Thursday, April 8, 2010

Malfeasance, Misfeasance and Nonfeasance

Despite their attempts at transparency, the management of most Confederate soldiers’ homes faced accusations of misfeasance at some time or other. Many of the charges (and subsequent investigations) were sparked by political opponents, disgruntled ex-employees or discontented inmates.

Management of the Georgia Confederate Home came under scrutiny in 1906 when Representative Williams of Laurens County (Ga.) said “that the food and clothing supplied the inmates is of inferior quality, some of it actually bad, though the state furnishes enough money to provide the old soldiers with the best.”

Williams went on to accuse the superintendent of skimming from the food and clothing budget for personal enrichment. He called for a committee of legislators to investigate.

Charges such as these usually resulted in visits to the home by a state delegation, a financial audit and an eventual announcement to the press that everything was on the up-and-up. (Though I haven’t studied every home comprehensively, I’ve never read of a soldiers’ home superintendent or board member fired for misapplication of funds.)

(See Ocala (Fla.) Evening Star, August 15, 1906.)

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