Executive Order 285

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As amended July 12, 1905[1]

The following regulations to govern the employment of unskilled laborers in the Federal offices outside of Washington, D. C., are approved, to take effect at New York, N. Y., Boston, Mass., Philadelphia, Pa., and St. Louis, Mo., as soon as appointments can be made upon certification. They shall be extended to such Federal offices in other cities as the Civil Service Commission may at any time deem expedient. This system of appointment is distinct from the classified service, and does not classify positions of mere laborers under the civil service act and rules.


The board of examiners for the United States civil service district, of which each of the above-named cities is the headquarters, shall serve as the board of labor employment for the Federal offices in that city, under the direction of the United States Civil Service Commission.


Section 1. No person shall be admitted to examination who is not a citizen of the United States, or who is less than 20 or more than 60 years of age, except that veterans of the civil war who have been honorably discharged may be examined without regard to their age.

Sec. 2. The board may refuse to register an applicant for any of the following reasons:

(a) Dismissal from the public service—Federal, State, or municipal—for misconduct, within one year preceding.
(b) Physical or mental unfitness.
(c) Criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct.
(d) Intentionally making a false statement in any material fact or practicing deception or fraud in securing registration or appointment.
(e) Habitual intoxication.

Sec. 3. Application for examination shall be made in such form and manner, and be accompanied by such certificates as the Commission may prescribe.

Sec. 4. No information shall be received or considered concerning the political or religious opinions or affiliations of any applicant.


Section 1. Applicants shall be rated on a scale of 100 upon their physical qualifications and apparent ability to perform manual labor, by a physician designated by the Commission. Competitors shall be duly notified of their rating.

Sec. 2. Upon completion of the physical examinations the board shall enter upon registers, by sex, the names of applicants rated at 85 or more, as follows:

Male eligibles—

(a) Persons honorably discharged from the Army or Navy of the United States by reason of wounds or disability incurred in line of duty, in the order of their physical rating.
(b) Honorably discharged veterans of the civil war, in the order of their physical rating.
(c) All others in order of physical rating.

Female eligibles will be entered on the registers in the order of physical rating.

Sec. 3. The period of eligibility shall be one year from the date of entry upon the register.[2]

Sec. 4. A copy of the register shall be kept in a place accessible to the public in the post-office of the city for which the applicants are eligible.


Section 1. Any position or employment of a mere laborer or workman in the unclassified service, unless filled by reinstatement, transfer, promotion, or reduction, shall be filled in the following manner:

(a) The nominating or appointing officer shall request the certification of eligibles, specifying sex and principal duties of the position, and the board shall certify from the proper register the three names at the head thereof, of the sex specified, which may not have been certified three times to the office in which the vacancy exists.
(b) The nominating or appointing officer shall make selection from the three names certified, with sole reference to fitness, unless he shall offer written objections which the board, with the approval of the Commission, may deem sufficient, in which case a new certificate shall be issued, omitting the names of those to whom objection has been made.
(c) The person selected for appointment shall be duly notified by the appointing officer, and upon reporting for duty shall be given a fair trial of his conduct and capacity.

Sec. 2. A laborer separated without misconduct may, upon written application, be restored to the register of eligibles for his remaining period of eligibility, or may be reemployed, without further certification, in the office from which he was separated, at any time within one year.

Sec 3. When a demand for appointment or employment arises which can not be met in the manner provided in section 1, a person whose name is either not on the register or not in turn for certification may be appointed temporarily; but such appointment shall continue only during the continuance, in the judgment of the Commission, of the conditions which necessitated it, and no such person shall be thus employed more than thirty days in any period of twelve months.

Sec 4. A person appointed to an unclassified position shall not be assigned to work of a classified competitive position, and shall not be transferred or promoted to such a position.


Section 1. No laborer shall be removed except for such cause as, in the judgment of the head of the office, will promote the efficiency of the service, and no trial or hearing shall be required except at the discretion of the officer making the removal.

Sec 2. The reasons for any removal shall be made of record in the office in which the person is serving, and shall be open to the inspection of the board and the Commission.

Sec. 3. Heads of offices shall require assistant superintendents or foremen of divisions or crews to make monthly reports showing specifically the kind of labor performed by the unclassified laborers in their charge, which report shall be open to the inspection of the board and the Commission.

Signature of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt.

White House,

December 12, 1904.


  1. Executive Order 339 of July 12, 1905, modified both this order and Executive Order 275 "in certain minor particulars". The original text of this order, nor the the text of the amending order of July 12, has yet been located, so this page currently has the consolidated text.
  2. Amended by Executive Order 922, August 3, 1908, to allow the Civil Service Commission to extend the period.
Amended by:
See Related:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).