La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Dave Spence is optimistic about the future for the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, over which he will preside for the coming year.
"I think we're in better shape now than we have been for the past year and a half," Spence said of the regional government group, which has survived some major governance and financial issues.
The COG includes some 31 cities and three seats for county supervisors with substantial unincorporated areas in the county, Mike Antonovich, Don Knabe and Gloria Molina.
The COG is managed by Nick Conway and staffed by his Arroyo Associates firm. Conway has been investigated on charges of conflict of interest for allegedly contracting COG business with Arroyo Associates without considering other contractors.
The main issue was over a state study contracted to COG through the Southern California Association of Governments, and Spence said that issue will probably be resolved soon. "We've been holding hearings before a private judge," he said.
The mayor said he believes the COG members are working together more closely than they have been.
West Covina, which dropped out of the COG, has returned to full membership, and Spence said the group leadership is working together well.
Other new leaders are Sharon Martinez from Monterey Park, vice president; George Hunter of Pomona, treasurer; and Mark Kelly of Glendora, secretary.
Spence said the board has brought in an executive firm to evaluate Conway and his management, and an accountant to deal with financial issues. The COG operates on dues from members, ranging from a top of $30,000 on down, and recently asked for a $3,000 per city special fund to replenish reserves.
The COG deals with issues like housing, transportation and public works, and was a driving force between governance changes on the Gold Line board.
Spence, in his fourth term as mayor, has served 15 years on the City Council.
He has been active with the League of Contract Cities, SCAG, and the National League of Cities. He and his wife Alice have lived in La Cañada since 1969. They have two adult sons.