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Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Advocate

"The indefatigable David M. Walker campaigns for fundamental reforms in government Comptroller General David M. Walker populates his spacious office at the Government Accountability Office in Washington with objects bearing the name or image of his six favorite leaders. It is a formidable aggregation, spanning three centuries: Jefferson and Washington, Lincoln and Lee, Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

"They were forward-looking, innovative, action-oriented and values-driven," said Walker, head of GAO. "They understood that leaders have a responsibility to try to make a difference but that leadership was more than them. To me, leadership is about getting things done with and through others to achieve positive and sustainable results, both for today and tomorrow."

The most ubiquitous figure in Walker's leadership menagerie is Theodore Roosevelt. "There were a lot about him that I would say are admirable,” Walker said. “He was not a staunch partisan. He was not an ideologue. He was a bridge-builder.”

Those words might well describe Walker himself, a political independent who was appointed by President Clinton in 1998 to a 15-year term as comptroller general and head of the nonpartisan GAO.

“He is definitely a bridge-builder who is not viewed as partisan,” said a Washington policy insider.

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