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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/59

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Limitations of Chief Clerk System

every week you notice the announcement of the appointment of an old chief clerk to the position of assistant to somebody. This is encouraging, since it permits him to do business in his own name. It also shows that railway officials are waking up to the distinct limitations of the chief clerk system. The discouraging feature is the failure to profit by centuries of experience of such well-handled activities as the Navy and the merchant marine. At sea the executive officer ranks next below the captain and is in effect, though not in name, the latter’s chief of staff. The captain’s clerk or the purser cannot hope to become executive officer and then captain without getting outside and working up through the deck. When railway executives and directors become better students of organization, the science of human nature, their stockholders will pay for fewer unnecessary experiments. One railway profits by the discoveries and mistakes of another, as to bridges and equipment, but rarely as to organization and methods.

The United States Army, copied largely from the English, has the assistant to system, calling such officer the adjutant. The rank of the adjutant has been raised to captain, or