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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, November 30, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 3

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-11-30/ed-1/seq-3/

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Galleries of the city cduncil cham-
ber will be crowded tonight, it is pre
dicted by Penny Phone league mem
bers. Watchers will be on hand to
keep tab on aldermen who are ready
to help get a penny-a-call phone serv
ice for Chicago anl block the Chi
cago Telephone company's attempted
grab of the Automatic system.
A minority report from the gas,
oil and electric light committee will
be brought in by Aid. Charles Mer
riam, asking the council to get back
of a fair count of the subscribers of
the automatic system. Under an
order from the city council, the city
department of public service, headed
by Montague Perry, is making a
count of automatic subscribers. The
franchise of the automatic company
says that the company must have 20,
000 "bona-fide" subscribers or its
property is "forfeited" to the city.
Members of the Penny Phone league
and 15 other civic, political and
labor organizations came before the
gas, oil and electric light committee
and asked for an auditing committee
to "assist" the department of public
service. Such a committee, headed
by a reputable accountant, would let
the public know everything going on
in the pigeonholes and filing cases of
the department of public service.
"We are suspicious about this
count," said Morton L. Johnson, pres
ident of the Penny Phone league. "In
the past two counts have been made
of automatic subscribers. Qne was in
1911 by the city electrician. He ac
companied his report with a state
ment that it was incomplete because
he lacked funds to properly finish it.
The next count was by the Everett
Auditing Co. Its figures have been
attacked from several vital stand
points. It is inaccurate and every
body knew it was a good deal of a
botch job as a check-up on bona-fide
subscribers.
"What we want now is a report that
will stand up, unquestioned. To get
that kind of a report, men and women
frona 15 organizations have petition- j
ed city offcials to appoint a commit
tee of five persons. Four of these will
serve without pay. The fifth one, a
reputable professional accountant,
should be paid by the city.
"Against this demand the argu
ment is made that we are throwing
a shadow of suspicion and distrust
over the work of the department of
public service. The truth is that we
are doing exactly the thing that will
help the department's reputation and
its future work. It was distinctly
stated by Harriet Vittum of the Wom
an's City club, and John Fitzpatrick,
president of the Chicago Federation
of Labor, that this auditing commit
tee will open the doors and gain pub
licity for all findings of Commissioner
Ferry and his assistants, which find
ings' it might be valuable to business
interests to suppress."
Among the organizations repre
sented in the movement for this aud
iting committee are the county com
mittees Of the Republican, Prohibi-
j tion, Progressive, Socialist and Wom-
cago Political Equality league, Wom
en's Trade Union league, Chicago
Teachers' Federation, Civil Service
league, the Greater Chicago Federa
tion and numerous neighborhood im
provement associations. Here are
some of the questions they want an
swered in the count of automatic
phones:
How many subscribers had phones
in service and working order between
Sept 1, 1911, and Sept 1, 1912?
How many between Sept. 1, 1913, and
Sept. 1, 1914?
How many subscribers who have
phones in service and working order
(1) have signed contracts and are
now paying the rate as specified in
the ordinance, (2) have signed con
tracts and pay a lower rate than
specified in ordinance?
How many subscribers have NOT
signed contracts and (1) pay the or
dinance rate or (2) pay lower than
ordinance rate?
How many non-,gaaranteed public
."

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