Arthur Ohnimus, Dads 1st cousin

My father’s 1st cousin Arthur Ohnimus, was the son of his great aunt, Grace Pierce. He was one year old when his Grandparents on his mother’s side both died. The Ohnimus family would have a long legacy in the building of San Francisco, including Stowe Lake in Golden Gate Park.

Arthur Ohnimus

Arthur Ohnimus
Arthur Ohnimus.jpg
31st Chief Clerk of the California State Assembly
In office
8 January 1923 – 4 October 1963[1]
Preceded by Jerome B. Kavanaugh
Succeeded by James D. Driscoll
Personal details
Spouse(s) Bernice Wemple
Profession Attorney

Arthur Allen Ohnimus (1893–1965) was the longest serving Assembly Chief Clerk in California history (1923–1963).[2] He was also the first Chief Administrative Officer of the Assembly Rules Committee (1957–1963). Ohnimus served under 8 Republican and 4 Democratic Speakers of the Assembly during his 37 cumulative years as Chief Clerk. The California Assembly honored the legacy of Arthur Ohnimus on April 1, 2008, when it adopted House Resolution 28. A 10-minute video tribute to Ohnimus was also produced by the Assembly and is now posted online, along with historic documents and informational brochures [1]

In California, the Chief Clerk is a nonpartisan officer of the Legislature, responsible for advising the presiding officer on parliamentary rulings, guiding legislators on legislative procedures, and overseeing the records and votes of the house.[3] Although Ohnimus was registered as a Republican, it was Democratic Speaker Gordon Garland that brought back Ohnimus in January 1941 after a four-year hiatus. In 1958, Ohnimus authored the book, “The Legislature of California.” Ohnimus’s years of Capitol service closely mirrored that of his colleague, Joseph Beek, who served as Secretary of the upper house from 1913 to 1968.

Because the California Legislature was a part-time institution prior to 1967, Ohnimus also maintained full-time outside employment during most of his terms as Chief Clerk: he served as Deputy District Attorney for San Francisco (1924–1944); and Deputy Attorney General of California (1944–1957).

Due to expanding legislative workloads, in 1957 he resigned as Deputy Attorney General to take on the dual legislative roles of Chief Clerk of the Assembly and the newly created position of Chief Administrative Officer of the Assembly Rules Committee. As CAO, he was instrumental in creating the foundation for the modern legislative staff structure in the California Legislature. He created job classifications, salary ranges, and personnel manuals, and laid the groundwork for the transition to a full-time legislature.[4] He was routinely re-elected as Chief Clerk unanimously by Democratic and Republican members of the Assembly each year he sought office.

Ohnimus retired at age 70 in 1963. 

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