THE SALARY OF THE NEW YORK FIRE CHIEF.
It is only right that a few words be said relative to the proposition of the budget subcommittee of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of this city to decrease the salary of the chief of the New York Fire Department. From a long experience with the fire service we are somewhat conversant with the requirements necessary to make an efficient chief, as well as the experience he must have and the personal sacrifices he must be ready to undertake wherever his duty calls. The work of a fire chief is one that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, as the lives of the people are entrusted to him, and in a large city like New York this is a great responsibility. While the City of Newark, N. J., with a population of less than half a million, pays its chief $5,000 a year and Chicago with two and half million pays $8,000 a year, surely the City of New York with a population of five millions can well afford to give its present efficient head $2,000 more than that received by the chief of the second city in the United States. Where the property to be protected is growing at such an enormous rate, and with it the constant supervision of the great territory it covers, it is only reasonable to expect that the board of estimate will not pass on the proposed salary reduction. Fireproof building construction must not be mistaken to mean the elimination of fires and consequent lightening of the duties of the chief. Many fires prove that fireproof protection does not protect, yet the record of the material reduction in the fire loss of the city, notwithstanding the great increase in property at risk, is evidence of the good work Chief Kenlon has accomplished; and this is not all, as with the creation of greater fire hazards his duties increase in proportion. The best possible man for such a difficult position is needed and the city has such a man in John Kenlon. His careful consideration and intelligent advice in the motorization of the department alone shows his ability and worth to the city. To reduce his salary would be a poor reward for valuable services and faithfulness shown in the administration of his department, and would be the greatest blow to the advancement of efficiency in the public service the people of the city could experience. Late reports are that the Budget Committee has decided against the decrease, indicating that our view has prevailed.