Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 20, 1975 · Page 35
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 35

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 20, 1975
Page 35
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Page 35 article text (OCR)

I rtink /(irh. the nntiim'\ t'iit'rx\ r/u'r/. \n\ x that it /H' .xprfif 'i */u\ or lin* / n u room u ith i Jen ke\ co/i- 1 , ' r r x . N w r n . r n r u v f r o m ftolilicnl /jn'.sMin'*, "HT could Hdlk ^^ut oj f / i r z f room nith (in r f i r r j j y /;ro- ^rnni ncceptdhle lo (.ontin's* (ind the President. Getting Job Done Big Zarb Strength WASHINGTON - UP) - Frank Zarb's eyes seem to burn with a smokeless blue flame, even at day's end, even at rest. The pilot light is still on. And now it flares briefly brighter as President Ford's superenergetic energy chief measures his powers, personal and political, and his impatience with those who do not believe as he does in America's ability to sacrifice when it has to. He recalls quietly the night some months ago when he was summoned to the Oval Office by the President who was then working on his first State of the Union message. It was 9 p.m., and for six hours, over uncounted cups of coffee, they hammered out a tough federal energy policy. When Frank Gustav Zarb left the White House at 3 in the morning, he took with him the duty of selling that policy to a skeptical Congress, and an abiding faith in his new boss, "a guy who's really willing to dive in the trenches with you." k- IT IS THAT SINGULAR regard between Zarb and his boss -- plus Zarb's unrelent- ing, head-to-head approach -- that has made him a man to be reckoned with from the White House to Capitol Hill; even to the point that he advocated a politically dangerous veto of Rep. Morris Udall's strip mining bill, which would have put the burden of repairing the land on the mining industry. "He's obviously bright," Udall says in the wake of the veto. "He's obviously very good at bureaucratic in-fighting. It's just incredible to me the hold he's got on Ford . . . There's something about Zarb that's got Ford mesmerized. I've just been unable to understand it. "It has to be in terms of a Ford attitude, or basic philosophy that was always there; no feel for environmental considerations, a readiness to accept industry arguments on each of these close questions." The decision on the strip mining bill, Zarb says, "was probably the hardest decision I made in this job. Because I knew the roof would cave in. But here it was on my desk, two separate analyses giving me the same .conclusion. There was no question but what, because of the vagaries of Energy Chief Zarb With Economic Chief Greenspan Zarb Called "One of Most Effective" Administrators L.T.Anderson Richard Nixon Has Little Class Some of my colleagues date Richard Nixon's behavioral oddity from the day he outfitted the White House guards in comic opera uniforms, suggesting that he regarded himself as a majestic Person. I put lesser emphasis on this revelation of the Nixon character. Men and women in all walks of life do pretty much the same thing. Some minor executives drool at the thought of having their names painted on their doors, and paper-shufflers everywhere delude themselves into thinking they are performing important functions. The thought that Nixon had gone bananas occurred to me during a televised news conference when he turned a sickly grin upon one of his tormenters and, like a little boy on the verge of tears or a tantrum, said, "I know you hate me." » IT IS TRUE that almost all newsmen loathed Nixon, but I expect a bead of state to turn towering wrath upon his critics. Franklin D. Roosevelt didn't whine in the Ifcton fashion. He responded with etegant- V phrased scorn. Of coarse, be bad more class than Nixon. Almost everybody does. Nixon demonstrated only last week that his level of tastelessness is about that of a West Virginia legislator, who reveals a pitiable desire for status by displaying his initials on his license tags. It may be significant that John D. Rockefeller IV, when he was a member of the legislature, used ordinary license tags like the rest of us. Nixon was pictured in the newspapers last week wearing a golf jacket with the presidential seal emblazoned on the front. No wonder he wasn't embarrassed by the unassailable evidence that he lied to more people at the same time than had any other liar in history. I wouldn't be surprised if lie has the seal tattooed on his body for the benefit of the crew when he goes for a spin in some millionaire's yacht A man who would want his initials on his license tag is capable of almost anything, but I doubt that there is another unindicted coconspirator in the land who would wear on casual dotting the badce of the of fice f ram which be was driven, Simpering and sniveling. the bill and the way some aspects were written, we'd suffer a coal loss for the first two years. "Now how in the world could I stand up and tell the American people that we should have that legislation right now?... And how could I feel that I was fulfilling the mandate of my responsibility if I said 'let's take the political, easy way out' even if this had made our energy problem today more severe two years from now. "Somebody's got to stand up and he counted." · ZARB'S REPUTATION as a common sense, lay-it-on-the-line persuader is seldom denied, even by political opponents, some of whom say he is in bed with industry. But not everyone has the same view of this man who appears as Mr. Cool in the often manufactured hot-blooded public confrontations of the Washington scene. "He has a certitude about him that is part of the strength, I guess," says Udall. "But it can also be a very great weakness. He reminds me of the old saying, 'often wrong but never in doubt.' " William Anders, the Apollo 8 astronaut whom Zarb talked into becoming head of the Nuclear Control Council, was asked if Zarb would make a good astronaut. "He'd make a pretty good one," Anders answered guardedly. "But he'd make a better fighter pilot. He's an aggressive guy who knows his equipment and uses it to the full. If he has a fault, it's that he works so hard." And hard is the way Zarb works. His days as head of the Federal Energy Administration often run to 16 hours; his weeks to six days or seven. On one recent day, he was picked up at his northern Virginia home at 6:45, arrived early for an interview on CBS Morning News (he told the make-up lady, "Give me a good night's sleep," and he told the nation there would not be a summer gasoline shortage). Then he headed for Capitol Hill for rapid-fire meetings with minority members of the Interior Committee and with two Massachusetts Democrats, Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Thomas O'Neill. He was already running late and ducked a White House meeting. Back at his office, his staff briefed him on efforts to decontrol the price of natural gas, and on gasoline prices, which they expect to climb almost a nickel a gallon this summer. Zarb told a staffer to get on the governors about enforcing the 55-mile speed limit, and told his staff he has the loan of 2,000 Internal Revenue agents to police the nation's 220,000 service stations as a guard against profiteering. Then he met with asphalt industry people, skipped lunch, and met with the winners of a New York City school system energy awareness contest -- "Aren't they impressive? It gives you hope." Next came a briefing for regional men on the progress of energy legislation and a quick meeting with the board chairman of Texaco before going back to the Hill for a meeting with the New England Senate delegation. Zarb stands only 5-feet-9, and many of the senators towered over him -- in height, seniority and political clout -- Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Brook of Massachusetts, Sen. Pell of Rhode Island, Sen. Ribi- coff of Connecticut, Sen. Muskie of Maine, Sen. Mclntyre of New Hampshire, Sen. Leahy and Sen. Stafford of Vermont. Power. The first part of the meeting was closed. But for the second part the press was allowed in, in time to see Kennedy leaning forward and shaking his finger at Zarb, saying, "We'll pursue you to the wall on this..." Later Zarb says the meeting was amiable until the press entered. He says it smiling. The New Englanders have a problem, he admits, and says he'd like to help. Their region is almost totally dependent on foreign oil at $14 a barrel while some other parts of the country have access to domestic oil at $7.50. But first, Zarb says, the New Englanders will have to help themselves, perhaps by tapping their offshore oil, or building refineries. BACK AGAIN TO HIS office. He meets a newsman, explains that half of his job is persuasion, half is running his watchdog agency to make sure the nation has enough of what it needs and is not exploited in the meanwhile. He talks to his wife on the phone about a household problem. Then he admits he is taking half a day off Friday for her birthday. His secretary says she has heard that story before. He leaves the office at 7 p.m. with one more meeting to · Zarb is a shirt-sleeve manager who prefers person-to-person confrontations, hates needless red tape and only tolerates his suit jacket, which comes of f as soon as official situations permit It more often adorns the chair next to him or the table befcnd. "Zarb's one of the most effective people in this administration," says Alan Greenspan, head of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. "He's a useful combination of understanding analytical problems and knowing how to deal with the political environment. "He has a capability of knowing what is causing other people problems." AT 40, ZARB has climbed the government ranks almost as dramatically as he did on Wall Street where he earned a reputation as an effective administrator. For five years he was chairman of the executive committee of the securities firm Hayden Stone Co. The Nixon administration called him to the Labor Department in 1971 to centralize internal operations. He left in 1972 to return to Wall Street, and later came back to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) where he trouble-shot problems in Indian affairs, agriculture and energy. The reputation he won in dealing with a truckers' strike and a coal strike led to his appointment last December as federal energy administrator. LaDonna Harris, wife of former Democratic Sen. Fred Harris and head of the Americans for Indian Opportunity, found Zarb a friend at OMB. He cared, she says, and visited several Indian reservations to see their problems first hand. "He has a kind of machine-gun manner," she says. "He wants all the available facts, and he gets impatient when facts aren't available. But he listens . . . He cuts through a lot of red tape." When he took on his new job as energy chief, she sent Zarb roses and a note saying, "Now that we've found you, we've lost you." "He has a rare talent in this town," says Richard Cheney, an assistant to the President, "which is to take an opposing point of view and not let it affect the personal relationship. He can disagree with you and still leave you smiling ... "He's a pragmatist on what will or won't fly. And he's not inclined to question people's motives." BROOKLYN-BORN, Zarb came on his pragmatism early. He remembers being part of the Knot-Hole gang, watching the Dodgers play through cracks in the ouf ield fence when "the cops didn't give us tickets to Ebbetts Field to keep us off the street." His father, Maltese by birth, immigrated to the United States vis Turkey and Italy, and plied his trade as a refrigerator repairman. Frank Zarb wanted to be an aviation mechanic, but a teacher in high school pressed him to go to college. He worked his way through Hofstra University on Long Island with odd jobs ranging from refrigeration repair to ad salesman for Newsday. He was president of his fraternity and president of the student body. He married the vice president of the student body, and be and his wife, Patricia, now have two children, Krista, 15, and Frank Jr., 13. At the end of a long day, fatigue shows on Frank Zarb only through an increased tendency to slur his sibilants. But the alertness never leaves him, and his penetrating blue eyes are alternately sad, intense, bored beneath his heavy brows. "Needless red tape, I bate," he says, bis feefrip on his huge wataut desk, which dongiates bis elegant and cavernous off- Charts irs rgmia ID 'July 20, 1975 ice, once the lair of postmasters-general when that job denoted political power. He has some simple rules for getting along and avoiding frustrations: "In the first place I usually tell it like it is, no matter who it's to. If it's to a congressman or a senator I just let them know it like I feel it. The same around here. So frustration doesn't really get to me. And I get out and punch a tennis ball around and take a swim, and that really helps a lot." His fingers are bandaged from running into a fence trying to save a point playing tennis with his son. SINCE HE TOOK OFFICE he has appeared nearly 40 times at congressional hearings, and his trademark has been frankness. "I was in a congressional hearing earlier in the week, and I was asked about the outer continental shelf. Somebody had an amendment up that said the President had to come to Congress for approval of every tract we leased. I was asked for my opinion on that, and I told them I was going to be honest with them. "The room was very quiet. And I told them this was just an opportunity for political demagoguery. In any issue somebody is going to be unahppy or try to impress his constituent back home. So all you're doing is hanging up energy progress ... and it's just wrong." "About half the guys were delighted that I was frank and honest with them, and the other half were shocked that I would be so brash," Zarb recalls. "But it's the only way really to survive." Zarb is devoted to the Ford policy that oil and natural gas must be priced realistically to reflect its true value in the economy. In the market place, that would mean higher prices and hence lower consumption. But price differences between new and old domestic oil, and between domestic and imported oil, argue against the Zarb-Ford approach. Won't domestic oil producers get rich, the critics ask? Zarb says a windfall profits tax would take care of that, and much of the tax revenue would be turned back to lower -- and fixed-income families as tax deductions or rebates on their electric bills. That is the snort term - into the 1960s. The long-term answer requires the short- term answer plus new energy develop- to make the nation independent of ^ oil and gas, Zarb «ys. "I think when you get to the guy on the street who works for a living and thinks a little bit about his country; when he understands we're given up our independence .to these cartel people (foreip producers), and they have been holding us up, he's ready to roll up his sleeves. "But he wants to understand that we're climbing out of the problem. He doesn't want to hear about the Congress and the President and all that crap. He really wants to hear that his government understands the problem and has a solution." ZARB'S BASIC QUARREL with Congress boils down to cheap energy and the political popularity of holding down oil and gasoline prices. "When they start rolling back oil (prices) in the public interest to save the life of the consumer, they'll run our consumption up and the cartel will stick it right in our ears." : If he has one wish, one key priority, it's to get a workable program through Congress. "We'll get to that," he says, "but it's going to be a long, hard row. "If we could take John Dingell CD- Mich.) and Al Ullman (D-Ore.), and two key guys from the Senate side -- I don't know who they're going to be, probably Russell Long (D-La.) and Scoop Jackson (D-Wash.) and myself -- and we could go into a room for two days, maybe one day, and leave politics outside, forget who's running for president, I believe we could walk out of that room with a program that we could submit to both houses and to the President that would be acceptable. "That's how close we are in terms of getting it done, and yet how far. If we were unrestrained by politics, it would be no problem." But for all that, Zarb knows the political: constraints. He continues his man-to-man art of persuasion. "You get things done in this town like you do in any other job -- between two. people," he says. "Your ability to create, develop, innovate, gets done through people." There is at times a kind of pixie-like quality to Zarb. In the President's inner council meetings, when someone begins to wax pompous, Greenspan and Zarb lighten their own boredom by pasing humorous notes back and forth. But even note passing can be dangerous. During one energy crisis meeting at Camp : David, someone -- Zarb forgets who -- began circulating a tongue-in-cheek note while the meeting pondered what alternatives there were to the latest action by the oil cartel. The note said: "Suggest we take the low cost option - war." And sure enough, someone later on told a newsman the President's counselors were considering war as a weapon against, the oil cartel. Which leads to another of Zarb's axioms to Washington survival:: "Never put anything in writing unless you; want it made public." ; Zarb says his big goal is a workable energy policy and "I'm prepared to battle this through until we get one." But then, he admits with a smile, there are limits. As much fun as this all is, the pay doesn't satisfy a former Wall Street executive who gave up leisurely weekends sailing on Long Island Sound and who has two children entering college age. And besides. Frank Zarb considers himself a visitor in Washington - here only tiJ;et a job done. That may be higreatest T

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