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gathering material essential to the careful study of any subject. While it will not cease to discharge this important function, it will henceforth endeavor to formulate the conclusions which these facts seem to justify.
In addition to the Report of the Committee, and formal and informal discussions thereof, the present , Proceedings include a number of articles of general interest on important phases of the question.
THE ADVANCE OF MUNICIPAL REFORM IN THE UNITED
STATES—Clinton Rogers Woodruff
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON “MUNICIPAL PRO
At the conference of the National Municipal League, held in Louisville in May, 1897, the following resolution was adopted:
“RESOLVED, That the Executive Committee appoint a committee of ten, to report on the feasibility of a municipal program which will 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 prac. tical operation; and such committee, if it finds such municipal program to be feasible, is instructed to report the same, with its reasons therefor, to the League for consideration."
Under appointment by the Executive Committee the following were constituted the Committee of the League on Municipal Program: Horace E. Deming, Frank J. Goodnow, George W. Guthrie, Charles Richardson, Leo S. Rowe, Albert Shaw, Clinton Rogers Woodruff. Mr. Deming was made chairman of the committee. The members of the committee exchanged suggestions and propositions through correspondence, and these, consolidated and embodied in a series of preliminary reports and criticisms, were laid before a session of the committee lasting from the 7th to the 12th of July, 1897. At this conference, after a very full and detailed discussion, the views of the committee were reduced to the form of definite propositions, tentatively adopted, but subject to further examination and revision. A sub-committee was then appointed to elaborate these propositions into drafts of a proposed Constitutional Amendment and General Municipal Corporations Act for the further examination, criticism and suggestions of the committee. The result of the work of this sub-committee, after receiving the critical comment of the other members of the Committee on Municipal Program, was then embodied in a diaft of the proposed "Amendment" and "Corporations Act" and submitted to the discussion and suggestions of a meeting of
the full committee held March 25 and 26, 1898. At this meeting a sub-committee was appointed to prepare a revised draft of the "Amendment” and “Act” in accordance with the conclusions reached by the committee as the result of their joint deliberations and work up to this point. The revised draft of this sub-committee and the comments and suggestions of each member of the committee were finally incorporated with the unanimous approval of the committee in the proposed draft of a "Constitutional Amendment" and "Municipal Corporations Act" herewith presented to the League.
The committee does not apologize for presenting this outline sketch of its labors to fulfill the commission intrusted to it. The fact that a body of men of widely divergent training, of strong personal convictions and who approached the matter in hand from essentially different points of view, could and did come to unanimous agreement that a “Municipal Program” was feasible and practicable and by fair and full comparison of opinion were able to embody the result of their agreement in definite propositions, is a hopeful augury that the general body of the League, after full opportunity for discussion, criticism and interchange of views, can and will adopt either the committee's propositions or some improvement upon them. The committee therefore presents its report with the confident expectation that, after sufficient time and opportunity shall have been given for such further consideration which the importance of the subject demands, the members of the League will be able to formulate and present to their fellow citizens in the United States a definite Municipal Program that "will 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."
The resolution of the League under which the committee acted involved a task for which few, if any, precedents existed. The committee was asked to crystallize the results of the experience of American and European cities, and at the same time to make the results of its labors directly applicable to our present conditions. Under such circumstances it became necessary to proceed with great caution and conservatism. The committee