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It is not only clearly the right, but the duty, of the Commissioner, as the responsible head of the department, to participate, by signature of a petition or otherwise, in “any movement having for its object the changing of the laws relating to the department,” subject, of course, to the approval of the Mayor, whenever he believes that such laws are detrimental to the best interests of the department. It certainly cannot be denied that it is entirely proper for the Commissioner, with the approval of the Mayor, to make any representations which he sees fit, by petition or otherwise, to the legislative branch of the City Government, or to either branch thereof, in support of the repeal of the one day in five ordinance or any other. While it is the right of the City Council to make ordinances, it is certainly the right of the Mayor and of all heads of departments, with his consent, to ask for the passage or for the repeal of any ordinance, according to their several views of the interests of the municipal service. So far as his personal action in this matter is concerned the Commissioner is responsible only to the Mayor.

As the Commissioner clearly is not bound by a rule made by himself, intended to preserve the necessary discipline in an important department by having its members act as to matters of legislation solely through its head, the only possible question is whether there was a technical violation of the rule in giving members of the Fire Department an opportunity to participate in a movement, initiated by the Commissioner, and having his approval, looking to a change in the ordinances of the city. It seems to me that a mere statement of the case is a sufficient answer to the suggested criticism, unless it is claimed that members of the department were improperly coerced into signing a petition which they did not approve, through fear of losing their positions or suffering some other prejudice. The fact that no such coercion was in the least contemplated, much less employed, is sufficiently shown by the readiness in which the circulation of the petition was at once discontinued by the order of the Commissioner as soon as it appeared that the men did not seem to share the sentiments which it expressed. The Commissioner may be liable to just criticism for wrongly assuming that the petition would commend itself to the members of the department without their being given the opportunity which was given to the District Chiefs of meeting the Commissioner and the Mayor, and of learning directly from them the difficulties which the department would be exposed to if the ordinance continued in effect; but under the circumstances of the case he certainly cannot fairly be criticised from any other standpoint.

It is doubtless the duty of the Commissioner to carry out the provisions of the Ordinances so far as he can possibly do so, and he is quite ready to do so in this instance if he can be assured of the necessary funds for the purpose; but the Commissioner is also subject to the ordinance which forbids any head of a department to exceed his appropriation. He is also entrusted with the responsible and important duty of protecting the lives and property of our citizens against loss by fire, and the public properly expects him to keep his department in a condition of efficiency for this purpose. The Fire Department has now entered upon another fiscal year, for which it has not yet received its appropriations; the department has to be conducted on a considerably increased basis of expenditure owing to the passage of the one day in five ordinance, and without the above mentioned increase of $125,000 in the appropriation the deparment will be seriously crippled if this ordinance remains in effect.

If, or when, this additional $125,000 is provided, the Commissioner will recognize that the one day in five Ordinance not only exists on paper, but that the City Council has made it possible to conduct the department under it without grave danger to the lives and property of our citizens; but until that time the Commissioner considers it his duty to call to the attention of the city government and of the public in every proper manner the necessity for some further action. The one day in five basis was established in the department after repeated objection by the present Commissioner, and only on a peremptory order from the late Acting Mayor Whelton, under date of November 14, followed on December 19, by the passage by the Board of Aldermen, without debate or reference to the Commissioner, of the one day in five Ordinance, which had been passed 10 months earlier by the Common Council, but had been allowed to slumber since that time.

The needs of the department are conservatively set forth in the following copy of my letter giving estimates for 1906–07, dated December 16, 1905:

Acting Mayor :
Sir, – I present here with the amounts necessary, conserva-

tively estimated, for the running expenses of this department for the year 1906–07, together with the expenditures for the year 1905–06. I submit the following in explanation of the increase in estimates:


A net addition of twenty-four (24) men made during the past year, in order to put the force on a fairly safe basis; this will call for $22,000.


Seventy-two (72) call men are still employed; these should be replaced by permanent men as rapidly as financial conditions will permit. The large number of new buildings, almost entirely of wooden construction, and closely placed in West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Brighton and Dorchester, call for immediate retirement of at least twelve (12) call men, and the appointment of an equal number of permanent men :

12 men at $810 would be . © e o e $9,720 00


The old fire-boat, now out of commission, should be used as an emergency boat, and manned by a small crew ready for quick service, if needed:

Two pilots, two engineers and two hosemen for first year e e o o o o . $4,860 00

In the sundry items of expenditures, the increase is mainly in the items of new apparatus and repairs. The amounts allotted for these accounts the past year were drawn from to make good the necessary increase in the pay-roll. This increase is, $18,309 00

In addition there should be allowed for pensions an increase of . go e © o {- . $10,783 00

There are in the department a considerable number of men who are fairly entitled to a pension, through length of service and infirmities, and whose usefulness as firemen has passed.

The above is based on the arrangement of the one day off in eight, and is an increase over the amount appropriated for last year of . o . $65,672 00

If the department is to be operated on the one day off in five basis, there should be added to the above figures . e o to o o e 56,700 00

Total . . . . . . . . $122,372 00

NOTE. – When full pay is reached the additional cost of one day off in five would be $84,000.

Attention is also respectfully called to the fact that conditions call for at least three (3) additional fire companies in the outer districts, a new fire-boat, and, should those be provided in the coming loan bill, a further addition to the force will be required.

Yours respectfully,
(Signed) BENJ. W. WELLs,


NOTE. — Appropriation for 1905–06 was $1,328,430. In addition to the above it should be stated that in my opinion the house of Ladder Company No. 1, on Friend street, city proper, is entirely unadapted to the work at this time, and I would recommend its sale and the building of a double house in the neighborhood of Haymarket square, city proper, for the accommodation of this ladder company and a first-size powerful engine. I append herewith some of the recommendations of the Committee of Twenty of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. This committee is composed of engineering experts, and is making, in behalf of 120 of the leading fire insurance companies, an investigation of existing conditions in the large cities of the country. As a result of a most thorough study of conditions and examination of the Boston department, these recommendations are made as part of an exhaustive and careful report. In the main these recommendations have the hearty approval of this department, but a very considerable amount of money will be required to carry them out.


That the department be put on an exclusively full paid basis without delay. That the members be retired from active fire duty on reaching the age of sixty-two years, unless at that time they are unusually efficient. That all engineers of steamers now in the department be subjected to a thorough practical examination as to their ability in running and caring for engines, and only those who are fully competent be permanently retained. That additional engine companies be established near the following locations: Near Charlestown bridge (large size engine). Washington street, at Forest Hills.

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In the Year One Thousand Nine Hum dred and Siac.


Be it ordained by the City Council of Boston, as follows:

Section 1. The consumptives’ hospital department shall be under the charge of a board of seven trustees, who shall be legal residents of Boston, and at least two of whom shall always be women, to be appointed by the mayor. During the current year one of said trustees shall be appointed for the term of five years, two for the term of four years, one for the term of three years, two for the term of two years, and one for the term of one year, beginning with the first day of May in the year 1906, and hereafter in the year in which any term or terms shall expire a trustee or trustees shall be appointed for the term of five years, beginning with the first day of May in the year of appointment. Any vacancy occurring among said trustees shall be filled by appointment of a trustee as aforesaid for the remainder of the term. Said trustees shall serve without compensation, but all expenses reasonably incurred by them in the performance of their duty shall be paid if approved by a recorded vote of the board of trustees. They shall organize on the first day of May in each year, or as soon thereafter as may be, by the choice of a chairman who shall be one of their number, and

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