« PreviousContinue »
Gentlemen of the City Council :
The main objects which I have tried to keep in view during the past four years have been to simplify the organization and machinery of the government; to systematize the books and accounts of the various departments; to secure a more efficient coöperation between the different departments; to reduce the cost and increase the value of our public works by the introduction of business methods in all that relates to the purchase of materials, the letting of contracts, and the building operations of the city; to secure such legislation as seemed from time to time to be necessary; to defend the city treasury against hostile attack; to maintain a conservative management of the city finances; to keep the current expenses of the government within its current income; to use the public credit only for improvements of general and admitted utility; to improve the sanitary condition of the city; to provide better accommodations and treatment for the sick, the poor, and the insane; to procure better streets and pavements; to provide new school-houses and other public buildings; to complete the parks; to readjust upon a fairer basis the relations between the city and the private corporations enjoying privileges in the streets; and to facilitate travel and rapid transit through the city.
In a city where the people are accustomed more than in other cities of this country to rely on the municipal corporation rather than on private enterprise for the development of its material interests; with a system of taxation under which every person with land to develop and improve is invited to secure the means to do so out of the public treasury; in a community burdened with elections so frequent
as to create a condition of perpetual politics; with State and municipal legislatures, many of whose members spend their time in attacking the financial interests of the city; the efficient and economical government of a city, where individuals, sections, classes are continually clamoring, with the assistance of the press (in the news columns, if not on the editorial page), for things that either cannot or ought not to be done, and where the head of the government is theoretically responsible for everything that is done or is not done, is a task of enormous difficulty, and one that is capable of imperfect execution only.
The leading thought which I have endeavored to keep in mind during the administration of the past four years has been that the Mayor should, as contemplated by the charter amendments of 1885, take into his hands a larger share of direction and responsibility than had previously been the case, and thus become more directly accountable to the people for the administration of their affairs. Promising in my first letter of acceptance to literally and in person fulfil the obligations imposed by the city charter, I have endeavored to do my part in the administration of the city government upon this theory, and not to magnify the office beyond the express injunctions of the city charter. I am conscious of innumerable omissions, shortcomings, and mistakes. I know that many things have been left undone for lack of time; and that some things could have been done. differently, and some much better, I trust, however, that the administrative and financial methods which have been introduced during these four years may prove a lasting benefit to the city, and tend to make its government easier. for those who are to come after me; and that the work of the Board of Survey, the new radial thoroughfares, the Subway, and the Parks, improvements that will change the face of Boston, will serve to prepare our city for its metropolitan career.
In laying down the administration of this great trust I desire to express my gratitude and obligation to the citizens.
of Boston who have so generously supported me at four successive elections, and to thank the members of the City Council, and the heads of departments, for the assistance received on innumerable occasions and in innumerable ways.
PREPARED AT VARIOUS TIMES BETWEEN 1891 AND 1894, AND NOW BROUGHT DOWN TO DATE.
[FOR INDEX TO TABLES, SEE PP. 7.]