THE PASSING OF THE FIRE COMMISSIONERS

THE PASSING OF THE FIRE COMMISSIONERS

WITH the passing of the old year there also passed away the old board of fire commissioners of the old city of New York. Possiably, on the principle of saying nothing but good of the dead, we might be silent about the late commissieners. But there is a time to speak and a time to keep silence. While they were in office, we did not hesitate to criticize their acts in no measured terms—though, in order not to lower them in the eyes of theirsubordinates or to lessen their influence with the uniformed force, we often kept silence when they failed to see the necessity of adopting up-to-date methods in the administration of their department. We hoped that thereby they might go back upon their own folly, and by undoing some of their foolish deeds show the world that they had pluck enough to own that they had made mistakes. Itwasof no avail; they went on in their old course, utterly ignoring all advice as to mending their ways. They did worse; they added to the mischief they had done, and seemed enamored of sticking to the old fogeyism of past generations—to the great hurt of the department and the citizens in general. By far the most mischievous and harmful of all their evil acts was the reinstatement of Supt. Smith, of the fire alarm telegraph service, in spite of all the testimony that was adduced against him the truth of which it was not attempted to gainsay. Of that piece of unfair dealing towards the city Gen. La Grange was guiltless, as would also have been Commissioner Ford, had his life been spared. Mr. Sheffield for reasons of his own chose to espouse the cause of Mr. Smith, and Mr. Sturgis, who apparently has no mind of his own, but infinite belief in Mr. Sheffield’s inerrancy, willingly surrendered his right of private judgment, and, takng for granted that what Mr. Sheffield said must be so, without having heard the evidence offered at the trial, cast in his lot with the younger fire commissioner, took his word against that of the president Gen. La Grange, and voted Supt. Smith a much abused man and a perfectly competent person to superintend one of the most important branches of fire service. This branch the evidence had proved to be in every way behind the age, and, bad as it was of itself, 10 have become worse and utterly untrustworthy through lack of proper care and due inspection. Nor was Mr. Sheffield content with that. Because Gen. La Grange had opposed him on that as on other questions, he so worked upon Mayor Strong as to have the general.a man old enough to be his father, deposed from the presidency, and himself, a mere boy, appointed in his place. Theevil he has done lives after him, and the one consolation the city of New York now enjoys is that there is now but one fire commissioner to manage the affairs of the fire department. Mr. Scanned is very well versed in all matters connected with that department, having already served his time on the old board, and shown himself a competent administrator. He enters upon his office untrammeled by the traditions of his predecessors and with everything in his favor. Doubtless he will make a good record, and to him the consolidated city looks for an honest, clean, and intelligent administration of a department on whose efficiency depend so many lives and so many millions of dollars. Commissioner Scanned may count upon FIRE AND WATER as one of his strongest allies—so long as he acts up to what his fellow citizens expect of him.

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