The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 01, 1913, Page 21, Image 21

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The Commoner
Commission Government for All Third
Class Cities of Pennsylvania
A. M. Fuller, Meadville, Pa., In
"The American City": On the first of
December next the commission form
of government will be inaugurated in
every third-class city of Pennsylvania
The new act providing this important
change received Governor Tenor's
signature on June 27.
The limited-council form of city
government was first considered in
Pennsylvania in 1908. At that time
there were but twelve cities in the
United States operating under the.
new form of government. In 1909
the subject was considered favorably
by the chamber of commerce of Pitts
burgh, and in 1910 the third-class
cities of the state, in a convention
held at Williamsport, formed a per
manent organization called the allied
civic bodies committee. In Pennsyl
vania the cities are divided Into three
classes: Philadelphia, first class;
Pittsburgh and Scranton, second
class; and twenty-three cities of less
than 100,000 population constitute
the third class.
In 1911 bills were presented to the
legislature providing for the com
mission form of government for the
cities of the second and third classes.
The legislature declined to pass these
measures, but, owing to the great
pressure brought to bear upon it by
the cities of the second class, the
most essential feature of the new
form of government the limited
council was granted the cities of
the second class, Pittsburgh and
The cities of the third class, large
ly through thUr civic organizations
acting under the direction of the
allied civic bodies committee, have
continued the effort to cecure the
limited-council form of government
and presented to the legislature of
1913 a bill known as Clark bill 13,
which provides net only a limited
council but many other features of
value which are usually Included in
what is known as commission gov
ernment. This measure passed the
senate and house with only four dis
senting votes, and, as above men
tioned, has since been approved by
the governor.
The constitution of Pennsylvania
prohibits special legislation; hence
it was not possible to render the act
optional, but necessary to make it
compulsory in all of the cities of the
third class. Fortunately the senti
ment in favor of the adoption of the
new form of government is, with few
exceptions, most favorable.
Provisions of the Act
In brief, the act provides for the
election at large, on a non-partisan
ballot, of a mayor for a term of four
years and four councilmen for a
term of two years. Each member of
the council, including the mayor, is
given the right to vote on all ques
tions coming before the council, but
the mayor has no right to veto such
acts as shall have been passed by the
affirmative vote of a majority of the
members of the council. The con
troller Is to be elected by the people
for a term of four years, while the
city solicitor, city engineer, city
treasurer, city assessor and city clerk
are appointed by the council to serve
for a term of two years. The city
assessor will act under the direction
of the council, and the council will
serve as the board of revision.
The act provides that the salary of
the mayor of each city of the third
class shall not be less than $500 nor
more than $3,500 per year and shall
bo fixed by ordinance. For the first
term of any mayor elected under the
provisions of the act, and until
thereafter changed by ordinance, the
salary shall be, in cities having a
population of JL 5,0 00 or under, $500;
from 15,000 to 30,000 inhabitants,
$1,200; from 30,000 to 50,000 in
habitants, $2,5,00; from 50,000 to
70,000 inhabitants, $3,000; over 70,
000 inhabitants, $3,500 pot annum.
The first council elected under the
provisions of the act shall by ordl
truo constitutional t;ovorumont for
the snko of tlio Mexican people
themselves, of American citizens in
theniBolvos, of American citizens
in Mexico, of Moxico's Central
Araorican neighbors and of tho
world, whose interest In tho southern
quarter of tho North American con
tinent is rendered keen just now by
tho approaching completion of tho
Panama canal.
President Wilson has voiced nobly
nance fix the salary to be paid to the the sentiment and tho purpose of
mayor in said cities for succeeding
terms, and tho amount of compensa
tion for tho mayor shall not bo in
creased or diminished during tho
term of office for which ho shall be
elected. Succeeding councils may
change the amount of such compen
Tho act provides that tho salaries
of councilmen shall not be less than
$250 nor more than $3,000 per year;
that for the first term of councilmen
elected under tho provision of the
act the salary of each councilman
shall bo as follows: In cities of 15,
000 or under, $300; between 15,000
and 30,000 inhabitants, $750; 30,
000 to 50,000, $2,000; 50,000 to
70,000, $2,500; over 70,000, $3,000
per annum.
This rather peculiar provision for
salaries is made necessary in order
to render the act constitutional. It
has this advantage, however, that the
flexibility of the plan will enable the
cities of the third class to adopt the
city-manager or business-manager
plan of city government, If they so
desire, and add but little to the cost
of administration. The Initiative and
referendum are included on the basis
of 20 per cent of the vote at the pre
ceding election for mayor. The re
call and civil service features of the
usual form of commission govern
ment have been omitted.
Tho new act is of Bpeclal interest
to the forty-two boroughs of tho state
having a population of over 10,000.
Owing to the present unwieldy form
of third-class city government, these
boroughs have declined to become
cities. Under the new form of gov
ernment many of the boroughs will
become cities of the third class. The
new law is, therefore, of interest to
more than sixty cities of Pennsyl
vania. By the terms of another act, ap
proved July 8, prompt adoption of
the new form of government is made
possible for the forty-two boroughs
of the state having a population of
over 10,000. By resolution of the
council or corporate authorities of
any such borough, or by petition of
one hundred qualified electors, an
election shall be called within fifteen
days on the question of whether tho
third-class city form of government
shall be adopted. The provisions of
this act also apply to any two or more
pnnffminiiR boroughs situated within
the same county and having together
a population of at least 10,000.
tne American people. Anu lot no
one bo deceived neither Mexicnn
officials, nor foreign observers, nor
yellow newspapers within our own
borders. President Wilson's voice
in this critical situation is the voice
of tho American people. The people
of tho United States do not lust aftor
Mexico. They have no desire to
profit out of Moxico's misfortune.
They wish to holp and not to harry;
to extend the hand of nelghborllnesH
and not to shake the mailed fist of
Those in control of affairs in
Mexico would do well to take Presi
dent Wilson's words as a true state
ment of the sentiment and the do
sire of tho American people. They
would do well to heed his counsel.
What is it that ho advlBes? Merely
that the Mexican people exchange
the bayonet for tho ballot, that they
forsake tho armed camp for the poll
ing place, and that General Huorta
agree that ho will observe, as though
it wore the letter, the spirit of the
Mexican constitution when it declares
that no man In Gonoral Huerta'a po
sition at tho head of an ad interim
administration shall bo a candidate
for president at tho ensuing election.
All that tho Unitod States asks I
that tho Mexican peoplo bo given a
frco opportunity to scloct tho ad
ministration under which thoy will
go forward; and that all parties
agroo to accopt tho pooplo's de
cision. If the contending groups In Mexico
will adopt thnt course and carry It
out in good faith, tho United States
stands ready to rondor ovory assis
tance In Its power, through recogni
tion, tho oncouragemont of financial
assistance, and ovory good office.
Tho president has spoken for the
American pooplo nnd spoken woll.
Ho has also spoken to the American
peoplo and counseled patience. Wo,
as woll as Mexico, would do well to
heed his advice. New York In
Her mothor was a bashful thing,
Oh, how 1 loved hor when she'd sing!
"On tho other side of Jordan,
In tho sweet fields of Eden,
There Is rest for the weary,
And there's reBt for you."
But now she has a daughter who
Will sing this grand old hymn for
you :
"Oh, you kid, it's a bear,
Cuddle up, kiss mo quick,
Hold mo tight, you'ro a boar,
That's tho tangoed Smearkaso rag."
Cincinnati ISmtulror.
The American people have reason
to be proud of President Wilson's
address to congress on the Mexican
situation. It is moro than an ad
dress or message from the president
to congress. It is an address from
the American people to the people
of Mexico and to the world.
It Is couched in lofty language and
infused with a lofty spirit. It sets
our relationship to Mexico, our de
sires for Mexico and our duty to
Mexico upon a high plane of disin
terested friendship. It makes it
clear as crystal that we are actuated
by no motive of selfish gain, but by
pure considerations of international
We want, President Wilson force
.,iitt rtinfa nut. the return of peace
and order and the establishment of i
the midwest Eife
The year 1912 will always stand out prominently
in the history of this company, because:
1. It ceased writing participating policies and now writes
only stock or low premium policies. It does not charge
moro than every Insurance man knows Js necessary, and
attempt to Justify the act by promising to return tho over
charge In tho gulso of a dividend. A dividend on a life In
surance policy Is In no senso a profit. It is only tho roturn of
that part of tho premium which Is In excess of tho amount
necessary to enablo tho company to pay all expenses and losses
and to set aside tho required reserve. To get dividends a
policyholder must literally buy them. The excess paid over
the rate charged by other old lino companies which do not
Issue such policies Is tho price.
2. It placed on the market as complete a line of policies
with as fair and liberal provisions and at as low a premium
rate as any company In tho United States offers. Included In
tho list are such policies as Ordinary Life, 10, 15 and 20
Payment Llfo policies; 10, ID, 20, 25 and 30-Year Endowment
policies; policies carrying total and permanent disability
benefits; and policies which provide, in case of accidental death
within ninety days after receiving tho injury, that the com
pany will pay double tho face of the policy.
3. It changed tho methods of valuing its policies from tho
full preliminary term basis to a modified preliminary term
basis, thereby providing for tho full net level premium reserve
at the end of tho fifteenth year. This is a rather technical
point. We will not attempt to enlargo upon It except to say
that this chango removed tho only ground of criticism that
had ever been lodged against this company by BEST'S IN
SURANCE REPORTS (Life), a recognized authority in tho
Insurance world.
These changes give The Midwest Life a character and dis
tinctiveness all its own. For further information call or write
Cbe midwest Cite
Selling non-participating life insurance only.