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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/94

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Letters From A Railway Official.

ticular official to see his communication, he makes it personal by prefixing that official’s name.

Any employe can address the superintendent by name for the same good reason that the humblest citizen can appear in his own behalf in any court in the land. Though the court is open, neither the citizen nor his attorney can normally dictate what judge shall hear his case. Authority is abstract and impersonal. The court exists if the judge is dead. The exercise of authority is concrete and highly personal. The court is silent until the judge speaks. Conversely, the superintendent as the head of the unit may address any employe direct without going through the assistant on whose payroll the employe is carried. Common sense and the personal equation of the officials concerned indicate how far this elastic feature can be carried. Courtesy requires prompt notification of the assistant concerned. Officials have superiors, and to attempt to convey the idea that each is a feudal chief, when in reality he is not, can result only in self-deception. The practice of each division superintendent reissuing verbatim in his own name instruction circulars from the office of the superintendent