Paul A. Volcker (1927-2019)

Monday, December 9, 2019
The Volcker Alliance
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The Volcker Alliance honors the life and legacy of our founder, Paul A. Volcker. Mr. Volcker passed away on December 8.

Mr. Volcker is known for his lifelong dedication and commitment to the public good. In founding the Volcker Alliance, he expressed a desire to “advance effective management of government to achieve results that matter to citizens.” He set forth a vision of a public sector workforce with the experience, preparation, and commitment to ensure that government is accountable and delivers with excellence. His legacy inspires the work of the Alliance every day.

Mr. Volcker worked in the United States Federal Government for almost 30 years, culminating in two terms as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979-1987, a critical period in bringing a high level of inflation to an end. He also served as Under Secretary of the Treasury in the 1970s, a period of historic change in international monetary arrangements.  Upon leaving public service, he headed two private, non-partisan Commissions on the Public Service, in 1987 and 2003; both recommended a sweeping overhaul of the organization and personnel practices of the United States Federal Government. His last official role in government service was as head of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, established by President-Elect Obama in 2008 to help steer the nation through the Great Recession.

Mr. Volcker was beloved and revered by the staff and the Board of Directors of the Volcker Alliance.  He was a role model for many others who care about good government and ensuring its effectiveness. 

He recently published a memoir, Keeping At It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government, with Christine Harper. In it, he articulated the challenge for the Volcker Alliance:

“One cannot sit here in 2018 without a strong sense of concern about the future of this country, and more particularly the state of public service. Distrust and ill-will permeate attitudes toward government. Too many of the best in the assailed bureaucracy, both in Congress and in key administrative posts, have left too soon, doubting that their voices could be heard or that their goals could be achieved. That needs to change. And it won’t be easy. As a signal of my concern, I decided to establish a foundation with a mission impossible: Can we stimulate others—particularly schools of public policy, of management, of administration—to rethink how government can and should respond to the needs of the twenty-first century?”

The Volcker Alliance mourns the loss of our founder, Paul A. Volcker. He has entrusted us to carry forth his legacy through our work of the Volcker Alliance and we will do our best to carry out his vision.

In his honor, the Volcker Alliance has established the Paul A. Volcker Fund for the Future of Public Service. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be directed to the Volcker Alliance.

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