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April 21, 1953 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1953-04-21

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Mayor, Council Govern City

Rep. Meader

Ann Arbor's city government is
typical of the "weak mayor, strong
council" type of government, ac-
cording to political scientists, but
Mayor William E. Brown Jr. dis-
agrees with the experts' opinion.
Describing Ann Arbor's system,
Mayor Brown emphasized that the
mayor and council are fairly well
balanced in power with a slight
advantage in the mayor's favor.
THE VETO POWER is the may-
or's trump card, a sit can only be
overridden by 12 of the 15 council
members. In Mayor Brown's eight
years in office he has only had
Local Courts
Hear Varied
Law Cases
The problem of administering
justice to residents of the com-
munity rests with the Circuit, Pro-
bate and Municipal Courts located
in Ann Arbor.
At the apex of the court struc-
ture is the Circuit Court presided
oved by Judge James R. Breakey,
Jr., which has original jurisdic-
tion in felonies and civil cases in-
volving more than $100.
In addition it is also the court
of appeals from justices of the
peace and municipal courts.
* * *
JUDGE BREAKEY is serving a
six-year term which began in
1948. During the course of a year
he handles more than 1,000 cases
and presides over grand jury in-
The Circuit Court exercises
supervisory control over all in-
ferior courts in the circuit, and
takes, responsibility for grand
juries at the request of the Pros-
ecuting Attorney.
Fines collected by the court are
used for the bar library in the
judge's chambers and school li-
braries in the country.
A SECOND field of judicial op-
eration is handled by the Probate
Court headed locally by Judge Jay
H. Payne. Settlement of estates of
county residents and protection of
the rights and interests of certain
classes of people unable to defend
these rights are among the duties
of the court.
Judge Payne has the respon-
sibility of providing for the
adoption of children, appoint-
ing guardians to protect the in-
terests of handicapped persons
and minors, probating wills,
hearing. petitions for the com-
mitment of persons judged in-
sane, changing names, perform-
ing secret marriages and estab-
lishing. birth .certificates .for
non-registered persons.
Coming under the supervision
of Judge Payne is the County
Agent Arch D. Wilson, who is ap-
pointed by the governor.
Also responsible to the Probate
Judge is the Adult Probation
Officer and the friend of the
Presided over by Judge Francis
L. O'Brien, the Municipal Court
handles a variety of cases, rang-
ing from the payment of traffic
fines to attempts by jewelry stores
to collect from delinquent custom-

one minor veto overriden by the
legislative branch.
The council is composed of 14
councilors, two elected from
each of the seven wards on a
partisan basis, and a president,
who is elected at large. Policy
decisions are usually made by
the council, with recommenda-
tions coming from the mayor's
The chief executive appoints
the city attorney, clerk, treasurer
and recorder. He also has the
power to appoint the various city
* * *
ONE OF THE unique features
of Ann Arbor's government is the
system under which the commis-
sions operate. There are actually
54 commissioners, all of whom are
appointed by the mayor and are
directly responsible to him.
However, the main commis-
sions are the fire, planning, po-
lice and parks. The members on
these boards range in number
from three to seven. A system
whereby the terms expire at dif-
ferent times is used to insure
that experienced men serve on
the commissions.
These boards appoint the chiefs

of the various departments and
are responsible for them. Acting
as a liaison between the commis-
sions and the council are several
committees such as the planning
or budget committees.
* *. *
MAYOR BROWN admitted that
this system might seem compli-
cated, but he said that it actually
works like any large corporation.
"It may be slow, but in deal-
ing with other people's money,
one should be slow," he said.
The mayor pointed out that
with this government, which has
sometimes been called antiquated,
Ann Arbor has accomplished a
great deal.
He called attention to the city's
parking system which is a model
throughout the state and said
that Ann Arbor's latest bonds were
issued with the lowest interest
rate of any city in the state.
Remarking that Ann Arbor's
setup might not work in other
places, Mayor Brown said that the
University has contributed an un-
usually high calibre of citizens.
All the officials, many of them ex-
perts in their fields, work without
pay. The mayor who receives $635
a year is the only salaried officer.

CONGRESSMAN from this dis-
trict since 1950, Rep. George
Meader has a long record of civic
and governmental service.
A graduate of the Class of 1927,
he received a juris doctor degree
from the Law School in 1931.
Returned overwhelmingly by
local voters last fall, Rep. Meader
has stood behind foreign aid. and
a private enterprise Point Four
plan. He has opposed compulsory
federal FEPC and state ownership
of tidelands oil.

Business Touch Put to City Problems

Run County
Operating through more than
35 committees, the County Board
of Supervisors during its 10 meet-
ings a year enacts legislation gov-
erning the 134,606 residents of
Washtenaw County.
One of the board's main func-
tions is raising money for county
use. It has the power of levying
taxes, fees, assessments and li-
censes and may borrow money
for county use.
UNDER the state constitution,
the group may also make laws
for thecounty which do not inter-
fere with township, city and vil-
lage statutes.
Annexation petitions are ex-
amined by the comnittee on
standing legislation, which pre-
sents recommendations to the
board for legislative action.
The board authorizes budgets
for more than' 15 offices, includ-
ing offices of the County Clerk,
Treasurer, Sheriff, Prosecuting At-
torney, Probate and Circuit Court
judges, Board of Auditors and the
Planning Commission.
Partial budgets are approved by
the board for the county health
department, a State eDpartment
of Social Welfare consultant and
the office staffs of the County
Agent and Superintendent of
Schools. The latter two offi~ials
are paid by the state.
SOME PROJECTS, such as the
Huron Clinton Parkway, Council
of Veteran Affairs and county
parks receive appropriations from
the state. Money from the coun-
ty's General Fund may be trans-
ferred by the boards to offices and
departments that overspend their
original budgets.
Many appointments to county
positions are made by the board.
It chooses heads of departments
and chairmen and members of
various boards, commissions and
Among the board's varied du-
ties are inspecting roads and
drains, taking action on numerous
communications, publishing rec-
ords of its proceedings and keep-
ing all county buildings in proper
There are 36 members serving
on the board, none of whom can
be re-elected. Ann Arbor elects
seven supervisors to the board,
one from each of the city's sev-
en wards.
Each of the county's 20 town-
ships also elects a supervisor, while
East Ann Arbor sends two mem-
bers to the board. Ypsilanti's City
Council appoints five members,
and the mayor of Saline sends
two representatives for the city.



LURKING in the midst of Ann
Arbor's American educational
and industrial atmosphere is a
bit of the spirit of Paris.
The "left bank" of the city
centers around E. William and
Maynard Sts. and radiates north-
ward to Liberty St., east to .State
St. and westward to the skyline.
* * *
THE BEST way to get this Pari-
sienne perspective of Ann Arbor
is from the northwest end of the
fourth floor of Betsy Barbour
Here, -the "artist's studio"
(with food on the window sills)

looks down on Betsy Barbour
eaves troughs and across red,
green, grey, tile, slate and tar-
papered roofs.
Also typical of a bird's eye view
of Paris is the collection of
schools, church steeples, neon
signs, theater marquees and small
shops and restaurants that you
can see from these fourth floor
The left bank of Paris is famous
for its students, intellectual in-
habitants and artistic souls, or
people who thin kthey are.
Ann Arbor's left bank has the
same sort of people - music

school students and 'Ensian,
Gargoyle, Generation and Daily
At any hour of the day or night
you can see one of these students
crossing E. William St. He may
be starting off to do something
world-shaking, but like the aver-
age Paris student, he is probably
just going after a cu pof coffee.
Despite this Paris influence, you
can never quite escape American
Ann Arbor.
Most of the rooftops that make
up the Parisienne scene have tele-
vision aerials on them.


Partstenne Ann Arbor


* * .*

Mayor of the city of Ann Arbor
since 1945, William E. Brown, Jr.,
is thoroughly a businessman.
It was as a businessman that
Brown entered and won every
mayoralty race since 1945 con-
vinced that business instincts
could best solve the problems that
had arisen in the city during the
war years.
* * *
first proposals of the new ad-
ministrator, then a political ama-
teur, was for a two-million dollar
civic center envisaged as occupy-
ing the area bounded by Main St.,
Ann St.,tHuron St. and North
Division St.
First tangible results of the
civic center idea came this fall
when the voters okayed a bond
issue to build the new county
building situated at the west
end of the proposed center.
An administrator with a tele-
phone in each hand, Brown draws
a salary of $600 a year from the
city, and has spent more time
than any other mayor in the city's,
history hopping around. the coun-
try studying municipal problems
in other communities.
BORN IN Lapeer, Michigan, the
57-year-old mayor followed a fam-
ily tradition of several generations
standing when he enrolled in the
University in 1914.
By 1917 Brown, together with
most of his male classmates of
that year, enlisted in the army
but by the time he had finished
training the war had ended.
In March 1918 he returned to
the University and was graduated
in the class of 1919. One more
year of law school completed the
future mayor's University educa-
The twenties and thirties saw
Brown engaged in a series of
business ventures chiefly con-

local selective service board as
well as being mayor of Ann Arbor..
A REPUBLICAN in a county
traditionally more Republican
than Maine, Brown points out
that most issues facing the com-
munity are not solved along po-
litical lines and therefore do not
lead to a stronger party system.
Deploring the idea of a "town
and gown" community, Brown
favors a closer city-University
relationship and early in his
administration appointed the
University Relations Committee
to bring this about.
Recognized as an expert on city
parking problems, Brown has
traveled to most of the larger
cities in the country studying their
parking problems and explaining
the Ann Arbor system.
The mayor has been particular-
ly insistant in urging the City
Council to acquire the eight park-
ing lots now owned by the city,
and to build the present down-
town parking structure and the
new Maynard St. parking garage.
While the mayor is just now
commencing his fifth term in of-
fice, having been elected in the
spring city elections by the high-
est majority of his career, local
political observers hinted he might
be a candidate for the governor-
ship in 1954.

'U' Ranks as Huge Telephone Customer


a -


With a telephone system large'
enough to serve a town the size
of Milan, the University is one
of Michigan Bell Telephone Com-
pany's best customers. /


tions began on New Year's Day

Sending out an average of more
than 14,000 calls per day over
1,400 lines through a network of
cables 10 miles long, the Univer-
sity has a rapidly expanding
* * * -
STARTING BACK in 1907, the
school ran along on a manual
private branch exchange board
until a switch was made to dial
operation in the 'twenties.
In 1945 is graduated into a
two-position switchboard sys-
tem, and by 1947 had acquired
another board. Sixty-four of the
lines connect University callers
directly to the Ann Arbor ex-
The city itself has experienced
a igigantic growth in telephone
communication since first opera-

At that time Ann Arbor became
the thirteenth Michigan city to
have local exchange service, and
the third floor of an old S. Main
St. building was leased to house
the central office.
* * *
TODAY with $4,500,000 invest-
ed in facilities ($189 per tele-
phone) the modern exchange
serves 27,000 phones in Ann Ar-
bor and another 12,000 in out-
laying areas which may be ,call-
ed without toll change.
But the early days were not
without their struggles, for the
infant invention was regarded
with great skepticism, and was
later threatened by other firms
entering the field.
A rival exchange, set up in
1897 by franchise of the city coun-
cil, was bought up within five years
by the original organization.
Five years later another local
company gained a franchise, but

by 1913 it too was a part of the
Michigan State Co., which was
later to become Michigan Bell.
Consolidation brought an end
to 16 years experience under
dual telephone service and elim-
inated the costs necessitated by
setting up two rival communi-
cations systems.
Dial service was first initiated by
the company in 1925 when it
erected its own building on Wash-
ington St. An adjoining structure
was later erected on Huron St.
Employment figures over the
years have undergone a great
change. Near the turn of the
century, only four employes man-
ned the whole project, but in 1952,
Michigan Bell was meeting a pay-
roll of $1,700,000 for 500 local em-
The telephone company is
another case- of a firm growing
up as Ann Arbor advanced, with
the University contributing an im-
portant part to this development.

* * *
cerned with the sale of securi-
ties and the holding of numer-
ous banking and business prop-
At present Brown is the head
of two automobile agencies, three
investment firms, one insurance
company, and is chairman of thel

-_ ----

Comnplimeunts of


Distributors of Plywood and Doors
227 Felch Street


DURING 1952, we welcomed 1,075 ne
which now includes more than 71(
Together, these people have more t
now at work, mostly financing he
ernment securities. Earnings-whic
six months, on June 30th and Dec
ments totaled $299,968.


irE__________________________________________________ - ___________________ II

w people to
00 individu
han 15 mil
omes in the
h are bett
ember 31st

0 our growing family of savers,
als, families, and business firms.
lion dollars here. That money is
community, or invested in gov-
er than average-are paid every
Last year, our earnings pay-




Com pliten -O/
839 Greene Street



DURING 1952, also, the total assets of the Association were increased by snore
than one and a quarter nillion dollars . . . proof of the widespread satisfac-
tion with our services in thrift and in home financing.
BECAUSE THIS IS A MUTUAL INSTITUTION, all assets and all earnings belong to the
people who save here. Each saver's funds are automatically insured to $10,000
by Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation. Our substantial reserves,
which were increased by more than $214,000 last year, provide added assurance
of the safety of savings here.
Assets Over 18,000,000
Reserves Over $1,500,000
See Our New Building Under Construction at Liberty and Division St.








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