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JUDGE AND WITNESS.

TO THE EDITOII. Sik,—One of the most remarkable features of the recent bo-called inquiry held by the Education Board was the fact that the chairman descended from the chair and tendered himself as a witness in a dispute between two officers of the Board. In his deliverance at the last meeting he went even further, for he went out of his way to sethia own word against that of the architect, for the purpobe, as he put it, of showing hew unreliable must be Mr Somerville's memory. I refer to the statement regarding the parchase of bricks. The following is the chairman's account of the matter:—"lt came to my knowledge while in Duoedio n June that on the first of tie month <f July the price of bricks was to le .aised from 35s to £2, and I at once asked the secretary to get Mr Somorville to go out to the brickworks the following morning and secure wlnt he icjuired at once. ... I saw him the following forenoon, after he had teen out, and asked him if be had got them, and he said he had." I questioned the correctness of Mr Borrie's account of the matter at the meeting, and stated that the architect said he had arranged to get bricks at 355, without having received any message from the chairman or secretary ou the subject. Having made some further inquiries, I am now in u position to state the facts fully aucl, I believe, with absolute correctness.

Intimation of the probable raising of the price was received from a brickmaker after office hours on a certain day, and by about ten o'clock next morning Mr Somorville wa3 at Shiel'B brickyard at Caversham, * here he arranged for a supply of bricks at 353. Immediately after his return to the office Mr Somerville saw Mr Borrie, and mentioned to him that he had just been to CavcrEham arranging for a supply of bricks, as he had heard the price was to be raised on Ist July. Up to that time neither the chairman nor the secretary had mentioned the subject to the architect. Ido not doubt the accuracy of Mr Borrie's statement that he had requested the secretary on the previous day to "get Mr Somerville to go out to the brickworks the following morning and Becure what he required at once." And when the architeot, on his return from Caversham, mentioned to Mr Borrie that he had just been away securing a supply of bricks Mr 'Borrie naturally coneluded that the architeot had taken action in consequenoe of having received his (Mr Borrie's) message from the secretary. Probably the secretary had not seen Mr Somerville that afternoon, and had intended to give him the chairman's message next morning. However that may be, it is clear to demonstration, from evidence in my possession, that the architect had acted on information received from a brickmaker, and not on any communication received either from the chairman or from the secretary. It was no doubt quite natural for Mr Borrie to conclude that the architect had received his message and acted on it, but he was not justified in denying the correctness of my statement, " that the architect had bought the bricks before he heard anything from the secretory." He did not know whether the secretary had delivered the message or not. I am quite certain I can prove the correctness of my account of the affair to the satisfaction of any intelligent and unbiased person, but I should be sorry to undertake tJ convince Mr Borrie. One thing is quite certain—that Mr Borrie, as chairman of the Board, did a very improper and undignified thing in pitting his word against that of an official of the Board. John Somerville is just aB well known throughout Otago as Donald Borrie is, and quite as highly respected, and his word carries quite as much weight.—l am, etc., J. MacGeegor. Dunedin, September 22.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18970925.2.52.5

Bibliographic details

JUDGE AND WITNESS., Evening Star, Issue 10429, 25 September 1897, Supplement

Word Count
662

JUDGE AND WITNESS. Evening Star, Issue 10429, 25 September 1897, Supplement

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