Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

DorobekInsider: Meet “the good bureaucrat” — Dwight Ink

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Government workers generally despise the term “bureaucrat” — mostly because it has all sorts of negative connotations. Generally politicians use it dripping with derision as they scoff at the work done by government workers. And so the term has come to be synonymous with red tape and government problems.

Today on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to “the good bureaucrat” — Dwight Ink.

Giving credit where credit is due, the idea comes from William Eggers, global director of Deloitte’s public sector research program and co-author of the wonderful book If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government. (Hear Eggers here.) Eggers and his co-author John O’Leary of Harvard University, have a column in Government Executive today titled, “The Silent Leader,” in which they write about Dwight Ink.

History tends to adore the person at the helm, the president who calls the shots from the Oval Office. Overlooked are the bureaucrats who actually carry out the commands. Out of the limelight, Ink served seven consecutive presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan. Now retired, this unassuming bureaucrat was often the one doing the heavy lifting.

Read the full column here.

But Eggers got me photos of Ink through the years.

Kennedy & Test Ban

Kennedy & Nuclear Space

LBJ & Alaskan Recovery

LBJ & HUD Leadership

Nixon & Ink

Ford & Arab Embargo

Reagan & CSA Closeout

Bush & Agency Termination

Written by cdorobek

January 14, 2010 at 4:54 PM

One Response

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  1. O was privileged to serve as an elected member of the National Executive Council of the merican society for Public Admistration with Dwight Ink. Imagine, here I wasa Holocaust survivor , with a considerable background in serving the US , yet witha foreugn accent, being discriminated vigorously by the bueaucrats so much when ifunctioned at the =executive level in ASPA I was relegated to no more than a GS 13level as a result of extreme bigotry then because I had an accent. I retired of course as soon as I was eligible almost 18 years ago. I received the Distinguished Career Service Award by the Us Secretary of Labor 5month s after i had retired. I had beenselectedas a Woodrow Wilson fellow, had a masters of arts from Johns Hopkins University in advanced international studies , and even wassent while in the government to a seminar at Harvard U, yet never could get beyond a GS-13 level. I had to endure the most vicious bigotry ./

    Fred Kahn

    July 3, 2010 at 2:11 AM

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