Administrative Reorganization Code of 1921

From Ohio History Central
Columbus, Ohio Aerial View.jpg
Aerial view of downtown Columbus, Ohio, ca. 1930-1945. The American Insurance Union Citadel (now known as LeVeque Tower), Ohio Statehouse, State Office Building and Columbus City Hall are pictured.

Following World War I, many Americans, including numerous Ohioans, sought a more efficient and smaller government at the state and federal levels. The Administrative Reorganization Code of 1921 addressed these concerns by reordering the Ohio state government. This legislation dramatically increased the governor's power, giving him the power to appoint the directors of eight separate administrative departments. The governor was to consult with the Ohio Senate before making appointments, but he did not have to follow the senators' advice. The eight departments were finance, commerce, highways and public works, agriculture, health, industrial relations, education, and public welfare. Each director had complete control over his or her respective department, but the directors served at the will of the governor. The Ohio legislature passed this legislation as an "emergency measure," and Governor Harry Lyman Davis, a member of the Republican Party, signed it into law in April 1921. If the legislature and the governor did not pass the bill by this means, Ohio voters could have demanded a referendum on the measure. Fearing that Democrats in the state would vote down the issue if it went to the people, the governor and legislature sought a legal but questionable means to guarantee the code's enactment. This new administrative system streamlined the Ohio state government dramatically by cutting thirty-seven agencies, boards, commissions, and offices.