Melbourne
Fletcher
Middleton Jr.



MELBOURNE FLETCHER MIDDLETON JR. was born in Camden on february 22, 1877. His grandfather, Timothy Middleton, had served as the Mayor of Camden during the Civil War. His father, Dr. Melbourne F. Middleton Sr., a prominent Camden physician, built a large house and office at 423-425 Federal Street in 1886, and this is where Melbourne Jr. spent his early years. The elder Middleton also had served as the president of the Camden Homeopathic Hospital at West and Stevens Streets, the fore-runner of West Jersey Hospital.

On Ocrober 25, 1900 Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. was married to Jessamine Weatherby, of Camden NJ. At least four children came of this marriage, Melbourne Fletcher III, Dorothy, jessamine, and C. Barry Middleton.

Mebourne F. Middleton's career was spent in the banking and financial services industry. In 1910 he was working for the banking firm of Charles D. Barney &  Company at 124 South 4th Street in Philadelphia. This firm was the successor to the old Jay Cook firm which had provided financing to the Union during the Civil War, and still exists today as Smith-Barney. By 1916 Melbourne F. Middleton was sitting on the Board of Directors of the First National Bank of Camden, headed by David Baird Sr., longtime head of Camden County's Republican party organization.

Melbourne Middleton Jr. involved himself with the civic life of Camden as a Republican. During World War I he served as chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee, which raised $38,395,150 from Camden and the surrounding area. He also was a member of the Camden County Historical Society.

At the time of the 1920 census, Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. his wife Jessamine, daughters, Dorothy and Jessamine, and son C. Barry were living at 538 Cooper Street in Camden. This home was designed by noted architect Arthur Truscott in 1892. This building was turned into a seafood restaurant in the late 1930s, and has been used for professional offices for many years, up until today in 2003.

In January of 1921 Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. was elected president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. He was re-elected president of that body at least seven consecutive times.

When Camden changed its charter to the commission form of government in 1923, Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. ran for office successfully. He served as Director of Revenue and Finance during the administration of Mayor Victor King. Although endorsed, along with fellow commissioner Carroll P. Sherwood, for re-election by Camden's Non-Partisan League, his slate, which included Dr. Orris Saunders, newly appointed Judge Frank F. Neutze, and realtor Carl R. Evered, did not win, and Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. left the City Commission after the May 1927 elections. He returned to the stock brokerage business, and was still residing at the Cooper Street address at the time of the April 1930 census. He was still in the financial industry in the mid-1930s.

Melbourne F. Middleton died on January 2, 1951 of injuries sustained in an auto accident.


Bank Directory - March-December 1916

First National Bank
Camden, N J.

DAVID BAIRD, President
WILLIAM T. READ, Vice President and Solicitor
CHARLES LAFFERTY, Cashier
W. S. AYRES, Assistant Cashier
THEODORE THOMPSON, Assistant Cashier

Directors:

David Baird        

Frank L. Starr 

Alfred W. Clement         

Walter J. Staats 

Frank C. Somers      

David Baird Jr. 

J. J. Albertson         

Joseph W. Graham 

Albert C. Middleton      

Lawrence M. Verga

Ferdinand A. Loeb

Melbourne F. Middleton Jr.

William T. Read         

Philadelphia Office, 246 Market Street
W. S. AYRES, Assistant Cashier

Discount Day, Thursday

Condition of Bank - March 7, 1916


CAMDEN COUNTY IN THE GREAT WAR

City Farm Gardens

Another weapon to defeat the enemy was the establishment of City Farm Gardens in the country. They were urged by the Government and not only provided food for city residents, but abolished unsightly vacant lots. Mayor Ellis named the first City Gardens Committee on April 19, 1917, as follows: E. G. C. Bleakly, Judge Frank T. Lloyd, Zed H. Copp, William Derham, L. E. Farnham, B. M. Hedrick, David Jester, O. B. Kern, M. F. Middleton, Dr. H. L. Rose, Asa L. Roberts, W. D. Sayrs, Jr., Charles A. Wolverton, Earl T. Jackson, H. R. Kuehner, Herbert N. Moffett and Hubert H. Pfeil. At the initial meeting of the above date B. M. Hedrick was elected chairman; Zed H. Copp secretary and M. F. Middleton treasurer. Brandin W. Wright, a farming expert, was employed as general superintendent on May 3, 1917. At a meeting on May 18, 1918, the names of Frank Sheridan and Daniel P. McConnell were added to the publicity committee in the place of 
Messrs. Pfeil and Jackson. 

In his annual report to City Council on January 1, 1918, Mayor Ellis urged the appointment of a committee by City Council on City Gardens and Councilman Frederick Von Neida was named as chairman. This committee with a committee of representative citizens met in the City Hall in February, 19 18, to organize for the ensuing summer. The members of the Councilmanic committee were: Frederick Von Neida, Frank S. Van Hart, William J. Kelly and John J. Robinson.

The committee planned an exposition of farm garden products for the fall of 1918, but this plan was frustrated by the Spanish influenza epidemic. 

The war gardens became victory gardens in the year 1919 when the committee met on January 29, 1919. Meyers Baker was elected secretary and William D. Sayrs, Jr., treasurer. At the meeting on March 25 committees were appointed for the Victory War Gardens 
Exposition held in Third Regiment Armory from September 15 to 20. Benjamin Abrams was elected general manager and Frank Sheridan publicity agent.


Philadelphia Inquirer - September 7, 1911
...continued...
  Amos Richard Dease - John A. Mather - Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. - William D. Brown - Arthur Colsey - William F. Kelly - R.J. Garrison - James E. Hewitt - Lawrence Reader - Dr. Grant E. Kirk
George Kleinheinz - James F. Walton - David A. Henderson - John T. Rodan - Charles Laib

Three Houses
of
John W. Cheney

at
538-542 Cooper Street

538 Cooper St,
where Melbourne F. Middleton lived in 1920,
is on the right.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click Here
to see these houses in 2003


Trenton Evening Times - June 27, 1923

Elbridge B. McClong - Edward S. Hyde - James E. Tatem - Victor S. King
Melbourne F. Middleton Jr. - Carroll Sherwood - Frank F. Neutze
Frank Hitchner - Howard L. Miller



 

 

 

Camden Courier-Post January 3, 1928

 

 

 

 

 

 


Camden Courier-Post - January 13, 1928

CLERK RESIGNS POST IN CITY TAX OFFICE

Warren Detweiler resigned yesterday as temporary clerk In the Camden tax office. He had been appointed to the post by Melbourne F. Middleton, Jr., former director of revenue and finance.

Detweiler, a temporary appointee in the tax office never took a Civil Service examination for permanent appointment.  .  


Camden Courier-Post - January 28, 1928

MIDDLETON RE-ELECTED
Goes back as head of Philadelphia Stock Exchange
for Seventh Consecutive Year

For the seventh consecutive term, Melbourne F. Middleton, Jr., of Camden, has bee chosen president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.  

He was nominated for the position yesterday and there was no opposition. Formal election will take place at the annual meeting of the exchange. Mr. Middleton, who was city commissioner of revenue and finance in the former Non-Partisan administration here, lives at 538 Cooper Street.  

Ten members of the exchange were nominated yesterday to the board of governors.


Camden Courier-Post - April 6, 1928
...continued...
Joseph N. Hettel Sr. - Melbourne F. Middleton Jr.
Camden County Vocational & Technical School

Camden Courier-Post - February 20, 1936

ADVISERS BAR 60 FUND PLAN; APPROVE OF 77
Forget Politics and Adopt an Honest Budget, City Rulers Told

COLLECT TAXES,
REPORT Urges
Commissions Also Urged to County Affairs

By W. OLIVER KINCANNON 

Disregard Chapter 60. 

Refinance under Chapter 77. 

Reinforce that with what security you can give by resolution or ordinance, but Disregard Chapter 60.

Use a business rather than a political basis.

Take an active Interest In the management of Camden County as well as Camden city, acting as a committee of inquiry on county management.

These are some of the points of advice given to the City Commission yesterday, at a special meeting of the Commission, by its Citizens' Advisory Committee.  

In trip-hammer style, James W. Burnison, chairman of the advisory group, read a report that followed with these recommendations: 

Forget politics and work as a unit.

Cut expenses and stay within your budgets.

Prepare a complete and honest budget.

Let the taxpayers decide when an emergency exists that requires an addition to the budget. Fight shy of gamblers' Interest rates.

Don't default; it's too costly.

Get on a cash basis and stay there.

Make every taxpayer in the city realize and live up to his tax responsibility.

Think about Camden city and county in a patriotic rather than a political sense. 

Vote to Act Quickly 

The commission voted to take quick action by passing a motion introduced by Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance.

This motion empowers Bennett to call, as quickly as possible, a meeting of the commission, representatives of its advisory committee, the finance committee of the board of freeholders, representatives of the city's bonding attorneys, Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow, representatives of Lehman Brothers and other bond houses to determine what arrangement can be effected to solve the city's financial problems. Setting forth that it is not our intent or desire to criticize the performances of past or present city officers, " the report nevertheless, contained frank condemnation of emergency deficiency appropriations for items that are and were left off budgets. 

Hits Past Budgets 

It contained also implied condemnation of all the city budgets since 1930 and pointed out: "That Camden City receipts have been running behind expenditures approximately $1,000,000 a year since 1930."

"Our yearly budgets do not at present, and did not in the past, in the opinion of your committee, give a frank clear picture of anticipated income and expenditures.  

“The job of contacting bondholders to procure interest reductions, "your 'committee finds, has not been handled as frankly as it deserves. We can find no evidence of a sincere effort to layout a program and attack this problem logically. No more than 30 cents can be lopped off the tax' rate if the contacting program were completely successful. The committee has failed to receive a requested report of efforts to contact bondholders.

The committee was convinced that it is futile to expect any large-scale interest cuts from bondholders. 

 Hopeful of Rate Cut 

It believes the majority of high interest-bearing bonds can be refunded at substantially lower interest rates if constructive action is taken immediately. The committee has been informed that the state has refused to accept "reasonable rates" on the city's bonds held by the State.

Furthermore, "the present difference of opinion on this subject among members of our present city commission would in itself effectively block any real work along this line, " and "We feel that real results along this line require a united front on the part of our commission and the county freeholders." "Our sinking fund, we are informed, is stuffed with our own frozen paper. Such financing, in our estimation, kills the purpose of such funds."

"The present plan of singling out a few wards in our city and call for sporadic tax sales is neither fair to the delinquent taxpayers in these wards nor is it fair to the taxpayers throughout the city." 

Has Detail Report 

After concluding his reading of the summarized report, Burnison informed the commissioners the committee has completed a detailed report of "40 to 42 pages of homework for you" and said that will be submitted today.

"That will contain detailed recommendations, including some errors in figures and in judgment, but we ask that you disregard the errors and use the good in it," Burnison said.

He explained that when he mentioned 30 cents as the maximum figure to be lopped from the tax rate of the city were completely successful in obtaining interest reductions, he figured that would be the result if the city got 2% to 3 percent rates on all its bonds..

"There’s a large number of these bonds you can't hope to refund at lower interest rates, as the rates already are low. You couldn't get under 4 or 4% percent on your first refunding under Chapter 77 and almost all of the bonds not immediately refundable are around those figures, " he said.

Commissioner Bennett immediately opened up argument concerning what the committee thinks will replace his favored refunding plan- Chapter 60 combined with Chapter 77. 

Tells Objection to 60 Plan 

"Sixty seems to give the other fellow more advantages than us; that's our objection to it," Burnison said.

"Apparently you have been assured from some source that we can avoid an increase in the tax rate without adopting Chapter 60," Bennett said and continued:

"I see no way of keeping down this year's budget without 60. Politics is out in my argument, but I honestly believe 60 and 77 combined make the only plan for us. Under the present plan the rate will go up this year. Won't you tell us your source of assurance that it will not?"

Burnison did not answer the question immediately and Bennett said: "We would have to pass resolutions committing us to procedure similar to that under Chapter 60, wouldn't we?"

"Yes," Burnison answered, "but not binding you to as close supervision. You can't continue to exceed receipts and improve conditions anyway."

"Well," Bennett said, "give us the advantage of your sources assurance.” 

Tells Sources 

"We have two such sources," Burnison said. "Mr. Middleton is one.

(Melbourne F. Middleton, Jr., former city director of revenue and finance and now a bond dealer interested in the city's refunding issues.)

"Lehman Brothers (New York bankers who have handled many of the city's bonds in the past and were interviewed last Friday by the advisory committee) also said if we showed a sincere frank idea of economizing and staying within our budget, the bondholders would accept our bonds without necessity of recourse to Chapter 60.

"They said 60 'meant no more to the bondholder than resolutions and ordinances, if you get together and go on record to give security and then do it.

"I don't think the city commission should have any compunction in binding itself not to exceed the budget. Then, if you find it is impossible for you to operate on what you are taking in under the present tax rate, call in a group of taxpayers say 200 of them-and explain the situation and raise the tax rate.

"Any reasonable man or group will see the necessity and logic of that. They will go along with you.

"But under Chapter 60 you put yourself under a rigorous unbending set of restrictions." 

Mrs. Kobus Urges Action 

"Let's quit arguing and do it," Commissioner Mary W. Kobus suggested, and Mayor Frederick von Nieda asked: "If we take an average of the income for the past three years would you not consider that average for this year?"

"Yes", said Burnison.

At that point Bennett made his motion for power to call a special meeting of the freeholders, commissioners, citizens' group, bond attorneys and bond dealers, and it was passed unanimously after Commissioner George E. Brunner seconded it.

"I reserve the right own discretion about dealers will be asked” Bennett remarked.

"It may be that Lehman Brothers are the only ones who will trust us," Burnison said. "They know the lines we are working along. They work with other houses, and there may be other sources of credit we can tap."

"Well, 42 of the largest cities in New Jersey with 62 percent of all at the ratables of the state are under Chapter 60 now," Bennett said.  

"Sixty-two percent could be wrong," Burnison answered and laughed, adding: "In my opinion, those cities going under 60 haven't looked very far ahead."

"That's what we have done," Bennett replied. "My department has done that and that is why we are advocating 60.” 

Burnison Disagrees 

"Well there are members on our committee who know a good bit about that sort of thing and they say the city is justified in not going under 60," Burnison said.

"The Legislature is going to pass a new budget law that will act just the same as Chapter 60, though it will not be passed in time to effect this year's budget," Bennett said.

"Well," said Burnison, "I'd think the commission would prefer to adopt a safe course voluntarily than to be forced into it."

"We have no assurance that those who will have charge of the city's affairs for the next 15 or 18 years will follow the course we lay down for them," Bennett said and added: "Past political experience shows that they won't."

This brought the argument to a close and Burnison, questioned by a reporter, said:

"We are not unalterably opposed to Chapter 60. We oppose it, yes. We believe under 77 a better job for us can be worked out." 

Members of the committee, in addition to Burnison, who attended the session are James V. Moran, Harry A. Kelleher, Carl R. Evered, Dr. Ulysses S. Wiggins, A. Lincoln Michener and Eugene E. Wales.

City Comptroller Sidney P. McCord, with an aide, attended, and a stenographer from Commissioner Bennett's office took a complete report of the proceedings.


Camden Courier-Post - February 26, 1936

CAMDEN VOTES TO PAY EXPERT ON REFUNDING OF CITY DEBTS
Applicants With Programs to Be Considered by Board Today
COMMISSIONERS AGREE ON KOBUS SUGGESTION
Chapter 60 and 77 Author Overruled in Plea to Disregard Proposal

Camden's city commissioners yesterday agreed to select a paid financial adviser to guide the city out of its financial morass.

. They said they expect to make the selection today.

A special gathering of the commis­sioners in Mayor Frederick von Nieda's offices at noon today was arranged to hear applications of candidates for the job.

No candidate will be considered un­less he has a plan to submit that looks attractive to the commissioners they said.

Decision to select the paid adviser came near the end of a hectic two and one-half hour conference of the commissioners with their citizens' advisory committee, members of the Freeholders budget committee, various bond brokers, and bankers and attorneys for the city and the bond dealers.

Proposed by Mrs. Kobus

The commissioners decided to en­gage the adviser against the recommendation and despite an eloquent plea of their bond attorney-L. Arnold Frye, of Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow, New York attorneys.

It was at the suggestion of Commissioner Mary W. Kobus that the decision to bring in paid help was taken.

The action was taken under such a. way as to leave at least one bond house's representatives under the impression the commission is actually, though not legally, committed to accepting whatever plan their paid counselor may suggest.

His questions on this line, however, brought no definite answer.

"Oh. we'll agree," Mrs. Kobus said. "I think by the time we select the man we will select the plan," Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, said.

Beyond that, the commissioners did not commit themselves.

Bennett, however, announced that the adviser's tenure will be "for whatever period we decide to engage him."

Names Confidential

Commissioner George E. Brunner suggested that the advisory committee submit the names of three prospects for the adviser's job and that committee's sub-committee on finance withdrew and returned to offer two names. They explained they could not suggest more than two.

The names were held confidential and no one knowing them would reveal their identity ..

There was some speculation as to whether they were Melbourne F. Middleton, Jr., Philadelphia bond broker and former city director of revenue and finance, and Norman S. Tabor, noted New York adviser on municipal fiscal affairs.

Fall to Make Pick

The commissioners, as soon as they received the two names in secret, withdrew into the mayor's private office for ten minutes to discuss the suggested helpers, but returned to announce that all applicants for the job will be heard at noon today.

This was accepted as tacit admission that no final agreement was reached on either name suggested.

Bennett announced:

"We are going to pick the man on a basis of his helpfulness to Camden, I want to say now 'that we will not necessarily select the man who offers to help us at the lowest cost.

"We want those applicants for the position who appear tomorrow to have a definite idea of what plan they expect the city to follow if they are engaged.

"Of course, we do not expect any minute detailed plan from any man not already acquainted with the situation, but we want it to be definite enough to enable us to know whether we will follow it.

"We want to keep the cost as low as possible, and we advise now that the cost of this help or advice must be low, but we will not pick the adviser on a cost basis purely.

'No Private Talks'

"We will make no commitments in advance. We will talk to no applicant until the time comes tomorrow. My conception of how we will select the adviser is this:

"Ability will come first. Then contacts, experience, the cost to the city and, of course, the acceptability of the plan offered."

The conference was called to discuss proposed refunding plans for Camden city, with most of the talk centering on the controversy over Chapter 60 as a refinancing basis.

Mrs. Kobus suggested appointment of the financial adviser at a meeting of the city commission to be held immediately.

"I have thought similarly during the last few days," said Bennett. "I realize it would be a big expense, but the City is reaching a crisis and it might be money well spent."

Brunner asked the advisory committee to submit three names for appointment as an adviser. The committee suggested two names which were not revealed.

Frye, in requesting the commission not to employ an adviser, revealed himself the principal author of New Jersey's two refunding or bond issuing acts around which the commissions' difference of opinion as to method has revolved-Chapters 60 and 77.

"You can finance your indebtedness entire, Frye said, "under Chapter 77, or partly under Chapter 60 and partly under 77. I personally have no preference, as the principal author of both.

Frye Plan Refused

"As to your tax rate, set what you can set and what the taxpayers can stand. Don't you think you could get together and settled this among yourselves? Don't you think that        would be better?"             

Bennett passed off Fry's suggestion thus:

"No, Mr. Frye, I think it can best be settled by use of an adviser. I am anxious to settle it quickly. We have been unable to agree thus far and I am on the uneasy seat for Camden faces a crisis and I want to get it past."

Frye's suggestion carne after all of the bond brokers present, except Middleton, had advised the city to use the stringent budget, making restrictions of Chapter 60.

James W. Burnison, chairman of the citizens' advisory committee, reiterated that group's objections to Chapter 50, saying the same guarantees can be provided for bondholders under 77, without putting the city under such rigid state supervision for so long a period.

Every person present was invited to speak. Most of the freeholders viewed the matter as a city and not a county problem, but promised cooperation.

Burnison, Carl R. Evered, A. Lincoln Michener and James V. Moran form the sub-committee which selected the two names submitted to the commissioners for consideration as fiscal adviser.

The meeting started as a closed session, but after 25 minutes behind closed doors in the mayor's' office, Evered came to the door and admitted reporters.

The reporters, however, were given to understand that the only statements they were to use were those from Burnison, chairman of the committee; James V. Moran, a member, or Evered, and from other speakers only with their permission.

Attending were the five city commissioners, William H. Heiser, chairman of the Board of Freeholders' budget committee; Freeholders James S. Caskey, Maurice Bart, William Myers, and James W. Wood; George D. Rothermel, assistant county solicitor; City Comptroller Sidney P. McCord; Meyer Sakin and John R. Di Mona, assistant city solicitors; Burnison, Evered, Moran, and Michener, of the Citizens' Advisory Committee; E. Howard Broome, deputy director of finance; Middleton, John T. Trimble, counsel for Middleton; three representatives of Hawkins, Delafield & Longfellow, New York including Frye, Henry Russell and Alfred Gregory; Walter Shuman, representing Rollins & Sons, of Philadelphia and New York; C. C. Collings, of the C. C. Collings Company, Philadelphia; Russell McInes, representing Lehman Brothers, New York; J. M. G. Brown and Samuel S. Blackman, representing Analyses, Inc., Philadelphia, and Leon C. Guest and Herbert Glucksman, Camden bond brokers. 


CAMDEN COURIER-POST - FEBRUARY 28, 1936

Rulers Defer Naming City's Finance Adviser During Bitter Session
Hartmann Charges Bennett Agreed to Drop 60 Plan Of Refunding
REVENUE CHIEF MAKES HOT DENIAL

New Applicant for Post as Consultant Interviewed

By W. OLIVER KINCANNON

Camden City Commission failed again yesterday to settle the ques­tion: Who will be Camden's financial adviser?

A meeting called to settle the point yesterday was adjourned until 2 p. m. today over the violent protest of Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance.

Among the surprises of the meeting was the statement by Commissioner Frank J. Hartmann, Jr., that Commissioner Harold W. Bennett, director of revenue and finance, and Mayor Frederick von Nieda agreed Tuesday to abandon Chapter 60 as the basis for refunding the city's indebtedness and making the 1936 budget.

Bennett Makes Denial

Bennett denied this vehemently, but Hartmann, after the meeting, said:

I don't care how much he denies it. He and the mayor agreed to yield on that point. Mr. Bennett is not going to get away with telling me one thing in a private conference and saying another for purposes of appealing to the public."

Hartmann's charge attracted unusual attention due to the fact Bennett has held out from the first mention of refunding of Chapter 60 -a rigid and stringent law requiring the city to maintain a cash basis of pay-as-you-go operations, under strict state supervision, for a minimum of 20 years.

Hartmann said Bennett and von Nieda agreed to "go along" on the less stringent provisions of Chapter 77, bolstered by local assurances that would give bondholders virtually the same guarantees they would receive under Chapter 60, but without invoking upon the city the strict and long-term regulation by state authorities.

Another Applicant

Commissioner George E. Brunner asked for yesterday's adjournment on the ground that another man or agency, whom the commissioners had not interviewed, desired to pre­sent a proposal to the commissioners yesterday afternoon.

Bennett objected that noon Tuesday was the deadline set for applications and said they are closed as far as he is concerned. He took the position it would be unethical to consider any more applications for the job, and delivered this ultima­tum:

"I refuse to accept any responsibility for any further delay in making Camden's 1936 budget and refunding plan. Let's settle it now."

Nevertheless, the other four commissioners interviewed the new applicant at 5 p. m. and may consult another today.

The new seeker of the post of official fiscal adviser is George S. Burgess, president of the State Service Bureau, which publishes the Legislative Index for New Jersey and the New Jersey Municipal Reporter, and also supplies a municipal financial information service to hundreds of officials, including, Burgess said, the state auditor, Walter R. Darby.

Burgess is credited with devising and placing in operation the municipal accounting system in Massachusetts and with setting up the system of accounting by which the War Department settled war contracts, and represented the War De­partment in litigation involving numerous problems of accounting,

Opposes Chapter 80

Burgess is revealed as opposed to Chapter 60 for most municipalities. He is quoted in one of his own publications as saying:

"The Barbour bill (Chapter 50, 1934) is an ideal conception for sound municipal financing, but few places can operate under it until their tax collections increase decidedly. The earning power of the people in a large number of municipalities is far short of such a possibility."

He listed as the municipal finance advisory board of his concern the following men:

William H. Albright, New Jersey State Treasurer, as chairman of the board, Senator John C. Barbour (sponsor of Chapter 60), of Passaic county, president of the State Senate, Raymond M. Greer, Comptroller of Jersey City and member of a New York firm of accountants, Arthur N. Pierson, treasurer of Union county, Samuel S. Kenworthy, executive secretary of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

Promises Price Today

Burgess did not submit a price on his services but told the commissioners he will submit one by 1  p.m. today or before that time.

He informed the commissioners his firm is serving four municipalities in New Jersey as financial adviser now and said his experience covers many similar services to Massachusetts’ cities.

Burgess also said he understands budget-making and financial practices on a big scale, partly through serving after the World War as con­sulting auditor for the War Department, reporting directly to General Herbert M. Lord, then director of finances for the War Department and subsequently director of the budget for the United States.

It was indicated by the commissioners another man may be interviewed today on an application to be adviser for the city.

The interview with Burgess followed a hectic meeting in which numerous charges were hurled and the commissioners teetered on the brink of revealing confidences that have been kept hidden behind closed portals for the past few days.

Bennett Assailed

Among them was a charge by Hartmann that Bennett has done nothing to carry out the commission's instructions to contact bond­holders and attempt to obtain reductions in interest rates on city bonds.

Bennett denied this angrily and asked:            

"How do  you think I got the interest down? (On tax revenue notes) By sitting back and laughing?"

Bennett argued that the city's budget must be passed by the commission by March 9 and that any further delay past yesterday would jeopardize the city's standing and bring about a state of "chaos."

Bennett also denied he has ever favored employment of a financial adviser, though he told a gathering of commissioners, freeholders, bond dealers and attorneys Monday that he thought the city's differences could best be settled by an adviser.

He declined to follow the suggestion of L. Arnold Frye, of Hawkins, Delafield and Longfellow, counsel for the city on bond matters.

Frye Asks Peace

Frye urged the commissioners to settle their differences and agree upon a plan among themselves.

Hartmann also brought out an intimation that "the city was to be divided up by the bondholders," and this brought another hot denial from Bennett.

Commissioner Mary W. Kobus revealed that in considering applications for fiscal adviser, the commission also has considered having the man with the plan do the actual work of placing the bonds, a function that normally would fall under Bennett's jurisdiction.

Bennett insisted his department is capable of handling the financial affairs of the city and would have them composed by now if it had been allowed a free rein.

Another surprise resulted when Thomas J. Fox, who said he is "a small taxpayer" and lives at 608 Royden Street, urged the commission to hold up all refunding for ten days and promised it could be settled then on a plan he is working out.

Fox said he is retired and told reporters he and two other men are working out a refunding plan for the city that will prevent a tax increase and will enable the city to pay all interest. He added:

"I'm the most important one." The entire debate resulted from a motion to adjourn, made by Brunner. Everything that preceded this motion had been passed unanimously.

Applicants who appeared Tuesday to ask for the city adviser's post were Melbourne F. Middleton, former commissioner; Leon C. Guest, Camden investment securities broker; Thomas R. Lill, New York technical adviser of governmental administration and finance, and J. P. Ramsey, who represented Norman S. Tabor, New York specialist in municipal finances.

Dr. Frank Parker, University of Pennsylvania finance professor and nationally known as an economist, and Thomas Christensen, former Atlantic county accountant, were unable to appear.

Tabor, now doing similar work in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, would be unable to appear personally before Monday, the commission was advised by Ramsey, but the latter's bid was confirmed by his superior over long-distance telephone.

Lill, who has had a wide, international experience in technical finance work, is now adviser to the Atlantic City bondholders' committee.

The four applicants on Tuesday briefly sketched a review of their past activities in similar work, told of their plans for Camden, and the compensation they would require for the work.

Guest, the first to be heard, described himself as a Camden native who has handled many Camden bonds in the past.

Middleton, who followed, said his plan for Camden was substantially the same as the program he submitted October 2, 1935, when he applied for the position of financial adviser. The city's first director of revenue and finance under commission form of government, Middleton is now engaged in the bond business in Philadelphia.

Ramsey described the Tabor company as the only one of its kind in the United States. It has refinanced more than 100 cities, 40 in New Jersey, and works with 164 bond dealers. Ramsey submitted a long list of bank and insurance company executives as references.

Lill said he began his finance career in 1911. In 1918 he was director of the Mexican Refinancing Commission, representing President Carranza in international negotiations until Carranza's assassination.

After that, Lill served the Republic of Colombia as technical adviser for five years; Chile for two, Yucatan for two, and has worked in cities all over the United States and in Canada. He was chosen by the Atlantic City bond-holders' committee 2½  years ago, still serving as technical adviser for that group, he said. 


CAMDEN COURIER-POST - FEBRUARY 28, 1938

M.F. Middleton Felled by Gas In House Here
Former City Commissioner Found Unconscious in Old Home

With gas flowing from a pipe detached from a gas range, former City Commissioner Melbourne F. Middleton, Jr., was found unconscious in the kitchen of his former home at 538 Cooper street early Saturday night.

Middleton was reported last night to still be in a critical condition at West Jersey Hospital, where he was taken. The Camden Fire Department First Aid Squad worked over him for an hour at the house in a vain effort to revive him.

Middleton, a former president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, and one time city councilman, was found by a son, C. Barry Middleton, and a friend, John Williams Rossell, who lives with the Middletons on Laurel road, Moorestown. Middleton was clad in overalls and two large pipe wrenches were lying on the kitchen floor near him.

Young Middleton said his father told his family he intended to take up some linoleum in the kitchen of his former home. Middleton first went to his office Saturday and then to St. Paul's Episcopal Church to a service. From there he was traced to his former home, which is owned by him.

When Middleton failed to return home for dinner at the usual time Saturday his son and Rossell decided to search for him. When young Middleton discovered his father's plight he notified police. Patrolmen Frank Cavallo, Henry Lutz, Walter Vecander and George Getley responded in radio cars and gave first aid until the fire department squad arrived.

The firemen worked on the former commissioner one hour with an inhalator before ordering his removal to the hospital, where they continued to work on Middleton for another hour but were unable to revive him. Hospital physicians continued working on him without success. They said his condition was critical.

Gas Man Called

At 4 p. m. Saturday the family living next to Middlemen's home telephoned Public Service that gas was coming from the house. Public Service sent a man to investi­gate but he was unable to get into the house.

Young Middleton and Rossell said they reached the house at 6.17 p. m.

While he was a member of the first city commission Middleton was director of finance but never missed responding to all alarms of fire. He was a member of the fire committee while serving in City Council as a member from the Second ward. In that capacity he also answered all alarms.

Members of the Firemen's First Aid Squad responding to the call were Deputy Chief William R. Harring, Hosemen Christopher Moll, William Spencer, Harry Haines, Russell Anderson, William Harry Deitz and Nelson Andrews.

City Detectives Benjamin Simon, Joseph Mardino and William Marter are investigating the cause.  


CAMDEN COURIER-POST - JANUARY 2, 1951







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