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The Boss

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

In one of his speeches he said that he had studied Tammany Hall, and he thought his organization was superior. He did not exaggerate, for compared with his, the Tammany machine at its best was unsystematic and superficial. His touches every corner, reaches to the very bottom of the community. Let the citizen turn where he will, work or play where he will, or join what he will, he meets the organization at every point. We are now able to view the culmination of the years of work by Frank Hague and his associates.

At the top of the army of public employees is the general, the Mayor himself, whose salary for 1940 is $8000, by no means the highest paid by Jersey City. Second in command is John Malone, deputy mayor, at $7000. Malone directs the mayor's department (public affairs) during his master's frequent absences from the city, and he is also the political chief-of-staff both for the city and the state. He does not, however, exercise much discretion; rather, he knows from long experience what the Mayor will want, and when he is in any doubt he telephones. Malone is both too old and too unpopular to be a possible successor: he has had to carry out so many orders which, to the recipients, have been unpleasant that he has many enemies and few supporters. Frank Hague Eggers, the Mayor's nephew and secretary, is third in command; he is paid $6500.

The general staff may be said to include Milton, Moore, Hershenstein, Gavin, and O'Neill, and the important leaders of the various city wards. Milton is the Mayor's lawyer, whom the reporters have called the keeper of the privy purse; he has held many public positions from county prosecutor to an appointive term as United States senator. He acts as a kind of adjutant-general to the organization. A. Harry Moore is the unbeatable candidate, the orator, the funeral-goer, the cornerstone-layer. Charles Hershenstein is an important adviser; he is city counsel at $12,500. Surrogate John H. Gavin is another; his salary is $10,000. Judge Louis N. Paladeau, the legislative agent, receives a mere $7000. John F. O'Neill is county supervisor at $12,000; he has charge of county patronage. The Mayor named some of the other members of his political staff and gave their public positions in his testimony at the C.I.O. trial in Newark:

Q. You have ward clubs, don't you?
A. Yes, Sir.

Q. Do you have a club in every one of the wards?
A. Not in every ward.

Q. But in most of them so-called Democratic clubs?
A. Yes.

Q. There is one in the Fourth Ward?
A. Fourth.

Q. Of which Mr. John J. Coppinger is the leader?
A. That's right.

Q. Is Mr. Coppinger in the city employ?
A. Tax commissioner [$6000], former sheriff.

Q. And there is a Seventh Ward Democratic Club, the North End?
A. Yes, that's McGark.

Q. No, Eugene Ertle.
A. Eugene Ertle, city clerk [$7500], that's right.

Q. And there is the Eighth Ward Democratic Club. Patrick J. Donnelly is leader; is he not a public employee?
A. Yes, he is a freeholder [$6000].

Q. Not directly connected with the city government?
A. No, the county government.

Q. Now, among these ward clubs there is one in the First Ward, is there not, Mayor?
A. Yes, Sir.

Q. And that is presided over by William J. McGovern?
A. He is city commissioner [$7500]. Yes, sir.

Q. And he is president or chairman, or whatever you call it, of that particular club?
A. Yes, sir; he is leader of that outfit.

Q. Leader of that outfit. And there are others?
A. Yes, there is Eleventh, Tenth, Ninth, Sixth.

Q. And they all have leaders?
A. Oh, yes, every ward has got a leader.

Q. And who are the other leaders in those clubs you just mentioned; could you remember them?
A. The First is Commissioner McGovern, Billy McGovern; the Second, John Kenny.

Q. What is his job?
A. He is a freeholder. We take good care of them. The Third, county register [of deeds, $10,000] William J. Sullivan; the Fourth is former sheriff John Coppinger; the Fifth is Michael Scatuorchio; he has no position at all, he is the [sic] contractor.

Q. How did that happen?
A. I suppose he finds it more profitable without a position. The Sixth is Freeholder Teddy Fleming; the Seventh, there is two sections, the North and the South, City Clerk 'Gene Ertle and Joe McGurk, who is city treasurer. He is our candidate for sheriff. Eighth, Doe Donnelly; we call him doc, he never practiced medicine, he is a freeholder. Ninth, Sheriff Parle [$11,000]; Tenth, Freeholder Heffron; Eleventh, Commissioner and ex-Sheriff O'Driscoll, and Commissioner Tatum; Twelfth, Freeholder Sweeney and Commissioner Barney Johnson. It is divided. So they are all substantial citizens, all of them.

Q. Except for Mr. Scatuorchio they all have jobs. All of those leaders have been associated with you politically for a great many years, haven't they?
A. Yes, I can say I raised every one of them. (Transcript, pp. 1061-1066. Some duplicating and irrelevant questions and answers have been omitted here.)

This group of staff officers has no central headquarters, no Tammany Hall, where they can meet to discuss problems of public or party policy. Orders, rather, come to them from Hague, through Malone. There may be consultations with the Mayor in one of his offices - when he is in town - or with Malone at City Hall; but, in general, the process oper- ates in one direction only. The Mayor thought a question on that point by Dean Frazer in Newark was so absurd that he did not at first understand what was wanted, and the ques- tion had to be repeated:

`I say, are the policies of the other departments of the city government your policies?'

`Oh, yes, yes,' was the reply. `I would say yes.'


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