Attendance of City Officers at Conventions
The frank and exceedingly interesting address of Director of Public Safety, Charles B. Pritchard of Pittsburgh, Pa., which is the leading article of this week’s issue of AND WATER ENGINEERING, and which was delivered at the Kansas City convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers, is important, illustrating the advantages that accrue from the attendance of city officials such as mayors, city managers and the heads of boards which control the water and fire departments in many instances at the conventions of the A. W. W. A. and I. A. F. E. There is no doubt, as Mr. Pritchard so well sets forth, that attendance at one or both of these important conventions of the chief officers of the fire and water departments will give these high officials referred to an entirely new and much broader view of the importance of these arms of the city service. The intimate problems with which these chiefs and superintendents are confronted can in no way be brought so prominently to the attention of the high city official as they can by his attendance at one of these conventions. He is brought into personal contact with these men, he listens to their views on all manner of problems which arise and which they have to meet and overcome, he will probably hear some criticism, friendly or otherwise, of the attitude in general of men of his position toward these departments and their heads, which may give him an entirely new view of his duties in this respect. While there might possibly be some disadvantage in a number of these gentlemen being present at these conventions, in possibly restricting the freedom of some of the discussions which take place, the greater benefits that would accrue from their attendance very far over-balance any such objection. As Mr. Pritchard says, in speaking to the chiefs to the fire departments: “If you gentlemen will give the men who occupy the same position toward you as I do, whether that be a board or individuals, who come here as I have come, probably your way would be smoothed out to some extent and you would receive proper cooperation that in many cases I am sure you are not receiving now and when you go to your council or board or your director or to your commissioner and say, ‘I need some more men for this reason,’ he would not say, ‘I can’t raise the taxes or we can’t use the money,’ but he would say, ‘Boys, I know you are up against it and I am for you body and soul.’ Not because he hasn’t been in that spirit before, but because he has not had the advantage of meeting the organization on occasions of this kind and has not a proper connection with the department.”
So it would seem that all things being considered an effort might very well be made by the chiefs and superintendents of the fire and water departments to induce their city officials to join them at Toronto and Montreal this vear.