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also are included. The vital point of difference, however, is the possession or non-possession of administrative powers. Upon this point a majority of your committee are emphatically of the opinion that no administrative powers should be granted. Of the minority, Prof. Chace, President of the Rhode Island Board, has found, for that State, full administrative powers beneficial. He says:
PROF. CHACE'S OPINION.
Our Board is quite unlike, so far as I know, the Board of any other State. The limited territory of our State renders it possible to gather all our charitable, correctional, and penal institutions in the same town, and to place them under the supervision and entire management of a single Board-the Board of State Charities and Corrections. This Board is clothed with very ample powers, and has functions which in other States are distributed among many different Boards. So long as it is composed of able and publicspirited men, and they retain the confidence of the public, it works remarkably well. It secures intelligence, economy, and unity of sction in the entire group of institutions, to a much greater extent than would be possible under separate and independent Boards. Thus far it has done so well that the legislature has been continually adding to the powers and responsibilities of the Board. It commenced with only two institutions under its charge; it now has five. In a larger State, it would, perhaps, be hardly safe to confer so much power on a single Board. It would certainly require great care in the section of its members.
the number of institutions, and prevented the increase of paupers and dependents. It enlightened the public in all such matters, and proved of great assistance to the legislature. In small States one Board might include all the institutions of the State, as in Rhode Island; but in Massachusetts, the care of all is too much; they cannot do justice to themselves or the State.
Dr. ALLEN is also of the opinion that "such Boards should have some power of correcting evils and abuses at once. Perhaps their power should be limited, but such Boards should be able to do something." In opposition to these views, Hon. HENRY W. LORD, the able and efficient Secretary of the Michigan Board for some years, and the Hon. GEORGE. S. ROBINSON, President of the Illinois Board, are decidedly of the opinion that no executive powers should be granted. Mr. LORD says, "our Board has no power, and I think it should not have." Judge ROBINSON is equally emphatic, and gives reasons for his conclusions, as follows:
JUDGE ROBINSON'S OPINION.
The question of an Executive Board resolves itself into this: Will one Board of Trustees for all the institutions, or for all the institutions of a particular class, administer their affairs more intelligently and successfully than separate Boards for each institution? The answer would depend very largely, of course, upon the qualifications and the devotion of the individuals selected by the Governor. It would appear that the experience gained by such a Board in the administration of the affairs of one institution would give additional light in acting upon those of another; but, on the other hand, the institutions would lose the benefit of Boards exclusively attached to their individual interests, and always devising means to promote their efficiency and welfare. This theory, though adopted in the States of Kansas and Rhode Island, is not that which has controlled legislation generally upon this subject. In other States of the Union the institutions are left in charge of local Boards of Trustees, and the State Boards have been created not for the purpose of displacing these Boards or usurping their functions, but for the purpose of observing the work done by them, comparing their relative condition and success, advising the trustees as to needed changes or improvements, and reporting to the legislature, without fear or favor, the result of their examinations and reflections. Under this system, State Boards occupy an intermediate position between the legislatures and the institutions. They have no power to control the action of the legislature—their position, therefore, is one of absolute independence-not being responsible for any errors of judgment or of practice in the management of the institutions, they have no interest to cloak or conceal such
mistakes, if made. Possessing a broader field of observation than the trustees of any one institution can possibly have, they are able to make comparisons between them, of the highest value both to the institutions themselves and to the State Government. Having the confidence of the legislature and of its committees, if they earn such confidence by wise and faithful conduct of the business entrusted to them, they are enabled on the one hand to persuade the legislature to do for the institutions what they really require and need, and on the other to prevent the legislature from being ensnared by interested representations made by the officers and trustees of any particular institutions from ambitious, pecuniary or political motives. serve for a term of years, and only one goes out of the Board at Since the members of such a Board ordinarily one time, there is a continuity in their opinions and recommendations which tends to steady the whole system of public charity in the State; and the accumulation of a fund of experience gained by extensive observation and reading, places them in a position to make intelligent recommendations to the General Assembly with the force of statements known to be made without any interest to deceive, or to prejudice the action of the legislative body.
Ordinarily, the members of such Boards are men chosen on account of their special interest in the subject, and their special qualifications for the position. They serve without compensation, and their word carries weight. It is not unnatural for members of a Board of State Charity, as they become familiar with the defects in the organization of existing institutions, and see more clearly what needs to be done to perfect the system of public charity, to desire executive power, in the hope of reforming abuses which cannot be done through their indirect influence, without much patience and persistence on their part. Before allowing themselves to be carried away by this feeling, and to grasp after executive power and responsibility, they should consider whether they would not lose through the possession of such power. While they may be better qualified, after long experience, to administer the affairs of the institutions than the local Boards of Trustees (though this is by no means certain), they cannot influence the action of the legislative body to the same extent, after the surrender of their official independence. Neither is it certain that they will continue to possess and exercise the functions of commissioners of charities, when such change is made; since the reorganization of a Board of Charities affords the Governor an opportunity to make new appointments, and he may select for the members of such Boards, not gentlemen who have been trained by their experience for their work, but may take in preference some of the local trustees, who have no such experience; or he may even choose men who have not before been at all connected with the system of public charity in any capacity. is wise or expedient for Boards of Public Charity either to seek or For these reasons, it seems doubtful whether it to accept any executive power or responsibility.
EXTENT OF JURISDICTION.
With respect to the question whether such Boards should be limited to the supervision of charitable institutions, or should include correctional institutions also, it would seem to depend upon the amount of work the Board is capable of doing and is willing to do. There is no reason why charities and corrections should not be included as component parts of their work; that is, no reason arising from any conflict between these two subjects, or any dissimilarity of such a nature as to prevent a single Board from grasping and mastering the entire field; but in a large State, where the number of institutions to be visited is very great, it might be preferable to divide the work. It is a question of policy for each State to determine for itself, and not a question of principle.
The outcome of our inquiries, therefore, in regard to Boards of State Charities, would seem to indicate that, in the main, what is wanted in their establishment is to secure for our public institutions thorough inspection and intelligent criticism by competent persons outside of their management. Human nature is so constituted that no one can give an unbiased judgment upon his own conduct. The more experience a man has, and the wiser he grows, the less confidence he has in his own infallibility, and hence the best administrators are the first to welcome intelligent criticism upon their own action. It would seem, therefore, that a Board of State Charities should occupy a position purely advisory. Its business should be to ask questions, and get at all the facts which affect the operations and management of the various public institutions of the State, and then make comparisons, one with another,-see wherein one excels another, and, if possible, ascertain the reasons therefor. In addition, the Board should know what is being done in similar institutions in other States and countries. This of course will require travel, study, correspondence and thought, but in no other way can it be properly prepared to impart information and give advice. A Board thus occupied will have no time for the details of administrative work.
Again, a Board of State Charities, to be what it ought to be, must be wholly non-political. If it is an administrative body, and has offices to bestow, and contracts to award, and money to disburse, its prostitution to party purposes, sooner or later, is inevi
table, and, thus degraded, its influence for good, for the most part, will be ended. If to executive powers salaries be added, the tendencies downward will be intensified, for a brood of hungry applicants will soon crowd from the Board those who are best adapted to its service.
A Board of State Charities, at its best estate, must be composed of men who can have no object in serving upon it except the good of humanity and the honor of the State, and who must make personal sacrifices in order to accept the office at all. Such officials are not easy to find, and if found must be sought for, since they will never come to the front as political claimants or party dependants. Such a Board, once organized, should be retained as long as its members are willing to serve. Its knowledge, in the nature of things, is very largely an expert knowledge, which can only be attained by study and travel and observation; and therefore every year of service increases the experience of its members and enlarges their influence for good. Sooner or later the opinions of such a Board will be more potential for good than any authority conferred by legislative grant.
A Board of State Charities thus constructed and thus instructed is something very greatly to be desired by every State in the Union, and it should be sought for as a miner seeks for hid treasures.
From the foregoing presentation of experiences and opinions, it would seem that three governing ideas may be formulated, as follows:
1. That in every State the best interests of its charitable and correctional institutions demand the inspection and supervision usually exercised by what are known as Boards of State Charities.
2. That the powers of such Boards should be advisory rather than executive, and that their purpose, in the main, should be to keep the public and the legislature fully advised of the condition and needs of the institutions submitted to their supervision.
3. That the best service for these Boards is an unpaid service, and hence no compensation to members should be permitted beyond the reimbursement of travelling and other necessary expenses.
Outside of these fundamental requirements all else is a matter of detail and of local policy, to be settled by the needs of individual States. All which is respectfully submitted.
R. BRINKERHOFF, Chairman.