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The Chicago Civic Federation named Sarah Wetmore to serve as acting president during a search for a permanent leader for the research organization after the unexpected Feb. 4 death of Laurence Msall.

Wetmore, the federation’s vice president and research director, worked closely with Msall. 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 continue to serve as vice president and research director. The federation is putting together 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,” Board Chairman Donovan Pepper said in a statement. “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 held various roles at the federation, including researcher, communications director and research director before being promoted to vice president and research director in 2013. Wetmore served as president of the national Governmental Research Association from 2020 to 2022.

“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,” Wetmore said in the statement.

The federation publishes in-depth research on the city and its sister agencies, Cook County budgets, tax policies, pensions, and legislation that stands to impact their fiscal health. It tracks state finances through its initiative — the Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability— established with grant funding. The federation also annually gives awards for public service.

Msall died earlier this month after heart surgery.

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