At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them. At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
Thus goes a poem, by Rabbis Sylvia Kamens and Jack Riemer, often recited at funerals and memorial services. As fall settles in, I’m remembering friend and colleague Mike Causey, someone I’ve been thinking of a lot lately.
Mike, one of the original staff members of Federal News Network, passed away a year ago in late September. One reason I’m thinking about him this particular week: Everywhere you look, see and hear, someone is shouting horrible things about someone else. No need to list the stimuli at home and abroad for the shouting.
Causey would have taken in the current scene with equanimity. Mike was a gentleman. If he saw or heard something he disagreed with, even diametrically, he’d mainly scratch his head and chuckle. Our morning chats over the latest piece of outrageous cultural or political news always left me thinking, well, maybe the world will survive.
“Can you believe this?” he’d sometimes say, or utter a mild “tsk tsk.”
I never heard Mike criticize, condemn or complain. He observed, took things in, and had definite opinions. But he avoided indulging in vitriol or ad hominem attacks. Mostly he fussed over the next column, getting the next tidbit of information that might be of interest to his large and loyal readership.
Another line of that poem goes: When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them.
Mike’s writing provided rocket fuel in our efforts to build the audience for FNN, formerly known as Federal News Radio. Everyone cares about their health care insurance, their salary and benefits, their Thrift Savings Plan investments, their retirement planning. Mike wrote about these topics with style and wit. And with solid, practical facts. Causey left readers with what in the business we call take-home pay, news you can use. He did so consistently, over a long period of time. And when he departed, boy oh boy did we hear from readers about how we would replace him.
You can’t “replace” a Mike Causey. You don’t try. His daily columns were pure Mike. It took us a bit of time, but Federal News Network has pieced together new ways of delivering that bread-and-butter coverage so important to the FNN audience.
Twice-a-week Federal Report columns. I write one, and one of our reporters — most often Drew Friedman — the other. Drew is all over the pay and benefits beat, as well as the doings of the Office of Management and Budget.
Our weekly Fed Life show (Wednesdays at 1 p.m.) features fact-filled interviews with federal benefits, investments and retirement experts such as certified financial planner Arthur Stein and National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association Vice President John Hatton.
Regularly-running shows from former federal executive Joe Paiva (A Deeper Look) and long-time federal employee advocate Jessica Klement (Eye on Washington).
An entire sponsored online exchange, coming up with open season for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. Hear from experts like Kevin Moss, editor of the Checkbook Guide to federal employee health plans and other experts.
We get regular email and web site comments from readers and listeners with suggestions for coverage. We read them. In aggregate and occasionally in particular, they do enhance our coverage. Thank you for sticking with us.
The poem I started with ends like this, exactly how I think of Mike Causey:
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.