Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William G. Colman
My first duty was in the Office of Naval Officer Procurement (ONOP), First Naval District headquarters in Boston. That involved interviewing civilians applying for commissions in the Navy. Then I was transferred to the Naval Training Station at Bainbridge, Maryland where I later became the Selection Officer in the Station's personnel office. My staff and I were in charge of selecting or assigning graduating recruits to various kinds of duties, filling orders coming into the Training Station for personnel with various qualifications. By that time IBM was a well-known firm, and we were putting the qualifications of these people on punch cards and then when they needed people with certain backgrounds we would make the selection and fill the order.
In the spring 1945 I was transferred to Washington with the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, where I again was in what you might say was the central management of the duty selection process over the country. I made a lot of field trips to particular stations to see how things were going. I was demobilized in February of 1946. A trip to a Navy conference in San Francisco in January had allowed me to go up to Salem, Oregon and be interviewed for the position of State Civil Service Director and I was selected for the position prior to leaving military service. I reported to Salem two days following demobilization.
For the first time, I had state-wide personnel management jurisdiction over all the departments. In Missouri and Louisiana my duties had been confined to the merit system mandated agencies by the Federal Government under the Social Security Act. Again in Oregon, I started from scratch and got rules set up and positions classified. The governor already had the Civil Service Commission comprised of three members, the chairman of which was Samuel Chambers. They had contracted with the Public Administration Service (PAS) to classify the jobs in the state government, so that was pretty well underway. We proceeded and set up the rules, the salary ranges, and the examination processes by which registers would be set up and so forth. I arrived there in early 1946 and left in the summer of 1947.
Q: You got quite a bit done in one year.
COLMAN: It was fifteen months. I arrived in Salem in February of 1946 and left in June of 1947. I came back to Washington and settled down in the same apartment building at 14th and Clifton Streets, in which I had lived when I was stationed in the Navy Department. I began looking around for employment and I was told that Sam Board, a personnel recruiter for the State Department, was looking for a personnel and civil service experienced person to assist in modernizing the Greek government in Athens, as a part of President Truman's program for aiding Greece and Turkey in their post-war rehabilitation endeavors. So I was selected to go over as a Personnel Specialist in the American Mission for Aid to Greece (AMAG).
Q: This is to Athens?