Page images
PDF
EPUB

A. That wasn't said.

Q. Well, suppose the Commissioners had in an evil hour instructed you to break the law, should you have done so?

A. When that thing comes up, I will act.

Q. Now, again, will you kindly answer the question according to the ruling of the Chair.

Did you not, to be exact, perhaps the stenographer had better turn back to my question and read it, because I don't want to vary it by even a punctuation mark from what it was.

(The stenograpbér read the following: "Will you be kind enough to say whether you have always complied with this simple provision of law ? ")

A. I have complied with all the requirements of the Commissioners of Public Institutions, who were over me, and have read the records whenever they were asked to be read. I never refused to read them, nor did I ever go in and attempt to hit anybody on the head to compel them to allow mne to read them.

Q. You have said that so often that I shall remember it to my dying day.

A No oftener than your question.
Q. Now, will you answer the question ?

Ald. LEE. Now, Mr. Chairman, I object. He has answered this question as fully as anybody possibly can inswer it under this interpretation of the law. Now, I possibly know practically nothing about law in general, Mr. Chairman, but I do know something about the ordinances of this city. Here is an officer of this city, a subordinate, who comes here and says that whenever the Commissioners have a meeting the records are brought in; and does anybody say, or will anybody attempt to say, that the Commission has not the right to suspend the reading of the records ?

Mr. RILEY. — And annul the law ?

Ald. LEE. And annul the law for the time being. They have that right, and everybody knows that that wants to. You wouldn't admit it if you were here a hundred years; and still you know it is right. Mr. Chairman, the law is simple, and I think he has answered this question fairly, and squarely, and manfully. He simply comes here anıl says that when they have a meeting he goes in to that meeting as secretary of that Board and has the records therc; and if they don't suspend their realling, he reads them. He makes i record- of what is done at that meeting, and he enters it upon his record book. Now, Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that to waste time in this matter is pure folly.

Mr. RILEY. — Before you sit down, I wish you would let me ask il simple question.

Ald. LEE. I will answer any question that you ask me; and very quickly, too.

Mr. RILEY. —- I would like to ask you this: If any Board or officer has the power to rescind or annul or repeal a city ordinance, will you tell me where that power comes from ?

Ald. LEE. — Any officer or any Board has the right to suspend the reading of the records of their last meeting. Even the Board of Aldermen, under their rules and regulations, and under the charter, have that same right. At every meeting which we have some member gets up and makes that motion, and we dispense with the reading of the records. Now, Mr. Chairman, let me say just one word more. General Donohoe is a subordinate of the Board of Commissioners of Public Institutions ; and that is a question which in my opinion should be asked of the Commissioners, and not of General Donohoe. General Donohoe obeys the law. He goes before that Commission with his records; and if they violate the law, they are the ones to be brought here and asked if they violate it, and not him. Why, Mr. Chairman, it is us plain as the nose on your face what he is after. Talk about our protecting some individual! I take the position that it is pretty near time now that we stopped this and got down to business in relation to the management and the system of carrying on the pauper and penal institutions, and not try any longer to protect ex-commissioners or ex-officers who mily have been discharged. Let us get down to business. We have gone on here and been — well, I won't say we have been bulldozed, because I don't think anybody could bulldoze the committee; but it has been attempted on individual members. Now, let me say right here that if he wants to get that ivforination he must get it from the Cominissioners.

Mr. RILEY. Will they go on the stand ?
Ald. LEE. I don't know.
Mr. RILEY. – I think you do.

Ald. LEE. —- I don't know. I don't know but what it would be well to get you on the stand.

Mr. RILEY. Well, I will go, and will let you cross-examine me.

Ald. LEE. Well, I think we would have an elegant record when we got through with you.

The CHAIRMAN The Chair still adheres to his ruling.

Ald. LEE. Then I appeal from the decision of the Chair, if that is the interpretation that the Chair puts upon it.

The CHAIRMAN. — The decision of the Chair has been appealed from.

Ald. LOMASNEY. – Mr. Chairman, I dislike very much to disagree with Alderman Lee upon this question ; but it seems to me that if he will let General Donohoe answer the question

Ald. LEE. He has answered it.

Ald. LOMASNEY. · If he answers the question whether or not the provisions of law have or have not been complied with

Ald. LEE. — How does he know?

Ald. LOMASNEY. — If, after reading that section, he says that the provisions of that law have been complied with, certainly no fault can be found with him. If, on the other hand, he answers it by saying that they have not been complied with, and then says that he was willing to do it, but by the instruction of the Commission he did not do it, ccrtainly no fault can be found with him in that case. I recognize the propriety of General Donohoe recognizing the authority of the Commissioners and not reading the records if they did not desire them read; but certainly I don't think we should protect eren the Commissioners at the expense of a subordinate, and in justice to General Donohoe this matter should not be left in that position that he is trying to protect any one, and certainly not to protect the Commissioners. He should not be held responsible for the action of the Commissioners. They are strong, courageous, able men, and they should not be afraid to take any amount of criticismr; and certainly he should not be called upon to take the responsibility or to deny them the right to instruct him. If he answers yes or no, then will come the proper question why he didn't do it; and then we will get the responsibility placed where it belongs. I dont ihink that he should be expected to take the whole responsibility for not having read the records.

Ald. LEE. Now, I suppose, that when an appeal is made from the decision of the presiding oflicer the question is open to discussion and debate; and in that connection I would like, Mr. Chairman, if I may be permitted, to ask one or two questions of General Donohoe; and I think I may then probably vote a little more intelligently. I have that right, I think, anyhow; and I think the Chairman will give me that privilege.

The CITAIRMAN. --- Certainly

Q. (By Ald. LEE.) Now, I want to ask General Donohoe if the Commissioners notify him when they are going to have a meeting in executive session, or if they have got certain days set when they have executive sessions ?

A. They tell me that they want me there.
Q. And you go there with your record book?
21. I do.
Q. And have the records there so that they can be read?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. And if they move that the further reading be dispenseil with, you dispense with it?

A. Yes, sir.
Q. At all meetings?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you always make the record in your book?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. It is there ready for them at every meeting?
4. Yes, sir.

Ald. LEE. Now, Mr. Chairman, I don't see where there is any question about that at all. When the gentleman stands up and answers it as fairly as that.

Q. (By Ald. LOMASNEY.) Is that book in your handwriting, Mr. Donohoe?

A. Yes, sir.
Q. The whole book?
A. All of it.

The motion was put on the appeal from the decision of the Chair, and the appeal was sustained. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Riley will please go on.

(By Mr. RILEY.) One other thing, general, before passing to another part of the examination. You say you are and have been familiar with this provision of law?

A. I have read it.

Q. And you have known it for years — known it ever since you have been secretary?

A. Not all together, I think. I don't know that that was in the Revised Ordinances until 1893.

Q. Well, you have known it since then ?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, has the Commission at any time told you to disregard this provision ?

A. The Commissioners have never told me to disregard anything, that I know of.

Q. So that you have kept your records to suit yourself ?
A. To suit the Commissioners, sir.

Q. Then your records, whenever kept and however kept, are according to the orders of the Commissioners ?

4. Entirely so.

Q. And whether written every week or every six weeks, or every six months

I don't think I understand that exactly. Did you mean to say Q. Of course you don't, because I haven't completed the question. 4. Excuse me; I thought you had.

Q. They have been written and kept by you as the Commission directed.

A. In the first part of your question you said, I think, that they were written every six weeks or six days, or something of that kind. There has no such thing ever happened.

Q. Well, when you read from the small book the proceedings of the previous meeting, that was the full and complete record of the previous meeting, wasn't it?

A. It was.
2. And that was transferred to the larger book?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Exactly as it appeared on the small book ?

A. Exactly — as it was approved. In some cases my record might not agree with what the Commissioners thought they had done previously, and they would correct it. The corrected records, the approved records, are in this book (pointing).

Q. Now, the executive session was every day, was it, except Sunday?

A. No, sir. They didn't have what they call an executive session every day.

Q. Well, a business session ?

A. They were in business session every day when a majority of them were there.

Q. Well, perhaps I can make myself a little clearer if I ask you to turn to the record of July, 3, 1891.

A. (Turning to record.)' Yes, sir.
Q. What do you find ?
A. Do you wish me to read the entire record of that day?
Q. What?
A. Do you wish me to read the entire record of that day ?
Q. Perhaps not.

“Friday, July 3, 1891,” it commences. Q. Now, do the records of that day show the adoption of rules for the transaction of business?

A. They do.
Q. That part of the record I wish you would read.
A. (Reading :)

A.

[ocr errors]

The following report from the Committee to formulate rules was received and adopted :

" The Committee to prepare rules and regulations for the government of the Board respectfully present the following report:

“1. The chairman shall be the representative for the Commission in all business conducted by it, routine or special, in connection with the various institutions, except as may be otherwise at any time voted by the members of the Commission.

All business concerning the work of the Commission shall be presented to the Commission at a daily executive session, to be held at eleven o'clock A.M.

The Commissioners having equal power in all that concerns the general management of the department, shall independently study each of its details and there shall be no subdivision of the work for special committees, except as may be for particular purposes at any time ordered by the Board. “(Signed)

- Otis K. NEWELL,
" THOMAS H. DEVLIN,

Committee."

[ocr errors]

Q. That was adopted, was it?
A. It was. I read that.
Q. And those were the rules of the Board ?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now, in view of what you have just read, I will again repeat the question was there an executive session every day?

A. Not every day.
Q. Then that rule wasn't complied with, was it?
A. Frequently not.
Q. How frequently?
Ă. The book will show. I cannot say.

Q. (By Ald. LEE.) You were there every day with your records in the office ?

4. I was there ready, unless I was on vacation or sick.

Q. (By Mr. RILEY.) You are too shrewd for me. Was Rule 1 followed ?

Ald. LEE. Well, what is Rule 1? Let us have it.
Mr. RILEY. Well, he read it all a moment ago.

Ald. LEE. Well, let us have it again. I would like to hear it again. The WITNESS. — (Reading :)

The chairman shall be the representative for the Commission in all business conducted by it, routine or special, in connection with the various institutions, except as may be otherwise, at any time voted by the members of the Commission.

Q. (By Mr. RILEY.) Was that lived up to?
A. That is not for me to say.
Q. So far as your kvowledge goes ?

1. I don't know whether the chairman was the executive in every case or not. I certainly cannot answer that question. I presume he

was.

[ocr errors]

Q. You don't care much about answering it. It is none of your business?

1. Well, that is just about it.
Q. Well, clearly Rule 2 was not followed ? That, you admit?
A.

Who admitted ?
Q. What?
8. Who admitted what? (Laughter.)
Q. You admit that that rule was not followed ?
A. Oh, no; I didn't say so.
Q. You admit that Rule 2 was not followed ?

A. No, I didn't admit anything. I hope you won't put anything into my mouth. I am bad enough, anyway;

Mr. RILEY. Well, I will agree with you that it is bad enough, anyway, but I won't add a word.

Ald. LEE. He said that he was bad enough - not that it was.

The WITNESS. – I don't want anything put into my mouth that you say. Mr. RILEY. Far from being bad I know you are good. Ald. LEE. What is Rule 2? The WITNESS.

(Reading): " The Commissioners having equal power in all that concerns

Mr. RILEY. - No, that is Rule 1, isn't it?

The WITNESS. — Oh, I beg your pardon, I was reading the third rule. The second is :

All business concerning the work of the Commission shall be presented to the Commission at a daily executive session, to be held at eleven o'clock A.M.

Q. That is the rule that you said was not followed ?
Á. Not always.
Q. But the Commission adopted the rules, didn't they?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. How often did they hold executive sessions?
A. Well, this book will show (pointing).
Q. Well, about how often?
A. Well, that I cannot tell.
Q. Well, as much as three times a week?
A. There are times here, it appears, that they were held daily — day

for quite awhile.
Q. Yes; and then how long a gap?
d. That

That I don't know.

after day

« PreviousContinue »