To Reduce Appeals Board in New York
By a vote of 48 to 7, the democratic majority in the Board of Aldermen in New York City, has passed a bill, which has for its object the reduction of the size of the Board of Standards and Appeals from thirteen to eight members and changing the local municipal law under which the Board operates, so as to make possible, in case it be decided to do so, the substitution of the Chief of the Fire Department as a member of the board, by any other chief officers in the New York department, above the rank of Battalion Chief.
Authorship of the bill is credited to Mayor Hylan. He has stated that the Board of Standards and Appeals is too big, that its members while being paid §10 a session are otherwise attending to their own business. He wants to fix a substantial annual salary and require the members to give all of their time to the board.
At the same session in which the Board of Aldermen voted to reorganize the Board of Standards and Appeals, a resolution introduced by a republican member of the board to have the affairs of the Board of Standards and Appeals investigated, was tabled by the democrats.
It was openly charged in a report filed by the republican minority that the Mayor’s purpose in reorganizing the Board of Standards and Appeals and changing its personnel, was to oust Fire Chief Kenlon, whom Alderman Wirth, the minority leader said was a public credit for-the manner in which he stood out against political pressure and for the preservation of life and property from fire.
The situation in New York, relative to the status of the Board of Standards and Appeals is just at this time fraught with political spleen. Public charges have been made against the Hylan administration and denied by the Mayor that the Board of Standards and Appeals has furnished henchmen of the Hylan regime with lucrative profits from the granting of modifications of the zoning law for the purpose of permitting the construction of garages in areas otherwise restricted. One of those mentioned in these attacks was William F. Doyle, a former veterinarian in the fire department and later the chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention, who since his retirement has been appearing for appellants in cases before the Board of Standards and Appeals. Chief Kenlon has maintained a dignified silence throughout this political wash and back-wash. As a member of the Board of Standards and Appeals, he is known to have courageously voted on the side of fire protection first in issues involving garages, modifications of administrative orders issued by the Fire Commissioner or the Superintendent of Building.
Under the new state of affairs, the fire department’s representative on the reorganized Board of Standards and Appeals will be designated by the Fire Commissioner, but of course dictated by the Mayor.
In New York, it seems a foregone conclusion, that if Kenlon should not be renamed to represent the fire department on the Board of Standards and Appeals it is more than probable that Assistant Chief Joseph B. Martin or Thomas J. Hayes will replace him.