102 * F. G. YOUNG ments for services. (2) An agency, responsible, competent and disinterested, requiring closely itemized vouchers for all claims and limiting disbursements to those authorized by law, so that no money leaves the treasury except to whom it is due. That conditions of fiscal safety require the turning of all receipts into the state treasury has never been keenly real- ized in Oregon, nor until very recently strictly adhered to. Mention has already been made of the embezzlements by Secretary of State S. E. May, in the later sixties. But he not only appropriated the remittances from Washington of the five per cent proceeds from the sales of government land in Oregon and receipts from the sales of state lands, but he took also receipts from sales of state publications and moneys sent to support patients at the state asylum. 1 It was pointed out also how the Board of School Land Commissioners during the seventies spent a large share of the receipts from the land sales without authority of law and with practically no returns to the state. The traditional administration of Oregon's state institu- tions has left much to be desired. It has never been stand- ardized. Such men of talent, system and conscience as have been connected with them have had to work under such deter- ring handicaps that they failed to elevate conditions to a higher plane. The report of the Investigating Commission of 1870 goes into details of slipshod practices and petty grafting. These institutions have been in the care of a board composed of the governor, secretary of state and state treasurer. These offi- cials until a few years ago were themselves the beneficiaries of a system of fees and perquisites that, to say the least, if not unconstitutional, was unwarranted under the constitution and then, too, fee systems are inevitably abused. With the supervisory board in such position there was not fostered in it the spirit of strict surveillance over the policies and prac- tices of its appointees. The foundations of not a few fortunes i Report of Investigating Commission, 1870, pp. 73-118.
Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/110
This page needs to be proofread.