It didn’t take long for Zack Stalberg to find a new home.
After resigning from a 34-year career with the Philadelphia Daily News on Feb. 11 – 20 of those years spent as editor in chief – he has re-emerged less than a month later as the head of another Philadelphia group committed to fairness and accuracy.
Stalberg is now president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, a not-profit and non-partisan political group known for overseeing elections and holding city governments accountable for legislative and ethical decisions.
Stalberg, largely regarded as gutsy and passionate by his peers, has long acted as a mouthpiece for exposing many of Philadelphia’s ills through headlines screaming of malfeasance. He built the Daily News into one of the country’s leading tabloids, and is now in charge of resuscitating a vital organization that has seen its importance dwindle.
“Basically I’m going to try to reinvent the organization,” Stalberg told his former paper. “For many, many years, it was a tremendous instrument of reform in Philadelphia, and over time its mission got smaller and smaller.”
The changing of the guard couldn’t come at a better moment. The city, once again embroiled in scandal – with the corruption probe of City Hall gaining national attention and staining Philadelphia’s image – desperately needs someone, or something, to dutifully watch the goings-on within local government.
Stalberg will do so perfectly. He can continue to utilize his quick thinking necessary to run a successful daily newspaper with his intimate knowledge of the city. He’s a man of prestige in these parts, and will likely persist in cultivating relationships with sources and friends to gain information and momentum in his new role. The zeal so many say they admire will hopefully carry over to jumpstart a group determined to right wrongs in the name of democracy.
The Committee of Seventy has been a blessing to this city for over 100 years. It is dedicated to educated discourse, governmental fairness, honesty and transparency, volunteerism and political participation. So is Zack Stalberg.
The history of the group combined with the renewed vigor Stalberg will supply will once again ensure this political watchdog lives up to one of its stated objectives: Citizens who do not hold public office can and should affect those who do.