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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

The first legislative investigation of the Hague administration in Hudson County also was made during Edwards' term. A senate committee, of which William B. Mackay of Bergen County was chairman, took a look into affairs under the new leadership. The committee did not go as deep as the Case Committee was later to do, but they found a number of curious items, some of which are mentioned elsewhere in this book, and they turned in a report of approximately eight thousand words – which was filed. They found, among other things, that four policemen in Jersey City were paid eight thousand dollars merely for singing in a police quartet. As all committees have done, they denounced the administration of elections in Jersey City; somewhat tritely they called the election of November, 1920, `a saturnalia of crime,' and charged that `the election law was violated with impunity.' (New York Times, May 8, 1981.)

While the air was full of the dust raised by his attacks on the prohibitionists, Edwards ousted all the members of the highway commission and appointed his own men. He quietly began the long process of the appointment of Hague men to boards, commissions, and courts, and – equally important – to the office of the attorney general and to the county prosecutorships. This practice, with occasional misunderstandings and interruptions, continued in Silzer's administration and in the three terms of Harry Moore, and not only gave the organization control of important administrative agencies of the state government but, more significantly, protected it from attack through the courts. Most of the appointees, incidentally, made regular contributions to the exchequer of the state organizaton.


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