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7. Therefore popular participation in government cannot be intelligent without some means for providing the people with current, accurate, and well-digested information upon the public business.

If these propositions delineate truly the main features of the situation, they furnish the explanation and the justification of the methods proposed by municipal research. The paramount necessity is to invent some means for rendering popular participation in the process of governing on the one hand effective, and on the other intelligent: effective by creating a new organ for focusing and expressing public opinion; intelligent by establishing a new institution for popular education. A way must be found to make the personal interest of officials coincide with public interest, and the public must be enabled to visualize its business affairs.

In proposing a remedy for these conditions, municipal research is not unmindful that important steps have already been

taken. To meet the difficulty of insecurity of Municipal tenure and political control of public officials, Research,

two methods have been applied: civil service reA Remedy

form for the lower appointive grades, and municipal voters' leagues for elective officials. Both have met with partial success and partial failure. Civil service reform has secured a considerable permanence of tenure and a relative fitness of appointees, but proposes no satisfactory means of ensuring or judging efficiency after appointment. Municipal voters' leagues have raised the qualifications for elective officials, but offer no comprehensive and definite standards by which officials' records may be judged.

Without minimizing the usefulness of either of these lines of effort, municipal research proposes beginning at the other end, i. e., dealing with the conditions under which any officials, whether appointed or elected, must work. It suggests:

1. The devising and installation of administrative methods which will largely eliminate opportunities for undetected favoritism, laxity, and graft, and which will at the same time provide data for standards of efficiency.

2. A continuous scrutiny of the public business for the purpose of safeguarding the public interest and applying efficiency standards.

3. Systematic publicity to stimulate popular support for efficiency and condemnation of inefficiency, and to educate the public to a familiarity with the public business.

The exercise of the taxing and appropriating power is unquestionably the central operating feature of government. The de

termination of what funds shall be raised, to Administrative

what purpose they shall be appropriated, and Control

under what conditions they shall be expendedwhoever controls these processes dominates administration. Here then of all others, is the place for popular participation. The means for exercising administrative in addition to electoral control must be placed in the hands of the people. Steps to this end


1. Classification of the budget to correspond to the character of the work performed by the several departments and subdivisions of government.

2. The installation of a system of centrally-controlled revenue and expense accounts, similarly classified, to support the budget.

3. The installation of a system of operative and statistical records to show service rendered and results accomplished.

The budget should be so classified as to designate specific amounts for each distinct function and should impose such limitations upon the expenditure of funds appropriated as may prove necessary to secure their application to the purposes intended. The accounts and records should furnish data for cost and service statements and should definitely locate responsibility for all official acts. Not until this administrative machinery is available is it possible for anybody, whether official or private citizen, to frame an intelligent opinion of what funds should be raised or appropriated. Without such a system, no official, however efficient, energetic, or well-meaning, can administer the public business efficiently. With such a system, the inefficient or dishonest official finds it far more difficult to divert or waste public funds.

When administrative methods of this type have been devised and installed, they do not thereupon become self-operative. Records tell no story unless examined; cost data are of no avail unless studied; efficiency standards furnish no aid unless applied. Municipal research undertakes to maintain a continuous familiarity with the public business, to see that public funds are properly expended, to apply standards of efficiency, and to assist in a continual improvement of methods.

Upon questions of public policy, efficiency of public employees, and the administration of municipal departments, the public has at present virtually no means of obtaining accurate, disinterested information. Such as it does receive is fragmentary and often colored by partisan or personal motives. Municipal research, owing to its independent position and its familiarity with officials and administration, is able to meet this fundamental necessity of popular government. Systematic reports, lectures, and exhibits are employed, made pointed and graphic through the use of abundant illustration and concrete example. Material of this kind is rendered available for the use of businessmen's organizations, taxpayers' associations, improvement societies, public schools, and all groups of citizens interested in knowing how the city's business is managed. Municipal research thus aims to carry on what might be called continuous courses of popular education in the public business.

That this program is not mere theorizing, the history of the Bureau of Municipal Research demonstrates. Since its founda

tion in New York City in 1906 as a branch of Growth of the Citizens' Union, with a budget of some Municipal

$12,000, the rapidity of its growth may be reResearch Idea

garded as the measure of its fulfilment of a public need. Similar organizations have been founded in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Memphis, commanding, with the original organization, an annual budget of approximately $150,000. Plans are under way for the establishment of bureaus in other cities. Special studies have been undertaken by staff members for citizens and officials of Chicago and Buffalo. Concrete results are now discernible in spite of the fact that in New York City their recognition has been delayed by the magnitude and «complexity of the problems involved.

The prinicpal advances in municipal efficiency in which the New York bureau, with the very general co-operation of city officials, has been to an important degree instrumental may be summarized as follows:

1. A new centrally-controlled accounting system has been devised and the installation of its main features virtually completed.

2. The Department of Finance has been reorganized to administer the new accounting system.

3. The budget has been thoroughly revised on the lines of a functional expense classification.

4. The budget is now subjected to the most searching examination both official and public, and popular participation in the

framing of the budget has been greatly increased. New York

Owing in a large measure to this augmented Advances

public interest, the net increase in the last budget was less than $4,500,000 over the preceding year, compared with an annual increase for the two years previous of approximately $13,000,000.

5. The Department of Commissioners of Accounts has been reorganized on lines recommended by the Bureau of Municipal Research.

6. The Department of Health has reorganized and strengthened its service, adopting many recommendations of the bureau. Owing chiefly to the more thorough-going methods now employed, the summer infant mortality was last summer reduced by nearly 20 per cent., while of the school children found to need medical treatment, over 80 per cent. were reported treated as against a known 10 per cent. previously.

7. Extensive studies have been made of administration in the departments of parks, police, water supply, and the tenement house department, as a result of which a number of improved methods have been adopted. An exhaustive examination of the status of the city debt revealed unsettled legal questions involving the city's borrowing capacity to the extent of millions.

The Memphis bureau has just submitted to the mayor a critical study of some phases of the city's government with constructive suggestions for betterment in organization and administrative methods. The Philadelphia bureau is at present engaged in an examination of the educational administration in that city. The Cincinnati bureau, in the four months of its existence, has undertaken examinations of the departments of health and parks and the purchasing department, and is preparing to enter the field of street improvements.

Municipal research, then, offers itself as a means for crystallizing and giving effect to public opinion. Hitherto popular participation in municipal government, being largely limited to the election of officials has been necessarily only periodical; having no systematic source of unbiased information, public opinion has been uncertain of itself and erratic in temper. Seeming indifference has alternated with spasmodic outbursts whose results have usually been disappointing. In municipal research is provided a new instrument of democracy through which the people may wield not only periodical electoral, but continuous administrative control. President Lowell in a recent article, declared that "the lasting success of modern democracy will depend upon its capacity both to use and control experts. This,” he says, “is the riddle that the sphinx is proposing to America and we must solve it at our peril". Municipal research offers its programthe expert in the service of democracy: effective because subject to no partisan organization or special interests; controlled because dependent for success entirely on the approval and support of public opinion. It is perhaps through the employment of a relatively small staff of independent, privately-supported experts to scrutinize public administration, to set standards, and to provide continuous material for public opinion that democracy may hope most directly to acquire the permanent service of experts within the municipal departments. Insecurity of tenure and incompetent officials are the direct fruit of public ignorance of the public business.

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