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co-operation of the common council, and the help of the representatives from his city in the legislature. When influential men among either of these bodies ask favors, it requires a strong man to maintain his independence, if what they ask is against his better judgment. A public officer having to deal with such influences needs no qualification more than he needs tact; but I am persuaded that an official who will fearlessly adhere to his own views of the right, resisting at every hazard all temptation to make improper nominations, or to do anything which his conscience admonishes him he should not do, will, in the end, accomplish more than one who attempts to make his way smooth by placating this influence or that. The latter process is an endless one, and after a while such an officer will find that the simplest thing cannot be accomplished without some favor on his part granted in return for what ought to be given simply as a matter of duty to the community. The fearless man, on the other hand, wins the respect even of those whom he disappoints. When once they are persuaded that no special favors are to be had in return for the performance of duty on their part, they are not unlikely themselves to approach public questions from the standpoint of public interest.

These are the special temptations which beset a city official on the side of his friends. Public life differs from private business in this other aspect, that there is always an organized opposition whose antagonism must be overcome in every case. This antagonism is as likely to be felt when one is right as when one is wrong. It seems to be part of the code of a political organization, that its adherents must contribute nothing, even by co-operation, to the success of a man upon the other side. The only influence which can modify this opposition is public opinion. This the fearless mayor is apt to have with him, while the man who seeks the support of party managers by docile acceptance of their suggestions is likely not to have it. Therefore, in this larger view, it is equally important for a city officer to be courageous and independent, and to be manifestly the serv ant of the whole people only.

Difficulties such as the foregoing are inherent in our system of government. They can be reduced to a minimum, now, by a

courageous man of strong parts. No change in the law can so far affect the situation as to make results greatly independent of the character of the officer. The greatest hope for improvement is to be found in a growth of public opinion which will demand of every party that its representatives in office shall be the servants of the whole city, and not the servants of a party. Such a public opinion must express itself, in case of need, through independent voting, upon a scale which will make continuous party success impossible for either side, until this point is conceded. In cities where the national parties are pretty evenly divided, such a sentiment may be developed with comparative ease. On the other hand, in cities where one party is overwhelmingly in excess of the other, public opinion itself is at fault to so great an extent as practically to have substituted, for the responsibility of city officials to the community, a responsibility on their part to the managers of the dominant party. Where this is so the substance of popular government is gone. It can be recovered only by breaking the power of the machine to defy interference, which power springs largely from the costliness and the labor of counter-organization. I should hope for good results in this direction from the passage of bills placing in the hands of the State the whole machinery and expense of elections, including the preparation and distribution of ballots. Every effort at independent action now is rendered doubly difficult by the expense of placing ballots at the polls. The people cannot hope to secure the complete control of elections which their interests demand until the State, at the public expense, provides all the machinery necessary to enable each citizen to vote for whom he likes.

In a general way, anything which separates municipal elections from those for State and national offices ought to make for improved city government. It is on this ground that many favor charter elections for cities, to be held at different times from those for the State and the nation. I think that a separate election for city officers is desirable. On the other hand, I have seen only one proposition which commends itself to my mind as a distinct improvement in that direction. Experience shows that general public interest cannot be maintained for two elec

tions a year. Consequently, the lesser election, which is that for local offices, suffers ordinarily in the number of citizens which it attracts to the polls. It is true, undoubtedly, that the average citizen is more affected in his pocket and in the routine of his life by the character of the city government than he is by the character of either the State or the national government. Nevertheless, very many more people vote for President of the United States than vote at any other time. In other words, a large class of citizens are too ready to neglect city elections altogether. For this reason, I should not usually anticipate any special advantage from a separate city election, if such separation makes it the second election in a year. Boston has a charter election in December; Philadelphia has hers in the spring. In Boston it is not unusual for the rancors of the November election to work themselves out in December; while in Philadelphia the election is so near to the coming one for the State and the nation that it is deemed to be a "straw" of great significance to indicate which way its vote shall turn, and, as a consequence, it is swept into the current of the larger politics as hopelessly as ever. If the Constitution of our State could be amended, as was at one time suggested, so that the elections to fill State and national offices could come in the even years, and the local elections in November of the odd years, so that there should be separate charter elections, but at the same time only one election a year, such a provision, it seems to me, would have the best promise of good results along this line. It is not to be supposed that, even by such a provision, the influence of national politics can be wholly eliminated from local affairs. The stream is always stronger than the eddy, and our city life is lived in the midst of State and national politics. Still, such an arrangement, it seems to me, would reduce the interference to the lowest degree possible, while securing for us, to some extent, the advantages of a separate election.

The average city charter provides a scheme of administration which is curiously at war with all the teachings of experience. If any one point of business administration is well settled, it is that executive work must be committed to one man. Every successful business depends upon this principle, in connection with

its companion thought of individual responsibility, running through every department, from the head down.

With few exceptions, the charters of our cities run counter to this well-settled principle with a completeness which leaves nothing to be imagined. It is the more curious that such a false system, or absence of system, should have obtained in our cities, because in the government of the United States such mistakes have been avoided. Nobody ever heard of a non-partisan treasury department, or a non-partisan post-office, nor, so far as I know, has any one been wild enough to suggest such things. Yet most of our cities are administered on precisely that plan. Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Chicago, in recent years, have made important steps in the direction of concentrated responsibility upon the executive side of city government. In Brooklyn, the Police Department, the Fire Department, the Health Department, the Building Department, the Department of City Works, are each under the charge of a single head. Not a single voice has been heard in Brooklyn, since the change was made, suggesting a return to old methods. Each head of department understands that he alone is responsible for any faults in his department. He also knows that he gets the praise for whatever merits it may claim. These officers, being themselves appointed by the mayor, without confirmation by the common council, for terms conterminous with his own, are all within the reach of the people at a single election. In consequence, a change of mayor places within the reach of the voters a change in the entire character of the city government. In this way the city government has been made responsible to the people to an extent never known before. The people know that the remedy for bad government, under such a charter, is within their own reach. The officials know it also, and the result is a responsiveness to public sentiment far beyond what is usually the case.

On its executive side, I think the charter of Brooklyn is a good model for any city wishing to improve its administration. The unsolved organic problem in connection with city government, in my mind, is the common council. Almost nowhere has it been found safe to deposit with it all of the powers which, theoretically, such a body ought to enjoy. In some cities its

powers have been reduced so much that the only power which it retains is a capacity to do harm, by unwise interference with the executive, and by obstruction. This point alone seems to me clear in connection with common councils, that, whatever powers are lodged with them, these powers should be, in kind, legislative only. They should have no part whatever in the confirmation of appointments, and no power of interference with the current administration of executive departments.

As to the relation of the State to the cities within its borders, this much, at least, it would seem, may safely be insisted upon. First, that the legislature shall not pass mandatory bills calling for expenditure by the city; but shall, as far as possible, make all such legislation permissive in form, placing the responsibility for the added expenditure distinctly upon some officer, or officers, who can be called to account by the people of the city. And secondly, that whenever additional agencies are necessary for the performance of special work to be undertaken by a city, these agents shall be appointed by the mayor, and not by the legislature. A commission, or a commissioner, appointed by the legislature is responsible only to the State. Responsibility for the execution of work in which the city alone is interested should be in every case to the mayor, as the chief executive of the city, and through him to the voters of the city. Within these lines a city may very justly and very safely strive for local self-government.


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