« ПредишнаНапред »
proximately $450 for the cost of adapting his building to the changed conditions, but received nothing on account of damage to his lessee. The petitioner, by reason of the statute of limitations, is not legally entitled to any payment, but is, in my opinion, equitably entitled to be paid the sum of $1,500 by the Commonwealth, on account of damages sustained by her as herein described.
ORDERS FOR THE REDUCTION OF THE PRICE OF GAS.
In my last report I stated that the case of Haverhill Gas Light Company v. Barker and others, a bill in equity to restrain the Board of Gas and Electric Light Commissioners and the Attorney-General from enforcing an order of the commissioners fixing the price at which gas should be sold by the Haverhill Gas Light Company at 80 cents per 1,000 cubic feet, had been referred by the Circuit Court, in which it was pending, to a special master, to find the facts and report thereon to the court. During the year numerous hearings have been had before the master, but the case has not as yet been fully heard by him. Recently the city council of Haverhill has voted to acquire a municipal gas plant. Under the provisions of the statute governing the acquisition by municipalities of plants for the manufacture or distribution of gas, another favorable vote on the part of the council and approval by the voters of the city will be necessary. If such action is taken, it is probable that the plant belonging to the petitioner in this case will be acquired by the city.
In view of the agreement of the Salem Gas Light Company to comply with the order of the Board of Gas and Electric Light Commissioners fixing the price at which gas should be sold by that company at $1.10 per 1,000 cubic feet, made in consequence of the petition filed by me on behalf of the Board in the Supreme Judicial Court to enforce such order, such petition and the bill in equity filed in the Circuit Court of the United States by the company to restrain the Board of Gas and Electric Light Commissioners and the Attorney-General from enforcing the order have been dismissed.
GRADE CROSSINGS. During the past year the Commonwealth has been represented at more than eighty hearings before special commissions and auditors or in the courts. Of these, Mr. H. W. Hayes, engineer of grade crossings, has attended seventy-six, and has made forty-four visits of inspection of construction work in progress at Fitchburg, Worcester, Russell, Malden, Belmont, Hyde Park, Somerville, Deerfield, Northfield, Lynn, Neponset, Newton, Lanesborough and Stockbridge. Fifty statements of expenditures submitted to auditors by railroad corporations, cities and towns, amounting to $2,324575, have been examined and verified, and the Commonwealth has objected to items to the amount of $56,713.06, as a result of which the sum of $21,208.09 has been disallowed, and the questions involving most of the balance still remain to be decided. At the request of the special commissions appointed to abolish grade crossings at Southborough and at Weston, the engineer of grade crossings has prepared plans and drafted reports for the elimination of the several crossings affected.
CIVIL SERVICE LAW. As the law now stands (R. L., c. 19, $ 34), a ruling of the Civil Service Commissioners that a person is appointed to or employed in the public service in violation of the civil service rules can be made completely effective only by a proceeding brought by the Attorney-General, at the relation of the Civil Service Commissioners, in the Superior Court. In my judgment, there would be a gain in ease and efficiency of administration, without injustice to appointees or ployees in the public service classified under civil service rules, if the law were so changed as to make a ruling of the Civil Service Commissioners conclusive unless reviewed by the court in a proceeding brought by the employee or appointee; and I suggest for your consideration whether legislation should not be enacted to accomplish this result.
THE INHERITANCE Tax. The inheritance tax statutes (R. L., c. 15, $ 4, and St. 1909, c. 490, Part IV, § 4) charge property subject to a legacy or succession tax with a lien to secure the payment of such tax, but no suitable method is provided by which such lien may be enforced. I therefore recommend legislation which will provide an adequate method of enforcing such lien.
FORMS OF MITTIMUS. There are in use in the various courts of the Commonwealth different forms of blank for a mittimus. It would seem desirable, for the convenience of the officials of the Commonwealth in the performance of their duties, that the blanks be made uniform, or at least that the statute under which the person is sentenced be referred to in the mittimus; and I call this matter to your attention, for such action as you may deem proper.
LEVY ON CORPORATE SHARES.
As pointed out by the Supreme Judicial Court in a recent case, since the enactment of St. 1884, c. 229, now re-enacted in St. 1903, c. 437, § 28, the system for the attachment of shares of stock and for taking them on execution, set forth in R. L., c. 167, SS 66, 68, and c. 177, § 50, respectively, cannot be literally carried out and applied. The changes made by St. 1884, c. 229, as to the title of the holder of the certificate after a sale, made necessary a corresponding change in the effect of an execution sale. I therefore recommend that the necessary change in R. L., c. 177, be made, and that there be some provision for the retirement of the original shares of stock.
DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL. During the past year cases to the number of 3,321 have occupied the attention of this department. The total amount of collections made on behalf of the Commonwealth is approximately $226,419, of which $4,484 were penalties collected from corporations for failure to comply with the provisions of law regulating the filing of statements in the various departments. Under St. 1909, c. 266, providing for the collection of taxes upon legacies and successions by an action of contract or by informations in equity brought in the Supreme Judicial Court, the sum of $10,174.67 has been recovered.
On the first day of March, 1909, Mr. James F. Curtis, after more than three years of faithful and efficient service as an Assistant Attorney-General, resigned, to take a position as Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County. While Assistant Attorney-General he performed the duties assigned to him with conspicuous ability, and the meritorious performance of his work deserves high commendation.
Annexed to this report are the principal opinions submitted during the current year.