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to get the enjoyments and the privileges are the political questions that are coming to us.
Another is, whether the city's work shall be done by contract, and whether they shall have an eighthour day? The business man deals with individuals ; he appoints and removes subordinates and makes economical contracts; but the political question is deeper than that, and it is the question as to who shall bear the burden of these privileges and who are getting the advantages.
It seems to me that these political questions must necessarily be left to the popular vote, left to the referendum, in such way that the Mayor himself shall have nothing to do in determining these questions. In so far as we have had popular votes on this puestion. we do not have this confiscation. If you get the large mass of people to vote, the large predominating vote is of the middle class that is not poor, nor rich, and wishes to have justice on all sides. The popular veto is that check on the legislative branch which will secure responsibility and integrity, and it is the release of the Mayor from a political institution and his installment as a purely executive officer. Then the people will be willing to elect Mayors who shall be business men. In Syracuse the most capable business man in the city was defeated because he did not appeal to the people on these questions of their enjoyment and the distribution of the public burdens. The city officials, therefore, who are selected under this system must necessarily be a political administration.
If we are going to follow this principle out and separate the administrative and the executive, we want to make the executive head a general manager and cashier ; but that can only be done in this country by separating in the minds of the voters these two questions, so that they can know that they are having their wishes fulfilled by a popular vote, and having an honest government by electing even a man who does not agree with their political opinions.
MR. DEMING: We were appointed by an American group of reformers who had interested themselves for five or six years in listening to the various projects, abstract and practical, of a great majority of reformers from a great many parts of the country. We were ordered by resolution to ascertain and report
on the feasibility of a municipal programme which would embody the essential principles that must underlie successful municipal government, and which shall also set forth a working plan or system consistent with American industrial and political conditions for putting such principles into practical operation. We were further ordered, if we should find such municipal programme to be feasible, to report it, with its reasons, to the League for consideration. In England they have no constitutional check, none at all. They have no written constitution whatever, and the constitution of January 1, 1898, is very different from what it was ten years before. The constitution is a liquid, fluid matter. They have traditions there of great power and force, and they rely on those traditions and trust the people for the restthat is, the voting population. They do not have manhood suffrage in England; they have not the veto in England—they don't know what that means. They have grown up under a system, and they found there that the local town government incurred enormous debts and did a number of other things which Parliament deemed to be risky, and they got frightened, and so they established what we know as the Local Government Board, which has certain supervisory powers. That is the written constitutional restraint against which the municipality in England
If it wishes to buy gas works it consults the Local Government Board, made up in the way prescribed there. In this country we have the constitutional checks and the veto of the executive, and we are used to it. I do not say, speaking for the Committee, that we may not develop to the point where we should prefer to have no written constitution and no veto, but we are not there yet; and speaking for myself, strong advocate as I am of State administrative supervision, I should rather doubt at the present state of political development in this country whether we would find a State Board named by a Governor, by and with the consent of the Senate, a safer or wiser restraint in respect to the incurring of debt and acquiring of property on the part of cities than sound principles embody in a written constitution. At any rate it seemed to your Committee, studying the constitutions of the different States, and finding that there had been developed an American method of meeting this evil by
putting certain restrictions in the constitution, we advocate that method.
Whether we have put the right restrictions in is another matter ; but we advocate that method of doing the work, and we put the same restrictions into the Corporations Act as we put into the constitution, simply because in some States these constitutional restrictions do not yet exist; and yet those States may be willing to pass a Municipal Corporations Act giving these powers, if they are coupled with the restrictions, who would not dream of giving a local government a chance to grow unless you did put these restrictions into the grant.
That is the position of the Committee, and those are some of the reasons why it has framed the Municipal Corporations Act and the proposed Constitutional Amendment.
MR. MURPHY: The Evansville Charter has been tested just in the way spoken of here this evening. In order to get a franchise through our Council now it must pass through three successive steps. In the third step, where the Mayor vetoes, we arrest things to allow the new Mayor to consider a veto. In regard to municipal reform, we have always had to contend with this in opposition to our charter, that while the charter will not secure per se good government, the charter does give us an opportunity if we elect the men to give us good government, We cannot make good government by charter, but we can give to good men the charter to make a good government. The charter says to us, “ If you put good men in power you will have good government.” Under the old regime that could not be done.
Adjourned until Friday at 10:30 A. M.
Friday, December 2, 1898, 10.30 A. M. Hon. WILLIAM DUDLEY FOULKE, Richmond, Ind., presiding, called the meeting to order at 10:30.
THE CHAIRMAN : The subject to be considered at this session is “The City in the United States : The Proper Scope of Its Activities," which will be treated by Dr. Albert Shaw, of New York. In his absence, the paper will be read by Mr. Deming.
It is a great misfortune that Dr. Shaw is unavoidably absent, as only those who know him can realize what a loss his presence is to the meeting. The paper, like all the others, has been submitted to the Committee, and it is not to be considered as the individual work of one member, but as the joint work of all the members.
Mr. Deming then read Dr. Shaw's paper on “The City in the United States : The Proper Scope of Its Activities.” (See pages 82 to 93.)
THE CHAIRMAN : The first paper to discuss Dr. Shaw's is by Hon. Josiah Quincy, Mayor of Boston. As Mr. Quincy is not present, his paper will be read by Clinton Rogers Woodruff
PAPER PREPARED BY MAYOR QUINCY. The opinions expressed in Dr. Shaw's paper on the proper scope of municipal activities in this country so fully command my assent that my own comments must rather take the form of amplifying some of his points than of controverting them. His criticism upon the disproportionate effort which has been devoted to the constant tinkering of our municipal charters is amply warranted, but to my mind this has been an unavoidable stage of municipal development through which we have been passing. Our great trouble has been, not that too much attention has been given to the proper organization of municipal gov. ernment, but that there has been too much special legislation for particular cities, and too little agreement upon certain general principles applicable to the government of all cities of a certain size. Constant legislative interference is open to great objections, but even this may be better than to have forms of municipal government perpetuated under which proper results cannot possibly be secured; and such progress as has been made in this country toward establishing a proper distribution of the powers of municipal government, and a proper organization of its various activities, has come very largely through securing better charters than the average for a few great and comparatively enlightened communities. The establishment of a proper form of municipal government does not insure good administration, but it may be a necessary condition precedent toward making it possible.
While the work of a municipal government is very much the same everywhere, the political conditions which affect it are vastly different in this country from those which exist in England or on the continent of Europe. I believe that even the great diversity, not to say chaos, existing in our municipal governments in this country is better, on the whole, and offers more of promise for the future, than the adoption of a uniform plan of charter based upon foreign models. Nothing would
be worse, in my opinion, for the larger municipalities of this country than the compulsory general adoption of the principles of the English municipal corporations Act, for example, with its combination of legislative and administrative functions in one body. The result of our experimenting bas, at least, taught us that the one scheme which would put good government in our great cities practically out of the question is precisely the one which in England undoubtedly produces admirable results; the complete separation of the executive and legislative powers in municipal government in our cities, if it does not always insure good government, certainly brings us much nearer to it than we would get under the plan of entrusting our City Councils with administrative powers. I think it would not be difficult to establish the proposition that we have approached proper results in municipal administration in the larger cities of this country just in proportion as we have departed from foreign models by depriving our City Councils of executive powers.
The passage of uniform municipal incorporation acts in our different cities twenty-five years ago would, I think, have prevented a great deal of important progress in municipal government which has been made during that period. I am inclined to believe, moreover, that our largest cities will continue to need a good deal of special legislation, and that their governments can only advance as fast as they should do by its assistance. I believe, however, that we are approaching, if we have not reached, that period in municipal development in this country when much greater uniformity than has existed in the past is practicable, as well as desirable, and when it should be possible to incorporate into the more defective and antiquated municipal charters some of the principles which have made our best charters at least fairly successful in their operation. It would indeed be a mischievous delusion if people were led to believe that the most perfect charter theoretically would of itself insure good government, for no plan of organization can be devised by the wit of man which can dispense with honesty and efficiency in officials and public spirit among the citizens; but it is, to my mind, a mistake only less serious to say that the results of municipal government will be about the same in any given community at a particular time, regardless of the form of municipal charter which it lives under. I agree that “the main outlines of a municipal system should be uniform throughout all the towns of a State," but I am inclined to think that even the present lack of uniformity is better than to have a form of charter which is dangerous and corrupting imposed upon all cities alike, and it is doubtful whether we have even yet reached the stage where our Legislatures could be got to pass a general municipal corporations act embodying any such distribution of powers as set forth in the excelleni draft of an act presented to this conference by one of its committees.
In respect to the desirability of allowing a large latitude to each