Saturday, July 2, 2016

Woman's Club Wants to Change Municipal Government and Hire City Manager, 1916

“Commission Government,” from the June 16, 1916 issue of The Monroe Journal.
Have we not sat still, folded our hands and abused long enough? Shall we not try to solve the problem of municipal government on a brand new plan? Practically every American city has its group of men who are enthusiastically organizing some endeavor to secure the commission form of government for their towns. This government, while it may not be ideal, is so much better than the forms of government which preceded it in the various cities that the officials have been bombarded with questions by mail to such an extent that it has been bombarded with questions by mail to such an extent that it has been necessary to publish pamphlets as an answer to enquiries. Unquestionably the plan is popular wherever tried.
The essential features of the commission plan are economy, efficiency, control of public servants and of public funds and permanency of public improvements. Wards are abolished. The government is put on a sound business basis. The manager must run the city on an efficient business basis and he is directly responsible to the people for the business success or failure of the corporation. To make any business enterprise pay the cost of equipment and of operation must be kept within the limit of business economy. Wastefulness must be avoided.
All servants and helpers that are not actually profitable to the city should be gotten rid of just as a clerk or any other servant would be. The business efficiency of the commission plan secures employees that can render regular, efficient service. It does not allow the practice of furnishing jobs to friends or relatives; but the proposition is exactly reversed and men who can and will render the most valuable service are sought to take the jobs. The police show inefficiency if they arrest a stranger or a harmless countryman merely for intoxication and then allow prominent citizens or home boys to take in the town driving fast or cursing and threatening. This is inefficient police service. The ladies of the Woman’s Club think all violators of law should be treated alike instead of locking up the stranger or the countryman without bond and sending the prominent citizen home or letting him stay in the street. It is said that our street force wastes a thousand dollars a year or more in inefficiency and waste of time. We have been told that under the present system of government the aldermen can spend money for any old thing that suits them just whenever they take a notion. All they have to do is get the mayor to sign notes, checks or vouchers.
After a year of managerial work for Tarboro, J.H. Jacocks shows a good record in supervision of the town’s affairs. June 1, 1915, the town owed notes and the banks $3,167; fire truck note $2,026; miscellaneous bills $2,050; a total of $6,237.69. May 1st this year those bills had all been paid and the miscellaneous bills amounted only to $850. The town on the first of the month owed $4,487.69 less than on June 12th last year.
Other cities can be cited which show equally fine reports under the commission form of management and the sooner Monroe gets the commission government the sooner will the city enter an era of progress and growth that will be the pride of all of us.

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