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Rentals Paid for Offices Outside of City Hall.


Location. Occupied by Rental. Pemberton square........... Police Department........................... $15,000 00 to e o e o is $ & & " a to $ to e o so e o e o to e o go to g o go s e o s e g s 3. Tremont Building........... Law and Street Departments............... 12,960 00 15 Beacon Street............. Rapid Transit Commission.................. 6,000 00 Walker Building ... ........ Schoolhouse Commission...... ............. 4,200 00 62–64 Pemberton square Bath, Music, Art and Park Departments... 2,000 ; * * * e o s e o e o a s g g o e o os e o os e < * * * * * * * * * * is & & 560 00 Huntington Chambers.......] Milk Inspector. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,800 00 Kimball Building............ Treasury Department. . . . . . . . . 400 00

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CITY OF BOSTON, OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, February 19, 1906. To the Board of Aldermen :

I transmit herewith a communication from the Fire Commissioner in answer to your order requesting information in regard to the circulation of a certain petition among the members of the department. Respectfully, JOHN F. FITZGERALD, Mayor.

FIRE ComMIssionER, BRISTOL STREET, February 19, 1906.

Mayor of the City of Boston :

SIR, - In reply to the request contained in the order passed by the Board of Aldermen on February 13, transmitted to me by you, asking for information relative to the petition recently prepared for circulation among the members of the Fire Department concerning the repeal of the ordinance granting one day's leave of absence in five, I respectfully submit the following:


In answer to the specific questions contained in the order, I have to say that it is a fact that a petition was prepared for circulation among the members of the Fire Department bearing on the ordinance referred to. The wording of the petition was as follows:

Fire Commissioner:

SIR, - We the undersigned members of the Fire Department respectfully urge, that the amendment to the Ordinances making it obligatory on the Fire Commissioner to grant the members of the department one day off in five be repealed.

In view of the financial condition of the city not permitting of an increase in the department appropriation to allow the appointment of the extra men needed for the additional days off, we realize the impossibility of the amended ordinance being carried out, without great injury to the fire service, and we are not willing to thus put in jeopardy the public whom we Sel"We . .

We are further convinced that His Honor the Mayor and the Fire Commissioner will make every effort to grant such additional leaves of absence as the financial conditions of the city will permit, and that the majority of the officers and men of this department have confidence in their good will and fairness to make the conditions of the service less burdensome.”

In reply to the question whether the preparation or circulation of such a petition was in violation of Rule 9 of the rules of the Fire Department, I have to say that in my opinion this was not a violation of said rule. *

1n reply to the question as to the reason for the withdrawal of such petition, I can best answer by quoting the text of the letter which I addressed to the Chief of the department, under date of February 3, in regard to this matter:

“Chief of Department:

“SIR, - In view of the fact that the petitions of the Chiefs in the matter of the one day off in five has been the subject of unfair discussion by parties outside the department, and to avoid any possible friction or misunderstanding between the Commissioner and members of the force, you will cause it to be withdrawn, as far as the signing of other officers and men. The original petition of the Chiefs will be forwarded to the Commissioner's office Monday.

(Signed) “BENJAMIN W. WELLs,


Assuming that it is your desire that I should make a somewhat fuller statement in regard to this matter, in view of the discussion regarding it which has taken place in the Board of Aldermen, than is contained in the above brief answers, and welcoming the opportunity which the order of the board affords me of laying before the public the situation created by the ordinance providing for one day off in five, I desire to make the following additional statement:

In view of the serious condition with which I believed that the Fire Department was confronted, I called a meeting of the Chief, Assistant Chief and District Chiefs at the Commissioner's office on February 1; all of these officials were present except Second Assistant Chief Hussey, who was sick at home. The Mayor was also present by invitation. I made a statement regarding the condition of the department and its financial needs for the coming year, showing that unless the sum of $125,000 could be provided in addition to the appropriation for 1905, the department would be weakened to a dangerous degree, if obliged to run under the ordinance granting a leave of one day in five to the members. The Mayor expressed his wish that this amount of money might be provided, but stated that he did not see how such an additional sum could be secured for the Fire Department unless the urgent requirements of the hospitals, public institutions, schools and other departments were to be disregarded. Each of the officials present then expressed himself substantially to the effect that he was willing to sacrifice his own comfort and convenience to the extent of foregoing or losing the benefits of the ordinance rather than run his district on a dangerously short-handed basis. The Mayor then left the conference, no mention of the petition or other plan having been made to him then or at any other time until after the withdrawal.

After further discussion, and with the unanimous agreement of the District Chiefs present, it was decided that a petition be addressed to the Commissioner favoring the repeal of the ordinance in question. The form and substance of the petition were agreed upon, and it was left to the Commissioner to prepare the same for signature. Later it was decided that both the officers and men of the department be given an opportunity to sign, the view of the Commissioner being that should the members of the department voluntarily relieve the city from the awkward situation created through the passage of this ordinance, the department would gain a great deal of credit before the public, and that the Mayor and Fire Commissioner could guarantee, in substitution for the one day in five, an arrangement which would be materially better than the one day in eight heretofore in force, and that one day in six might probably be secured, and without undue strain upon the resources of the department; this petition was read at roll-call on Friday, February 2.

On Saturday, February 3, a member of the Board of Aldermen telephoned the Commissioner protesting against the petition and claiming that Rule 9 of the department had been violated. Saturday night the Commissioner attended two alarms of fire in the down town district and spent the evening at the headquarters house on Mason street. The Commissioner then learned that the men were generally opposed to signing the petition, while some of the officers below the rank of district chief were favorable to signing it. Becoming satisfied that the views of the men differed radically from the sentiment expressed in the petition it was decided to withdraw it, and the letter above set forth was addressed by the Commissioner to the late Chief Cheswell.

In regard to the alleged violation of Rule 9, paragraph 1 of said rule reads as follows:

“1. No member shall participate in, or lend encouragement to, any movement having for its object the changing of the laws and rules relating to the department; for a contract exists between the city and the members of the department, and when anyone is dissatisfied he can be relieved of all obligations by resigning, but must not try to have the laws and rules changed as long as he wears the uniform or serves in the department.”

This rule was made by the late Commissioner Russell, and the present Commissioner has, of course, equal authority to repeal, suspend or amend it. The claim seems to be made that as long as this rule was in force it should have been considered binding to the letter upon all persons connected with the department, including the Commissioner himself. I believe that such an interpretation distorts the rule from its true intent and purpose, and is inconsistent with any reasonable view of its objects.

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