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The Boss

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

Just as a political machine may sometimes be upset by a militant newspaper, a vigorous bar association, or a zealous reform group, it may be overturned by an aroused church. The Hague organization has provided against this possibility, however, with the efficiency characteristic of all its political operations. One method is to put priests, preachers, and rabbis on the city or county payroll as chaplains with salaries that are generous, considering the part-time nature of the work they do.

The highest salary appears to be paid to the Reverend John E. Heindel, Protestant chaplain at the Hospital for Mental Diseases and at the county jail. He receives $2500 a year for his services. The city police and fire departments have each two chaplains, one Protestant and one Catholic, at $2400 apiece. The employees of the Bureau of County Mechanics would seem to need spiritual guidance more than any other agency, for they have three chaplains at $2100 each, one Protestant, one Catholic, and one Jewish. The lowest paid in the list appears to be the Reverend Walter A. Hennessey, Catholic chaplain at the Hospital for Mental Diseases; for some unexplained reason he receives less than his brethren, a mere $900. To the twelve chaplains the city and county annually pay a total of $20,900, a mere trifle in the millions annually paid out in salaries, but a very important item considering the groups that these men lead. A few years ago one preacher gave a series of sermons against the Hague administration; returning from Europe, he announced to the reporters that he had seen no city on his travels the streets of which were so dirty and littered. He is now a chaplain and no longer sees anything to criticize.

But there are other ways than making them chaplains to keep the men of the cloth from attacking the regime. One preacher who started a campaign against the machine, and offered prayers every Sunday for the deliverance of Jersey City from the hands of the rapacious politicians, lost interest when his daughter was given a job at City Hall. Then there is Rabbi Isaac Siegal, who is one of the most important Jewish leaders in the county; he is the `Special Inspector of Kosher meats' employed by the County Bureau of Health and Vital Statistics at a salary of $2600. Other preachers and priests have been listed as `utility men' on the payroll, and one was even called a plumber's helper.


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