A. Ernest Fitzgerald never knew it, inspired a whole generation of civil servants. Here is a quote from Jason Vest's Government Executive story written on the occasion of "Ernie's" retirement:
For most veteran Defense Department civil servants, the Pentagon would be the logical place for a retirement ceremony. But in the case of A. Ernest "Ernie" Fitzgerald, 80, it seemed only fitting that on Feb. 27, the symbolic finish to a unique career in federal service would not be there but in a hearing room at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
It was in a similar room in 1968, that Fitzgerald, then a civilian Air Force analyst, candidly told Sen. William Proxmire's Joint Economic Committee about a likely $2.3 billion cost overrun in the Air Force's C-5 cargo aircraft program. And it was there on Capitol Hill that Fitzgerald's real career - as Washington's most famous and tenacious whistleblower - began.
He provided an example of what Gregory Pierce calls one of the ten disciplines of workplace spirituality: exerting our efforts to make the system work. Thanks, Ernie. Your example inspired more civil servants than you may have imagined.