A Revealing Memoir by William A. Morrill on How the U.S. Government Works Behind Closed Doors
A recent NBC/WSJ Poll found that sixty percent of Americans would vote out every single member of Congress, including their own representative. According to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll, President Obama has an approval rating of 43 percent, lower than all recent two-term presidents, with the exception of Richard M. Nixon in 1973. Confidence in government is rocked by government shutdowns, the botched roll out of the Affordable Care Act, the continued slow economic recovery, NSA spying, Governor Christie's Bridgegate and the list goes on.
While these are not good times for the government's image, the timing could not be more acute to show there is another side to public service. William A. Morrill who spent nearly twenty-five years working with the White House inside the Pentagon and through Capitol corridors, just released his memoir, A Journey Through Governance, A Public Servant's Experience Under Six Presidents (Cosimo Books, New York, 2014).
Morrill, who served in the administrations from Eisenhower to Carter, including in the Executive Office of the President and as assistant secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, describes his experience on projects that sound all too familiar even today, such as healthcare reform in the early 1970s, the improvement of emissions standards under the Clean Air Act, the transformation of the telecommunications industries and many other public policy challenges. He served in a broad range of assignments representing nearly all facets of the operation of the federal government. This book, however, is not just a personal memoir of a quintessential public servant. As Morrill writes:
"I want to share an insider's look at events and challenges that are more exciting and historically significant than readers may have guessed. But more important, I want to convey the necessity, even the nobility, of the work of those who serve in government."
Morrill shares tips on how to be an effective bureaucrat and also describes themes and trends during his government service, such as the growing attention to ethics and involvement of the public. He also describes how the executive and legislative branches could improve their effectiveness, while acknowledging that the country will remain in deep trouble if especially Congress doesn't return to the normal course of government business.
It is a testament to William Morrill's work as a public servant and to this book that leading public policy figures have expressed their support and appreciation:
" Morrill brings vast and diverse experience to his views about a subject of critical importance: how we govern ourselves. Among the gems: 'How to Be an Effective Bureaucrat—A Dozen Tips.' Everyone, whether in government or not, can learn from this book."
—George P. Shultz former Secretary of Labor, the Treasury, and State
"In this thoughtful book, Bill Morrill ( … ) writes with insider knowledge and respect for the hard work of doing the public's business amid conflicting pressures."
—Alice M. Rivlin, founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office and former Director of the Office of Management and Budget
"This is a life story everyone will enjoy. You should read this book. and at the end ask yourself this question: 'In my career have I been as privileged as Bill Morrill to be involved in so many important issues and decisions that helped shape the direction of our society? You may alter your opinion of public servants."
—Paul H. O'Neill, former Secretary of the Treasury and former Chairman and CEO of Alcoa
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WILLIAM A. MORRILL served in the administrations of six presidents, from Eisenhower to Carter: at the Pentagon on the Air Force Headquarters staff; in the Executive Office of the President under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter; and as an assistant secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under Presidents Ford and Carter. After leaving government, he was president of Mathematica Policy Research, chief executive and chairman of Mathtech, and a senior fellow at ICF International. Morrill has remained engaged in public-service and public-policy matters in the private sector, including with the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Public Administration. Visit www.williammorrill.com
ABOUT THE EDITOR
JOHN C. LONG worked thirty years at The Courier-Journal in Louisville as a writer, editor, executive, and ombudsman, and ten years as a Wall Street Journal copy editor, sharing in a staff Pulitzer at each paper. He served on the Peace Corps founding staff and received a journalism degree at Ohio Wesleyan University. He teaches journalism at Hofstra and Saint John's Universities and directs the Main Street Free Press Museum in Ohio.
A JOURNEY THROUGH GOVERNANCE A Public Servant's Experience Under Six Presidents
Willaim A. Morrill - Edited by John C. Long -
Cosimo Books, January 2014
Public Policy/Biography/Public Affairs
Paperback, 190 pages, $14.99 / £12.99
ABOUT COSIMO BOOKS
COSIMO BOOKS publishes titles by experts, academics, journalists, and visionaries on topics including Public Affairs, Socially Responsible Business and Personal Development. Cosimo Books, based in New York, is an imprint of Cosimo, Inc., a specialty publisher of books and publications that inspire, inform and engage readers. Cosimo's mission is to create a smart and sustainable society by connecting people with valuable ideas.
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