Leiner named head of new council of governments

The Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WCCOG) held their first public meeting on Oct. 23 at Ridgefield Town Hall. The creation of WCCOG resulted from a state-mandated merger of regional planning agencies with a goal of reducing their number from 15 to nine. In this case the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials and the South Western Regional Planning Agency, both in business since the 1960’s, were merged.

At the meeting, the appointment of WCCOG’s first executive director, Craig Leiner, was approved. Mr. Leiner has more than 25 years of experience in land use, environmental and transportation planning at the local, regional and state levels. Since 2000, he has directed Surface Transportation Planning and Policy development at the Massachusetts Port Authority.  Prior to joining Massport, he worked at the Central Transportation Planning Staff of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization where he was responsible for developing the Regional Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Program, Air Quality Conformity Determinations, and public participation.

He has also served as the transportation director/assistant executive director of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission in Essex Junction, Vt., where he was responsible for regional transportation planning, developing a GIS program, and fiscal manager. Mr. Leiner holds a BA in sociology, an MA in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from the Babson College Olin Graduate School of Business.

Other actions taken at the meeting included approval of by-laws and a draft budget for the second half of fiscal year 2015 through next June, 2015.

There was a staff presentation of work involved with geographic information systems and modification of aerial photography for the existing region. This data will provide an excellent foundation for the update of the Plan of Conservation and Development.

WCCOG’s second public meeting is scheduled for Wilton on Nov. 20 at 12:30 p.m.