The Civil Service Study Commission was created on October 14, 1935 by Governor Frank D. Fitzgerald under authority of Public Act 195 of the Public Acts of 1931. The commission, chaired by University of Michigan professor James K. Pollock, was instructed to survey current personnel practices of the state "with a view to determining, in as accurate a way as possible, the most important evils from which the state has been suffering." Under the existing patronage system of government employment, a change in administration usually meant wholesale personnel changes regardless of the competence and merit of the individual then holding any given position. The study commission, in its report, proposed legislation which would correct these shortcomings.
Based upon the recommendations of the commission, the Michigan legislature in 1937 passed a bill designed to correct the evil and inefficiencies of political patrons with the creation of a Civil Service Commission appointed by the governor. This Commission, in turn, would select a personnel director who would prepare the necessary rules and regulations and who would begin the process of classifying each and every state job.
From the guide to the Michigan Civil Service Study Commission records, 1935-1941, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)