Mayor Edwin Upton Curtis
"Born in Roxbury, March 26, 1861; died March 28, 1922; served as Mayor during 1895.
Mayor Curtis was much engaged with changes in the city departments, both as to organization and practice. He recommended that the park police be placed under the Board of Police, so that the entire police force might be under one head. This consolidation was effected by legislation during his term.
The election machinery at the time was controlled by the Mayor, the Board of Aldermen, the City Clerk, the Registrars of Voters, and the Superintendent of Public Buildings; the details of the work, however, were in charge of the City Clerk and the Registrars of Voters. This cumbersome machinery, with its divided responsibility and great expense, Mayor Curtis would supplant by a Board of Election consisting of four commissioners selected from each of the two great political parties, to be appointed by the Mayor for a term of five years. The necessary legislative authority was obtained, and the Board of Election Commissioners took office in 1895.
Aside from recommending the consolidation of the two water departments, of the Engineering and Surveying Departments, as well as the abolition of the City Architect's office, Mayor Curtis took a decided stand against three-headed commissions, believing that the duties of each could be discharged better and more economically by one man. He, accordingly, proposed that the Board of Fire Commissioners, the Board of Commissioners of Public Institutions, and the Boston Water Board be abolished. At the same time he would increase compensations, so as to command the services of the best men. In the course of time, all of these recommendations bore fruit.
Like most of his predecessors, Mayor Curtis found it difficult under the $9 tax rate to meet the requirements of the city, both in respect to obligations for work undertaken and to improvements demanded for ordinary purposes. On his recommendation, a commission of citizens was appointed to look into the finances of the city and make a report within three months. This commission was established and eventually brought in a voluminous report containing many significant criticisms and recommendations, some of which were repeated by the Finance Commission, of which the committee appointed by Mayor Curtis may be regarded as a precursor. The net increase in the debt in 1895 was $3,562,000."