The following information was released by the Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG).
The Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG) Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Gwenn Norton-Perry as Executive Director at the regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24.
“I am proud of the accomplishments OCCOG has achieved over the years,” stated OCOCG Chairperson and Mayor Pro Tem of Cypress Leroy Mills. “Gwenn brings a wealth of experience to this leadership position and the entire board looks forward to working with Gwenn as OCCOG moves confidently toward the future.”
Norton-Perry has over thirty years’ professional experience in government affairs, client development and marketing, primarily for the architecture/engineering/construction industry. She also has an extensive background in public policy and the development of collaborative relationships with elected officials and stakeholders.
Additionally, she served as the founding mayor for the City of Chino Hills when the San Bernardino County city was incorporated in 1991 and remained on the city council until December 2012 when she announced her intent to not seek re-election.
Norton-Perry is also a former member of the Board of Directors for San Bernardino Associated Governments (SAN BAG) and Omnitrans as well as members of the Regional Council for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). She was also a multiple past chairperson of the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee, the AB2766 implementation committee of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Gwenn was also a founding member of the Four Corners Transportation Committee and Four Corners Coalition, serving as chairperson until her retirement from office.
Background of OCCOG
OCCOG is a joint powers agency comprised of a voluntary association of member local governments and agencies in Orange County. It was established to serve as a subregional organization to SCAG on mandated and non-mandated regional planning activities and to conduct studies and projects designed to coordinate common governmental responsibilities and services on a regional basis.
OCCOG is comprised of thirty-nine local jurisdictions and agencies as well as ex officio members. Member agencies include thirty-three cities, the County of Orange, the transportation Corridor Agencies, OCTA and Orange County special districts.
The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and OCCOG previously entered into an administrative agreement in 2009 for OCTA to administer OCCOG through June of 2013.
The following information was solicited from Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Mills by Orange County Breeze.
Questions for Mayor Pro Tem Mills about OCCOG
Mayor Pro Tem Mills graciously agreed to answer questions about OCCOG for those unfamiliar with its workings.
- What do you see as the greatest challenge faced by OCCOG near term?
The OCCOG has stated its determination to become a self-sustaining organization. Currently, the OCCOG has greatly benefited from “in-kind” services from the Orange County Transportation Agency (OCTA), the cities of Mission Viejo, Irvine, and Anaheim. In these hard economic times, such “in-kind” services cannot go on forever. The major source of revenue right now for OCCOG is city dues. Since OCCOG is a voluntary organization, member cities can withdraw if they so choose. Therefore, the greatest near term challenge for OCCOG is to establish strong, stable sources of revenue, other than city dues, in order to grow into a self-sustaining organization.
- How will the appointment of Gwenn Norton-Perry as Executive Director help OCCOG to deal with that challenge?
Gwenn Norton-Perry has a broad and extensive background in government service and government affairs. Specifically, she has 19 years of service on the San Bernardino Associated Governments Board of Directors, a board similar to OCCOG. Ms. Norton-Perry can leverage off this experience to secure sources of revenue for OCCOG current operations and future growth. The current agreement with the OCTA for OCCOG administrative operations expires 30 June 2013 and the hiring of Ms. Norton-Perry at this time provides a transition opportunity with the current OCCOG Executive Director.
- What is the largest benefit derived by the City of Cypress from membership in OCCOG?
The greatest Cypress benefit in OCCOG is a direct voice in determining Cypress’ destiny. Cypress is in SCAG District #18, along with La Palma and Garden Grove. When the District #18 representative became available, I applied, was unopposed, and was appointed. Cities can withdraw from OCCOG and SCAG but they must still comply with legal mandates for transportation planning, land use planning, Green House Gases mitigation. Hence, being a member city of OCCOG and SCAG gives Cypress a direct voice for debate and voting on policies.
- How will the appointment of Gwenn Norton-Perry as Executive Director affect this benefit?
The appointment of Gwenn Norton-Perry will strengthen and broaden not only Cypress’ voice but all OCCOG member cities.
- The news release mentions your pride in the accomplishments of OCCOG. Describe one of its accomplishments and why you are proud of it.
The SCAG 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS) is a multi-year effort and was adopted on 4 April 2012. The SCS portion of the RTP was new during this cycle and attributed to SB 375 for mitigating Green House Gases. There are some 14 subregions within SCAG and SCAG permitted any of these subregions to develop and write the SCS for their subregion. OCCOG was 1 of only 2 subregions that chose to determine our destiny by taking ownership of the Orange County SCS. SCAG assimilated OCCOG’s SCS into the master SCAG SCS without any changes to our inputs. This was an extraordinary achievement of many people working together for the best interests of Orange County. SCAG received national recognition regarding the SCAG 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg visited SCAG and conveyed his accolades.
I should mention that SCAG is the largest Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in the United States! And OCCOG is an influential voice in SCAG!
OCCOG Chairperson and Cypress Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Mills with newly appointed OCCOG Executive Director Gwenn Norton-Perry. Courtesy photo.
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