretarial work.

The work of the year is summarized in the annual report of the secretary of the University. These reports give briefly the salient points of the year's operations.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1924-25, 1929-30, 1931-32, 1935-39.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1910-40.