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Boss Hague
King Hanky-Panky of Jersey

Part 10

By Jack Alexander

Originally appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on October 26, 1940
Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2002

A Gold-Plated Pay Roll The police department, which is vastly overstaffed, is the highest paid in the nation, and the fire department ranks near the top in pay. In 1928, the Case Legislative Committee discovered that “hall man and cuspidor cleaners” got $2,200 a year, chauffeurs as high as $8,600, “gatekeepers” $2,000, clerks $8,000, and girl stenographers $,400. A mysterious job of “supervisor of sinks,” which the committee was unable to identify further, paid $4,500. One hack, who had been a health inspector for twenty-five years at a salary of $4,000, failed on the witness stand to name a single place he had inspected in that time. In describing his duties, he explained, “Well, when a man has a job he is supposed to get the vote out.” When a witness who was listed as a laborer at $1,700 was asked what he did to earn his pay, he fumbled around for a few minutes and then named two blocks of street which, he aid, he was charged with cleaning. Reminded that the street sweepers took care of the area, he replied, “But if boxes should fall off a truck and block the road, it would be my job to keep the road clear.”

The committee showed that the salary roll for maintaining the county courthouse totaled $202,000, and the custodian admitted his inability to give an explanation. The city, it was shown, was paying $109 to heat each school classroom and $60 a room for Janitor service. The cost of maintaining the park system was $7,300 an acre, the Commissioner of Parks testified. In 1985, the last year for which comprehensive figures are available, the population per park acre for Jersey City was 2,199 -- for Kansas City 108, for Louisville 130, for Indianapolis 123, and so on. If the people of Jersey City, whom Hague refers to paternally as “my people,” ever decided to use their parks all at once, they wouldn’t have enough room to sit decently on the grass.


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