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done, but the unfaithful work others might do without adequate responsibility to call them to account. If danger lurks in the system, if it can permit arbitrary acts without control, misconduct without correction, or official administration without responsibility, it is wrong.
A year ago in my inaugural address I briefly considered this subject. The experience of the year has strengthened my conviction upon the views and recommendations then expressed. As the subject has been constantly before the people in the mean time, by executive action, debate in the legislature, and discussion through the press and in the last political campaign, and the people may fairly be considered to have formed and expressed their opinion upon it, I deem it my first duty to urge upon you a thorough examination of our methods of executive and administrative work, and the adoption of such changes as will bring into it complete responsibility to the people, and will simplify machinery at present complex, without system or uniformity.
A brief examination of the gradual but large growth of executive work and executive offices in the more than one hundred years of our constitutional government, is necessary for an intelligent consideration of this matter. For some years after the adoption of our constitution in 1780 there were few administrative officers to be appointed or supervised by the governor. While the constitution definitely fixed the appointment and tenure of judicial and military officers, it left to the legislature the power “to provide by fixed laws for the naming and settling all civil officers within the Commonwealth, the election and constitution of whom are not in this form of government otherwise provided for, and to set forth the several duties, powers and limits of the several civil and military officers of the Commonwealth.” It was not then foreseen, nor has it been at any time since, how great would be the growth of executive work, and how varied and intricate the subjects of public and private interest with which it would deal. Consequently, neither by the constitution nor by any legislative act, has there been established any uniform system ; but, as the exigency of the moment demanded, an office has been created, apparently without much thought of its relation to the executive machinery already or thereafter to be established. As in the multiplicity of laws it becomes imperative at last to codify and
systematize them, so in the multiplicity of offices the same necessity may exist.
The growth of the Commonwealth, the creation and increase of her penal, reformatory and charitable institutions and of new subjects of public supervision or control, have compelled the legislature, under the authority conferred upon it, to establish numerous offices and departments as the necessary machinery for the administration of this work. Most of these are of comparatively recent date, created with little regard to uniformity of government or direct responsibility. There are today in the executive department of the Commonwealth over three hundred officers, commissioners and trustees, not including clerks and other subordinate officers, participating by statute authority in the administration of our government. There are over twenty-five state commissions (some, however, not purely executive), and more than one hundred trustees of public institutions. Whether this number can be reduced by abolition or consolidation of offices has been considered by a special committee of the last legislature, who will submit to you the result of its investigation.
In my judgment that question is rather one of detail tban of principle, and by no means as important as the question of uniformity and responsibility in the administration of these public trusts. At present there is neither. The tenure of some commissioners and trustees is three years; of others, five; of others, seven ; and of one board, eight. This tenure is fixed by law, and gives the occupant a right to hold the office for its full term, in the ab
express statute provision for removal. In many of the statutes there is no such provision, and where it exists there is no uniformity. Members of four commissions and the medical examiners can be removed for sufficient cause by the governor with the consent of the council; members of eleven commissions can be removed with or without cause by the governor, but only with the same consent. Only eight officers, outside of the district police, can be removed by the governor alone, upon his own responsibility. That is the extent of his effective and responsible executive control. Five boards of trustees are removable “ for sufficient cause,” but without any provision as to who shall exercise this power. Of the remaining administrative boards and officers
appointel for a fixed term, including the boards of lunacy and charity, of health, of education, of prisons, the state members of the board of agriculture, and other officers holding important public trusts, there is no power of removal in any body, except by the cumbrous machinery of impeachment. More than one hundred and twenty important executive officers are thus, during a tenure of office varying from three to eight years, beyond the reach and control of any executive power. All of these officers perform public duties, expend public money and administer public trusts. In some way they should be made responsible to the people. Otherwise there is danger of friction and conflict. Arbitrary acts cannot be controlled, misconduct cannot be punished, nor can any one be held directly and properly responsible for official action.
As an illustration of our irresponsible system, I again call the attention of the legislature to our method of prison management. At present the warden in charge of the prison has no power over his principal subordinates, either in their appointment or removal, except with the concurrence of the prison commissioners, with an appeal to the governor and council in case of conflict; the commissioners in charge of the institution bave no power over the appointment or removal of the warden; and neither the governor nor any one else has any power over the commissioners. In case of mismanagement, inefficiency, or trouble and insubordination within the prison, such as have occurred in times past, where lies the responsibility or the remedy? In my judgment, the warden should be given power over his subordinate officials, the prison commissioners power over him, and the governor power over them; and for its exercise, he should answer to the people. A bill to this effect was reported to the last legislature by one of its committees. In the house it was amended by a provision that the power of the governor should be exercised only with the consent of the council, thus destroying the most important link in the chain of responsibility, and the one which brought this executive power within the control of the people, and its exercise under responsibility to them. The bill as amended was properly defeated in the senate.
Suppose that some administrative board, within its limited authority in part to administer the people's gov
ernment, should knowingly adopt a policy against the wish of the people, or against their will as deliberately expressed through their legislature, - are the people to have no control over such board or its action? Is their government to this extent to be beyond their reach?
All must agree that the safe and democratic form of gorernment is to make these administrative officers in some way responsible to the people. This is in accord with the constitutional intent, as expressed in the declaration of rights, that “ All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government, vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.” Again it says: “ In order to prevent those who are vested with authority from becoming oppressors, the people have a right, at such periods and in such manner as they shall establish hy their frame of government, to cause their public officers to return to private life; and to fill up vacant places by certain and regular elections and appointments.” In giving to the legislature authority to create administrative offices, and to fix their tenure, duties and powers, the constitution contemplated that such authority would be exercised with due observance of its injunctions to make such officers accountable to the people, and to preserve to the people their power over them.
How can this best be done? It is not practicable to elect them. They must be appointed ; and, to be responsible to the people, they should be under the control of the elected servants of the people. They cannot be made responsible directly to the legislature, for this is expressly forbidden by the constitution. The legislature which created the office, can abolish it; but responsibility dependent upon such remedy involves destruction of the administrative machinery whenever a particular administrator is inefficient or unfaithful. There remains only its power of impeachment, restricted to cases of " misconduct and maladministration in office." This involves trial and conviction upon formal charges, and requires so much time and effort that it cannot be an effective and constant means of making administrators responsible to the people.
The power of removal, as a necessity for responsible control, must then be vested in the executive department;
and I submit that it can best be vested in the head of that department. Our constitution, in creating his office, declared that he “ shall be a supreme executive magistrate ;” and, further, that he should in all cases act with freedom for the benefit of the public.” It nowhere limits his executive supervision of executive work, nor suggests that his direct and immediate responsibility to the people should be lessened by statutory creation of departments, boards and offices beyond his control. If they are not within his control they are beyond that of the people.
Provisions much like ours in the constitution of Pennsylvania have been construed by her supreme court as vesting in the governor the absolute power of removal. In its decision the court says: “ The powers of the governor are never suspended. He is at all times authorized to exercise the supreme executive power.' The fact that an officer may be removed by the dilatory process of impeachment creates no argument against the summary power of removal by the governor. Crime, imbecility or gross neglect of duty, may demand that an officer shall be removed at once. The power to protect the people of the Commonwealth by prompt action is wisely given to the governor. In giving construction to the constitution, we. cannot assume that he will abuse that high trust.'
Our constitution, framed and adopted in the midst of war, when military powers were uppermost in the minds of the people, and remaining unchanged in this respect through wars and rebellions within and without the Commonwealth, gives to the governor at such times power almost autocratic. The exercise of this power by a governor accountable to the people has been ever
but especially during the civil war, by the great Andrew – efficient, responsible, and to their entire satisfaction. It is hardly conceivable that the constitution intended that the governor, thus trusted with great responsibility and power in time of danger, should in civil administration have but little power, and be in name only the " supreme executive magistrate.” I think the framers of the constitution meant that the governor should be in fact the chief magistrate, and as such should have authority commensurate with his responsibility; and this not for the purpose
* Lane v. Commonwealth, 103 Pa. St. 481.