Here we are in July, a new fiscal year and fiscal reality. The State doesn’t quite have our revised budget yet but we have a good idea what’s coming out of it at this point in time. And it’s fairly clear what we’re going to have to do.
We already know this is going to be an interesting year, with many changes in store. At the end of this month, our director for the last five years, Will Kempton, will be moving to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). He has been the best director that I can ever recall: he’s been very hands on; he’s definitely focused on employees and employee issues; and he’s been very involved in improving the image of this Department, both here in California and nationwide.
We do wish Will a lot of luck. Fortunately for us, he’s just right next door. I expect, quite frankly, that I’ll be able to see more of him than ever as I attend a lot of meetings regarding Southern California issues with the directors of OCTA, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC), San Bernardino Associated Governments (SanBag), the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and other Caltrans district directors. I do expect Will’s going to ask me how you all are doing, and I want to be able to tell him that you’re doing great. Will Kempton would expect nothing less.
Our new director coming up, Randy Iwasaki, is very well known to many of us, particularly those of you in the field. Randy’s been with Caltrans most of his career and has been Chief Deputy for the last five years. Prior to that, he was the Deputy for Maintenance and Operations in Sacramento for a number of years as well. So he very much has at heart the conditions under which our field employees work and how to improve the situation for those in the field. Randy is very well known, not just in California and the U.S., but also internationally. He’s travelled extensively to conferences around the world to share Caltrans innovations, methods and techniques.
We wish Randy all the best, and know that he will do a terrific job. We anticipate that we will continue many of the same programs that we’ve been working on but we also expect that Randy will have some new focus areas resulting from the budget environment and the changing financial dynamics under which we work.
Meanwhile, it’s summertime. I know a lot of you are taking off on vacation. Please enjoy some time off with your families and friends. It’s important that we take our vacation days and furlough days, come back refreshed and then get down to work, because there’s a lot to do.