New Jersey Firemen in Convention.

New Jersey Firemen in Convention.

The thirty-first annual convention of the New Jersey State Firemen’s association, held in Atlantic City at the Steel Pier, with Bird W. Spencer president, in the chair, on September 10, was chiefly remarkable for the disorder that accompanied its proceedings—all arising from a spirit of jealousy so rampant as almost to break up the gathering. From the opening address that of Mayor Stoy, who welcomed the delegates, the apple of discord was thrown into the midst of the convention—of course, with the accustomed results. Mayor Stoy, instead of steering clear of State and local politics, severely criticised as “malicious and unfounded” the recent utterances of Governor Fort on the excise question, and was evidently more than taken aback when Gen. Spencer, in responding to the address of welcome, expressed his opinion that the “excise laws were intended for all cities in the State, for Atlantic City just as much as for any other place,” adding that he could not see where the governor was wrong in insisting that the lawshould be complied with in Atlantic City. When the report of the legislative committee of the association was read, there arose an uproar at the recommendation to local relief association not to pay the expenses to the Atlantic City convention of the exempt delegates who are authorised to attend under a bill passed last March giving exempt firemen representation in the relief association. William A. Cotter, of Newark, charged that volunteers exempt from active service were endeavoring to deprive members of the paid firedepartments of the big cities of the State of the benefits of the pension and protective fund, and order ceased to exist when a Plainfield delegate said that the volunteers were entitled to the lion’s share of the State fund, because they had fought lire as a civic duty. Conspiracy on the part ol the delegates representing exempt firemen’s associations was alleged. These delegates were charged with doing their best to secure control of the million-dollar fund maintained for the protection of injured and permanently disabled firefighters This precipitated a bitter struggle that may end in the disintegration of the body. Other reports showed that there are 201 firemen’s associations in the State, and that $38,000 of the relief funds are in banks which pay no interest on the account. After a conference of the heads of the volunteer factions, it was decided to abandon the tight in the convention and urge legislation giving absolute control of the million-dollar fund. The old officers were then re-elected (although it was claimed that they were to be bitterly opposed), as follows: President, Bird W. Spencer, Passaic; vicepresident, Bayard C. Stately, Haddonticld, Samuel Carhart, Ocean City, Edward Simonson, Freehold, Jacob II. Goenert, Somerville, Robert F Oram, Wharton, Charles S. Steele, Newton, Arthur Russell, Glen Ridge, John B. Mayer, Milburn, Egbert Seymour, Bayonne, Charles Sncatli, Guttenberg, treasurer, John J. Lane, Summit; secretary, William Exall, Newark ; financial secretary, George T. Everitt, Hackettstown; counsel, W. A. Cotter, Newark, in the course of his annual address President Spencer was cheered, when he predicted that the association would soon reach the $6,000,000 mark. Now, as had been told, paid firemen, through their respective relief associations, receive half of the 1 per cent, assessed on all contracts made by non-resident fire insurance companies. Besides this, they may draw on the State fund for medical bills and funeral expenses in cases where injury or death results from performance of duty. They claim, jt is said, that this is not enough. On the other hand, it is contended by volunteer firemen that the fund was primarily established for them, and that they should have the exclusive benefit therefrom. Those who say they represent the conservatives in the association criticise these objections on the ground that the division of assessments is equitably distributed and that it is only by the policy of the existing administration that the fund can maintain its present efficiency. They point out that the fund had reached approximately $1,100,000 under the present control, and that last year $55,000 had been paid out for relief; $36,000 to the pension funds of the paid fire departments and $10,500 for the maintenance of the Boonton home.

NEW JERSEY FIREMEN IN CONVENTION.

NEW JERSEY FIREMEN IN CONVENTION.

The twenty-ninth annual convention of the New Jersey State Firemen’s association met at Atlantic City on September 13. Eight hundred delegates were present at the place of meeting on the steel pier. Bird W. Spencer, president of the association, called the convention to order, and the delegates were welcomed by Mayor Stoy, after which President Spencer, in his annual address, expressed his pleasure at the constant and sure growth of the association from a small body of twenty-five to its present size. He thought the New Jersey organisation the most prosperous of its kind in the United States, and quoted figures to show that at the present time there is within $15,000 of $100,000 in its treasury, witii a growth of $50,000 each year, despite the payment of over the same amount in benefits to its members. He congratulated the association on the burying deep of the Congressional hills for national control of insurance, which, he asserted, would have acted to the great harm of the Firemen’s association, now nurtured by State laws. W. A. Cotter, of New York, in presenting the report of the executive committee, dwelt at length on the subject of the law regarding payment of the $12 a year to firemen where the fnc district is controled by the commissioners of a borough. A law passed by the legislature was nuoted as authority for the payment of the money by the commissioners. In a statement regarding the many quarrels engendered in local associations by formation of “snap” exempt associations for the purpose of controling elections, the executive committee recommended that “No new exempt association be permitted representation in any relief association unless due notice has been given of the intention to form such an association. unless all exempt firemen in the district shall be enrolled as members, or unless such exempt associations shall have been in existence for at least six months.” The report also ex plained the law passed last winter under which only actual expenses are to he allowed the delegates attending the annual convention, and stated that warnings containing copies of the law had been sent to subordinate councils. The auditor s report called attention to the large net gains made In the association during the past -e-ir. I bis gam amounted to $68.860.76—larger than that of am previous year, even although it was accompanied by a payment of relief money amounting to $54, 775.69 to the beneficiaries of the local association and the payment of $25,207.33 to the paid department pension funds of Jersey City, Newark, Paterson and Trenton, a payment to the Elizabeth paid department pension fund not yet reported and the appropriation to the Firemen’s home at Boonton—the whole amount exceeding $92,000, besides nearly $69,000 added to the pension fund. The total receipts were $173,306.43, as against $154,115.61 of the previous’ year. The total expenses were $104,306.43. It was pointed out that the provisions of the act of the last legislature have made it a State law that the expenses of delegates to the annual convention shall be limited to the actual expenses incurred for railway fares and hotel hills, to he paid after being duly presented and audited by the finance committees of the several associations. Another provision of the law is that all bonds of officers of the local associations shall be in the custody of the commissioner of banking and insurance, and shall be deposited with him for this purpose by the auditor. The election of officers included the re-election of General Bird W. Spencer as president.