water department requires a single administrative head who has been trained in the work.

No one takes the typical water board so seriously as its own members. There was a time when there was no particular harm in the commissioners meeting periodically to discuss their various problems, not all of which were water problems. The waterworks performed neither better nor worse because they had their names chiseled on it. But these habits went out with the bacteria, and now they are a positive detriment in large cities. Water boards are usually political, and when so constructed they interfere with the installation of new devices, the adoption of improved operating practices, proper plant maintenance and improvement, and the installation of adequate financial controls. Out of respect for their honesty, be it said that their opposition is often based on lack of understanding.

Elimination of the board does not guarantee abandonment of politics, but it helps, and that is sufficient reason for the change. However, it is no improvement to get rid of the water board and substitute a committee of council.

In some small cities, part of the water functions are performed on the outside, by private concerns. This is true of planning, engineering, and certain phases of finance or even collections, which may be made by the local bank.


CONCLUSIONS

With waterworks services, as with the collection and disposal of wastes, it is almost ridiculous to compare costs with other cities. There are far more variables in water than in waste services. Costs may be compared from year to year within the same city, provided that the services are substantially the same. Within the department, costs furnish a guide for administrative control; outside, costs may help if the situations are similar. All cost figures must be interpreted, not accepted or quoted raw. It is not so important to reduce the cost of water service as it is to improve it. The function of the water department is to deliver palatable, clear, and healthful water in abundance, at a fair price.

Politics must be eliminated from water department management. The public health is involved, and politicians and bacteria do not mix in the public interest. One-man administration is the best way to obtain an effective realization of the purpose for which the service was established. Its operations should parallel those of other departments, with the same ultimate supervision. It should not require a revolution to accomplish this common-sense suggestion, in spite of the city solicitors, where the waterworks is still hitched up in horse-and-buggy style. All municipal activities

-646-

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City Management
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xix
  • 1 - The Changing City 1
  • 2 - Administrative Principles 22
  • 3 - The Civil Service 49
  • 4 - Personnel Management 70
  • 5 - Revenues and Taxation 95
  • 6 - Finance and Accounting 124
  • 7 - Expenditures and Debts 151
  • Conclusions 174
  • 8 - State Financial Supervision 176
  • Conclusions 194
  • 9 - Centralized Purchasing 199
  • 10 - Planning 226
  • 11 - Zoning 249
  • 12 - Slums and Housing 275
  • 13 - The Law Department 300
  • 14 - Public Health 319
  • 15 - Recreation and Parks 355
  • Conclusions 378
  • 16 - Public Welfare 383
  • 17 - Police Administration 412
  • 18 - Traffic. 449
  • 19 - Fire 477
  • 20 - Public Works 509
  • 21 - Streets 539
  • 22 - Public Utilities 566
  • 23 - Wastes 593
  • Conclusions 620
  • 24- Water 623
  • Conclusions 646
  • 25 - Courts 649
  • Conclusions 669
  • 26 - Education 673
  • 27 - Nominations and Elections 696
  • 28 - New Horizons 716
  • Index 747
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