Proposed resignation of Morris Meyers as Chief of the Fire Department - Common Council and Aldermen records

Dublin Core

Description

Records of the Common Council and Aldermen regarding the proposal by the Fire Committee that Morris Meyers be asked to resign.

Abstract

The report of the Fire Committee addresses the mismanagement of the fire department on the occassion of the fire that destroyed the shop and factory of Foster Brothers on November 16, 1890. The reports and resolutions of the Fire Committee were refered to a 'Special Committee' consisting of Alderman Rundle, Councilman Purdy, and Councilman Foley. This committee finds that specific charges were not made against named members of the fire department, and suggest that they are needed in order to follow through with their requests of resignation. It appears, for lack of documentation otherwise, that the Fire Committee did not follow through with filing specific charges against Meyers and that the issue regarding his resignation must have been dropped.

Date

1890

Document Item Type Metadata

Text

[Excerpts from Common Council and Aldermanic records of 1890 – 1891 relating to the specific issue regarding the requested resignation of Morris Meyers as Chief of the Fire Department]

[page] 132
BOARD OF COUNCILMEN.

…Report of Fire Committee:
To the Common Council of the City of Danbury:
The committee on Fire Department respectfully beg leave to report that after a thorough and exhaustive investigation into the conduct and management of the fire department of said city, at the fire of Nov. 16, 1890, wherein the shop or factory of Foster Bros. was partially destroyed; your committee finds the following facts:
1st, Public sentiment seems to be practically unanimous to the effect that there was gross…
[page break; page 133]
…mismanagement at said fire, and that said shop was needlessly burned, and that had the efforts of the department been judiciously and carefully directed said shop would have been saved intact.
2d, The fire department is not in as effective a condition as our citizens have a right to expect; the several companies are not filled to their full complement of men, nor is the composition of the same of the best material, owing in a great measure to the small pay offered to the men. A general indifference seems to pervade the department, and there seems to be a lack of inclination to exert and put forth the best energies in fighting the fire and flame. Harmony does not exist in the ranks , and the chief engineer does not enjoy the confidence of his men, and seems unable to obtain their best service.
3d, There is lacking on the part of the several members of the department, that courtesy and decency in their communication with our citizens, especially at fires, which should and must be exercised towards them. At the fire in question, there can be no doubt that insulting and arrogant replies were made to the most reasonable of requests made by those of our people whose property was in danger, and whose interests were jeopardized, and a general indifference was manifested to their inquiries and suggestions.
While undoubtedly the department is not obliged to take its orders from bystanders at a fire, still requests and suggestions from our citizens, at such times, should be received politely, and with a degree of decent respect, which at the present time is woefully lacking in some branches of the department.
4th, Under the present management, our community is not receiving as efficient service from the steamer as it is capable of rendering in competent hands. The investigations have revealed the existence of certain orders relative to its management, emanating from the chief engineer, which are most extraordinary and fraught with danger and mischief. An experienced man in charge of the steamer should not be hampered by an iron clad set of rules and orders, inflexible and unalterable, especially when issued from a source which makes no pretensions of possessing a liberal knowledge of or an actual experience in the science of steam engineering. Such rules and orders should be forthwith withdrawn, and the engineer in charge should be left to the exercise of his best judgment and discretion in the management and running of said steamer.
Events at said fire show a want of technical knowledge, and lack of cool judgment at critical periods on the part of the person in charge of the steamer, to such a degree as to impair its usefulness, endanger its safety, and restrict the firemen in the use and exercise of those additional benefits and help, which were the primary objects of its purchase by the city.
5th, The revelations regarding the management of the truck and its equipment, or rather lack of equipment, were startling to a degree…
[page break; page 134]
…From the finding of facts as revealed by the testimony of reputable citizens, your committee feel it incumbent upon them to make the following recommendation, being impelled thereto, by a sense of the duty owed to the public, and a belief, free from all personal bias, and uninfluenced by any regard for, or prejudice against, any individual, that public safety and the property of our citizens demand some vigorous measures on the party of the common council.
Your committee therefore recommended:
1st, That the following resolution be passed by the Common Council:
Resolved, By the common council of the city of Danbury: That the management of the fire of Nov. 16, 1890, reflects great discredit upon the ability of Chief Engineer Morris Meyers: that had he used good judgment the fire could have been confined to very small limits and that owing to his mismanagement, property was needlessly destroyed; in view whereof he is deserving of censure at the hands of this common council. That we therefore pass a vote of censure against said Morris Meyers chief as aforesaid and instruct the city clerk to inscribe this resolution at full length upon the records of said city…
[page break; page 135]
That as a city we are young and growing; we are gaining in experience daily and hope in time to arrive at that degree of perfection which our citizens all desire. We have tried to sift the matter committed to us, in a thorough and impartial manner, and respectfully submit this report and recommendation fro your consideration.
F.O. Smith,
Matthew W. Scott,
Wm. McPhelemy,

Joint Standing Com. On Fire Dep’t.
Report accepted and resolution passed.


[page break; page 136]
…Resolution offered by Councilman Day that the Resignation of Morris Meyers as Chief of Fire Department be requested at once.
The resolution passed.

[page break; page 142]
…The report of Fire Committee relative to Fire Department investigation came from the Board of Councilmen passed, and report and resolution were referred to a Special Committee in concurrence.
Alderman Rundle and Councilmen Purdy and Foley were appointed as a Special Committee.
Resolution that the resignation of Morris Meyers as Chief of Fire Department be requested at once.
The resolution was referred to the Special Committee in concurrence.


[section break]

[page] 133
BOARD OF ALDERMEN.

…The report of Fire Committee relative to Fire Department investigation came from the Board of Councilmen passed, and report and resolution were referred to a Special Committee.
Alderman Rundle and Councilmen Purdy and Foley were appointed as a Special Committee.

[page break; page 134]
…Resolution that the Resignation of Morris Meyers as Chief of Fire Department be requested at once.
The resolution was referred to the Special Committee.

[page break; page 144]
…Report of Special Committee:
To the Common Council of the City of Danbury:
The Special Committee appointed to consider the report of the Fire Committee in relation to the management of the fire at Foster Bros. shop on November 16th, 1890, respectfully beg leave to report, That upon examining said report we are of the opinion that said committee did not proceed strictly according to the Charter in making such report; that in our opinion if said committee believe that any of the members of the Fire Department were incompetent or negligent in the management of said fire, said committee should prefer specific charges against such members, and that they be summoned before the Common Council to be heard in relation thereto, as prescribed by Section 23 of the Charter.
G.M. Rundle,
W.H. Foley,
C.M. Purdy,
Committee
Report accepted in concurrence.

Files

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Citation

“Proposed resignation of Morris Meyers as Chief of the Fire Department - Common Council and Aldermen records.” WCSU Archives, 16 June 2017. Accessed on the Web: 20 May 2019.

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