Students applying for summer jobs with the Federal government will take competitive examinations sponsored by the Civil Service Commission starting next year, the Commission has announced. In the past the CSC allowed each government agency to determine its own criteria for selecting summer replacements.
A Commission official confirmed yesterday that the change in procedure was "partly" in response to recent charges by Republican Congressmen that summer jobs are being dispensed as political favors. He said, however, that the Commission has considered giving such an examination for some time.
The type of summer employment most affected by the new procedure will be clerical and stenographic work with Federal agencies, the official said, and does not include the numerous summer jobs available with members of Congress.
Under the new system, students seeking a summer job with a Federal agency must first apply to the Commission instead of directly to the agency as they have done in the past. Then, on the basis of examination scores and other qualifications, the Commission will send the names of top applicants to the agency.
This means, the official said, that the agencies will still make the final selection, but that they will no longer have "an open market of applicants" from which to choose.
In another action in response to the recent charges of patronage, the Commission has notified all Federal agency heads that political favoritism in selecting summer employees is "illegal and will not be tolerated." If an agency shows favoritism, the Commission has threatened to suspend that agency's authority to select summer employees.
The Commission said in a letter to agency heads that "the image of the Federal service can be gravely damaged ... unless all doubt as to the integrity of the merit system is dispelled."