Department of Finance Directors

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John Carr

August 1, 1959 to June 30, 1961

John Carr was appointed Director of Finance by Governor Edmund G. Brown on August 1, 1959. Carr was born in 1898 in Pembina, North Dakota. His father, Harry Carr was a banker. Carr attended public schools in Porterville, California, and later entered Stanford University. He trained as a naval aviator during World War I but was never sent overseas. After the war, he worked in the cattle business in Nevada and an automobile business in California before he returned to finish his undergraduate degree at Stanford in 1923. Carr graduated in 1925, studying law, taxation, and economics. After college, he passed the Foreign Service examination in Washington, D.C., but soon returned to California when the Great Depression hit. Carr worked as a vice president and general manager of Buffum’s, a large department store, in Long Beach, California until his appointment.

Carr had never met Brown when he received a phone call from the Governor asking him to be the next Director of Finance. He was described as a director who caught onto the work of the office quickly. He was involved in numerous efforts, such as charging the southern California offices of the Farm Placement Service for misuse of state property and reorganizing the state’s printing system. He resigned his post to become Chairman of the Board of Otis-McAllister and Company of San Francisco, an import-export firm. Brown appointed Carr a member of the state College Board of Trustees and Co-Chairman of the Governor’s Business Advisory Council after his departure from Finance.