History of the Commission

The Little Hoover Commission’s name and function derive from the federal Commission on Organization of the U.S. Executive Branch, unofficially dubbed the “Hoover Commission” after its chair, former President Herbert Hoover (R).

Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover in the White House
Former President Harry S. Truman (left) and former President Herbert Hoover (right) at the White House, February 7, 1951. Source: Truman Library. Photo by Matthew J. Connelly Papers.

An Act of Congress created the initial “Hoover Commission” in 1947 during the administration of President Harry S. Truman (D) and it operated through 1949. The Act charged its commission’s 12 members with developing recommendations to increase government efficiency and improve the organizational structure of the federal executive branch by reducing – through consolidation or elimination – the number of departments or creating new bodies as needed. Commission members were appointed by the President and Congress to represent the legislative and executive branches, as well as the public and private sectors, in a bipartisan manner. More than 70 percent of the commission’s 273 recommendations were fully or partially implemented, resulting in an extensive reorganization of the executive branch of the federal government following its years of explosive growth during the Great Depression and World War II.

California Assemblymember Milton Marks authored legislation enacted in 1961 creating the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy. The legislature fashioned California’s Commission, like its federal predecessor, as a bipartisan panel charged with making state operations more efficient and effective. It differed in that it was established and operates with modest resources and without reference to any specific government problem.

Senator Marks served on the commission from 1962 until 1993. To honor him, the Legislature in 1993 renamed the agency the Milton Marks “Little Hoover Commission” on California State Government Organization and Economy.