Washington, D.C.– The Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) today elected Roger Berliner, Vice President of the Montgomery County Council, as its Chairman for 2016.
Berliner, who has served on the COG Board since 2007, told his colleagues his primary focus for the year will be the two issues fundamental to the future of the region: the Metro transit system and the regional economy.
“Our region deserves and expects a world class system. . . It is our job, the job of regional leaders, to make sure that we are stepping back, asking the bigger questions, and helping to forge a consensus that can guide its future,” the Chairman said. He called on the board to hold a forum in March, on Metro’s 40th anniversary, along with partners such as the Greater Washington Board of Trade, to examine issues including funding and governance.
Berliner said the board also should focus on growing the regional economy because the region’s reliance on government contracting and spending has made it vulnerable in the current era of federal cutbacks.
“We must begin to put aside our deeply entrenched competitive instincts . . . We must grow the pie and collaboration must replace competition,” he said. He endorsed COG’s plan to participate, along with regional partners in the Global Cities Initiative which will help local businesses increase their exports. He also suggested that COG and its partners sponsor a trade mission this year.
While at COG, Berliner has served the region in important roles. He was Chairman of the Climate, Energy and Environmental Policy Committee for the last three years, and a member of the Board Executive Committee during the last two years. Berliner also played an active role in helping to establish COG’s goals for Region Forward, the organization’s vision plan.
Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie of the District of Columbia and Supervisor Matthew Letourneau of Loudoun County were elected as vice chairmen of the board.
McDuffie served as the second Vice Chairman of the COG Board of Directors in 2015. Among his contributions as Vice Chairman, McDuffie strongly supported COG efforts to improve Metro safety.
In addition to serving on the COG Board in 2016, McDuffie will also serve as the Vice Chairman of the National Capital Regional Emergency Preparedness Council (NCREPC) – an advisory body which reports to the COG Board of Directors.
Letourneau has served on the COG Board of Directors since 2012 and was the COG Corporate President in 2014. During his tenure as President, Letourneau played a significant role supporting COG’s infrastructure focus, especially related to regional airport activity. In September 2014, Letourneau led the Regional Airports Forum, which brought together executives from the region’s three airports – BWI Marshall, Reagan National, and Dulles International.
The Board of Directors is COG’s governing body and is responsible for its overall policies, functions, and funds. Board members are appointed each year by the participating local governments and by caucuses of state legislative delegations from the region. The COG Board takes action on committee recommendations, discusses current and emerging regional problems, and receives briefings on issues facing the region.