Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with James W. Martin, March 17, 1981

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Chandler Administration--Funding the University of Kentucky Medical Center

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with James W. Martin for the Alumni/Faculty Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: James W. Martin discusses why and how Governor Happy Chandler decided to fund the creation of a medical center at the University of Kentucky, and why Chandler also provided funds for the University of Louisville.

Keywords: Budget; Discussions; Expectations; Finance; Funding; Governor Happy Chandler; University of Kentucky Medical Center; University of Louisville Medical School

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; College benefactors; College facilities--Planning.; Politicians; Politics and government; Universities and colleges--Finance; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine; University of Kentucky. Medical Center; University of Louisville. Medical Department

00:06:18 - Martin's preparation for becoming Commissioner of Finance

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Partial Transcript: Had you--a, again you had an inkling that you might be asked. In other words, he had talked to you about this--

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about accepting the offer to be Governor Chandler's Commissioner of Finance. He talks about his previous work and experience that prepared him to take such a position. He talks about his personal goals while in the position.

Keywords: Acceptance; Architects; Budgets; Commissioner of Revenue; Consultants; Contacts; Education; Expectations; Experience; Financial administration; Money; Objectives; Plans; Preparation; Procedures; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Economics.; Kentucky. Department of Finance; Politics and government; United States--Economic policy.

GPS: View photo of James W. Martin
Map Coordinates: http://kdl.kyvl.org/catalog/xt73j960633j_19_122
00:17:55 - Chandler Administration--Choosing staff for the Department of Finance

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Partial Transcript: Did you have a free hand with the staffing of your own--

Segment Synopsis: Martin discusses choosing the members of the Department of Finance who would be working under him. He talks about why he discussed these matters with Governor Chandler, why he tried to keep as many people as possible who were already there, and why he dismissed a few employees.

Keywords: Budget staff; Choices; Clerks; Director of Budget; Employees; Experience; Functions; Governor Happy Chandler; Hiring; McGuire; Personnel division; Personnel management; Political appointments; Staff

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Finance; Politicians; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

00:25:41 - Martin's leadership style

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Partial Transcript: As an administrator, um, how would you describe your leadership style?

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about his leadership style and his philosophy on administration.

Keywords: Administration; Administrators; Chief engineers; Control; Delegation; Divisions; Engineering staff; Leadership styles; Management; Responsibility; Staff; University of Kentucky Medical Center; Unobtrusive

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Kentucky. Department of Finance; State governments--Officials and employees

00:33:48 - Typical routine as Commissioner of Finance

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Partial Transcript: Um, I'm sure you didn't really have what could be called a typical day.

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about the administrative decisions he made in his early days as Commissioner of Finance. He talks about the work of purchasing agents, and a scandal that occurred around the time of the end of World War II.

Keywords: Commissioner of Revenue; Control; Corruption; Director of Purchases; Engineers; Interviewing; Policies; Routines; Typical days; Vendors

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Kentucky. Department of Finance; Kentucky. Department of Revenue; State governments--Officials and employees

00:41:42 - Chandler Administration--More on Department of Finance staff

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Partial Transcript: Did you use the first Chandler Administration that you had been pretty intimately involved with, as a role model in any way?

Segment Synopsis: Martin discusses the differences between the Department of Revenue and the Department of Finance. He tells a story about an employee of the Finance Department and her work with the Department of Education.
[An interruption in taping occurs during this segment.]

Keywords: Budget analysts; Budget staff; Chandler Administration; Contact; Dr. Robert R. Martin; Education Department; Experience; Governor Happy Chandler; Governor's Cabinet; Personnel; Problems; Relationships; Similarities; Superintendent of public instruction

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Education; Kentucky. Department of Finance; Kentucky. Department of Revenue

00:52:36 - Chandler Administration--Commissioner of Conservation Laban Jackson

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Partial Transcript: Well, what I'd like to do would be to go over the Cabinet, or most of the members in it, talk about your relationship with each of them briefly and your possible recollections of them as persons or individuals.

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about his limited contact with Charles Allphin, Commissioner of State Welfare. He talks about Laban Jackson, Commissioner of Conservation, and the issues he had with Violet Kilgore who Governor Chandler appointed as Director of Parks. He tells a story about Jackson defying Governor Chandler's wishes on another issue.

Keywords: Appointments; Bardstown (Ky.); Budget staff; Cabinet members; Chandler Administration; Commissioner Charles Allphin; Commissioner of Conservation; Commissioner of State Welfare; Contact; Director of Parks; Governor Happy Chandler; Governor's Cabinet; Instructions; Laban Jackson; Problems; Relationships; Shows; Speeches; Stephen Foster Story; Violet Kilgore

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Welfare; State governments--Officials and employees

GPS: Bardstown (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.815556, -85.463056
01:06:35 - Chandler Administration--Commissioner of Economic Security Vego Barnes

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Partial Transcript: Another member of the Cabinet is Vego Barnes.

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about Vego Barnes, the Commissioner of Economic Security. He talks about when Barnes was appointed and discusses his relationship with Barnes. He talks about how Barnes and another administrator stayed in their positions from the first Chandler Administration to the second.

Keywords: Administration; Cabinet members; Delegation; Department heads; Governor's Cabinet; Head of department; Social Security Act

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Kentucky. Department of Health; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

01:11:07 - Chandler Administration--Commissioner of Health Dr. Russell Teague

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Partial Transcript: Why don't we talk about Dr. Teague a little bit?

Segment Synopsis: Martin describes Dr. Teague, Commissioner of Health, his abilities as an administrator, and the difficulty of administration in the Health Department. He discusses Teague's involvement with the building of the University of Kentucky Medical Center, along with Bill Willard.

Keywords: Abilities; Administration; Administrators; Bill Willard; Commissioner of Health; County health administration; Dr. Russell Teague; Field personnel; Howard Bost

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Kentucky. Department of Health; State governments--Officials and employees; University of Kentucky. Medical Center

01:19:12 - Chandler Administration--Commissioner of Highways Robert Humphreys

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Partial Transcript: Um, another man I'd like to talk about would be, uh--I guess I should talk about him now rather than later, would be Robert Humphreys. Bob Humphreys.

Segment Synopsis: Martin discusses Robert Humphreys, Commissioner of Highways. He discusses Judge Daniel Talbot, also a member of the Chandler Administration. He talks about the character of each man and their careers in government.

Keywords: Abilities; Alcoholism; Chandler Administration; Department heads; Governor Happy Chandler; Head of department; Highway Department; Judge Daniel Talbot; Pressure; Relationships; Resignation; Standards

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Highways; Political ethics; Politicians; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

01:29:24 - Chandler Administration--Commissioner of Public Safety Peab Widener

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Partial Transcript: Let me go on, however, at this time anyway. Peab Widener.

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about Peab Widener, Commissioner of Public Safety (or Commissioner of Police), and discusses how administration of this department differs from the administration of most other departments of government.

Keywords: Commissioner of Police; Field personnel; Kentucky State Police; Police administration; Police chiefs; Supervision; Ted Bassett

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Kentucky. Department of Health; Kentucky. Department of Public Safety; State governments--Officials and employees

01:33:55 - Chandler Administration--Commissioner of Revenue James Luckett

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Partial Transcript: Another man whom I think you know real well, uh, is Jim Luckett.

Segment Synopsis: Martin discusses James Luckett, Commissioner of Revenue, and talks about his administrative abilities. He discusses Ward Oates, Luckett's assistant who later also served as Commissioner of Revenue, as well as serving as Martin's Deputy Commissioner of Finance.

Keywords: Abilities; Administrators; Clyde Reeves; Commissioner of Revenue; Internal administration; Jim Luckett; Law; Organization; Relationships; Ward Oates

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Kentucky. Department of Revenue; State governments--Officials and employees

01:42:26 - Chandler Administration--Executive Secretary Harry Davis

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Partial Transcript: Another person whom you mentioned just a few minutes ago, uh, was Harry Davis, who was--

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about Governor Chandler's Executive Secretary or office manager, Harry Davis. Davis was a student of Martin's at the University of Kentucky. Martin talks about Davis' relationship with Chandler. He talks about other administrators, including Chandler's Press Secretaries.

Keywords: Administration; Commissioner of Public Relations; Consultants; Decision-making; Easterly; Experience; G. M. Pedley; Influence; Money; Press Secretary; Research; William Pate

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Kentucky. Department of Finance; Kentucky. Department of Public Relations; Kentucky. Department of Revenue; State governments--Officials and employees

01:51:44 - Chandler Administration--Lieutenant Governor Harry Lee Waterfield

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Partial Transcript: The Lieutenant Governor was Harry Lee Waterfield.

Segment Synopsis: Martin discusses Harry Lee Waterfield, Lieutenant Governor during the Chandler Administration. He talks about Waterfield's administrative abilities, and tells a story about an issue between Waterfield and himself regarding the mandatory retirement policy.
[An interruption in taping occurs during this segment.]

Keywords: Abilities; Chandler Administration; Fired; Functions; Governor Happy Chandler; Insurance; Issues; Management; Mandatory retirement; Policies; Regulations; Relationships; Supporters

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Highways; Politicians; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

02:03:20 - Chandler Administration--Advisers Clifford Smith and Joe Leary

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Partial Transcript: Um, Governor Chandler had two close advisors. One was Clifford Smith and the other was Joe Leary.

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about Governor Chandler's legal advisers Clifford Smith and Joe Leary, who once were partners. He discusses why the two split, and the types of consultation they provided Chandler.

Keywords: Advisors; Attorneys; Chandler Administration; Contacts; Court cases; Friends; Governor Happy Chandler; Judges; Lawyers; Partners; Politicians

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Revenue; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

02:10:54 - Chandler Administration--Cabinet meetings

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Partial Transcript: Of all those people we've talked about, who was the most influential with Chandler?

Segment Synopsis: Martin says that Robert Humphreys and Harry Davis were the most influential people in regard to Governor Chandler's decisions. He talks about the general function of the Cabinet meetings, and the sharing of knowledge between Cabinet members.

Keywords: Cabinet meetings; Cabinet members; Chandler Administration; Changes; Common knowledge; Departments; Functions; Governor Happy Chandler; Harry Davis; Influential; Interests; Laban Jackson; Leadership; Policy decisions; Policy explanations; Problems; Robert Humphreys; Sharing

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Politicians; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

02:18:21 - Chandler Administration--Removing disloyal personnel

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Partial Transcript: Let me jump from discussing the various members of the Cabinet and administrators to some of the first actions of the Administration.

Segment Synopsis: Martin discusses a directive from Governor Chandler to "remove all offensively disloyal people from state jobs," and Martin's response to these types of issues. He tells a story about conducting an investigation on a woman who was leaking stories about government administration that would have been embarrassing.

Keywords: Actions; Chandler administration; Continuity; Directives; Disloyalty; Embarrassment; Governor Happy Chandler; Help; Information agents; Investigation; Personnel; Replacements; Resignation; Responses; Staff; State jobs

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Finance; Politicians; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees

02:26:27 - Chandler Administration--Financial conditions

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Partial Transcript: You, um--well, Governor Chandler expressed some concern at the beginning when he took over, um, about the financial condition of--or the financial condition left by the Wetherby Administration.

Segment Synopsis: Martin talks about the conditions of the state's finances when Governor Wetherby left office and Governor Chandler took over. He talks about how this affected the policies of the Department of Finance. He talks about Chandler's complaints about the Wetherby Administration budget. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Chandler administration; Complaints; Concerns; Criticism; Departments; Funding; Funds; Governor Happy Chandler; Governor Lawrence Wetherby; Issues; Money; Newspapers; Problems; Resources; Spending; Studies

Subjects: Administrative agencies.; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Kentucky. Department of Finance; Politicians; Politics and government; State governments--Officials and employees; Wetherby, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Winchester), 1908-