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The Boss

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

Unquestionably the Mayor lives as if he had a million-dollar income. He has traveled, first-class, all over the globe, even visiting Africa. He will make as many as ten round trips to Florida during a single winter and, in addition, he travels here and there over the United States. He maintains the mansion at Deal and the duplex apartment in Jersey City, with all the servants that are necessary to care for these establishments. He entertains lavishly and tips liberally. He has contributed handsomely to charity. He buys ringside seats at championship prizefights. He belongs to an expensive golf club at Deal. He has done everything that the richest men do except to buy a yacht.

Some wealthy men have a number of relatives they support, so that a large income may not be as great as it appears. This has not been Mayor Hague's practice. He testified to the Case Committee that he had a brother, James, who was employed in the sheriff's office as a clerk at $3500, and a sister, Mary, in the welfare department at $2000. His brother-in-law, John Eggers, was a detective on the Jersey City police force; Eggers' daughter, Alice, was secretary to the Superintendent of Schools at $1400. Frank Hague Eggers was at that time secretary at $2500 to Thomas J. Brogan, then corporation counsel; he has since risen to be the Mayor's secretary at $6500. (Transcript, pp. 1059-1060. The 1940 salary is given in the budget.)

Mr. Russell Watson, counsel of the committee, asked the Mayor about all these Hagues and in-laws:

Q. Have all these persons been appointed to public office during the time that you have been mayor of Jersey City?
A. No, my brother has been connected with the City before I was associated - well, they were all appointed – I thought you meant while I was commissioner.

Q. Do you know that while your brother had been holding this public office that he had been attending day sessions at law school?
A. Yes, and I am very proud of that.

Q. On the public's time?
A. Well, it isn't on the public's time, because I pay particular attention to that. He does his work at home and after office hours, and while he keeps up that routine the sheriff is perfectly agreeable, and I do not think he is depriving the City of any time that belongs to it. He does such work as he has to do as any other member of the staff.

Q. You investigated that personally?
A. I made inquiries because I anticipated you would ask me that question.

Q. Suppose [other] employees of the City attended day sessions at law school on the City's time? Do you think that should go on?
A. I do not think we should allow that, but where there is an exception that he is a poor boy, the people of Jersey City never object to that kind of treatment. (Transcript, pp. 1061-1062.)

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