THE NEXT FIRE AND WATER COMMISSIONERS.
As mayor of this city, Mr. Low will be called to appoint a fire commissioner and a commissioner of water supply, two offices which ultimately concern the safety of life and property and the health of the community. Of all the positions to be filled, however, that of fire commissioner really takes the second place in importance To him is committed the responsibility of safeguarding the lives of over 3,000,000 citizens and property amounting to millions upon millions of dollars. He is further responsible for maintaining discipline among an army of over 4,000 men in the four boroughs which make up the city of Greater New York, keeping them up to the top notch in efficiency, and supplying them with the most up-to-date apparatus. It stands to reason, therefore, that the new fire commissioner should be, if not a military man, at least, one who is competent to take command of such an army. That the man to be chosen should have had a military training should be in his favor rather than the reverse, and we can point to a large department, whose chief has had an army training, which has served him in good stead in bringing it np to an eminently satisfactory state of efficiency One thing is certain The next commissioner of New York’s fire department shonld be a man of the most consummate ability, not a politician, unless he is not only possessed of every qualification for the position, bnt is also content to sink the politician altogether In the administration of his office. The experience of the past shows that the fire commissioners have been men of the most mediocre calibre, and in no respect up to the high standard of excellence which the position calls for; and although the fire department of this city stands second to none in the world, this distinction it has won for itself through the efficiency of its chiefs, not through that of its fire commissioners. We sincerely trust, therefore, that Mr. Low will act upon this suggestion, and take care that the next fire commissioner of New York is in every way qualified personally to manage this great department. We do not, of course, pretend to know, even to guess at who is to receive the appointment. We do Insist, however, that not one of those who have been named as the possible or probable snccessor of the present fire commissioner would prove strong enough for the place to command the confidence either of the public or the members of the uniformed force as a body (and their ideas on the subject should not be passed over as of no account), nor do they possess the varied and high qualifications necessary for the head of the highest bnt one of all the mnnicipal departments. In this connection,also, we may advert to the appointment of a water commissioner. Commonsense would seem to point to the fact that, where such a vast amount of technical work has to be undertaken and overseen, the man who is placed in the position of head of this department shonld understand every phase of its working and every condition affecting the present question of the water supply of Greater New York. In such an office a mere politician is likely to do as mnch harm in the future as has been done in the past, Commonsense, therefore, again steps In and suggests that only a practical engineer of standing and executive ability should occupy the position; and of snch men there is no lack In the city. The office shonld certainly not be bestowed on any of the old political hacks who may have filled it before. In the first place, they did not prove to be satisfactory, as the records of the bureau will show; in the next, what is called for is a man of experience and integrity, but, above all, one whom the public respects.