This paper examines the municipal administration and accounting reforms that were coordinated and implemented by Herman A. Metz around the turn of the 20th century in New York City. Reform efforts were motivated by deficiencies in administering New York City's finances dating to the "Boss" Tweed Era, including the lack of internal control over monetary resources and operational activities, opaque municipal financial reports, and problems with graft and corruption. Efforts to achieve reform were set in motion by institutions such as the Merchants' Association of New York, the National Municipal League, and the New York Bureau of Municipal Research. Metz, who was Comptroller during the George B. McClellan, Jr. administration, was paramount in initiating and implementing the administrative and accounting reforms in the city, which contributed to reform efforts across the country. Metz promoted the adoption of functional cost classifications for city departments, developed flowcharts for improved transaction processing, strengthened internal controls, and published the 1909 Manual of Accounting and Business Procedure of the City of New York, which laid the groundwork for transparent financial reports capable of providing useful information about the city's activities and subsidiary units.
The Search for Order in Municipal Administration: Herman A. Metz and the New York City Experience, 1898-1909
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Ryan P McDonough, Paul J Miranti, Michael P. Schoderbek; The Search for Order in Municipal Administration: Herman A. Metz and the New York City Experience, 1898-1909. Accounting Historians Journal doi: https://doi.org/10.2308/aahj-18-019
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