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11:e it ufussembly districts was based on the enumeration made in 1992, and the extraordinarily rapid shifting of population since that period has resulted in leaving some of the assembly Histricts with a voting population approximately five times as srest at that of others. The most accurate way available to thi* Commission for ascertaining the present voting population of the various assembly districts was to take the vote cast at the rinint election. The number of aldermen allotted to each aldermanic district has been ascertained by taking the total intes cast at that election, and for every five thousand votes or maior fraction thereof cast in any assembly district the Crimmissivil has allotted one alderman, In cach disict the vote taken as a basis was the highest total vote, ther for candidates for Presidential Electors or for Gover
The result has been that the smallest assembly districts la ecne aiderman each, the greater number two each, and a
w three or four cich. A difficulty arose from the fact that or wo: of two assembly districts of Westchester Corinty now !.. ithin the borough of The Bronx, and that a fraction of an
ingeombiy district in the former County of Queens nou lies within the Borough of Queens: We have dealt with these 1-trit by adding the fractions from Westchester County to the Tairty-fifth Assembly District of New York County, giving this territory six aldermen, and by adding the fractional distrit in the Borough of Queens to the Second Assembly District of Queens County, thus giving this territory three aldermen. The result of the arrangement proposed is that there will be one hundred and twenty-three aldermanic districts. To avoid possible misapprehension, we repeat that this allotnient of aldermen among the several assembly districts is mely tmporary and is intended to continue only until the Dixi legislative apportionment after the census in 1905, when there will be two aldermanic districts in each assembly district.
The President of the Board of Aldermen and the Presidents of the Boroughs, under the proposed charter, will have seats
and votes both in the Board of Aldermen and in the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.
We believe that it is of great importance to secure a constant publicity in the conduct of all City affairs. The Board of Aldermen should have ample powers to institute inquiry at all times. For this purpose, and also in order to secure intelligent and úniform legislation, we have continued the provision of the present charter that the heads of the several departments should have seats, without votes, in the Board. But we have extended this by requiring each head of department to attend, whenever summoned by the Board of Aldermen, and by requiring him to answer any questions that may be put to him by any member touching the affairs of his department, of which forty-eight hours' written notice shall be given.
At present the time of the Municipal Assembly is largely taken up with the most trivial matters, such as granting special permits for stands of one kind or another upon the public streets. By section 50 of the bill herewith submitted we provide that the Board of Aldermen may not pass any special ordinances in relation to these matters, and that all ordinances in relation thereto shall be general ordinances,which may apply either throughout the whole city or throughout specified sections thereof; which shall fix a definite license fee for every authorized structure, encroachment or obstruction to the street, according to the character, extent and duration thereof; and which shall provide for the issuing of revocable licenses therefor. The adoption of these and other like provisions will, we believe, give more serious purpose to meetings of the Board, and will lead men of character and ability to become candidates for aldermen.
It has been strongly urged upon the Commission, that some system of proportional or minority representation should be adopted in the composition of the Board of Aldermen. This Commission has not thought it necessary to consider this subject, because it agrees with the views of the former
Commission, that under the Constitution of the State, it is impossible to provide for such representation in the Char. ter “yithout making a vital part of the Charter depend upon a provision of uncertain constitutionality." And a inajority of the Commission concur with the former Commission in recomminding a constitutional amendment authorizing laws to be rised providing in municipal elections for ninority or proportionate representation. Some of the advantages which are loved for under such a scheme of minority representation we hore wili be found in the system we recommend of small alderinic distric's Under the present Election Law (chapter
, Lars of 1896, as amended by chapter 363, Laws of 159) it is in - ?bstance provided that five hundred electois may Luminaie à member of Assembly or School Commissioner, while “independent nominations of candidates for public 4.1 ces to be voted for only by the electors of a town or ward eft city, or d village, can only be made by one hundred
This does not in terms cover the case of aidermanic districts ilch as we propose; and we recommend an amendment to the Election Law providing that some reasonably sa number of electors be empowered in such districts to ale ndependent nominations.
The Cominission does not recommend any abridgment of ho very great powers now vested in the Mayor, except in so far a such powers are necessarily abridged by the enlargement of he boites conferred upon the Borough Pres'dents by the other si viiviis of the Charter. On the contrary, the Commission in domen is that the powers of the Mayor should in some intcrial respects be enlarged. Experience has shown, both ino.e former cities of New York and Brooklyn, that very great wers can wisely be entrusted to a Mayor elected by the people at large, and that a concentration of responsibility in his hands conduces effectively to good government.
With respect to the Mayor's term of office, there is force in the arguments which have been presented to us for a reduction to two years. The Commission, however, recommends that the present provisions of the Charter in this regard be left unchanged, and that a Mayor be elected for a term of four years and be ineligible for re-election for the succeeding term.
The most important change which we have made in the powers of the Mayor, and one which must have far-reaching consequences, is to extend throughout his entire term the absolute power which he may now exercise only for the first six months of his term, to remove certain executive officers ; and to provide that all his appointees (except members of the Board of Education, Judges, etc.) shall hold office without definite terin.
Under the present Charter important executive functions of government, except in the matter of the finances, are in the hands of Commissioners who are not directly accountable to the people or even to their elected representatives. Immense rowers are thus vested in persons who are nominated by the Mayor, but who, six months after the Mayor takes office, pass out of his control and out of the control of any one representing the people, except in the event of their committing some offense which is susceptible of formal legal proof, and which, under the technical rules established by the Courts, will require a removal. The futility of that course has been proved on various occasions. The Mayor cannot reasonably be held responsible for officials unless he has an absolute power of removal.
The tenure of office of the higher appointive officials in our city government is unlike that which prevails in the federal government where all the principal officials hold their office at the pleasure of the President, and are removable by him at
will. Such was the system adopted in the early days of the Republic. At the present time, when The City of New York as now constituted embraces more inhabitants and vastly greater wealth than were contained in the whole United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the Commission believes that a similar system should here prevail.
The Commission does not attach serious importance to the argument that the appointment of officials without definite term and subject to the Mayor's power of removal will make it more difficult for him to secure the services of competent and able officials. As we have just said, similar conditions prevail in the federal service, and it is highly iniprobable that any Mayor will ever remove an official of his own appointment without some justifiable cause. It may, indeed, be hoped that the possession of a constant power to remove will rather tend to keep in office many heads of departments during the administrations of successive Mayors, especially those whose duties are of a technical or professional character.
The Charter as at present existing and as originally framed contemplates the division of the city for administrative purposes into five boroughs. In each of these divisions a Borough President exists whose powers at the present time are practically limited to the possession of a seat in the Board of Public Improvements, with no vote “except upon matters relating
, exclusively to the borough of which he is President.” He is also a member of each of the Local Improvement Boards within his Borough, but, as we shall presently point out, these Local Boards, under the restrictions of the Charter, are possessed of few effective powers.
It is clear that the vast territory comprised within the present City of New York, embracing as it does, districts so essentially different as the crowded east side of Manhattan