Scioto County Infirmary

Salaries Paid to City Infirmary Directors Contrary to Law

“We insist that the city infirmary board be compelled to cease drawing pay for the empty work they do, and were the right course taken by the proper authorities, we believe every dollar could be recovered from the directors for the past five or six years. Month by month they have drawn more pay than they have expended for charitable purposes. The office has been a sinecure. Every dollar drawn from the public funds by these directors as salaries, has been illegally taken without authority of law. We have on more than one occasion urged upon the Council to take such steps as will end the abuse.”

“The taxes are high and the means to pay are limited. Fund after fund is overdrawn, and yet with clock-like regularity do these overseers of the poor draw their self-constituted monthly stipend of $12.50, this taking $450 per annum from the City Treasury, without even the color of law.”

“Their office has been traded off for a retail fruit stand, and the poor have been locked up in the station house like the common felon, and innocence has been born into the world with frowning iron bars and ponderous iron locks all around it, while the room under the Mayor’s office could be profitably rented, or at best used as a shelter through the long winter nights for the poor who journey from one town to another, and ask a night’s lodging where their limbs may be protected from the cold winds and biting frosts of winter.”

“One has only to think of the facts a moment to have his gorge rise at the shameful manner in which our municipal affairs have been managed.”

“The incident of last Saturday night is a striking illustration of the manner in which we are governed. A poor woman enduring the brutality of a cruel husband until the torture could no longer be borne, was compelled to go abroad begging the charity and sympathy of strangers. She was soon to become a mother. Night overtakes her in the city, and hungry, distressed in mind and racked with pain, she applies for relief to the municipal authorities. She is given a night’s lodging in the watch house with two prostitutes as her companions; the latter are incarcerated for their crimes, the former for her poverty. There is no discrimination between the two. It is a crime to disregard virtue, it is a crime to be poor. The office of the city poor house is warm. But it can afford no shelter for the wayfaring poor, because it contains the private property of the director, and the sorrowing woman in a felon’s cell gives birth to a child with none but the depraved in morals and virtue to be its sponsors.”

“But we have digressed. We claim that the City Council should at once notify the collector to pay no bill drawn by the Clerk of the Board for salary, and that due notice be given that no such sums shall be paid. The law is plain upon this subject as will be found by the following. Section 302 of the municipal code says:”

“The Council shall provide by ordinance, for the appointment by the Mayor, subject to the approval of the Council, of such number of persons as may be deemed necessary, not to exceed one in each ward to act as overseers of the poor, and shall prescribe the duties of such persons in relation to the care of the poor, and their removal when necessary, to the infirmary but such persons shall not receive any compensation for their services.”

“This is the law. Salary is not allowed, and only this week Judge Cox of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas held that there was no law authorizing the payment of any such salary. Any city ordinance granting the salary is contrary to the code, and ever dollar drawn is unjust and a usurpation upon the rights of the taxpayers which should be tolerated no longer.”

“It is the duty of the Council to either use the office of the overseers of the poor for a lodging place, or to advantageously rent it, and above all it is its duty to stop the useless salary at once.”1

  1. Salaries Paid To City Infirmary Directors Contrary To Law. (1875, November 20). Portsmouth Times, p. 1.