The Oklahoma Fire Department Controversy
The Oklahoma Times hits the nail on the head when it says editorially: In a statement issued by the firemen giving their side of the controversy the suggestion is made that the heavy expense of the fire department is in the equipment purchased and not in the salaries of the firemen. They hold themselves and Chief Kesler blameless for these expenditures, since neither the firemen nor the chief have any choice in the matter. Isn’t it possible that there is more in this than appears on the surface? The firemen are in a position to know what is needed in the way of supplies and Chief Kesler has been in the business long enough to know what they should cost. 1 f the prices that have been paid were too high, the chief and the firemen know it. The question arises of an inexperienced man being able, after he has been placed in the office of Commissioner of Public Safety, to buy supplies and material for the fire department on an economical basis without consulting the head of the department. If the fire department is costing too much, is it not possible that the excessive cost may be somewhere else than in the salaries? Before the controversy is finally settled the efficiency committee might profitably look into this matter. The sum of $119,000 for the fire department for one year is a tremendous sum for a city of this size, but it does not all go for salaries. It is a well-known fact that many of the departments of the city, county and State are wasting large sums of money. This is no time to make a charge of graft against any of them, since an effort is being made to reduce the cost without controversy or scandal, but there can be no dispute when the charge is made that large sums are being wasted.