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acts in which the President or the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary of War is given large discretion in carrying out the act or in prescribing further rules and regulations, which thus, by the action of the executive, become a part of the legislation on the subject. These examples show us how difficult it is in practice to separate legislation and administration, though in the main we know it should be done.
It is clear that the General Council should fix the tax-rate and should make the annual budget of appropriations. The Mayor who is to spend the money should not be allowed to say how much he shall bave the right to spend, nor should he have the unrestrained right to spend, as he pleases, the sums allowed him.
Should the Council have the right to approve or reject contracts? If they involve a great outlay of money, yes. Should the Council approve pay-rolls? If the expenditure or contract has been previously authorized, there is no need of it; and, if another approval is required, some members of the Council will now and then hold up the payrolls to put pressure on the Mayor for the sake of extorting from him a concession in some other matter. Pay-rolls should be reported to the Council before payment for the sake of publicity and investigation, but no affirmative action on them by the Council should be necessary. As to all such matters of great importance, the opinion of the Council should be taken when the annual appropriations are made, and thereaf the duty of Council should be mainly the duty of supervision. Matters of slight importance or of detail should be trusted entirely to the discretion of the Mayor and his subordinates, with the right in the Council merely to bring such matters to the attention of the citizens for the purpose of showing inefficiency or culpability on the part of the Mayor or his assistants, so that the people may know when and where to make their condemnation felt.
Should the Council ever be authorized to elect or confirm public officers? It is clear that the Council should not elect officers except in very rare cases. Most officers should be either appointed by the Mayor or his subordinates or be elected by the people; and the people should not be asked to elect a great many officers, for when their attention is thus divided among many they will be able to give investigation and careful judgment to only a few or to none. If there are many officers to be chosen by the Council, they will try to choose a Council favorable to themselves; and if there are many big salaries to be disposed of in this way, the men seeking these salaries will generally control the Council. If, on the other hand, many municipal officers with big salaries are to be selected by the Mayor, they will work singly or in combination to seek out, to nominate and to elect a Mayor who will do their bidding after his election. They will, under such circumstances, seek for a respectable figurehead. A strong man they will not want; a weak man, however honest, will be so hampered by explicit or im plied obligations that he cannot do what is right. If you want to elect
a Mayor of character, ability and strength, you must give him the appointment of only such officers as cannot well be elected by the people or by the Council.
The people should not elect executive officers for places that require special skill; that is, the people should not elect city attorneys, judges, comptrollers, assessors, physicians, etc. On the other hand, there are a few officers like the Treasurer, Auditor and Tax Receiver who can safely be elected by the people, because such officers ought to be requird to give a large bond and should not be eligible for re-election. To get bondsmen they must be pretty safe men, and their conduct will generally be scrutinized by their sureties, and their delinquencies will soon be discovered and will be rectified in time. The Mayor and Council should have the right to investigate and regulate suck offices.
To control the burdens upon the tax-payer the Council should not oniy make the tax-rate, but should also have the right to control the man whose judgment must determine the assessment, and thus fix the amount of the contribution of the citizen. If the Council is allowed to fix the tax-rate, but the Mayor is allowed to 1:ame the assessor, the assessments of the citizen's property will go up or down according to the wishes or needs of the Mayor. The property-owners who want to keep their assessments low should not choose the man whose duty may require him to raise them. Hence the Council should select the
In order that the Council may always have a trusty friend to tell them the real condition of the city's finances at any time, the bookkeeper or comptroller of the city should be named by them, not by the Mayor who is spending the money and who may have reasons for concealing his expenditures and who may compel his nominee to keep the books in such a form or way that the Council and the public can never learn easily or definitely how the city's finances stand. It would be unreasonable to expect that a skillful bookkeeper or a skillful finan. cier could be elected by a popular vote.
Should the Council be allowed to confirm or reject the appoint. ments of the Mayor? If so, an unfaithful or self-seeking Council may try to compel him to name their favorite or to make a deal with them for other favorites; and yet no stockholders of a private corporation would be willing to see the president of the corporation given the power for two, three or four years to choose all his subordinates without ever consulting the Board of Directors. There are difficulties in each way, and it is almost impossible to decide with certainty what ought to be done as to this matter; but on the whole it seems best that, where subordinate officers are protected from removal or corruption or intimidation by reasonable civil service regulations, the Mayor should be allowed to choose his Cabinet and a few other important offcers without consulting the Council at all, or he should have his way unless a large majority of the Board promptly rejected his nominees
for a cause stated on the record. He ought not to be required to get a majority of the Board to confirm his appointments. The opponents of his nominees should be compelled to get a majority against them, and the grounds of the objections should be stated, so that the people may judge who was in the wrong.
Corruption shuns publicity as vice shuns a bright light. Weak men dread an exposure of their shortcomings and a trial of strength with strong opponents. The Mayor should attend the meetings of the Council as the president of a big corporation attends the meetings of directors. At such times it is plainly apparent whether he is weak or strongand whether he is right or wrong in what he has done or what he recommends. There is no reason why the Mayor of a city, imitating the Governor of a State and the President of the United States (who got the custom from the kings and queens of England), should remain away from the Council and express his wishes or defend his actions through subordinates or in long messages or in the newspapers. He and his chief assistants should meet the Council constantıy and consult with them, and thus be able, directly and immediately, to advocate his opinions and policies and, if need be, to defend his actions in the face of the committee of the people—the Board of Directors of the Municipal Ccrporation. Such opportunities for direct questioning and straightforward replies would quickly and clearly show when and why public affairs were going wrong and who was to blame. Only an abie, upright, straightforward man could stand such a test. Weak or crooked men would dread it and sink under it. Under such conditions a bright light would be cast into every corner of the municipality, and no abuse or defect could long exist without the knowledge and conuivance of the people themselves.
To sum up, I may say that the Council, subject to the veto of the Mayor, should be untrammeled in legislation, and that in administration they should have, not the initiative nor the power of determinig details, but a wide power of supervision and 2 veto on big contracts or heavy expenditures.
Past failures warn us not to be very sanguine over the good to be derived from any reforms. Foe said that no man could devise a puzzle or cipher that could not be worked out by another. Certain it is that wise men can never completely guard a city from the secret wiles and open assaults of shrewd or corrupt men whose lives are spent in an effort to live on the public. We know to our regret that only eternal vigilance by the people will secure good government under the wisest system of government possible and that the vigilance of the people will now and then relax in spite of every effort of good citizens.
MR. DEMING: Speaking for the committee, and begging the pardon of the last speaker, I shall confine myself to Dr. Goodnow's paper, and by way of reminding those present who have
not read the proposed Act, and to correct an impression which possibly may have arisen, I will read from its text:
“The Council shall have full power and authority, except as otherwise provided”—that applies to the appointments in the administrative department—"to exercise all powers conferred upon the city, subject to the veto of the Mayor. The Council, except as hereinbefore provided”—that refers to certain specific offices—“shall have the power to establish any office that may, in its opinion, be necessary or expedient for the conduct of the city business and government, and may fix its salary and duties; but no city official shall be elected except the Mayor and the members of the Council. The incumbents of all offices established by the Council shall be appointed by the Mayor, as herein provided, except that the Council shall elect its own officers. The Council, or a committee of the Council duly authorized by it, may investigate any department of the city government, and the official acts and conduct of any city officer, and for the purpose of ascertaining facts in connection with such investigation, shall have full power to compel the attendance of witnesses, to administer oaths and examine such persons as they may deem necessary, and to compel the production of books and documents. The Council shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, have the power to appropriate all money necessary to provide for the city government, including authority, on certificate signed by the Mayor and the Comptroller that an emergency exists, to make special appropriations or to transfer to different funds.'' “And no final action upon the annual budget, or any item therein, shall be taken, nor shall the salary of any city officer be changed during the period intervening between the election and the commencement of the official terms of the Council elected thereat. The City Council shall elect, and may by resolution remove, a Comptroller, who shall have a general supervision and control of all the fiscal affairs of the city, to be exercised in the manner which may be by ordinance prescribed.” Here follows the duties of the Comptroller.
A Council endowed with those powers would have quite enough to do, and then the separation here made between legislation and administration as such is made along the line which
actual experience has shown conduces to the purity and deliberation of the legislative branch, and to the honesty and efficiency of the administrative branch of the government.
THE CHAIRMAN: The next paper in the general discussion will be read by John A. Butler, Esq., President of the Municipal League of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
PAPER OF JOHN A. BUTLER.
A prime necessity in American cities is the concentration of responsibility. The clearly defined and recognized responsibility of citizens and officials alike for all local concerns is a spur to public spirit and local patriotism, a lash which will drive incapable and corrupt officials from public places, and secure in large measure honest and efficient administration. It is in fact the condition of good city govern. ment. The people should be responsible, the Council should be responsible and the executive should be responsible, each in its own way.
In order to impress a sense of responsibility the interests of the people should be jeopardized, to use 2 strong term, in such a manner and to such a degree that they can only be protected from serious peril by their own action, and can be thus protected with absolute certainty. An illustration is the advantage which lies in electing members of tbe Council for a sufficiently long term rather than a short (ne, the short terin leading to indifference on the part of the voters, owing to its speedy termination, and the possibility of better success in choosing a candidate at the next election. Another and far more important illustration is complete severance of the city from the State Legislature as a source of control or relief in local affairs, and the absolute necessity of governing locally, under general powers. Cities thus severed from the maternal apronstrings of the Legislat'ıre, and thrown upon their own resources, would, in the nature of things, develop whatever character they possessed, and secure the government they deserved. Exclusively local legislation in purely local affairs would, however, not only counteract the apathy which everywhere stands in the way of good city government, by increasing popular responsibility, and the danger that would arise from failure to discharge it, but there are other important reasons why it is essential and even imperative. The local policy must be determined somewhere, and experience has shown that it cannot be consistently, adequately, or safely determined by the State Legislature. Under proper conditions it may be so äetermined locally, and that method, the only consistent alternative to legislative centrallzation in the State, plainly th more democratic. In free countries central government is the crystallization and expression, the result, oť tbe people's will. It arises everywhere, and not at some point of central control, and in this the city cannot consistently differ from the