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The City Government

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After soine experience In municipal affairs, it may not be out of place to point out n few changes in the lawi governing this city that t would seem the p;irt of wisdom to make. THE CODNCIL. Tlie governinent of the city of Ann Arbor remains practically the same as it was thirty yeara ago. In fact its charter and ordinaneesadopted in 1851 have remained uuclianged in mnny partieulars, whilethe city bas kept fully apacc witli the rapid development of tlie county and state. A change ought to be made in order to keep pace with this rnpid progrese. The welfare of the city, the economy of the city, demands that some changes should be made. In tlie first place it would seem altogether probable that the men who attend to the city's business would give it farbetter attention were they to receive reasonable compensation for their work. Complaint Is often made by our cltizens that there are so few business men on ourcouncil, but you a8k these business men if they will accept any of the offices, and the answer invariably comes, "No, I can't, but there is Mr. So-and-so, he would make a good man for the place." Go to Mr. So-and-so, and he will refer you back to tlie man yon carne f rom, as beinga proper candidate. The truth is there is no pay, the glory being expected to compénsate the aveniged counciltnan, and but few business men are laboring for glory in these days. Then agaln it is almost as much as a maii's reputation is worth to serve one term as alderman, thre are so many to criticise, to find fault, to tear down; so few to help by advice and deed, those who have in their hands the management of the city's affairs. Councilmen should be paid for their services, so much per day for time actually speut in the service of the city. THE MAYOR ofourcity receives the munificent salary of$l per year. He is expected to represent the city in maguificent style on that prineely salary. He is expected to glve his time, watch every outgo from the treasury with au eagle eye, preside with diguityatall meetings (whether there isany' dignlty or not atnong the members) and to make himself in every way useful to to the municipality. To be sure we have liad a long list of able inayors, at the present compensation, and it is possible that no change is desirable, but it takes much time and adds greatly to the cares of a man to be mayor of the city of Ann Arbor. It might be a wise change to allow the council to select its own presiding offlcer from among its own members. Let the mayor have the power of approving or vetoing all acts of the council, but not act as the presiding otlicer or be entitled to any voice in thedeliberationsof the body. This plan works admirably wherever it has been adopted. THE CITÏ RECORDER OR CLEHK. Then comes the Uecorder's office. Thls is the most importaDt office in the gift of the people of the miinicipality, so tát as the people theniselves are coneerned. Tlie records are to be kept in a ncat mnnner, yaluable papers are placed in nis possesslon, documents, inaps, plans, deeds, contracts, etc , etc, of very great value to the city, and they should be so kept that they can be turned to at any moment wlien wanted. But such is not tbe case. The papers of' the office are filed away n old dry goods boxes, and 'Jï any particular paper is wanted of u few yenrs back i search of several days is tisually necessary to And it, and tiien the cluuicts ure thatit caunot be founil. The City Recorder should be furnished with an office by the city.havinfr a vault or safe for the gtorage of valuable papers. Then the old docunients, deeds, contracta, etc. ghould be sorteil out and filed away in a systematic manner. The Recorder should also bu the city auditor, and tlms relieve uu pa i tl aldermen of considerable tlmnkless labor. Thiscity hasgrown and its business has increased In toeh a manner that its present way of caring forproperty is nlggardly and wasteful, botli. The Recorder should receive a sufflcient salsry so that all of kis time can be devoted to the work of kit office. The work is wortk $1,000 per year with an oflice fitted to the neeessities of the case, furuished by the city. Such an office could be fitted up in the court house. Tiiis is a change that should not be neglected, as the city is losing money every year the present systein is conti n ued. The term of the Recorder should be changed from one to two or more years. It is a great mistake to change occupants of the office so often. It takes one whole year, at lease, to become thoroughly acquainted with the dutles of the office, and then one must keep their eyes wide open. The longer a person holds the office the more competent he is for the position. The sooner Ann Arbor secures this change in her charter the better for all concerned. The Recorder ought not to be a voting member of the council. Hls duties in that body are purely clerical, and he has no time to vote intelligently on questions. It is not certain but more competent city clerks could be obtained by thelr selection by the council instead of election by the people. All fees received should be turned into the treasury. STREKT COMMISSIONER. Then the streets and sldewalks. A strect commissioner should beelected by the people for a term of two years, and he should have charge of all the streets and sidewalks in the city. The present method of street work is neither satisfactory nor protltable. The senior alderman of eacu ward now expenda a $1,000 enen year in a marnier to increaso liis popularity if possible, and the work is not as well oí as proíitably done as it wouhl be if under one head. TUK S1DEWAI.KS. Tlie sidewalkg n the city In a fearl'ul condition in inany places, and tlic only wny for tliem to be kept In good condition, is for the city to take tliem in charge as 8hc (Idcs the streets, and liave the tax for them a general one, as the bencfits are general. They should also be undcr the supervisión of' the street coui iiiissioner. The law holds the city responsible for any damago to life ór limb by reason oí defective walk, and thischange seerns imperative. The present method is ineffective, costly and cannot be (or never is)enforced. After the city has been mulcted In $.",000 or $10,000 damages she will irobably wake uj) to this fact. THK CITV TKEASUHER. The compensation of the city treiisurer shoiild be changed. He should be given a stated salary, gay $600 per year, and then all taxes paid before gay January 15th(or perhaps later)be free without the usual % por cent odded for colleetlon, On paid after that date add the usual 4 per cent dded in townships, whicb shall be turneil into the city treasury. Practical inen think that the city would make raoney by this change, wliil the prompt citizeii would have to pay less taxes, and good candidAtes lor the treasurership be just as plentiful. There are those who maintain that the city nmr.-hnl, city treasurer, city attorney, and in fuct every city offleer, high or low, should be elected by the people. But that ia a question. In elections political parties quite often put up men becuuse of ttieir availnbility instead of their calability. It is genemlly conceded that sucli offices are more acceptably fillecl by the council tlian they would be by the people, This fall members of the legislature are to be cliosen, and the oüe from this district ought to be a man capable and willing to do soino work for his constitutents in this city. There are other things that will be spoken of in the future.


Ann Arbor Courier
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