Postmaster Examination


Transcribed by : Tina Easley


Source - Civil Service - 1922

Memorandum As To Presidential Postmaster Examination September 27,1921, For Paragould, Ark., $2,800.

United States Civil Service Commission,

Washington, D. C., March 4, 1922.

For this examination there were five apparently well-qualified candidates, and the task of the commission was to decide who were the three best qualified for certification as postmaster at Paragould, for the duties and responsibilities of an office with compensation of $2,800. The statements of education and experience as given by the five candidates are quoted below:


Education.— education was limited to an attendance of the rural schools during my minority, and embraced spelling, writing, arithmetic, grammar, and United States history. I speak no foreign language.


Question 23: I have been postmaster at Paragould, Ark., since April 1, 1917. As such, 21 persons are under my supervision. Salary, $2.800 per annum.

Question 24: During the years of 1902 and 1903 I was in the timber business at O'Kean, Ark., engaged in the manufacture and sale of crossties, piling, staves, stave and heading bolts. The ties and piling were sold to the Western Tie & Timber Co., St. Louis, Mo. The staves and stave and heading bolts were sold to the Henry Wrape Stave Co., Paragould, Ark. During this business I had working for me from 25 to 75'men. The volume of business done aggregated $70,000. In connection with the business a commissary was kept. The business was successful. I got along well with the men, and no litigation grew out of the business.

In 1904 I was elected collector of taxes for this (Greene) County, Ark., and reelected without opposition in 1906, serving four years in this position. During each year there was an average revenue of $125,000 collected and accounted for. I made all settlements required by law, and no exceptions were ever taken or filed to any of them. My commissions approximated $2,500 per annum. The work required six months of my time each year.

In 1907 I organized the Farmers Union Gin & Mill Co., a corporation engaged in ginning cotton, manufacturing meal and chops, also in the-purchase and sale of cotton seed. I became the president and manager, which position I retained for three years at $100 per month, during which time I had supervision of eight men.

In 1911 I was appointed one of three commissioners of Greene and Lawrence drainage district, serving four years. I was president of the board. This was a reclamation project involving an expenditure of approximately $230,000. Compensation to each commissioner was $5 per day and expenses for the time actually engaged in their duties as such.

In 1915 I became president of the Farmers' Tri County Fire Insurance Co., which position I now hold. The compensation is nominal, but the company is successful and has more than $2,000,000 insurance in force. Its business is limited to insurance on rural farm property and rural schools and churches. Every loss has been promptly paid. I was manager during cotton season of 1916 of Bertig Bros.' gin at Yarbro, Ark., at which place I also bought cotton for them. Bertig Bros, is a partnership with its principal place of business at Paragould, Ark. I had 10 men under me and bought $150,000 of cotton that season. Bertig Bros, are engaged in the general merchandise business in five or six different cities and towns, in banking, buying cotton, and operating cotton gins and cotton compresses, and worth $500,000.


Education.—The undersigned attended public schools in Greene County, Ark., during regular school term's from 1888 to 1898. Also, Lorado High School, at Lorado, Ark., from 1899 to 1903, September to June of each year. Completed course of study required for first-grade teacher's license with the following additionals: Plane geometry, college algebra, general history, rhetoric, and three years' Latin. These adrlitionnls, Latin excepted, were requirements for 6-year period State license designated " professional license " and was awarded at close of school by passing examination held by State superintendent of public instruction.

Experience.—Question 22: None,

Question 23: None.

Question 24. Was principal and taught in public school at Gainesville, Ark., September, 1903, to May, 1904, and from September, 1904 to May, 1905, with two assistants, salary $50 and $60 per month for respective school years. Same character of work, at Lorado, Ark., September, 1905, to June, 1906; two assistants, salary, $90 per month. Accepted appointment as deputy circuit court clerk and recorder under J. M. Futrell, Green County, Ark., and worked there continuously from June, 1906, to November 1, 1910. Duties were, recording proceedings of circuit, criminal, and chancery courts, also recording deeds and mortgages. Salary, $50 per month.

Was circuit court clerk and ex officie recorder for Greene County, Ark., November 1, 1910, to November 1, 1914. Duties same as deputy mentioned above, but in addition thereto was appointed commissioner in chancery by Hon. Charles D. Frierson, chancellor, Jonesboro, Ark., to execute decrees of court in selling lands and making deeds. Also appointed master to State accounts between litigants in cases involving contractutory claims. Salary in fees, amounting to $3,000 to $3,500 per year.

Worked on farm for self during 1915.

Was assistant cashier Security Bank & Trust Co., Paragould. Ark., 1916-1918. Duties were receiving teller and paying teller; also to oversee keeping books of bank. Kept bank's general accounts personally, and supervised two bookkeepers. Was director of bank and on loan committee during all time. Salary $100 per month. Bank's capital stock $68,000, surplus $37,000; average net earnings, 10 per cent.

Held position with Paragould Auto-Sales Co., of Paragould, Ark., as sales manager, 1919. Jonesboro Motor Co., Jonesboro, Ark., was organized and operated as part of same. Character of business was selling automobiles and trucks, also operated repair garage in connection. Duties were general supervision of salesmen and shop, oversee bookkeeper, prepare necessary papers when sales were made involving deferred payments, and to make collections- on same. Volume of business at Paragould, Ark., $135,000, and at Jonesboro $65,000. Owned by Bertig Bros., rated $1,000,000. Salary $150 per month and 10 per cent of net earnings.

During 1920 and first four months of 1921 was deputy tax collector of Greene County, Ark. Bond of R. H. Partain was made by Security Bank & Trust Co., and they selected undersigned to assist and supervise collections. Amount collected 1920 was about $245,000 and 1921 about $265,000; two to three assistants part of time; salary, $200 per month.

Question 25: None.

Question 26: Since April, 1921, have been working for Federal Land Bank of St. Louis as appraiser. Duties to make inspection of farms where application has been made for loans.

Question 27: Am well acquainted with patrons and territory covered by both rural and city carriers.

                                                                                             HERSCHEL NEELY, AGED 51.

Education.—From 1876 to 1883, I attended county public schools in Carroll County, Tenn. From 1883 to 1890 county public schools in Clay County, Ark. Speak no foreign language.


Question 23: Have had none.

Question 24: From March, 1902, to December, 1914. I was general manager, buyer, and bookkeeper for Neely Bros., Paragould, Ark., a retail store handling a line of shoes, clothing, and gents' furnishing goods, employing from three to five clerks, salary $100 per month, doing an annual business of approximately $25,000.

From January 15, 1914. to February 1, 1915, was general manager of Neely & Neely's store at Rector, Clay County, Ark., handling a line of shoes, clothing, and dry goods, salary $100 per month, doing an annual business of approximately $30,000, employing from three to five clerks.

From April 1. 1915, to April 1, 1919, was employed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Little Rock, Ark., as State game warden, salary $125 per month and expenses. My duties in this position were to look after violation of the game and fish laws in the State, make arrests, collect fines and licenses, make daily reports to the commission, keep a record of all fines and licenses.

From April 1, 1919, to August 15, 1920, was employed by House-Jones Grain Co.. Paragould, Ark., salary $125 per month and expenses, as traveling salesman. Volume of business done by this corporation is $250,000 to $300.000. Commercial rating $35,000 to $50,000.

From August 15. 1920. to February 15,1921. was employed by Paragould Wholesale Grocery Co., Paragould, Ark., as traveling salesman, salary $150 per month and expenses. Business done annually by this corporation is $1,000.000 to $1,500,000. Comercial rating $200,000 to $300,000.

From February 15 to August 1. 1921, was employed by House-Jones Grain Co., Paragould, Ark., as salesman in the house. Salary $125 per month. Since this date I have not been employed.


Education.—I completed the first eight grades of the public-school course of my county. I was a student for one full year, 1904, in Thompson's Classical Institute, at Paragould, Ark. I graduated in Parish Business College in 1905. I hold a first-grade teacher's certificate in this State. My work done in the above institutions is equivalent to the requirements for a college entrance, and I can get certificates to that effect. I speak no foreign languages.


Question 23: I have had no experience in the Postal Service.

Question 24: I would consider that 11 years in the teaching profession, from 1906 to close of school year, 1917, would tend to show my ability to meet and deal with the public.

My work as teacher has been in the city and rural schools of Greene County, Ark., at salaries from $50 to $80 per month.

From June, 1917. to April. 1918, I was employed by Bertig Bros., of Paragould, Ark., at a salary of $75 per month, as a salesman in their gents' furnishing department. There were no persons under my direct supervision. They conduct a department store. The volume of business done annually is from $250.000 to $350.000. They have a commercial rating, as given by R. G. Dun & Co.'s reference book of July, 1921, of over $750,000 and general credit is A 1, or high. My relation to other supervisory employees was only in advising with the head of the department in matters relating to our department.

On or about the 1st of April. 1918, I was transferred by the same people to the Paragould Trust Co., of Paragould, Ark., in which corporation they are the principal stockholders, to take charge of the abstracting department. I held this position until October, 1918. My compensation was 50 per cent of the earnings of the department. My duties were to make abstracts of titles to real estate. There were no persons under my supervision. The above-mentioned corporation does a general banking business, together with insurance and abstracting.

In October. 1918, I accepted a position with the First National Bank, of Paragould, Ark., as bookkeeper and assistant cashier at a salary of $125 per month, and held same until resigning April 15, 1921. There were really no persons under my direct supervision.

On April 15, 1921. I accepted a position as district manager over 20 counties in northeastern Arkansas for the Old Colony Life Insurance Co., of Chicago, Ill. I continued in this capacity until on or about July 4. when I purchased one-half interest in the State agency of the State of Arkansas for the above named insurance company. The State agency was begun some time in February, 1921, and we have at present 20 or more men employed soliciting applications for life insurance. We have produced to date over $800,000 of insurance.

Question 25: I was raised on the farm to time of entering my work as teacher. For the past eight years I have managed a small farm of 60 acres, which belonged to me.


Education.—I have a complete common-school education and one year In Thompson's Classical Institute, Paragould. Ark., November, 1901, to June, 1902. Two years  high-senor Lapork in Dickinson High School, Lorado, Ark.. September, 1902, to May, 1903, and from September, 1903, to May, 1904. No degrees were conferred. I do not speak any foreign languages.


Question 23: I have had no experience in Postal Service work.

Question 24: I have served as deputy county court clerk for Greene County four years, from November, 1908, to November, 1912; was county court clerk of ' Greene County. Ark., from November 1, 1912, to December 1. 1916; I taught in the common schools of Greene and Craighead Counties, Ark., two years, 1902 and 1903, short terms.

I have been general agent for New York Life Insurance Co. from August, 1917, to the present time, September, 1921; one year at Artesia, N. Mex., from August, 1917, to August, 1918; and at Deming, N. Mex.,. from August, 1918. to June 1, 1919; at Paragould, Ark., from June 6, 1919, to the present time, September 14, 1921.

I have been continuously meeting and dealing with the general public since November. 1908, both in public office and in private business.

The duties as county court clerk were that of court work and compiling tax records, giving extension of taxes for Greene County, Ark., which work I did for eight years, having served four years as deputy and four as clerk.

In my work for the New York Life Insurance Co. it has been that of soliciting insurance by meeting and dealing with the public generally.

Question 25: I was born and reared upon a farm and farmed until I was 18 years of age. While deputy county court clerk I was employed under J. A. Edwards, county court clerk, 1908 to 1912.

Question 26: My answers to questions 22, 23, 24, and 25 fully covers the occupations and positions held by me in the past, as I have never been unemployed, except when sickness has prevented. From December 1, 1916, to August 1, 1917, bad acute bronchitis and fully recovered, thinking at first it was tuberculosis, but it proved not to be.

Question 27: The experience I have had in the office of county court clerk and in meeting and successfully dealing with the public generally in the life insurance business since 1908 are qualifications.

The information secured by confidential inquiries sent through the mail to representative citizens of Paragould was uniformly satisfactory with respect to all five candidates. It seemed to the commission after considering this information and the experience of these men, that the two youngest men—Oscar C. Harvey and Guss H. Powell—had not had equally responsible positions as the three others, and they were accordingly not assigned numerical ratings. The commission believes they are qualified for the position of postmaster for an office the size of Paragould, but that they are not equally qualified with the three whose names were certified for consideration for appointment.

The examination in this case, as in the case of all other presidential post offices with salaries of $2,300 and above, consists of ratings in the following elements with relative weights indicated:

Relative weights.

Education and training 1

Business experience and fitness 4

Total 5

The ratings, therefore, in an examination such as this are " judgment" ratings, based on iill the evidence before the commission, and it is, of course, not necessary that a numerical rating be assigned to determine which of the candidates are best qualified for certification. Under the Executive order of May 10. 1921, it is not required that the commission assign numerical ratings to the candidates who are found not to be among the three best qualified, and the commission has uniformly followed the practice of advising those whose names are not certified-that it has not been possible to place them among the highest three for consideration for appointment. It is the careful and painstaking consideration and weighing of evidence in the case of each individual candidate that constitutes the rating, not the mere assignment of a numerical percentage.