THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CHIEF.
There is a tendency among city councils and boards to discount the recommendations of the heads of departments and lay these recommendations on the shelf, usually on economical grounds. Perhaps there is some excuse for this in the fact that the taxpayers are, as a rule, an exacting class and hold the public servants in direct charge of spending the money raised by taxation to a rigid accounting. But, in their anxiety to meet the public clamor for economy, these board members should not forget that they are dealing with experts in each man’s line, when listening to the reports from the heads of their city departments. Very few, if any, of these chiefs have axes to grind, and most generally they are actuated only by the one motive—to make their department serve the public to the very highest limit of efficiency. Especially is this true of the recommendations of the fire chief. A man who has risen to be the head of a department so important as the fire service must of necessity be competent to judge of the needs of that department, and his recommendations should be followed. A case in point is that of Chief Paul J. Moore, of the Newark, N. J., fire department. In his report for the year 1916, he said: “The needs of a fireboat —In connection with the recommendation that a fire boat be added to the department’s equipment I will renew attention to the improvements due to the opening of avenue R from Lincoln highway to Port Newark and the vast amount of property (exceeding $2,000,000 in building values alone, not estimating stock values and business interests) that must be safeguarded against fire. Also are to be considered the big power house of the Public Service Corporation at Point-No-Point and other business plants. Fires in this portion of the city cannot be effectively and expeditiously combated except from the bay. Experience has shown that a fire boat would prove a medium of exceptional advantage in fighting water front fires.” One has only to turn to our “Recent Important Fires” page to read the account of the disastrous fire on the pier of the Port Newark Terminal, and the part fire boats—none of them owned by the city of Newark and one having to fight her way through ice from New York City—played in the controlling of the conflagration to realize that the chief’s words were almost in the nature of a prophecy and were, too, the result of a keen and intelligent sizing up of the situation. It would have been well if the city of Newark had listened to the wisdom of her chief.