Historical COG and More Information

A bit of history...

In the late 1960s, the state of Pennsylvania advocated for regional cooperation among municipalities as a way to reduce costs. In our area, regional cooperation or communication was nearly non-existent until 1960 when the Regional Planning Commission was formed; by 1965 all present municipalities in the Centre Region were members. The Regional Planning Commission became the forerunner of regional cooperation by addressing itself to regional physical development issues. The State College Area Park and Recreation Board was formed in 1965 as a regional program. In 1966 elected officials began meeting informally as a Council of Governments. A number of regional services and programs began.Then, in 1969 all municipalities formally adopted Articles of Agreement which set up regulations for membership, organization, and financing of COG. Since 1969 COG has developed a high quality of service in existing programs and expanded regional services and programs to meet regional needs.

When the idea was proposed for a regional council of governments, township citizens worried that they would lose governmental control to the Borough of State College and that taxes would rise. 
Despite those fears, the Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) was formed on December 17, 1969, and today it includes State College Borough and College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris, and Patton townships. When COG celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1989, Mayor Arnold Addison noted, “This most effective, cooperative government did not begin as a love feast among or between the municipal representatives. ... Here was an effort which involved reducing, if not eliminating, the suspicions that had been fed and nurtured between the borough and the townships over the period of many years.”

Today the Centre Region Council of Governments is arguably the most successful COG in the state of Pennsylvania and a model to the nation through its steadfast work by the areas elected officials and COG staff, and the shared commitment to intergovernmental cooperation that exists for the residents who live, work and play in the Centre Region.

1969:   The Centre Region Council of Governments was formed in December of 1969. A listing of founding officials are noted in the December 17, 1979 meeting minutes.

1973In 1973 the COG decided that it needed a full-time staffer. Prior to that time, the Centre Region Planning Director was formally assigned to dedicate 30% of their time to acting as the COG secretary. The additional duties associated with the Planning Director also acting as COG secretary were becoming much more demanding and it became increasingly difficult for the Planning Director to manage both positions.

The debate in the COG in 1973 was whether the organization needed an Executive Director to supervise the business of the COG, a secretary to record the minutes and handle correspondence, or a combination of the two.

In the end, the job description was amorphous and the title of General Secretary was approved. Approximately five years later the position title would be revised to become Director of Administration which made the position on par with that of the Agency Directors, but which also carried with it Executive Director type responsibilities. The title of Executive Director wouldn't be established until well into the 1980's. 
1974  –  1984:   Tom Kurtz served as COG General Secretary / Director of Administration.

1979: On December 17, 1979, Resolution 79-1 was approved declaring that December 17, 1979 be declared as COG's 10th anniversary as the COG Articles of Incorporation were signed on December 17, 1969.

1984  –  2020:   On January 16, 1984, the General Forum appoints Jim Steff as COG's Director of Administration / Executive Director, succeeding Tom Kurtz in the position.

2019:   COG celebrates its 50th anniversary.

2020  –  2024:   On March 16, 2020, the General Forum appoints Eric Norenberg as COG Executive Director, succeeding Jim Steff in the position, effective April 3, 2020.

2024  –  Present:   On June 24, 2024, the General Forum appoints Benjamin Estell as COG Executive Director, succeeding Eric Norenberg in the position, effective August 26, 2024.