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Discussion on the Report.

-----+_':---'--. MERTHYR OVERSEERS…

, ! MERTHYR TOWN COUNCIL.

, The Whitsuntide Holidays.

--MERTHYR POLICE COURT.

A Heartburning Malady.

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Waterworks scheme:. The facts did not appear to be in dispute. The Surveyor, however, ba:1 obtained the consent of the Council to attend M M-5? pteg, ,tind tiier^Br^, reasohapfifty bo ujrae.-stom) that ba'Vas entiUed' to receive the emoluments. The'objectors, however, pro tested that the Council ha a hever authorised him to retain the fees, and they denied that he had, under the^circumstunces. the right to do •ao even by uuerenoa. The Mayor and Coun- cillors who were present at the audit agreed that express terms .should be made in all future cases to prevent any further "complaints of this kind, and that no whole-time -officer should be engaged on outside work by outside employers without the express knowledge and sanction of the Council. It should also be made clear whether he Ú; to rcceivo the .-iliote of part of the feesreanmfcl upon suc]i;:work. It was fur- ther alleged float the Borcyngh Surveyor took articled pupils into his office, at substantial premiums, which, it was iit-:red, belonged to and should-have-.been.p?id eyer to the Council. If the terms of the appoinfchent were explicit, A-5 they ought to be. no such^questiona'couid arise. UnAer- a-tIthe circumstances, this matter was left for the Council to deal with. t OFFICERS. li, wa.s,alleged ^tftat cnei of the school attend- ance officers ;was :'aotively engaged in the collec of. tecants, ejecting tenants, collecting insurance moneys, and so forth; also that other ofiicers were concerned in insuranc; -and other busuiess matters in the area possibly or probably covered by their official or Council duties. Objections were also raised to whole- time officer- of the Council being employed as presiding ofiicers, poll clerks, and counting officers at elections. The-Returning Officer has the conduct of the elections, and if he utilises the services of any officers of the Council, the sanction of the Council should first bo obtained, GENERALLY ON OBJECTIONS. No 'maia fide<" was alleged on the part of any officer, but the objections were directed to the apparent general practice. That such prac ticos should be possible in a place of the im- portance of Merthyr is to be regretted. Officers of the Council should not bt, permitted to be placed in a position where their duties may conflict with their personal interest, and it may bo said generally that officers of a large auth- ority, at any rate, the principal officers, have more work to perform in their proper official duties than they can often properly carry out. Apart from this, it is objectionable that whole- time officers of a pubhc authority, should com- pete with private individuals for business, and where this is or may, be done, an abuse of the privilege invariably creeps in. It. may gen- erally ba understood: that all the, pa.;d officers appointed by the Council are whole-time offic- ers, unless the t.rms of the appointment ex- pressly rebut the inference. It is manifest that the Town Clerk and the Borough Surveyor would be more than fully occupied in carrying out their duties at Merthyr. and the same re- mark would apply to the majority of the officers and employees of the Corporation. Circum- stances, however, may well arise when the Council may, with perfect propriety, permit their whole-t;me officer to act professionally for another public authority, as, in the case hero of the Surveyor advising ihe Nlaect,g Urban District Council, but the conditions should be clear. The presumption is that the Coun<rl employ and pay their office and other em- ployees an adequate salary, but where an em, ployes is ab'e to supplement his income with- IT out in any way interfering with h;i duty to the Council. there would be no valid ground for su freest:n ? that anything he earned should be paid to the Council. It is quite clear that there must be no secret, commission or private occupation that would in any way act upon the officer or employee to the detriment or preju- dice of the authority, and it is important in the public interest as well as to the interest of the officer, that no allegations should be possible which would in any way reflect, upon the 'bona tides' of any trnhiw.tion. The provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 1906. an Act of far-reaching effect, sbould.-also be borne in mind. The matter has been dealt with at, perhaps, undue length, but the importance of the matter may. perhaps, justify it if it pre, vents any further similar questions from being raised. it is highly desirable that the sugges- tions made at the audit should be acted upon, and regulations framed in order to render any further objections of this nature impossible. INCORPORATION. Ccwt3 of solicitor of r— Petition of the Char- ter of Incorporation, £487.1&. lOd.; preparation of a scheme for the approval of the Privy Council, 2701 7s. Considerable controversy took place at the audit as to the costs of the solicitor acting for the promoters. It was con. tended that when the Privy Council intimated that a Charter was to be granted, that the solicitor for the promoters had completed his work, and that the details of the scheme under Section 213 of the Municipal Corporations Act, should have been worked out by the Council and their officers. and that the Town Clerk, as solicitor to the Corporation, should have con- ducted the legal portion of the work. Strong objections to the costs, wem raised on the ground that the solicitor acting practically for the promoters and for the Council, was also a member of the Corporation, it being stated that much of the costs were occasioned by the solicitor having interviews, etc., with the Town Clerk and other officers of the Council when the whole of the work should properly have i been carried out by the Town Clerk. On the other side, it was urged that the solicitor was acting throughout for the promoters (although the costs were made out direct to the Corpor- ation), and that he was the proper person to continue and ca.rry through the preparation of the scheme. It was also stated that the Privy Council had instructed the solicitor to prepare the scheme. The Privy Council would natur- ally oommwicate with the solicitor with whom they had been in communication on the Char- ter. The crux of the question appeared to be whether Mr. Simons ought not, as a member of the Corporation, to have ceased to act when it was intimated that the Charter was to be granted. A demand was made that the pay- ment of J6351 .73. made to Mr. F. S. Simons, being the balance of the taxed bill of costs J6701 7s.) of the scheme, should be surcharged upon the Councillors who authorised the pay- ment, but the legal objections put forward were. in my view, inadequate. It was desirable that the skill and knowledge displayed in obtaining the Charter should be continued on the scheme, and until the Charter, was sealed, the grant being opposed to the very end, it appeared to be reasonable that the promoters, by their solicitor, should have the conduct of the pro- ceedings. The total costs of the solicitor actine for the promoters for the Charter and schemr amounted to £ 1.256, and out of this over £ 600 was absorbed by disbursements. The total cost, of securing the Charter were, approximated. 23.000. DUPLICATED PAYMENTS* Much controversy also iarose as to the pay- ment to certain witnesses-in connection with the scheme, and a demand was made that sur- charges should be made in respect of expenses of witnesses to London:—(a:) Duplicated pay- ments to certain witnesses; and (b) Payments to whole time officers for other than disburse- ments. To put the case shortly, the ori gin of the trouble is due to the fact that the Parlia mentary Agents' Bills and the solicitors acting for the promoters (two bills of costs) were not submitted to the Council until after taxation, and certain duplication of chants were un- doubtedly made in the case of witnesses' fees and expenses. The witnesses (with two excep- tions) who were summoned to London by the solicitor acting for the promoters, to appear be- fore the Committee of the House of Lords, elect- ed to make their claims a^irist the then Urban District Council, treating the matter, apparent- ly. as Council business, and' charging the ordin- ary rates paid when in London on public busi- ness. The Council paid these claims upon re- ceipts, which were given in discharge of the accounts rendered. The then Council had no right in law to make any of the payments, but, having done so, presumably to assist the pro- moters and to enable the, witnesses to draw tneir expenses without waiting an undue time it would have been reasonable to suppose that the witnesses had received all they expected or were entitled to. The solicitor acting for the promoters, apparently oblivious of the fact that the witnesses had already been paid by the Council, included in his bill of costs, which in ordinary circumstances is the usual and pro- per course to adopt, a claim for each of the wit- nesses, based on the legal scale. The result has brought about considerable confusion and dissatisfaction, and charges have been made which would not have been possible bad usual business knes been adopted. With a view of j finally clearing up what has been an unpleasant incident, and setting forth distinctly what really occurred, the statement, hereunder may be of service. The costs of three of the witness in- eluded in the solicitor's bill, amounting to E15 129. 3d., were withdrawn under the following circumstances" Fee-5, etc., al lowed on tax-j Paid bv ation in So-j Council licitor's Bill. Mr. A. Daniel 0 0 0 4 10 9 Mr. E, Morren (11th May, 1905) 6 17 5 5 10 9 Mr. A. Wilson (ditto) 5 17 5 5 10 9 B1512 3 Mr. Daniel does not appear to ha.ve attended, I and Messrs. Morrelt and Wilson appear to have received 6a. 8d. in excess of the amounts allow- ed by the Taxipg Master. To put themselves j quite in order, an intimation should be con- veyed to them, requesting them to return Ve«t, &c„ Paid by Refunded «*»-» •) v ''■ailow'd on Solicitor Refunded to the w1 11 Name. Paid bj^. Ration of in addit'n to by witness O'ncil bv ij Council." Solicitor's former pay- to Solicitor, the Soil- j Ttiil. meut. c.itor. | Mr. J. M. Berrv (17th i\IaV. 1805) £ 5 17 5 9 13 9 4 1 4 0 0 0 5 17 5 •» S" 'Air. T. A. Roes, Town Cleik (April, 1905} 16 11 0 ,14;: 2 9 .14 2 9 .14 2 9 .14 2 9 g g. jj Mr. T.' F. Harvey, Borough Surveyor (26th A •! & 3 0 18 9 9 13 9. 9 18 9 9 18 9 Mr. J. E. "Biddle, Deputy Town Clerk 2 3 (19th April, 1905) 4 7 6' £ £ Qv .0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Mr. W. R. Harris. Accountant (17th M»v, V 6 H .•>. 1905) 6 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 S? ;l Mr. T. G. F-vans, Collector (21 June, 1905) 3 12 6 0- 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 :| Mr. B. 1Y Kvana, einiilcyeo o: the Council 8 (April, 1S05) 3 0 0.7110 9 4 0 9 0 0 0 3 0 0 Mr. D. W. Jones (Feb., 1906) 5 17 5 :!«, 2 9 .14 2 9 5 17 5 5 17 5 j. Dr. D. J. Thomas (I7tli .May, 1906) 5 it 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 g j Mr. V/. it. Thomas (Am-il, 19C3) 4 13 0 T. 10 9 2 17 9 0 0 0 4 13 0 3-. !| ■Mr. W.Jones (April, 1905)'' 4 10 8 5 10 9 1 0 1 0 0 0 4 10 8 g j1 Mr. Thos. Andrews (April, 1905) 4 10 8. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 g- Mr. John Dt.vies (April, 1905) 3 0 0- 6 10 9 2 10 9 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 j. Mr: F. T. James' 0 0 0 .14'.2 8 .14 2 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 g | f:29 18 11 251 0 0 GOOD r, op. OBJECTING. In the case of T, A, RMS. to place him- self quite in order, he should refund to the treasurer the difference between the sum allow- ed on taxation and the amount he drew from the Council, viz., £ 2 3s. 3d. The net result ap- pears to be, that en the part of the solicitor, there was a dupjjcat.ion of charges, and also a duplication of payment to the solicitor, for the Council witnesses had already received the money from the Council, and on the part of three witnesses there had been a duplication of payment to the extent of 5-129 18s. lid., being the sum they had previously received from the Council. The bill of costs having been made up for taxation, it was only when it was necessary to obtain vouchers for the Taxing Master that the solicitor ascertained that the witnesses had already been paid certain sums by the Council, whereupon he only advanced to them the diff- erence between the amounts they had already received and the amount charged in the Bill. So far as these witnesses were concerned there was no duplication of payment to them. In the case of the three witnesses where there was du- plication of payment, it is to be regretted that the errors were not discovered as in the other cases. They were, however, constantly bach and fore to London at this period, and the ex- planation offered, viz., that they had overlooked the former payment (which was made so far back as April and June, 1905), mnv be accepted. As soon as their attention was called to the matter they at once refunded the money to the solicitor. In the case of those witnesses who had received payment, from the Council for their services in London, and had given legal discharges for the same, the objector had good grounds for alleging that the payees were stop- ped from claiming or receiving any further sum from the solicitor in respect of the same proceedings, and any sum allowed by The Tax- ing Master in excess of the sums previously paid by the Council, should have been allowed to IaPS8' AUDITOR'S SUGGESTION This should, under all the circumstances, it is submitted, have been the proper course to adopt, and assuming that the witnesses gave receipts to the Council in full discharge, it would remove all grounds of complaint if the further sums hereunder set forth were refund- ed to the Treasurer by the undermentioned witnesses | f Additional Amount amount Amount to be paid by the paid by refunded to Council. Solicitor. Treasurer. Mr. J. M. Berry 5 17 5 414 414 Mr. B. P. Evans 300 4 10 9 4 10 9 Mr. D. W. Jones 5 17 5 854 854 Mr. W R Thomas 4 13 0 2 17 9 2 17 9 Mr. W. Jones 4 10 8 101 101 Mr. J. Davies 300 2 10 9 2 10 9 JB23 6 0 Payments to witnesses who are whole-time officers should be confined to disbursements such as travelling expenses and subsistence al- lowances, and should cover reasonable and ne- cesgary expenses. In cases where the Council are successful as plaintiffs or defendants they would, of course, bj entitled to charge in the p&rty and party costs for the time of their offi- cers, which would gc to the funds of the Coun- cil, in the absence of their instructions to the contrary. Although a strong case for a sur- charge had been made out by the objector, it was considered sufficient, under all the circum- stances of the case, to make the suggestions above set forth. GENERAL The defects referred to in my former report were, to a great extent again observed in con- sequence of the last audit being held towards the latter end of the year at present under re- view. It is, however, very satisfactory to note that the whole of the matters referred to there- in have been fully considered by the Council, and that steps have already been taken to bring the accounts up to the necessary standard, so as to meet the requirements and the greatly increased responsibilities which devolve upon i.he Town Council, as and from the 1st April, 1908, when the Borough further developed into a County Borough. J ILLEGAL GE^PENDITURJE. Objection was taken by me, on legal grounds, to the expenditure set out berounder:-15th July, 1907.—C. H. Flooks, silver key and en- graving, presented to one of the local Mem- bers of Parliament, on the occasion of the opening of the Mardy Infectious Diseases Hos- pital, L3; 17th July, 1907. -Secretary, Inter- national Housing Congress, two delegates' 1 tickets to housing congress, £ 2 2s.; 18th No- vember, 1907.—Dr. A. Duncan, Medical Officer of Health, attending International Housing j Congress at London, August 3rd to 7th:—Ex- penses, J35 58.; rail, etc., 23 3s.; total, J63 8s.; 16th December, 1907.-The Mayor, the like:- August 5th to 7th: Expenses, £ 3 3s.; ticket for housing tour, JB3; rail, E3 4s. 6d.; total, J69 7s. 6d. same date.—Dr. A. Duncan, Medi- cal Officer of Health, attending International Congress of Hygiene:—Five days' expenses, B5 5a delegates' fee, JB1 ls. i total, £6 6s.; grand total, J629 3s. 6d. To obviate the neces- sity of a disallowance application was made on this occasion to the Local Government Board for their sanction to the expenditure in question, Imder the Local Authorities (Expenses) Act, 1887. The Local Government Board sanc- tioned the expenditure upon this occasion. To prevent, therefore, any disallowance at future audits, a strict compliance of the terms of the Acts must be observed, and in all cases where deputation expenses are incurred the number forming such deputations should be strictly limited, and full particulars should be given in support of all payments mads. ALLOCATION OF CHARGES. Strong objection must be taken to the me- thods adopted by the Council in unduly loading up the Borough fund account, and thereby swelling the precept upon the poor rate to the undue advantage of the general district rate. Thus, the salaries paid during the year were charged as under:—General district fund, £ 431 13s. Id.; water revenue, £ 1,043 6s. lOd. bor- ough fund, £ 3,611 4s. 9d. No transfers were made on this occasion. The practice should, however. cease forthwith, and a reasonable basis of allocation should be fixed by the Coun- ciL OTHER ACCOUNTS. No effective system of accounts appears to be kept at the hospital. The matter was fully dis- cussed with your Controller, who undertook to introduce a system on the lines indicated at the audit at an early date. This will enable the actual cost per pat:ent per week, and the ex- penses of maintaining the hospital, under the several main heads, to be readily ascertained. The provisions of Section 194 of the Public Health Act, 1875, should be carefully observed in all cases, and caije should be taken that the security furnished is adequate. Thus, the se- curity given by your treasurer, viz., E6,000, ap- pears to be inadequate, having regard to the amount of his average daily balance, viz., £ 10,000. No security appears to be furnished by the Pant Cemetery Clerk. Housing of the Working Classes: The arrears at the close of the year amounted to 226 15s. 9d., and, although the new collector has done good work, steps should be taken to wipe out all outstanding balanoes. The actual working of the Penydarren houses still shows an adverse balance, for the balance to the bad at the com- mencement of the year was 2261 12s. lid. After debiting JB877 15s. 4d. for principal and interest on loans, JE35 6s. 6d. for altering staircases, and I the ordinary maintenance charges, and after giving credit for 21,378 12s. 9d. rents accrued during the year, the adverse balance at the close of the year had increased to £õ()7 lis. Hd. It might, therefore, be considered that the rents derived from this property are insufficient, having regard to the actual liabilities to be met by the Corporation year by year As to the Penywern and Twynyrodyn houses, the former were only let during a portion of the year, the latter houses being in course of erection. The adverse balances at the close of the year, in respect of this property, were Penywern, £55 Is. lOd.; and Twynyrodyn, £ 43 6s. 8d. No doubt steps will be taken to ensure the man- agement of these undertakings being conducted on sound business principles. WATERWORKS. The arrears on the water rentals at the close of the year amounted to 232 2?. Id. The re- S suit of the year's trading showed a net deficit; or loss of £5,023 8s. 2 £ d., which was made good cut ef. tbe general district fund bit trftcsfer j therefrom of £ 5,079 3s. lid. No less a sum than £ 15,006 lis. Od. was borne by this account for principal and interest on loans, in addition to the ordinary charges for maintenance of water- works. The attention of your officers was drawn to the apparent inadequate charges, said to have been made in pursuance of minutes of the Council, for special supplies, e.g., schools are charged at the rate of 10s. per annum, irrespec- tive of size, average attendance, or- ground space. No charge appears to be made for the water supplied to your large hospital, etc., and, incidentally, it might be mentioned that the hos- pital, prior to the date of the last Union audit, was not rated for poor or general district rate. It was understood that your Controller would shortly present a report to the Corporation deal- ing fully with some of the matters discussed. It is essential that the scale should be strictly enforced, that there should be uniformity in the charges, and that eV-Jry possible .step should be taken to pre vent any sowC'e df re>enu*> fFom- Jje- ing..toverjooked. Trhe-.b^lAUcei ca«#%k Coward,, on-waterworks si-ispense', acet>ufft' (p.entwyu trial holes) at tho -close of -the year,vis., .J22,25U. MR: 2d., represents expenditure incurred in antieirationof v. scheme which was subsequently vetoed at the statutory meeting of ratepayers. This balance should now be charged to revenue account., and provision should be made accord- ingly. ACCOUNTS FOR PRIVATE WORK. The system in operation dLJring the year in- der audit of rendering accounts for private work undertaken by the Corporation appeared to be inadequate, for purposes of efficient con- trol. In tho'absence of a proper system of stores it impracticably to readily arrive at the pnsrife 'tost; or the materials taken from store lo.(rriyaf.£ Work, and .where, it goSSib'.e to a-r-five at.the prime cost, it was disepve-red that th-j, .Qitrc*>un.i..s rendered were. aqv.jallgr then the actual prime cost to t, Corporation. The question was fully discussed at the audit, an' it was understood that the new sysrern would remove oa.ll grounds for complaint In future. Although the arrears at the close -of the year, viy. £ 54f-4s. 3d. compare favoura'r.f With the arrears at the close of the preceding' year, bet- ter resu-lts are still looked for. • GSNjERAL DISTRICT* RAfe It is ,Fati$fkct6ry o note that the arrears are showing1' a' marked decrease, tl;c amount un- r_n collected at the close of the year being £57 5s. lO,}d., as compared with £ 390 9s. 7d.. the arrears at the close of the preceding.year. Con- siderable improvements were observed in the collector's department. CEMETERIES ACCOUNT. The provisions of the Tithe Commutation Act of 1878 should be observed. The cemeteries fund still continued'to be overdra wn, the bal- ance at the close of the year being £ 1,177 4s. 6d. The accounts are now under the supervision of your controller, who stated that this fund had, at the date of the audit, been placed in credit, and that further overdrafts would not arise. Attention was drawn to the omission from the registers of burial of stiil-born children, and to the fact that no fees ror such interments (which appear to be numerous) had been brought into account. As the controller had already report- ed this irregularity, no further action was taken at the audit. One or two matters in connection with the scale of charges were discussed with your Controller, and it was understood that the coale would be revised at an early date. EDUCATION. In view of the prospective increase of expen- diture upon education, and more particularly upon higher education, as from the 1st April, 1908, when the Council became the Local Edu- cation Authority for higher agd elementary edu- cation, the figures hereunder, which set forth the receipts and expenditure, etc., upon educa- tion during the three years, viz., 1898, 1903, and 1908 may be of interest :— Receipts. Expenditure. Year ended Revenue Loan Revenue Loan "Rrvn.rrl • — ..&& 2 £ £ 2 March 25, 1898 22,342 2,287 26.670 1,357 March 25, 190.3 30,430 5,032 35,691 5,203 Borough Council:— Marth 31, 1908 51,285 1,420 51,646 9,007 To illustrate further developments:- Rateable Rate in Calls from Loan debt Year., ?alue. the JS. rates outstanding £ £ £ 1898 -222,830 11.35 10,500 32,866 1903 265,532 11.88 13,000 41,373 1908 293,310 21. 23,000 90,772 Compared' with the expenditure for 1898, the following increases are shown Upon revenue expenditure, 93 per cent. calls upon the rates, 119 per cent.; rateable value of the district, 31 per cent. The expenditure upon higher education has hither- to been limited to the produce of a penny rate. This limit is now reached. In launching new schemes, unless there is a source of income made available to meet the increased require- rnents of the Council, great care should be ex- eroiged to prevent an undue acceleration in the increase of the rates. In future, the Controller will provide for the issue of a summary of the various school abstract books under the main heads of maintenance charges, early .after the close of the financial year, which will be of much servioe to the Council, the head teachers and all others interested in the progress of edu- cation. This return should show, at a glance, the average cost per pupil (gross), the net aver- age charge to the rates and other useful in- formation. As to the average cost per pupil at Merthyr, it may be pointed out that for the year 1907, it worked out at J33 33. 2d. gross, which is 2s. lOd. per child in excess of the average cost for boroughs, but taking the av- erage for the whole country it is Is. 8d. below the average. COST OF INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS. From- the last report, which appears to have been placed before the Council for 1907, con- siderable divergence was shown, in the cost of working individual schools. Where schools with approximately the same number of child- ren in average attendance, and with the same requirements, are controlled by the Education Authority, and the earning capacity, that is, grants or income, is about the.same, it would be reasonable to assume that the gross cost of- maintenance and the net cost per child to the rates would be about the same. Fluctuations, of course, must occur from a variety of causes, but there appeared to be no justification for the large divergenoe in the maintenance charges in the case of schools hereunder set forth, for which tho Council are equally sponsible:— o Om 48 t* r* • d no School g g g | .Jj'5* o | J S §> jsg o 6 £ hfi (a) Mixed and infante .709 1,375 38 643 2,056 (b) Boys, girls c, and infants 646 1,119 16 — 1,145 (c) Mixed and infants $ 1,029 36 474 1,539 It will be observed that in the case of one school three departments the authority can maintain an efficient elemen- tary school without any supplement from the rates, whereas, in the other cases, a substantial sum has been drawn from. the rates. Put in another, way, the average gross cost per child for the, year is:—School A; £ 2.90, or B2 18s. school B, £ 1.75,or El 15s. Id. school C, £ 2.89, or L2 17s. lOd. For the year ended the 31st March, 1907, the authority.; do not appear to have expended upon the non-provided schools the, income derived from Government grants and endowments due to these schools, for there was an apparent surplus of J6204 on the year's working. If some of the schools can be main- tained without recourse to the rates, there is good ground for alleging that considerable econ- omies could be effected in other schools main- tained by the Council which appear to require substantial subventions from the rates year bv year. Complaints were made of gross unfairness in the allocation of the education funds, of pre- ferential treatment, and so forth, and an exam- ination of the accounts would appear to justify some of the complaints. Since the appointed day, however, the Council appear to have done a great deal to improve the position of some of the schools, and further comments are reserved. attention was drawn to the defective allocations made in several of the charges, and the in- structions given at the audit should be carefully noted. Sundry stale accounts had been paid during the year, and attention is again drawn to the provisions of Section 210 of the Public Health Act, 1875. An examination of the teachers' salary sheets revealed several miss- ing receipts and also unstamped receipts. In one case no receipts for JB69 9s. 10d (the salaries of one department) were produced at the audit, but at my request all the required signatures were, obtained excepting those who had left the district, when an indemnity was given by the head teacher. Greater care should be exercised in future. The present practice of paying sal- aries appears to be as follows:-All salaries are. paid by the head teacher, who, upon application at the Town Hall obtains a cheque payable to self for the departments under his or her con- trol. In some cases the cheque is sent by post. It was stated at the audit that in certain in- stances the head teachers send some person on their behalf to obtain the cheques. The head teachers give no security, and although the pre- sent system appears to work very well, the Cor- poration should consider the question of legal liability in the event of a cheque being mis- appropriated either in transit or otherwise. The stock and stores accounts again called for comment-, and greater supervision should be exercised with a view to preventing the ap- parent discrepancies pointed out at the audit. The methods in vogue of recording and con- trolling the letting of schools are highly un- satisfactory and call for immediate reform. If the practice outlined and discussed at the audit is adopted, your Controller will then be in a' position to see that possible soiirces of revenue from such lettings are recovered. At present, through want of co-operation, he is not in that position. A scale should be settled and uniform rates charged. Attention was dra.wn to the fact that no receipts appeared to have been obtained for the letting of schools as i polling stations for election purposes. As there is no reason why the borough fund should bene- fit at the expense of the education fund, it is desirable that in future the education fund should be recouped with an amount sufficient to cover the cost of heating and lighting the'rooms let for this purpose. The sundry debtors' ledger, when, fiat .pr"J .to 1r.M k!i ia pencil, and the arrears were not summarised, j Some of the cases in arrear call for severe com- ment, e.g., page 34: Contribution toward child at Boston Spa (order Is. 6d. per week), arrears at 31st March, 1908, B5 lis. (represents 47 weeks); page 36, order Is. per week, arrears at 31st March, 1903, 14s. (represents 14 weeks); page 29, order 4s. per week, arrears at 31st March, 1908, £ 4 16s. (represents 24 weeks). CONCLUSION. Numerous matters of derail were discussed with your officers. My special thanks are due to the Borough Controller for the excellent arrangements made for the audit, and to all the officers, of the corporation with whom I came in contact for their courtesy and prompt attention. The special interest taken in the accounts by the ex-Mayor, and, I believe, all the members of the Corporation, is most en- couraging, and will, it is hoped, at an early date, with efficient the desired result, viz., sound financial control with a system of accounts ^^o £ t^ to^fjgne i^ie Principality. It only remafns* ror me to' dra\V"f! your attention to my certificate, written at the ioot of tho balance sheet in your general ledger. —I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant, M. D. PROPERT, District Auditor Newport, Mon., 17th April, 1909.