May 7, 2013

OCTA names new deputy CEO

Ken Phipps, the executive director of Finance and Administration for the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), has been selected to become the deputy chief executive officer of the agency.

“Ken has a broad range of experience and financial expertise in the transportation industry as well as a comprehensive knowledge of OCTA’s programs, projects and services,” said Darrell Johnson, CEO of OCTA. “He skillfully helped guide our agency through challenging economic times and I am very confident in his ability to serve the people of Orange County in his new role.”

Phipps has worked at OCTA for 19 years, serving as the executive director of Finance and Administration since 2009. In that role he directed financial planning, budgeting, accounting, information technology, contracts administration and materials management, and general administration functions.

“Ken has done an outstanding job as a leader of OCTA’s executive team,” said OCTA Chairman Greg Winterbottom. “His high level of dedication and excellent leadership skills will ensure that Orange County remains a thriving place for all those who live, work and visit here.”

In the deputy CEO position, which is effective this week, Phipps will help to lead OCTA on local, state and national issues related to transportation programs and policies, and assist the CEO in coordinating all business, operations and management activities among the agency’s seven divisions.

“I’m honored to accept this new role and have the opportunity to contribute to OCTA’s long-standing tradition of delivering effective transportation solutions for our residents,” said Phipps. “It has been a privilege to serve as the executive director of Finance and Administration and as deputy CEO, I look forward to continuing to delivering on the promises we have made to the people of Orange County.”

Phipps earned a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the California State University, Fullerton. He also attended Cornell University, School of Engineering and completed the Management Development Program at the University of Southern California.

“This agency operates entirely with a business mindset,” said CEO Darrell Johnson. “Each one of our decisions is guided by public policy that continuously asks the basic question, ‘Does this make financial sense for our future?’”

OCTA has a merit-based pay-for-performance model much like the private sector where employees only receive raises if they achieve clearly defined goals and objectives. In response to the Great Recession, from mid-2009 through 2012 OCTA administrative employees received no merit-based pay raises.

“Government agencies are grappling with controlling pension costs throughout the state and I’m proud that our board has the vision to address this matter head on,” said OCTA Director Todd Spitzer, who chairs the agency’s Finance and Administration Committee and is the county’s Third District Supervisor. “This is the right action to take at the right time and phasing in its implementation is the best thing for our talented and dedicated employees.”

Related article: Read "New OCTA chief takes helm."

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