Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 3:14 pm | Fair 72º


Marjorie Kirn Selected as New Executive Director of Santa Barbara County Association of Governments

Marjorie Kirn Click to view larger
Marjorie Kirn

Marjorie Kirn, a 25-year veteran of the Merced County Association of Governments, was unanimously appointed to serve as the new executive director of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.

She began the position on Jan. 1 and was hired following SBCAG executive director Jim Kemp’s retirement after 34 years of service.

“It’s great to be in Santa Barbara — in this beautiful place and working for wonderful people,” Kirn said.

Kirn most recently worked as executive director for MCAG for four years, and spent 12 years prior as the deputy director for the agency.

“I grew up in that agency (MCAG) and started from the bottom,” Kirn said. “For a small county, we were able to do big things. I appreciate the opportunities.” 

The regional transportation planning agency and metropolitan planning organization for Merced County holds an annual $35 million budget and 52 employees.

Her work at MCAG also included managing transit operations, the Regional Waste Management Authority and the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System.

In a statement, SBCAG Board Chair and Goleta City Councilmember Michael Bennett said Kirn “knows how to get projects completed and to collaborate with local agency partners.”

Bennett noted her successful effort to gain voter approval for a transportation sales tax measure in Merced County — similar to the Measure A Investment Plan, which Santa Barbara County voters passed in November 2008.

Kirn will oversee management of SBCAG operations including Measure A, which includes more than $1 billion of estimated local sales tax revenues for transportation projects in Santa Barbara County over 30 years. 

“This measure helps this agency accomplish its mission, and it’s critical in meeting our transportation needs now and in the future — not only roads but also the transit, bikes and pedestrians,” Kirn said. 

The voter-approved measure will address traffic congestion and improve safety on Highway 101 by providing $140 million in matching funds to widen the freeway south of Santa Barbara.  

Measure A will also provide $455 million each for the North County and South Coast for high priority transportation projects and programs to address the current, as well as future needs of local communities. 

“She is very talented and experienced and will hit the ground running to keep the Highway 101 widening project moving forward,” said Santa Barbara County Supervisor and SBCAG member Janet Wolf in a statement.

“She has a proven track record of success and will work diligently to implement the transportation projects promised to Santa Barbara County residents in Measure A,” Wolf said.

SBCAG’s contract is for two years unless otherwise extended.

“My job is to manage this agency, work with the SBCAG board and identify the regional transportation priorities — and making those happen,” Kirn said.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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