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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/141

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LITERARY NOTICES.

been invariably associated, while corruption and tenure dependent upon political success have always gone along together.

Sweeping as is the indictment of party, its methods and results, its substantial accuracy will be questioned by few conversant with the facts. The evil is allowed, but the means of remedying it are not clear. To many it has seemed that there is no cure. Mr. Stickney is not of this number. His showing of the causes upon which the evil depends has revealed to him the method of eliminating it. The public does not get its best men in the public employ, or get from its servants their best work, because the best men will not condescend to the work necessary to enter and remain in the public service, and because they have not security in their position during "good behavior." In the callings of private life men have the assurance that, if they do their work well, they will have employment for life. They have also the assurance that, if they do it ill, they will lose their employment. They are therefore under constant pressure to do their work well. Mr. Stickney believes that these conditions can be realized in the public service by the changes in our political system which he advocates. These changes consist in abolishing the term system, in so arranging the control of appointment and dismissal from office that there shall be direct responsibility for the performance of the work of the various departments, and in reducing the number of elective offices to the lowest point. To this end the President is elected as now, not for any definite term, but to continue in office so long as he performs his duties well. He has absolute control over the appointment and dismissal of the heads of departments. These heads have in turn the same power over their subordinates, and are responsible to the Chief Executive alone for the work of their departments. And so down through the entire service, each employee being responsible to his immediate superior for the faithful performance of his duties, and being assured of his place only so long as they are well done. To secure efficiency, each man must have work of only one kind. The Chief Executive is given no voice, as now, in legislation, his veto power being taken from him. He is responsible for the work of the entire Executive branch of the Government to the National Assembly. Mr. Stickney favors only one body, of four or five hundred men, instead of the two we now have; but, if there be two, it is sitting as one body that they form the Assembly to whom the Executive is responsible. The Executive may be at any time removed for any cause by a two-thirds vote of this Assembly. The Assembly has no voice in the choice of a new Executive. The senior department officer is made President pro tem, pending the election of a new President. The members of the Legislature are elected, like the President, for no definite term. They can be turned out of office by a two-thirds vote of the Assembly of which they are members. The judges are also made elective, but for no definite time. These are the only elective offices, in the national. State, and city governments. All the others are by appointment. Under this system the power of party as now existing would be destroyed, Mr. Stickney holds, because there would be few offices to be captured by election work, and, the tenure being dependent upon good behavior, it would be impossible to determine when these few would be vacant. The office-seeker would then disappear, because the profession could no longer pay. And the office-seeker as a distinct class having disappeared, public servants would become as efficient and as honest as those in private life. The whole of Mr. Stickney's scheme turns upon this point—the breaking up of party organization by removing the opportunities of profit which keep it intact.

It seems to us that it is just here that the scheme fails. The power of party managers is dependent not upon themselves alone, but upon the following they can command. And they can command this following in virtue of the intensity of party feeling. It is because there are multitudes of men who can be rallied by the party cry to support it through thick and thin that the managers are able to prostitute the services of the Government to their own ends. The diminishing of the elective offices not only would not reduce this partisan feeling, but would have no tendency to do so. These elective offices are, moreover, but a part of those of the Government. The