Board of Control.On March 4, 1905, Gov. Hoch approved an act "to provide for the management and control of the industrial school for girls, the Kansas school for feeble-minded youth, the Osawatomie state hospital, the Parsons state hospital, the Topeka state hospital, the state industrial school for boys, the school for the blind, the school for the deaf, the soldiers' orphans' home, and such other state charitable institutions as now exist or which may hereafter be created," etc.
The act provided for a board of control of three members, to be appointed by the governor within thirty days after its passage. Each member was to receive an annual salary of $2,500 and actual traveling expenses while in the performance of his duty, and was required to give bond for ten times that amount. The first members were appointed for two, four and six years, respectively, after which the tenure of office was to be four years. Pursuant to the act Gov. Hoch, within the specified time, appointed as the first board E. B. Schermerhorn, Sherman G. Elliott and Harry C. Bowman. The board organized by electing Mr. Schermerhorn as chairman; Mr. Elliott as treasurer, and Mr. Bowman as attorney, and on July 1, 1905, succeeded the old state board of Charities and Corrections (q. v.) in the management of the state's charitable institutions.
By thus placing all the charitable and benevolent institutions of the state under the control of one board of only three members, Kansas has centralized the responsibility of their management, and gains not only in the cost of maintenance, but also in uniform and impartial treatment of the institutions. As a further step toward securing impartiality the act creating the board provided that no citizen of a county in which any one of the institutions might be located should be eligible for membership thereon. One of the important duties of the board is to recommend in its biennial reports such legislation as in the judgment of the members is necessary for the interests of the several institutions, and as these are all under one management there is little likelihood of favoritism being shown, because the board is equally responsible for the welfare of all. Since the adoption of this plan the old "log-rolling" methods of securing appropriations has been practically abolished, and the support of the institutions has been placed upon a business basis. During the five years the board has been in existence the plan has apparently accomplished all that was claimed for it by the advocates of the act creating it, and the institutions of Kansas are as well conducted as those of any of her sister states.Page 200 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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