February 23, 2023
CHICAGO — The Civic Federation has named the new acting president of the organization: Civic Federation Vice President and Research Director Sarah Wetmore. The decision comes following the unexpected death of the organization’s longtime president, Laurence Msall, on Feb. 4, due to complications from heart surgery. Wetmore will serve as acting president until a permanent replacement for the president position is chosen in the coming months.
As acting president, Wetmore will assume Msall’s former duties including serving as the spokesperson for the organization in media interviews, a responsibility she has already taken on in the weeks since Msall’s death. Wetmore will also continue to hold her role as vice president and research director while temporarily serving as acting president. The Civic Federation Board of Directors is now convening a search committee to identify the process for the selection of a permanent president later this year.
“The Board of Directors and I are pleased to have unanimously selected Sarah to be the Civic Federation’s acting president,” said Donovan Pepper, chair of the Civic Federation Board of Directors. “We’ve worked closely with Sarah during her 17-year tenure at the organization and we are confident that she is the right person to lead it during this transition period.”
Wetmore has risen through the ranks during her time at the Civic Federation, serving as researcher, communications director and research director before being promoted to vice president and research director in 2013. Further, Sarah recently served as president of the national Governmental Research Association from 2020 to 2022. A longtime advisor, sounding board and friend to Msall, with her own relationships to the Civic Federation’s membership and state and local government officials, as well as many years of experience at the helm of the Federation’s research agenda, Wetmore expressed gratitude for the Board’s confidence that she is well-suited to lead the organization in the interim.
“I am honored to take on the role of acting president,” Wetmore said. “With the support of our outstanding Board of Directors, Board of Trustees and talented staff, the Civic Federation will continue Laurence’s legacy and strive to live up to his example. While no one can replace Laurence, we look forward to finding the next visionary leader of this 128-year-old organization and in the meantime our important research will continue.”