POLITICS vs. FIRE DEPARTMENTS.
The strong feeling which has existed for many years in Boston and Chicago against the introduction of politics into the administration of the fire departments of those cities is apparently judged by politicians to be dying out, for in both cities the chief executive has taken action which looks very much like a bid for the firemen’s political support. In Boston, acting Mayor Whelton has given the firemen one day off in five, instead of one day off in eight, while in Chicago Mayor Dunne has ordered a trial to be made of the two-platoon system, notwithstanding the condemnation of the system by Chief Campion and former Chief Musham and the unsatisfactory results of a trial of the system in the New’ York fire department. That the bid for the firemen’s vote in both cases will not have been made in vain few will doubt, notwithstanding that firemen themselves are loud in clamoring for the divorce of politics from the administration of fire departments and are endeavoring to organise a national association for the purpose of effecting the divorce. Aside, however, from such interest as thus attaches to the cases in question, there is another of much greater importance—the impairment of the efficiency of the two departments. The changes rendered necessary by the action taken will in both cases reduce the number of firemen on duty in some of the houses, and. as neither department is over-manned, the results may well be serious for underwriters and the public alike. Thanks to their combined influence in the past the two departments, kept free from the injurious interference of politicians, have been brought into a very high state of efficiency. Chicago underwriters have asked the mayor to keep his hands off. The Boston situation calls for action by the insurance men.—The Standard.