From the date of its incorporation in 1898 down to the year 1910, Muskogee's municipal affairs were carried on under the old aldermanic style, with two councilmen chosen from each ward and a mayor elected at large. Party politics controlled the elections and politicians controlled or dictated the selection of city employees, party allegiance rather than efficiency, being, too often the test of eligibility. As the years advanced, the rapid growth of the city called for
extensive public improvements and the expenditure of rapidly increasing amounts of public funds, which created a sentiment among the taxpayers in favor of taking the city's affairs out of politics and placing them upon a purely business basis. Early in 1910 the business men of the city organized a "Charter Government Club," and advocated the adoption of the commission form of government. This form of municipal government had proven very successful in Galveston, Texas, while
recovering from the results of its terrible flood disaster. Des Moines, Ia., had been operating under a commission form of government for several years and was finding it vastly superior to the time-worn alder-manic form. Numerous other progressive cities were adopting it, and at the earnest solicitation of the business men of Muskogee, the City Council reluctantly consented to submit the proposition to the voters of the city. Franklin Miller, Myron White, R. M. Eades, DeRoos
Bailey, Preston C. West, John D. Benedict, A. C. Trumbo and U. L. Jackson were chosen by the voters to write the new charter. The charter provided for four commissioners and a mayor, each to be given entire charge of one department of the city's business and each to be held responsible for the successful management of his department. The charter was adopted, and the Charter Government Club nominated a non-partisan ticket, pledged to put into effect the provisions of the
charter. The politicians, however, who were opposed to the new form of city government because it meant the loss of distribution of city patronage to them, nominated a partisan ticket and elected it.
The city manager appoints all other officers and employees and has power to dismiss any of them whenever, in his judgment, the interests of the city so require. Neither the mayor nor any member of the council has any right to request or recommend any person for appointment to any position except on the request of the manager. The manager is given full authority over the city's business and he is held strictly responsible for results.
The Auto Manufacturing Company employs 100 men, the Cotton Oil Mills sixty men, the Oil Refineries 125 men, the Gas & Electric Company seventy men, the wholesale groceries 225 men, the Muskogee Tool Company fifty men, the Muskogee Iron Works fifty men, the Midland Valley Railroad Shops 325 men, the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad Shops 200 men, the M., K. & T. R. R. Shops 250 men, while the broom factories, mattress factories, tent and awning factories, laundries and other smaller shops and factories give employment to hundreds of men and women.