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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 7, 1910, Lethbridge, Alberta THE LETHBRIPGE DAILY HEBALD SHALL LETHBRIDGE ADOPT Article 3 Commission and Plan Present System Compared KT The diagram shown on this page a modified form of the Des Moines plan of 'commission govern- -ment, adapted to a city the size of i.eth bridge. The division of the var- .ious departments among: the comrnis- or superintendents, however. Jas merely suggestive, and could easily added to, and taken away irom, or rearranged without materially affect. "ing the "principle of the plan. Should. the ratepayers of JLethbridge de-i cide to adopt tne commission plan, the draft of departments to the dif- rerent commissioners would very pro- ly differ considerably from those The essential principles of tne'commission plait, however, are embodied iu this plan. The second diagram on this page snows, as a comparison, the organiza- tion of the existing form ct" govern nieut of the city of Letlibridge. ii combines, the theoretical system of government by committees and the actual government by bends of depart ments, who are responsible to line mayor and council. Bui the latter, 'tne actual system at present in-effect- has not beea out in_lhe chart quite M jhe full. To'have added the enief of police, as the bead of the po- lice department; the fire chief, the nead of 'lie lire department, with sev- eral of the other minor superintend- ents, and shown their lines of author- and responsibility would only have 'made tho chart even more intricate and complicated than it already is. The system'Of government by com- mittees, although theoretically still in rorce seems, as far as Lethbridge is concerned, to be rapidly falling into disusage. During the present the committees have been called very j little into use compared with past i years, it is true that the custom is i still adhered to at the council meet- ings, cl" turaiag over correspondence reports, and so forth to the chairman of tne committee under which tiie :nat- jrers referred to theoretically comes- j allowing lam to move me motion disposing of it. It is true. too. that re- j commendations are now and'then re- ceived from committees, but those re commendations are nearly always pre- pared by the committee chairman ai the council meeting when it is receiv- ed, and never comes before a of the committee itself at ah. As matter of fact, very few matters are ever now referred by the council tc committee for report and committee meetings this year have been few and j tar between. Individually, the alder- men all do a certain amount of work outside of looking into mat- Monaay. November 7> iw.0. ters in wnien. they are interested; or having informal talk's-'over" problems with the mayor.or other aldermen. Hut their actual formal work is con- lined practically to the meetings of tun council in practice, the administration of the city is carried out by the mayor. the city engineer, the secretary treas urer, and, tc a lesser degree by other omciais, all of whom with the excep tion of the mayor are responsible not to the ratepayers, but to the council. The mayor, whose work is chiefly gen- eral supervision of all departments, is, of course, responsible to the peo- ple as much as to the council, on the other hand, the city engineer and secretary treasurer bear no direct, responsibility to the people. The latter two officials are paid big salaries, bigger even tnau the salary received by the mayor. And they are, paid these >ig.salaries, not merely foi; tneir services as engineer, or secre- tary treasurer, but as the adminis- trators of big portions of the city's business and the consequent responsi- bilities. So important are these onices at present that whenever they report or suggest anything to the council, their word very nearly always ;oes. Under the commission plan, the re- sponsibilities supposed to be borne-by these two, offices, would .be absorbed by the commissioners. Each commis- sioner would probably be responsible tor more departments than are either the secretary treasurer or city engin eer at -present, but instead of being able to hide behind the skirts of a council, the commissioners would be responsible direct to the ratepayers. There would, perhaps, .be an office of engineer or surveyor, under one of tne commissioners, but, unless the people elected an experienced engin- eer as that commissioner, there would be no '.fancy salary attached, for it would carry no more responsibility than is borne by the man who actual- ly all the surveying at-the pres- ent time. The office, sal. ary of secretary treasurer most likely would also disappear, the positions ol treasurer-and secretary being occupied jy a -couple of clerks 'subordinate to the mayor or chief commissioner. The two" diagrams show at a glance the vital differences between the com- mission plan and the existing system. Tne commission plan is simple. The present sysiem is complicated. -Under the commission plan, responsi b.iilty, control and authority are cen- tralized. .uu-d-er- the present system they -are scattered and divided among different aldermen and officials. Under the commission plan the con- trol that the ratepayers have over the men entrusted with the city's adminis- tration is direct and also 'continuous. Under the present system the council stands between the actual adminis- trators and the ratepayers. And the control the ratepayers have is only in- termittent. Under the commission plan when ceretain departments are conducted weu, ratepayers- know to whom praise is due, and they alspjcnow whom to when Under present system-if aiiyiliiug is cione th wrong, a white elephant of a piece of machinery instance, it is impossible to attach blame to any- one person where so many are respon- sible, if the ratepayers do make up tneir mind some official is incompet- ent, they have no means whatever .by which to dismiss him from their ser- vice. Tfle commission in short, makes for high efficiency. The present plan for low efficiency. The former is similar to-the organization of a busi- ness concern. The latter is like noth- ing else undeAthe sun. r >L x DIAGRAM SHOWING ORGANIZATION UNDER COMMISSION PLAN t DIAGRAM SHOWING ORGANIZATION UNDER PRESENT SYTEM BOVl.fr'flUft ;