Abstract: Report of the Royal Commission Investigating Highway Irregularities in Queens and Northumberland Counties, 1927

The "irregularities" in Queen's County referred to in the title of this report related to the actions of J. Garfield McCrea. In the early 1920s, he enjoyed the position of Road Supervisor for Queen's County. In this capacity, five charges were brought against him, the most serious of which included the diversion of funds and nepotism.

The Commissioner appointed to conduct this inquiry, Emerson C. Rice, did not mince his words when deciding the case. For instance, with reference to the first charge that McCrea had purchased a two thousand dollar tractor without the authority to do so and then sold it at a considerable loss to the government, Rice stated, "I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that McCrea was given no authority to purchase this tractor for the department."

As to the charge of nepotism, Rice reported that McCrea's wife, daughter, son, two brothers, two nephews, sister-in-law, and two brothers-in-law were all on the government payroll simultaneously. As McCrea no longer worked as Road Supervisor, Rice made no ruling to either fire or retain his services. However, he did note in his summary that McCrea's immediate supervisor, D. W. Burpee, was in no way to blame for McCrea's questionable practices, because McCrea, it appeared, had been in contact with "members of the Administration". Thus, blame for his actions, in part, was placed on officials higher up in the chain of command, though no names were mentioned.

As for the irregularities in Northumberland County, Rice found the same sort of problems as in Queen's County--in this case falsified work records and men being paid for one project working on another. Concrete proposals arose from the investigation, the most significant of which that bookkeeping be attended to with greater vigilance and accounts be submitted promptly upon completion of work.


Emerson C. Rice.

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