Report on Syracuse Fire Department not Favorably Received

Report on Syracuse Fire Department not Favorably Received

The New York Bureau of Municipal Research which lately inspected and made voluminous reports on the fire service of Milwaukee, Wis., Toronto, Ont. and Reading, Pa., has just presented a report on the fire and police departments of Syracuse, N. Y., which its agents recently inspected by the Moral Survey Committee of that city. The Syracuse Journal has the folowing to say of the report: “Mr. Driscoll, who was brought here by the Moral Survey Committee and paid $1.500 for his services as special investigator of municipal conditions, proves to be a voluminous individual. His report is a summing up of what he deems to be the shortcomings of the Police and Fire departments. His report will be interesting to many people, and can doubtless be studied with profit by the administration. Mr. Driscoll was at one time sealer of weights and measures, and later for a short time deputy police commissioner of New York City, which experience scarcely qualifies him as an expert doctor of the ills that a city is naturally heir to; but he seems to have had opportunity for observation to enable him to act as critic. From his report it is quite evident that he has attempted to in some measure adapt New York methods to the situation in this city.” The “Post Standard” says: “No fault can be found with the report of Clement W. Driscoll upon Police and Fire Department conditions in Syracuse so far as the volume of it is concerned or the variety of his recommendations. Mr. Driscoll was for years a newspaper man and he has written a long story with 120 suggestions for change in methods, ranging from the style of neckties policemen shall wear to the character of heading for firemen. Mr. Driscoll is a New Yorker, and his short experience in police work was wi h the New York department. He brought to his task of investigating the Syracuse bureaus New York opinions and prejudices. In municipal administration, as in fact in commercial business, New York methods arc not always applicable to a smaller city. They often involve an intricacy of organization with a resulting heavy expenditure which, however necessary in New York, are not needed for efficient service in a smaller city.” Mr. H. E. Hesslcr, a former commissioner of public safety, of Syracuse, in part, says: “If Mr. Driscoll were sent to Binghamton to investigate the Police and Fire departments, and he didn’t produce a voluminous report criticising these departments, he would soon lose his job, for other municipalities would not employ him. Despite the criticisms of Mr. Driscoll I want to go on record with all the force possible as saying that Syracuse has a Police and Fire Bureau that are as efficient as any in the United States. From what I know of some cities, I believe our bureaus are more efficient. After my experience with these bureaus I believe I am qualified to talk. Criticism is found because the records at the office of the commissioner of public safety are not as voluminous as Mr. Driscoll would like. That is a matter of opinion. The reports of the police and fire bureaus, I contend, are quite complete and, in fact, more than I had time to read in detail. I understand that Driscoll’s report fills 300 typewritten pages, with 126 recommendations. Space writing might be all right, but if one of my employes could not have put all in that report in less than 50 pages he would not long hold his job. Anybody can criticise. To carry out Driscoll’s recommendation would place a burden of expense upon the city. Are the people ready to stand it?”

The bill, providing for payments to injured volunteer firemen and pensions to the families of deceased volunteer firemen, where the injury or death was the result of injuries sustained while in the performance of fire duties, has been signed by the Governor of New York. The State Firemen’s Association has been urging such a law for several years. This law provides for volunteer firemen and their families as paid firemen have long been provided for.

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