Allen Gilbert, who has run the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont for 12 years, will step down in the summer, the organization announced Monday.
Gilbert, a mild-mannered former newspaper reporter, has become Vermont's leading advocate for civil liberties and privacy. He is a frequent presence in the Statehouse, where he often squares off against law enforcement, and a go-to guy for quotes for members of the media.
“It’s not enough to be outraged by an action taken by the government that you think is unfair or even unconstitutional,” Gilbert told Seven Days in a 2013 profile. “You have to be able to take that outrage and win your point, whether it be by legislation or litigation.”
ACLU of Vermont board chair James Morse credited Gilbert for growing the chapter's staff to five employees, including two full-time attorneys, and relocating to an office in downtown Montpelier.
“The growth in staff and the strategic location are symbolic of Allen’s successful efforts to expand the ACLU’s work and visibility,” Morse said. Morse will lead the search for Gilbert's successor.
Gilbert, a Worcester resident, said in a prepared statement that he is not retiring.
“Working as an ACLU executive director is a full-throttle job,” he said. “I need to slow down. But I’ve got a long list of things I still want to do.”
Before heading the ACLU, Gilbert worked as a reporter for the Rutland Herald, taught English in Germany and was a partner in a public policy research and communications firm.