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lature by the citizens' committee, provided that all members of the commission should be appointed by the governor, but this plan was so strongly opposed by the local politicians that it was finally amended in accordance with a compromise, making three members appointed by the governor and the other two elected at large.—MacGregor, op. cit., p. 35.

8 Essential Features of Commission Government.—The features essential to the commission plan are, roughly, four in number, and as follows:

First: There must be a complete centralization and concentration of all power and responsibility in a small council, or commission, usually of five members, thus doing away with the separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial, and abandoning the ordinary checks and balances thrown around our federal system and at present around our common council system, to protect the people against themselves. This is the most essential feature of the entire plan. The fundamental principle of commission government is that official responsibility shall be definitely fixed, and, furthermore, that it shall be fixed on just those officials elected by the people. The council or commission is directly charged with, and is responsible for, the entire administration of the city's affairs -- it is the city government. It is the theory of the commission plan that this responsibility to the electorate shall be the only check placed upon the actions of the commission, and that consistent with this responsibility the council shall have the power to administer the affairs of the city in such a way as best subserves the public interest.

This does not preclude the establishment of certain administrative boards or committees — library boards, park boards, boards of health, etc. — but such boards must be responsible to the city council. Their members must be appointed by, and removable by, and all their actions subject to the approval of, the city council. It is evident that this must be so if the council is to be held responsible to the electorate for their actions and the efficiency of their departments.

Second: The members of this council or commission must be elected at large and not by wards, and, therefore, represent the city as a whole, not subdivisions of it. The commission plan does not rest upon district representation.

Third: The members of this council or commission must be the only elective officers of the city, with the possible exception of the auditor and in some cities of the school board, and must have the power of appointing all subordinate administrative officials.

Fourth: Not only must this council or commission have the power of appointing all subordinate administrative city officials, but it must have the power of removing them at will, in order to keep them directly responsible to the commission, and the commission directly responsible to the people for the administration of the city's affairs.

These four principles are absolutely essential to the commission form of government pure and simple. As one or more of them is lacking, just to that extent is the commission principle violated. So if the city treasurer is elected directly by the people, or the city attorney, or city engineer, it is impossible to have a pure commission form of city government, because that division of responsibility militates against the principle lying at the very base of the commission government idea. Commission government is predicated upon the idea that the commission shall be responsible. If subordinate administrative officials are elected, they are responsible not to the commission, but to the people, and responsibility for the city administration becomes at once divided. The city council or commission cannot be held responsible for the acts or official conduct of officers over whom it has no control and with whose selection it has nothing to do.MacGregor, op. cit., p. 25.

9 Wisconsin City Manager Plan.—The city manager shall be elected purely on merit. In electing the city manager the council shall give due regard to training, experience, executive, and administrative ability and efficiency, and general qualifications and fitness for performing the duties of the office, and no person shall be eligible to the office of city manager who is not, by training, experience, ability, and efficiency, well qualified and

generally fit to perform the duties of such office. No weight or consideration shall be given by the council to nationality, political, or religious affiliations, or to any other considerations except merit and direct qualifications for the office.

Residence in the city or state shall not be qualification for the office of city manager.

At least thirty days before electing or engaging a city manager, the council shall advertise for applicants in two or more daily newspapers of state-wide circulation, in two or more daily newspapers of interstate circulation, and in such other newspapers, magazines, advertising agencies, employment bureaus, and other advertising mediums, and during such length of time as it shall deem necessary to secure applications from the available persons best qualified to fill such office.

The applications, records, recommendations, and qualifications, of all applicants for the office of city manager shall be immediately placed and hereafter kept on file, and shall be matters of public record and open to the examination and inspection of the public at all reasonable times.—Extract from bill before Wisconsin Legislature.




NTIL recent years very little attention has been

paid to the administrative side of city government in the United States. When we needed a system, we imported one “ready made” from England, and when that did not work, we applied the federal system-a system which fitted the city's needs as a man's coat usually fits a boy. Of course it did not work well. With the customary American inventive genius we set about to remedy it. We went back to the beginning and began over again; we increased or diminished the size or powers of the council, empowered or impoverished the mayor, or divested both and transferred their powers to boards or commissions. And this has been the procedure in every case. When things have gone wrong, we have gone back and amended the charter in an attempt to devise a perfect machine, one that will run itself. The same troubles arose in England and on the continent, but instead of going back and tampering with the charter, of changing the constitutional framework of the government, they modified the machinery of administration, in an effort to adjust the system to the conditions under which it must operate. As a result, there has grown up in Europe a great administrative system of expert and professional city officials that has made a success in Europe of a system that has proved a failure in America.

There is, therefore, as yet no coördinated and uniform system of administration in American cities. On the other hand, the administration of the city government is divided among a large number of separate and more or less independent administrative departments, each having charge of certain functions, but frequently over-lapping each other in jurisdiction. These departments vary in different cities, and frequently the work of departments bearing the same name is entirely different in one city than it is in another. The only way to acquire an accurate knowledge of the administration of any particular city administration is to take its charter and ordinances and study its plan of organization individually; no study of city administration in general will be sufficient. One author has adopted this plan. Delos F. Wilcox, in his new volume "Great Cities in America,” has selected certain cities and described their government in detail. But although the details of administrative organization differ in the various cities, the general plan of municipal administration is much the same in all American cities.

(1) The Mayor. At the head of the municipal administrative system is the mayor. In all American cities the mayor is elected by the people. This is in striking contrast to the practice in Europe where the mayor is usually elected by the council or appointed

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