SCANLAN & CENTRALIA NO. 5
A PUBLIC ADMINSTRATION CRITIQUE
PAD 500 – Modern Public Administration
Professor W. Roberts
January 23, 2012
Illinois was divided into five inspection districts and a Board of Examiners for Mine Inspectors was created in 1883. This State Mining Board as it was later called supervised inspections of Illinois mines. Illinois created the Department of Mines and Minerals in 1917 to take over the mining regulatory duties of its precursor, the State Mining Board. Centralia No. 5 was one of five inspections districts in Illinois. It once provided coal during World War II. On March 25, 1947, the mine exploded. According to the investigative findings of the U.S. Bureau of Mines and Mine Safety and Health Administration, a build-up of charge ignited coal dust caused the explosion (Martin, 2000). A brief chronology of events leading up to the mine disaster is necessary to understand where Illinois public administration officials failed. Many things come to mind when trying to ascertain why the tragedy occurred and how it could have been prevented. In this case, public administration failed on many levels. Clearly, there was a very politically changed climate operating in Illinois during this time, as evidenced in political/patronage appointments. The Governor hired a campaign employee with no specialized experience to be the Director of Mines and Minerals. There was a hands-off approach by administration officials in dealing with oversight of the mine operations. This was on multiple levels. Lastly, regulation devoid of proper enforcement is useless (Garvey, 1997). Inspectors who do their jobs must have the confidence in administration to fulfill theirs and enforce regulatory measure that could have prevented disasters of this type. Over the years, many public safety officials had provided reports, sound inspections reports with warnings and recommendations, made numerous complaints...
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