Perspectives on Fred and His Leadership
Presented at the Fred Hayes Celebration
on December 13, 2002
It's hard to imagine anything more dangerous than Steve Isenberg and a microphone, except perhaps Jerry Mechling and a PowerPoint presentation.
My father's career revolved around the ideas that government could be a force for good ... that effective government could do more good ... and that talented people in government made the difference.
My father taught us that government was there to help people. It seemed obvious. They seem like alien ideas in the face of today's government, driven by ambition for power and fueled by fear.
My father worked very hard. He was dedicated to the Budget Bureau. Even when he wasn't working, it was always there. One time, we were in a campground in the Adirondacks when a ranger came by to tell my father that he had an urgent call from the Budget Bureau.
I once told my father that George, somebody we both knew, got to work at 5:00 in the morning. When I got to work the next day, George wandered by my desk and mentioned that my father had called him shortly after 5:00 in the morning to see if it was really true. My father understood me well enough to know that I couldn't possibly know that George was in based on "personal" observation. And since I hadn't made the observation myself, it was suspect. You might describe it as skepticism, but I like what George said better: He said, "Your father is a dedicated empiricist."
And he was. My father could be sloppy about his appearance. But he was never sloppy about the facts. He always knew the difference between "What do we Think? ... What do we Know? ... What can we Prove?" My mother once had a conversation with a friend of my father's ... unfortunately I forget who ... in which she described him as a liberal. My father's friend said something like "He always fought the fight, but sometimes we wondered if he really believed". Of course, he believed, but that didn't mean he was going to give his own side any slack with the facts.
Nonetheless, my father was always willing to try out new ideas. But he wouldn't believe in one until he saw it proven. One thing he did believe in was ALL OF YOU. He believed in all of the talented people he had worked with. He was exceptionally proud of his colleagues ... the people he recruited ... the people he mentored. He was always talking about what each of you had gone on to.
He believed that all of you were very special. And given this fabulous effort this evening in his memory, I have to regard that fact as proven.