chapter  5
34 Pages

Build a Culture of Ownership

One beautiful Sunday morning in late July 2004, Cathy Clement, a pistol permit supervisor at the Niagara County Clerk’s offi ce in Western New York State, received an urgent phone call while sitting in her enclosed back porch. It was State Senator George Maziarz, her former boss at the clerk’s offi ce. “I’ve got a situation here,” Maziarz said. “I know it’s a Sunday, and I hate to do this, but I need your help.” 1

Maziarz explained that one of his constituents, Army Spc. John Pirinelli, had been shot and grievously wounded while patrolling in Iraq. Pirinelli had been sent to a military base in Germany for treatment, his life hanging in the balance. His brother Philip and sister-in-law Stephanie wanted to rush immediately to his bedside, but unfortunately they lacked passports. Maziarz had received a frantic phone call from John Pirinelli’s aunt asking for help. There was no way Philip and Stephanie could wait days or weeks for passports; they needed to be on a plane the next day. “I’m working hard to fi nd a way to make this happen,” Maziarz told Clement. “Assuming I can fi nd an offi ce that will issue them a passport on the spot, could you help me get a passport application fi lled out for them?”