The Wheel of Fortune
AFFAIRS went from bad to worse for Olmsted. Members of the executive committee made "unbearable" men of business, he said; they submitted to no plan or discipline, but worked part of the time on their own business. Their grasp of Sanitary matters was not complete, because they lived far from actual operations; preoccupied with the possible misuse of money and power, they created resentments whenever they meddled in practical affairs. The committee countenanced a divided authority, and produced contradictory plans and announcements. In Olmsted's absence Dr. Agnew heard the complaints of agents, and dismissed two valuable men instead of referring the disagreement to the general secretary on his return.
The commission had never clearly defined the relations between the general secretary and the Western secretary. Newberry had acted as Olmsted's equal, not his subordinate. He invariably sent an excuse for not writing reports--illhealth, want of time, too much business, or the insignificance of his efforts. Without Western reports Olmsted could present no survey of operations. Ignorance of Western operations left an "enormous vacuum," said Bellows; it "vitiated" Sanitary statistics, supply estimates, and plans for monthly allotments. The commissioners viewed "such a defect . . . on so huge a scale . . . with a mysterious wonderment." On the other hand, Olmsted marred his own "glorious"