A Stirring Holyoke Week

by Laurel | March 12th, 2014

11 March 1906

Firemen’s Aldermanic Order
And Various Doings of Holyoke Board Arouse Spirited Discussions

It has been a breezy week in Holyoke. The weather was breezy, there has been a breezy time over the T. W. Mann estate, and the aldermanic meeting, though short, was more breezy than usual, not forgetting the breezes that blow soft from Ceylon’s Isle in the water department. Truly signs of spring are here. There is one thing about political Holyoke, there is never lack of something doing. Now it is filling places for an alderman’s brother of sister; now it is questioning this or that contract; now it is advancing this salary or cutting off that one (the latter an operation seldom resorted to); now it is working these wore for that office or those for that other office. but be spun the wires ever so fine, intertwine they however often, they are found on investigation to lead to but three or four sources of political powers that be. It is only when the wires get crossed that the real fun begins. Then we learn lots, as during the water commission fight last January or on the water registrar matter this week.

With all the fury that inspires a newly-born alderman, Alderman Fine has projected himself into the limelight with a proposition for one day off in 10 for the poor fireman. When the French revolution was revolving the Sabbath of one day in seven was abolished and one day in 10 was substituted. it is a bad omen for the success of Alderman Finn’s project that he should have chosen such a revolutionary precedent. One day in nine or one day in 11 would do, but one day in 10 cannot be thought of. Nine is a mystic figure also; and it also smacks of baseball in which Alderman Finn has been interested. It is to be feared that the alderman lost his rabbit’s foot when he chose the figure 10. Where, oh, where are the memories of the Holyoke baseball clubs, Vickers, Voorhees and vim? And if one day off in 10, why not one in seven or one off in six or even five? Perhaps one off in three? The eight hour day is coming on and they are on duty 24 hours a day, so one day off in three would about conform to the union standards. It is to be feared that the new alderman has not realized the glorious possibilities of one day off in three or the wild enthusiasm with which the taxpayers would hail such a plan. It ought to go through the board with flying colors.

The only spirit in which to approach the Holyoke water board in session and our of session is that of hushed and reverent awe. This has been delicately hinted at in the past; but it now can be shouted from the house tops. Of course by the Holyoke water board is meant Messrs McLean and McLean, chairman and treasurer. Commissioner Doyle is only a sort of mirage, and Commissioner French learns of part of the business of the board through the newspapers and the rest when the chairman and treasurer considers that he is in a fit mental and physical state to hear the glad tidings of great joy of policies decided in advance. There was a little meeting after the routine business this week when it became known that the chairman claimed to have received a letter from Auditor F. S. Fuller on the salaries od the office. It had been previously supposed that the auditor had been hired to audit the books of the city and not to fix salaries, but it is never too old to learn, and there is much to be absorbed from the truly great. So the plan was unfolded in all of its brilliancy — to appoint a new assistant at the office and pay her by removing part of the salary of the registrar lest he get wealthy too suddenly and place it in the hands of this estimable young woman, who is a sister, by the way, of one of the aldermen. But of course that had nothing to do with the matter even if she did stand third on the list.

Now it is a debatable question if there is any clerical position in the entire city hall that is worth over $1500, all the auditors and accountants in the state notwithstanding; but the picking out of one man and “docking” him can only be attribute to sheer incompetence on the part of the commissioners to see the conditions clearly or a desire to get rid of the registrar in order to carry out some political deal by which a new man is to be made registrar. And it is a pretty mess viewed at almost any angle; but what more was to have been expected from the men who dominate the board? The sort of men on that board, the political morass in which the flounder, was clearly pointed out previously. Members of the board of aldermen are you not honestly proud of the men you have elected?

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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