Publication 216, The First 100 Years


Housing A Growing Staff

In 1924, the Board of Equalization occupied two rooms-numbers—14 and 15—in the southeast corner of the Capitol Building, inner corridor. The entire roster totaled eleven: five Board Members, the Executive Secretary, and five employees. The Members were John C. Corbett, San Francisco, First District; John Mitchell, Oakland, Second District; Richard E. Collins, Redding, Chairman, Third District; Harvey G. Cattell, Los Angeles, Fourth District; and Ray L. Riley, San Bernardino, State Controller. Morris D. Lack was the Executive Secretary. The staff consisted of the following five employees: Fred Wylie, chief clerk; Irene Cook, stenographer; Catherine Carey, typist; Mr. Eberhardt, clerk; and W. H. Schmick, field auditor, Los Angeles. One seven-passenger Studebaker was the Board’s only automobile, assigned to the custody of the Executive Secretary. The Board Members rode together to the various county assessor offices where problems existed. The Board Members’ salary at that time was $4,000 per year.

In 1926 Lack resigned as Executive Secretary and was replaced by Dixwell Pierce. The Board acquired office space in State Office Building Number One at 915 Capitol Mall. However, the growth of staff and the need for expansion required the Board to lease space in the Mull Building, located at the northeast corner of L and Tenth Streets, one block from Office Building One, both within one-half block of the Capitol.

In the early 1920s, the population in southern California was expanding rapidly, and there was tremendous growth in business. In 1927 the Board decided to open an office in Los Angeles, and sent John J. Campbell to Los Angeles on a two-week assignment to open that office. That assignment lasted sixteen years. He returned to Sacramento in 1943 to succeed T. H. Mugford as the Board’s Sales Tax Administrator.

Administering the sales tax proved to be an enormous undertaking. Accordingly the Board established thirteen regional administrative district offices, to cope with the new workload, and to provide better services to the state's taxpayers.

In Sacramento, the Board remained in the Mull Building for more than six years, but as the staff grew to meet the growth of the state and its tax programs, larger quarters were needed. In 1940, the Board moved to the newly constructed Business and Professions Building at 1020 N Street, now known as the Consumer Affairs Building. By the mid-1960s the staff had grown to approximately 2,200; in 1980, the total was 2,600. As the Board began its second century, it occupied most of the Consumer Affairs Building as headquarters, plus additional office space it has been compelled to lease in privately owned buildings in and near downtown Sacramento.