Suit to End Relief Secrecy Planned by Civic Congress

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Camden Courier-Post – June 6, 1933

Irregularities Are Charged

North Camden Association Told Affidavits Are Being Taken;

Cramer and Howard Accused Of Evasion; Protest Rally Called

Court action to force the Camden County Emergency Relief Administration to reveal its books for public inspection is planned by the Congress of Civic Associations of South Jersey.

This was announced last night at a meeting of the North Camden Civic Association in the headquarters of the Pyne Poynt Social Club, 939 North Fifth street. Frank J. Hartmann, Jr., secretary of both organizations, disclosed the proposed step.

Affidavits charging irregularities in the relief administration are being gathered, Hartmann asserted.

Wayland P. Cramer, director of the county relief board and Captain Albert S. Howard, deputy director, were charged with evading public inquiries.

‘Fathers Fired-Girls Hired’

“They’ve given us a grand run-a­round,” Hartmann said in relating his efforts in behalf of a destitute family.

The Congress of Civic Associations, headed by Fred von Nieda, is determined to force inspection of the relief records by applying for a court writ, Hartmann said,

Vince Marinelli, member of the North Camden association and active in the Civic Congress, declared a number of married men were discharged from positions in the relief administration and single women engaged for their posts.

Protest Rally June 11

The association agreed to join with the Unemployed Union of New Jersey in staging a public mass meeting to protest against the relief board.

The meeting is scheduled for June 11, at the Convention Hall.

Clarence E. Moullette, executive secretary of the unemployed group, addressed last night’s session, which two score persons attended.

‘Only 8 In 25,600 Rejected’

Hartmann declared that of Camden’s’ 117,000 persons, 25,600 are receiving emergency relief. The figure in the county is comparable, he said.

Quoting Dr. Arthur L. Stone, who recently resigned as city director of emergency relief, Hartmann asserted 6828 of the 11,400 city’s colored are in the relief line.

“In all these cases the great Emergency Relief Administration has found only eight this year that were not worthy of receiving aid,” Hartmann said he was informed.

“The taxpayers are paying the bills and they have every right to know how the money is being spent.

“If Director Cramer and Captain Howard can be out of their office all day without anyone knowing where they are I think there is ground for investigation,” he insisted.

Cites Backyard Fires

Hartmann reviewed the plight of 11 families on State Street who were forced to cook meals over a backyard fire last Saturday after gas and electric service had been suspended for non-payment of bills. Thirty-five children were affected.

Hartmann estimated that Public Service could produce electricity to supply the apartment house for one month at a cost of $2. The charge is $22, he said.

Hartmann described advantages of a municipal electric plant, for which more than 11,000 persons have signed petitions circulated by the association and civic congress. He compared this city’s tax rate and assessments with those of Jacksonville, Fla., and said the southern city earn­ed $2,000,000 profit from its municipal light and power plant in 1932.

A campaign to further sentiment in favor of the municipal plant idea is being advanced daily, Hartmann reported. A staff of speakers is being enrolled.

Dr. Stone’s Work Reviewed

Moullette, in appealing for support of the civic association for the mass meeting next week, said that the resignation of Dr. Stone was a political move, designed to create a position with pay for some Republican organization favorite.

“Dr. Stone spent $25,000 for emergency relief in Camden.

“As a result of the efforts of Dr. Stone in his office as municipal relief director there are children in more than 500 families who obtained milk that was not given them before he took the position,” Moullette said. “The purpose of the mass meeting is to bring forcibly to the attention of the authorities here and in the state that there is need for an investigation of the Camden County Emergency Relief Administration.”

New Fire Alarms Protested

Joseph Munger, of East Camden, asked the association to protest against proposed expenditure of more than $50,000 for a new tire alarm system in Camden.

He charged that the project is needless, and said that transfer of the present system from the old city hall to the new courthouse annex could be made for $2500.

“The present system is sufficient for this city,” Munger said. “The cost of removing it to the new building would be less than what the city might pay in interest for one year on $50,000.”

Hartmann said that a new system in the fire department would require employment of additional employees and thereby add more expense to the taxpayers.

Mrs. Stephen Pfeil, William Coughlin and Miss Elsie Stein were named by Harry Walton, president, to a committee with instructions to ask Mayor Roy R. Stewart to move against alleged vandalism. They charged that young boys are destroying vacant properties throughout the city.


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