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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/87

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The Unit System.

tion. He is not my man but the company’s for service, and his own for individuality and citizenship. Let the master mechanic or the division engineer of many years’ service report the flagman whose tenure may have been very brief. Human nature is such that the trainmaster, stung by an implied reflection, constitutes himself attorney for the defense. The papers grind through the baskets of the chief clerks. By and by, when everybody concerned has forgotten the incident, the papers come back with assurances of distinguished consideration and politely intimate that the case was not quite as bad as represented. The old official, in a measure discredited, soon stops concerning himself with flagmen. The management, the stockholders, and the public lose just so much possible protection through increased supervision. The salary and the expense account of the traveling official go on just the same.

On the Harriman Lines the master mechanic, like the division engineer, has the rank, title, and authority of assistant superintendent. Mind you, it is not assistant superintendent in charge of thus and so, but just assistant superintendent. An attempt to define duties in a