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State Papers and Addresses of Governor Herbert L. O'Conor
Volume 409, Page 6   View pdf image (33K)
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6 State Papers and Addresses

when we earn the gratitude of the general public, I pledge myself to avoid
the injection of political considerations in the conduct of State affairs, as illus-
trated by these two noteworthy examples.

Along with the problem of cutting down expenses, and so reducing to a
minimum the amounts that must be raised by new or increased taxes, is that
of strengthening the operation of the Budget amendment in order to provide
for those procedural and administrative matters suggested by that amendment
itself. Laws should be enacted specifically to provide for the form in which
budgetary details are presented to the General Assembly, the control of
budgetary changes, limitations upon contingent or cushion funds, and other
matters essential to the efficient operation of the system and to the effective
supervision of the budget by both the Governor and the General Assembly.

The law puts upon the Governor the duty and the responsibility of sub-
mitting the budget to the appropriating body. At the very outset, the incoming
Governor is faced with this major problem at a time when other matters of
importance must also be considered. I trust that the Legislature, in considering
the changes I have outlined, and which are pledged by our Party, will also
consider the advisability of creating a budget bureau to assist the Governor in
this work. Such a bureau, staffed with trained personnel, ought to be a con-
tinuing one and not only assist in the preparation of the budget for submission
to the Legislature, but keep in touch with the various State departments and
agencies, familiarizing itself with their needs and also checking on their ex-
penditures. Such a bureau would systematize the whole budget plan and tend
to make it more efficient and orderly.

I should now like to make known my views with respect to the Judiciary.
No single fact has been impressed upon me more forcibly than the necessity of
having the judiciary function without outside interference. I am sure that we
agree that a State is fortunate whose courts are administered by high-minded
judges, incorruptible, learned, and experienced. My policy shall be always to
assist in securing the very best judges and in having them function unhampered
and uninfluenced in the discharge of their important duties.

Maryland is justly proud of its higher courts and the illustrious line of
judges who have brought distinction and honor to Maryland. It seems timely,
however, to point out that methods might be devised to avoid the possibility of
future election of judges being thrown into political contests. The administra-
tion will support well considered plans to prevent such an occurrence.

While we all refer with pride to the functioning of our higher courts,
frankness and candor require the statement that criticism and adverse com-
ment concerning the minor courts have been justifiable. It serves no useful
purpose to attempt here to prove shortcomings by referring to specific cases.
What is more in point is the need for the improvement of the system under
which the Justices of the Peace must operate.

The fee system by which Justices of the Peace are compensated has brought
about many abuses and a sort of degeneration. As a result there have been
many cases of what might be termed "justice at a price. "

To remedy fully the evils of this system requires an amendment to the
Constitution, which I shall ask the General Assembly to submit to the people.
The system as it stands was written into our Constitution decades ago. What-
ever its merits in the old days, the system has outlived its usefulness and be-
come archaic. The sooner we get rid of it the better.


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State Papers and Addresses of Governor Herbert L. O'Conor
Volume 409, Page 6   View pdf image (33K)
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