Publication 216, The First 100 Years


Executive Secretaries

E. W. Maslin


Edwin Wesley Maslin was born in Maryland April 1, 1834. He emigrated to California and arrived in Grass Valley, Nevada County, May 15, 1853. Here, he engaged in mining and located the famous Idaho mine. Maslin began studying law in September 1855 and was admitted to the State Bar in 1857. In 1859, he was elected District Attorney for Nevada County. Maslin moved to Sacramento in 1869 where he served as Secretary of the Judiciary Committee. In 1870 he was appointed Secretary of the State Board of Equalization until a change of administration in April 1872. Maslin served as Governor William Irwin’s private secretary from 1876 to 1880 when he was again selected as Secretary of the State Board of Equalization. He held this office until the spring of 1891, when he assumed management of the State Board of Trade. On March 1, 1894, he was appointed Deputy to the Naval Officer of Customs in San Francisco. Maslin died in Alameda June 24, 1919 at the age of 85.

Charles M. Coglan


Charles M. Coglan was born at sea around 1848. When he was very young, his family left England and settled in Canada. In 1867 he came to Sacramento, California where he was to spend the remainder of his life. Coglan was an expert telegrapher and at age 21 he became local manager of the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company in Sacramento. Later he served as Deputy County Clerk (1880) and soon after as County Clerk (1884) Mr. Coglan also served for a number of years as a train dispatcher for the Central Pacific Railroad. From 1878 to 1879 he was Secretary to the Drainage Commission, and in 1891 he became Secretary of the State Board of Equalization. He remained Secretary of the Board until his death July 13, 1905.

Thomas M. Eby


Thomas M. Eby was born in Tehama County, California November 13, 1863. He began his career at the age of 12 when he became assistant to his father, Jackson Eby, Assessor of Tehama County. His ability earned him the position of Deputy County Assessor at age 17. Eby entered the Internal Revenue Service, but he soon left for a position in the State Controller’s office. In 1891 he became Executive Secretary to Governor Henry H. Markham and later the Governor’s Private Secretary. At the conclusion of Markham’s term, Eby worked in the office of the Attorney General; however, he returned to the Controller’s office as a deputy when the next Legislature convened, and he served for twelve years. In 1905 Eby became Secretary of the State Board of Equalization and served until his death April 23, 1919.

M. D. Lack


The son of pioneer parents, Morris Dempse Lack was born in Shasta County, California December 25, 1873. He began his career as Deputy Sheriff of Shasta County in 1902. In 1907, Lack was elected to his first of three terms as Shasta County Assessor. He resigned in his third four-year term to become Secretary of the State Board of Equalization. Lack resigned March 25, 1926 to become Vice-Chairman and Tax Counselor of the California Taxpayers Association of Los Angeles. He joined the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 1930 as manager of the tax department and was promoted to special counselor of the company in 1947. He died in November 1952.

Dixwell L. Pierce


Dixwell Pierce was born on a ranch in Davis September 11, 1897. He earned his doctorate in law from the University of California in 1921 and was admitted to the California Bar that same year. Before joining state service Pierce engaged in private law practice in San Francisco from 1921 to 1923. From 1923 to 1925 he was a member of the staff of California’s Attorney General. In 1926 he became a Deputy Attorney General and in 1926 began his career as Executive Secretary for the State Board of Equalization. During Pierce’s long term, the Board staff grew from seven to 2500 employees. He retired from the Board in 1963 and died shortly thereafter on August 22, 1964.

Herbert F. Freeman


Herbert Freeman was born in San Francisco September 1, 1908. He earned both his bachelor and masters degrees from the University of California in Berkeley, majoring in accounting and business administration. Freeman entered state service in 1934 as an accountant for the Department of Finance. He joined the staff of the newly created Department of Employment in 1936 as a senior accountant and was subsequently promoted to Departmental Accounting Officer, Comptroller, and finally to Assistant Director of the Department in 1953. In July 1963, Freeman was appointed Executive Secretary of the State Board of Equalization. He retired December 30, 1971.

William W. Dunlop


William Wallace Dunlop was born in San Anselmo, Marin County, California April 22, 1916. His family moved to the Phillipines two years later. Dunlop returned to California to complete his education. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. After graduation, Dunlop worked for Pacific Telephone for two years before joining the California Public Utilities Commission as a junior engineer in 1939. He eventually rose to the highest staff position in 1965 when he became Executive Secretary of the Commission and served for six and one-half years. In 1971 he was appointed Executive Secretary of the State Board of Equalization. Dunlop retired from the Board May 1, 1977.

Douglas D. Bell


Douglas Bell was born in Sacramento, California May 15, 1925. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. Bell joined the Board of Equalization in 1947 as a junior accountant auditor. He worked his way through the ranks and during his thirty years of service with the Board, he was instrumental in virtually every major organizational and systems change within the Board. In May 1977, Bell was unanimously chosen by the Board to succeed William Dunlop as Executive Secretary of the State Board of Equalization. He is the first Board employee ever to have achieved this distinction.