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Committee of Seventy’s Stalberg Leaving Seventy and Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA – June 3, 2014 – The Committee of Seventy today announced the retirement of its President and CEO, Zack Stalberg.
“Zack Stalberg was the face and soul of Seventy,” said Mike Carbone, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Committee of Seventy and Regional President of TD Bank. “His leadership of Seventy invigorated this century-old organization.
“As Zack heads into retirement, his fingerprints are embedded in Seventy’s mission and its drive toward long-term sustainability. I have enjoyed working with Zack and will miss him. We thank him and wish him well.”
Stalberg, 67, was selected to run the independent watchdog group in 2005, following his first retirement. He spent a long career in newspapers, including 20 years as Editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. Except for his service in the U.S. Army and in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, he has spent his life in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Deb Lock Stalberg, will leave Philly soon for New Mexico.
In the Stalberg era at Seventy, the non-partisan organization broadened its mission, waged a court battle that sharply reduced the corrupt practice of “pay-to-play” and organized a powerful statewide coalition to educate citizens about the controversial – and ultimately illegal – Pennsylvania Voter ID law.
A recap of Seventy’s track record and a full account of Stalberg’s career are available on Seventy’s new website, www.seventy.org.
Stalberg’s image in Philadelphia was cemented in 1973, when, as a young reporter, he convinced then-Mayor Frank L. Rizzo to take a lie detector test regarding an allegation that he had tried to bribe the local Democratic Party boss by giving him the right to select city contractors. The resulting headline – “RIZZO LIED, TESTS SHOW” – made history.
Stalberg offered these personal comments today:
“I spent 45 years in two similar high wire acts, which seems like plenty to me. As the Redford character says at a point in The Electric Horseman, ‘I have just retired from public life.’
“The decision is a purely personal one. But I would not mind if it caused other members of the permanent establishment in this town to think about giving way to a younger and more change-oriented set of players.
“Deb and I will be going west, where I have always wanted to be. Like many before me, I am seeking renewal. And a good cutting horse.
“When Teddy Roosevelt set off on an adventure at a ripe age, he said, ‘I have to do it. It’s my last chance to be a boy.’
“That’s how I feel.”
Stalberg thanked Board Chairman Carbone, the Board members and staff of the Committee of Seventy and particularly the working journalists of Philadelphia. “They care deeply about this city,” he said of the news people, “and they provide Seventy with its bully pulpit.”
He added: “My advice for the Board and the next leader of the organization is simple. To rework a phrase from the writer Paul Fussell, always look at the city through the eyes of a pissed-off Philadelphian.”
Stalberg expects to leave the CEO’s position next month. Carbone said Seventy’s Board is discussing succession now.