The following is an excerpt from an article published exactly 100 years ago today, in the Hartford Courant on January 29th, 1912.
The open, unabashed discussion of city positions as political plums ("all republican heads to drop") is astonishing. Some readers might respond with relief that in 2012 a city engineer is not hired or fired because of political leanings. Others might long for the day when the patronage was in the open, for all to see.
MIDDLETOWN REPUBLICANS MUST GET OUT
The question uppermost in local political circles just now is what action the new city council is going to take in regard to the republican office holders. The city council is now evenly divided, Mayor Fisk, a democrat, having the deciding vote. There is a well-defined rumor to the effect that all republican heads are to drop, except that of Street Commissioner John Cantwell. John W. Glynn, one of the newly elected democratic councilmen, is said to be firmly committed to the support of Mr. Cantwell for the place. Dr. James A. Lawton and Ernest Umba were similarly inclined, but have since yielded to the persuasions of the their democratic colleagues.
The new council will elect a democratic corporation counsel it is said, and the members are wavering between Lawyer Elmer G. Derby, who may be said to represent the Fisher wing of the party, and Lawyer J.J. Dempsey, who has never allied himself with the Fisher influences. No appointee has been mentioned for sealer of weights and measures. The new city engineers is to be Joseph M. Lacey, a popular young democrat, who is now a representative in the state Legislature. James E. Boylan will be appointed building inspector, and Dr. Parkinson will be re-elected as milk inspector. The post of city stenographer is undisturbed by politics.