He was especially concerned in promoting a non-partisan civil service.
It centralizes power in a council of five (mayor and four councilmen), nominated at a non-partisan primary and voted for on a non-partisan ticket by the electors of the entire city, ward divisions having been abolished.
By a law of 1907 cities with a population of 25,000 or more may adopt a commission form of government, with a mayor and four councilmen elected at large on a non-partisan ticket.
Since 1904 the public school system has been administered by a non-partisan Board of Education chosen from the city at large, and not by wards as theretofore.
He reformed the administration of the state canals, making the Canal Commission non-partisan; he introduced the merit system into many of the subordinate offices of the state; and he vigorously urged the passage of and signed the Ford Franchise Act (1899), taxing corporation franchises.