FIRE SERVICE OF GREATER NEW YORK.
THE leading Republican club of New York city, after mature consideration of some of the provisions of the new charter for the government of Greater New York, has decided to recommend the committee to adopt a one-headed commission for the police department. Some time ago a paragraph was printed in the daily press to the effect that the commission had decided to leave certain details in connection with the fire department in control of the board of aldermen. Such a proposition ought to meet with general disapproval. Experience shows that, in order to preserve discipline in the public departments of the city, they must be governed by as small a body as possible. If the club referred to had included the fire department in its recommendation, it would have been only right. The of course, being a majority, prevailed in reinstating Superintendent Smith. It would seem, however, that, as Commissioner Sturgis had only joined the board, he was not well posted upon the;particulars of the case, and consequently sided with Commissioner Sheffield in the opinion that the charges were not sustained from hearsay hre service cprvioe is is as ac important imnnrtpnt as, nc or nr even more mere important than that of the police ; consequently its affairs should be administered by an intelligent commissioner, who would be aided in his efforts by the chief engineer of the department. An inStance of the effects of a board of fire commissioners is shown in the reins.atmen, of Superintendent Smith, of the fire alarm telegraph , „ . . . , , . bureau. Certain charges were made against him for incompetency and neglect, in failing to pro., , ,. , . ,. , , vide modern appliances for the perfection Of the fire alarm system of the city. After the testi. , . , , , . , . . mony had been taken from a number Of local witnesses and outside experts, Commissioner La , , . , , Grange formulated the charges and found that they were proven. The other commissioners, , . . Sheffield and Sturgis, held opposite views, and, rather than from an intelligent study of the facts adduced at the examination. From this standpoint it would appear that the two commissioners decided to reinstate the superintendent rather than side with Commissioner La Grange who was opposed to them. Such a state of affairs may be expected to exist,if the present system of a threeheaded commission is maintained in the fire department of Greater New York. It can have no other effect than the demoralizing of the department under its control. There was no question as to the truth of the charges against Mr. Smith for using obsolete fire boxes and in other ways failing to provide for the city a fire alarm system of the most approved kind. Notwithstanding this evidence, as we pointed out in previous issues of FIRE AND WATER, the superintendent was whitewashed and placed back in his position by the two commissioners who formed the majority of the board. It is to be hoped that the citizens of New York will take an active interest in the provisions of the Greater New York charter, and submit their objections to the commission having charge of the preparation of the constitution, so that a great many of these questions may be placed before it in a proper light. The interference of the board of aldermen or any board of politicians with the management or control of the fire or police departments of the city would be the greatest calamity that could befall us. It would turn a good business system into a wild political arena. Firemen and police are supposed to hold their positions while they are competent to do so, and, should any change come about in which the members of the city council would have a voice in their appointment, the service could not become otherwise than corrupt and unreliable.