Hi! I'm Arthur Murray author of The Badass Bureaucrat - A Memoir, published in 2009. It's available in paperback or a 6-CD audiobook set.
It's a story that tells about my growing up during the Great Depression chasing that great American Dream. You will find it an amazing tale of adventure, risk and pure luck as I maneuvered up the U. S Army monolith searching for success. I fought hard to hold my own against bitter, zealous insiders.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) said, "Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare."
I did and it paid off big!
This book gives a close-up view of how entrenched officials deceived and defrauded taxpayers to achieve their ends.
I first entered their darkened and mysterious world as a junior U.S. Army Audit Agency auditor in Seattle. I soon learned that they had their own agenda, promoting self- interest over the public interest.
Motivated by power, money and greed, they operated with apparent impunity despite laws and regulations against fraud, waste and abuse. They excelled at talking the talk but fell short of walking the walk (legal compliance).
Here's an illustration that I once witnessed at a Pentagon decision briefing:
A Brigadier General voted "Yes" to acquire an antiquated computer hardware system costing millions although it was pure junk.
Why? You guessed it. It was too risky for him to vote against the chairman, a Lieutenant General who might turn him down at his next promotion hearing.
I often found myself questioning their decisions in an atmosphere filled with suspicion and acrimony. Within that setting I dealt with a mix of opportunists, cronies, yes-men, and entrenched power clusters.
- Although they paid lip service to modern management theory and practice, their actions said otherwise. Their message: If you want to get along then you better go along.
- Good managers urged workers to cooperate, coordinate, communicate, be accountable and reap rewards.
- Conversely, bad ones rewarded their friends and punished their enemies.
- So, these were the conditions under which I worked. I had entered The Federal Civil Service in 1962 pledging to uphold the public trust like so many other jobseekers. Pay, benefits and job security were attractive. But Congress had capped pay according to grade thereby limiting how much one could earn.
- I later saw how these seamy and sordid bureaucrats circumvented the system to feather their own nest.
- Throughout my long career I saw this pattern of fraud, waste and abuse repeated over and over again. It was rampant.
- However, it was easily dwarfed by the colossal waste throughout our entire government. Consider the $19.3 billion paid to Halliburton in single-source contracts; or, the fact that a contractor working as an Iraq security guard got about $400,000 a year versus a soldier who might have gotten $40,000; Or, a recent audit that revealed the Defense Dept. purchased and then left unused $100 million in commercial airline tickets; Or, $5.8 million in abused credit card purchases by Dept. of Agriculture employees.
- Later I would publish an article in the Armed Forces Magazine entitled, "Wanted a Few Good Men" identifying reforms needed to reinvigorate the Federal Civil Service. (See Appendix A). A turning point came in 1968 when I was given some good advice by a senior Army careerist:
- "Art, you've heard that, a rolling stone gathers no moss. Well, I believe a rolling stone gathers greater luster".
It significantly raised my fortunes and I became a rolling stone going almost anywhere if it were advantageous.
That stone finally rolled to a rest at Fort Lewis in 1998 where I retired but not before I faced my biggest challenge yet.
The audiobook consists of six cds narrated by voiceover professional, Colin Campbell. The paperback consists of 158 pages including 24 photos.
They can be ordered direct from my website at a reduced price or through Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.