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Part I

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

[7]

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF LABOR

To the Legislature:

Section 46 of the Labor Law provides that “ The Commissioner of Labor shall report annually to the legislature and shall include in his annual report or make separately in each year a report of the operation of each bureau in the department.”

It seems to be the clear intent of this section that it is the operation of the Department concerning which especially it is the duty of the Commissioner annually to inform the Legislature. While, therefore, a year ago it seemed appropriate, in view of the fact that the present Commissioner of Labor had but just entered office, to discuss the future of the reorganized Department of Labor, it is the purpose here to note the developments of the fiscal year ended September 30, 1914.

There is neither space nor need that the work of the different bureaus or divisions of the Department should be reviewed fully or in detail by the Commissioner in his personal report. Such information may better be supplied by the individual reports of the several Bureaus which will be printed as appendices to this report, leaving for treatment here some of the larger and more general aspects of the Department work as a whole.

THE COST OF THE DEPARTMENT Surveying the Department as a whole, perhaps the most striking fact for the year 1914 is an increase in expenditures of 56 per cent as compared with the year before, or in round numbers from $395,000 to $614,000. This large increase was distributed among the principal items of expenditures as follows:

COMPARISON OF EXPENDITURES OF DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

IN 1913 AND 1914

TOTAL EXPENDITURES

1913

1914

ITEM
Salaries
Traveling expenses
Printing.
Office and general expenses.

$283, 661 67

60,514 18 10,946 88 39,613 60

$452,840 14

76,857 22 28,357 73 56,015 56

Increase $169,178 47

16,343 04 17,410 85 16,401 96

Total

$394,736 33

$614,070 65

$219,334 32 * This is not to be confused with the total of actual salaries paid during the year as given in the preceding table. The figures here refer only to the single date at the end of the year.

It will be seen that the bulk of the increase was in the item of salaries, which is naturally the principal form of expenditures in such a Department. The explanation of this growth in salary account is to be found in a large increase in personnel of the Department from 196 on September 30, 1913, to 329 on September 30, 1914. That is, there was an increase of 68 per cent in the number of persons employed in the Department. In the following table is a comparison of the personnel in the two years which shows the distribution of the increase in the general classes of attaches, in connection with which is given, in order to make still more clear the relation between growth in personnel and increase in salary expenditures, the total salary list for the attaches as it was at the end of each year. *

COMPARISON OF PERSONNEL AND SALARY LIST OF DEPARTMENT OF
LABOR ON SEPTEMBER 30, 1913 AND 1914
TOTAL NUMBER

TOTAL SALARY LIST

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It thus appears that the increased expenditures of 1914 were the accompaniment of a greatly enlarged Department. Various interpretations of this outstanding feature of 1914 in the history of the Department are possible. But what is the real significance of this great enlargement? When the real purpose of the Department's work is considered this growth can scarcely be interpreted as other than an evidence of progress and a source of distinction for the Empire State. Rightly considered, the Department's work is the conservation of the health, safety and well being of wage earners, not as a partisan or class favor, but as a matter either of justice to those who are unable under modern social and industrial conditions adequately to safeguard such well being themselves, or as a sound part of the high function of government to promote the general welfare. Taken, therefore, as a measure of government

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