February 2, 1913

Prompt work on the part of the fire boys yesterday evening foiled the attempt of a firebug to destroy the residence of F.M. Broker on West Clark Street, the flames being subdued before they had damaged the building to any great extent. The fire was started in two places beneath the floor. Kindling, but no oil was used. Neighbors noticed the fire and turned in a prompt alarm. The big firetruck plowed through the mud in fast shape silencing critics who declared that it was helpless once off of pavement. Only chemicals were needed to save the place.

Mr. Broker was downtown when the fire started and did not reach his home until the fire boys had extinguished the flames and had departed. He is at a loss to account for the fire.

An earlier alarm yesterday afternoon called the department to the Valley Auto Company. A private office was burned out.

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Letter: "Because he needed the office."

Such was Mayor Eifert's plea for appointing another man to succeed Market Master Runyard. Now let us analyze this matter. No doubt the mayor was right when he said the man needed the office. There are also one hundred men who need every office in the country paying a salary, yet how many are competent through experience, administrative ability or metal fitness to give the office the highest efficiency and the best results. The fact in many cases that these men need the office is the mismanagement of their own affairs. In dispensing of public offices the charity feature should be eliminated entirely. It is a misappropriation of public funds to make office appointments on a charity basis.

Election and appointment of public officers should always be on this basis: "Does the office need the man?"

When conducted on this basis then we will have competent officers and not otherwise. Mayor Eifert did not plead that he needed the office. His appeal to the voters and that he would give the city a good, efficient administration, and I believe he will make good if he doesn't let his sympathies get the better of his good judgment.

— J.S. Howard


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