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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/55

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LETTER V.

LIMITATIONS OF THE CHIEF CLERK SYSTEM.

Tucson, Arizona, May 6, 1911.

My Dear Boy:—I have had a good deal to say to you at one time and another about chief clerks and the chief clerk system. From actual experience as a chief clerk I know that it is a trying position. It is because the railway chief clerks of the country are as a class such a splendid body of men that I am trying to do what I can to help them. Too many times a chief clerk misses promotion because he is such a valuable man that he has to stand still to break in all the new bosses who come along and leave him in the side track.

The chief clerk system as we know it today cannot long survive because it is too feudal in conception to reflect the spirit of a progressive age. We need a chief clerk to be a head clerk, a senior clerk, a foreman of the office forces, as it were. Much of the time on American railroads the chief clerk is in effect an acting official, acting trainmaster, acting superinten-

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