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1302-001 1 of 2

COUNCIL OF EXECUTIVES OF STATE AGENCIES/

STATE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS AND EXECUTIVES

On July 7, 1941 Governor Walter W. Bacon addressed a meeting of the presidents and executives of all state agencies. During his presentation he described the economic and social situation of the state and called upon those present to demand and maintain the highest of standards for each of their agencies while “eliminating duplication and unnecessary work, curtailing all capital improvements and striving for better inter-agency cooperation.”1 Choosing not to employ a “technician” from out of state to streamline Delaware’s government, Governor Bacon created two councils at the July conference: “The Council of Presidents of all Boards of State Agencies” and “The Council of Executives of all State agencies.”

During the first months of existence the councils discussed and analyzed the problems that existed within the state prior to World War II. With the entry within the state prior to World War II. With the entry of the United States into World War II the councils changed their emphasis to an analysis of Delaware’s response to and participation in the war effort, making suggestions to the Governor and communities on such issues as air raids, problems of evacuation and sanitation, and blackouts. The councils still addressed matters of concern to all state employees: salaries, wages, working hours, work conditions, and the absence of a retirement plan.

The council’s executives met thirteen times during the first year of existence, appointing committees to study specific problems that existed before the war and would need to be confronted after the war. After seeing the initial reports, Governor Bacon requested the president of the Council of Executives to appoint an Executive Committee to prepare a report on the state of state agencies and include with the report specific recommendations. The report, which was initially confidential, addressed both general (i.e., necessary changes involving all state agencies, restrictions, and new methods of expenditures) and specific (i.e., education, health and sanitation, hospitals, charitable agencies, and correctional institutions) issues that demanded consideration by the Governor and action by the legislature.2

In 1943 Governor Bacon appointed a State Post War Planning Commission which consisted of both councils. Its task was to prepare specific programs for the future operation of Delaware. The councils of executives as a whole were charged with the task of submitting detailed agency reports to the Commission upon which they would base their blueprint for Delaware’s future.3

In 1945, in an effort to eliminate duplication of efforts by the councils Governor Bacon suggested a merger of the two. In July of 1945 the Council of Executives of State Agencies joined together and the State Council of Presidents and Executives was formed. This Council continued in existence until 1970 advising the Governor on specific needs and programs within the state.

Some of the programs the State Council of Presidents and Executives were instrumental in implementing in Delaware are the Family Court system, the first uniform pension and retirement act, monitoring the evaluation of an effective highway system, and assistance with formation of uniform personnel policies with the state.

In 1969 Governor Russell W. Peterson through an executive order created a task force on government reorganization. Its primary goal was to study “methods for implementing the consolidation of the existing agencies of the executive branch of the government and the establishment of a cabinet form of government...”4 The minutes of the State Council of Presidents and Executives for the year 1969-1970 document the actions of the Governor as he directed the movement of Delaware to a cabinet form of government. While Governor Peterson expressed appreciation to the State Council of Presidents and Executives for their work and advice in the past, it appears that, upon finalization of the Governor’s cabinet, this organization ceased to exist.

Just as there is no official order or action creating the council, there is no official record of its demise.

1302-001 2 of 2

COUNCIL OF EXECUTIVES OF STATE AGENCIES/

STATE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS AND EXECUTIVES

1 Report to Governor Walter Bacon, July 31, 1942, pg. 1.

2 Ibid., pp. 2-17.

3 October 21, 1943 letter to members of the Council of Executives; Historical Statement of the Councils, February 9, 1949.

4 Executive Order Number Seven, Governor Russell W. Peterson, June 23, 1969.

sle; November 14, 1988; December 30, 1988; February 1, 1989