The Chief and the Board

The Chief and the Board

The final settlement of the controversy that has been raging for some weeks in the city of San Francisco, Cal., between the chief of the fire department and the Board of Fire Commissioners, has finally been settled by a complete victory for Chief Thomas R. Murphy. I his is as it should be. The question at issue was on the action of the board in diverting to itself the right to make assignments. This is distinctly the province of the chief, and it is to be doubted if any other city could be cited in which the fire board has assumed the authority to make assignments, such as the San Francisco board did. Chief Murphy is to be congratulated on his display of backbone and pluck in standing up for his rights in this respect, and it is an encouraging sign that he was backed up in his stand by the citizens of the city. This fact probably did much for Chief Murphy to win. Another contributing factor was the active support of the Chief of the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Pacific, Jay W. Stevens. In commenting on the matter Mr. Stevens said: “In every other city in the country the chief of the fire department is the executive officer and has the authority to deal not only with the fighting of fires, but everything pertaining to the service, particularly the assigning of companies. In amending the rules the commissioners took the stand that there was a difference between Chief Murphy and his assistants. No difference should be considered, for the chief is supreme according to the charter. Chief Murphy has had twenty years’ experience fighting fires, and the public knows what he has done.”

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