Camden Courier-Post – June 14, 1933
STATE DIRECTOR SAYS SECRECY AIDS ‘LITTLE FELLOWS’
Denial Made That Politics Has Part in Naming of Emergency List
Wayland P. Cramer, Camden county relief director yesterday was victorious in his policy of secrecy in affairs of his relief administration when he won authority from John Colt, state relief director, to suppress from newspapers a complete salary list of relief employees.
Last Wednesday, at the request of the Courier-Post newspapers, Cramer instructed his secretary, Lincoln Wood, Jr., to write Colt and ask for his opinion in the matter. That was after Cramer had demurred when asked for the salary lists, which were demanded by several Camden organizations including the Unemployed Union.
Word of Colt’s refusal was brought to Camden yesterday by Col. Joseph D. Sears, deputy state director, who explained that his chief had adopted the policy of withholding the names because it might cause embarrassment and a hardship to “little fellows” on the relief payroll to have their salaries published.
To Ask Cramer Removal
Colt’s refusal to submit the complete salary lists for public inspection followed the announcement of a mass meeting tonight in Convention Hall, when demands will be made for the immediate removal of Cramer and all other officials of the county relief administration. The meeting will be conducted jointly by the Unemployed Union of New Jersey and the New Jersey Congress of Civic Associations.
Colonel Sears visited Camden for a conference with Cramer, Dr. Stone, Miss Sara Curtis and other city and county relief officials.
It was explained to Colonel Sears that rumors were current in this city that former city employees had been given jobs with the relief administration in preference to applicants with equal qualifications.
“Of course,” said Colonel Sears, “I am not familiar with the Camden situation, but I can say that I don’t know the politics of two percent of persons at the state relief headquarters. Mr. Colt feels it would result in an undue hardship to little fellows in the employ of the administration to have their salaries published.
“However, if there is any evidence of unfairness or discrimination in employment it will be possible to obtain the salaries of three or four persons at a time.”
Little Knowledge of Politics
Dr. Stone, at the conclusion of Col. Sears’ discourse, stated that he knew the political faith of less than one percent the municipal relief offices employees. Wood, speaking for Cramer, echoed the statement of Col. Sears when he said that the politics of less than two percent of the Camden county administration was known.
Col. Sears explained that it was the policy of the state administration to employ men and women first, for their capabilities in relief work, and, second, from the standpoint of their need for financial assistance.
“If we can’t make up our personnel from the first class,” he said,we turn to the second.” Colt has been invited to address the meeting, and Cramer along with other county relief officials, has been invited to attend. They will be asked to answer charges of the unemployed union that the administration of relief In Camden county isinadequate and prejudiced for political expediency.”
Other speakers at the meeting will be Frank J. Manning, president of the Unemployed Union of New Jersey; Paul Porter, lecturer for the League for Industrial Democracy, and John Edelman, vice chairman of the Industrial Standards Committee of New Jersey. The meeting opens at 8 p. m.
A demand will also be made by the unemployed union of Colt at the meeting for representation from its membership within the county relief administration. Clarence E. Moullette is executive secretary of the union, and William R. Kennedy is vice president.
“If the county relief officials attend the meeting,” said Manning, “they will be asked to answer some questions pertinent to the administration of relief which is inadequate and prejudiced for political expediency. Repeatedly, this organization has tried but failed to obtain fair hearings on its complaints of the inefficient relief methods.”
Moullette announced today he had prepared a list of questions for relief officials to answer.
“We intend to ask Mr. Cramer to explain why he and Captain Howard receive from eight to ten cents a mile for operating their automobiles in relief service, while the usual rate for state officials is but five cents a mile,” Moullette said.
Manning announced that formal protest will be made at the mass meeting against the recent conduct of Cramer in suppressing information concerning his request for the resignation of Dr. A. L. Stone as Camden municipal relief director.
“The public,” said Manning, is still awaiting an explanation from Mr. Cramer on his request for Dr. Stone ‘s resignation. It is the right of the tax-paying public to know the reasons behind that request, and whether they had any serious bearing on the administration of relief to the poor and needy.”