Amy Tong, Secretary of the Government Operations Agency and Board Chairperson
In March 2022, Amy Tong was appointed Secretary of Government Operations by Governor Gavin Newsom. Secretary Tong was elevated to the role having previously served as the State’s Chief Information Officer (State CIO) and California Department of Technology (CDT) Director, and the Director of the California Office of Digital Innovation.
Secretary Tong is a first-generation immigrant who came to America with her family in 1986 when she was a teenager. They brought only eight suitcases with them and relied on public services to get acclimated to their new home. Those services, which allowed Secretary Tong and her family to build a life in California, were monumental in her decision to become a public servant. Secretary Tong was the first immigrant to serve in the role of the state’s Chief Information Officer and Department of Technology Director, and she is the first immigrant to serve as Secretary of Government Operations.
Secretary Tong began her wide-ranging career in state government as a programmer for the State Water Resources Control Board. She rose to positions of increasing leadership and responsibility over 25 years working in six state organizations.
As the Secretary of the Government Operations Agency, Tong is focused on improving state Government Operations, overseeing the strategic management of the state’s operating resources and advancing innovation in government. In this role, she has responsibility for the Department of General Services, the California Department of Technology, the California Department of Human Resources, the Franchise Tax Board, the Census Office, the California Victims Compensation Board, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the Department of FiSCAL, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the California Office of Digital Innovation, the Office of Cradle-to-Career as well as the state’s Chief Equity Officer and the state’s Chief Data Officer. She serves as senior advisor to the California Broadband Council and a member of the Middle Mile Advisory Council, a governing body with the mission to close the state’s digital divide. She will also continue to serve as senior advisor to California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC).
A champion of user-centered design, Secretary Tong has led efforts to modernize the State’s project delivery, technology procurement, cloud smart adoption, open data, workforce development pipeline and cybersecurity measures. Over her career, she has been a champion of data–driven decision-making and has constantly looked to utilize new, cost-effective technologies for the benefit of California residents.
Prior to becoming Secretary and leading the California Department of Technology, Secretary Tong was Chief Information Officer for the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency and Chief Deputy Director of its Office of Systems Integration. In that role, she oversaw a modular procurement approach and agile methodology to modernize the Child Welfare Digital Services (CWDS) project and positioned the agency to be at the forefront of open data, which kick-started the current Statewide Open Data platform.
From 2012 to 2014, Secretary Tong was Chief Information Officer of the California Lottery, where she revamped the Lottery website to enhance user experience via customer-centric design, helped improve customer engagement and awareness of the Lottery’s mission through digital services, and took steps to ensure the security and integrity of lottery systems.
Secretary Tong’s earlier state experience includes serving as the first chief technology officer at the Board of Equalization (now part of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration), where she used data analytics as a means to help prepare for the modernization of this legacy system transformation. From 2008 to 2011, she served at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, where she demonstrated how the use of technology could serve as a business enabler rather than merely backend support. Later as Data Center Chief at CalPERS, she was on the front line of the massive CalPERS Pension System Resumption (PSR) project that transformed 49 legacy and 60 support systems into a single solution platform for managing members’ retirement and health benefits.
In her first state role at the Water Resources Control Board from 1996 to 2008, Tong began as an entry-level programmer and rose to become acting CIO. There, she focused on data management and GIS visualization to help drive policy. One of her accomplishments was being a key part of the team that worked with Lawrence Livermore Laboratories resulting in major policy change of removing Methyl Tertiary Butyl Esther (MTBE) from reformulated gasoline.
In addition to her leadership roles in state government, Tong volunteers as a member of the California Northstate University Board of Trustees, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Asian Pacific State Employee Association and as National Senior Advisor for Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. She also served two years as the Planning Commissioner for City of Elk Grove.
Secretary Tong holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems and a Master of Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.
Malia M. Cohen, California Controller and Board Member
State Controller Malia M. Cohen was elected in November 2022, following her service on the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), the nation’s only elected tax commission responsible for administering California’s $100 billion property tax system. She was elected to the BOE in November 2018 and was Chair in 2019 and 2022. As Controller, she continues to serve the Board as its fifth voting member.
As chief fiscal officer of the world’s fifth-largest economy, Controller Cohen’s primary responsibility is to account for and protect the state‘s financial resources. Controller Cohen also independently audits government agencies that spend state funds, safeguards many types of property until claimed by the rightful owners, and administers the payroll system for state government employees and California State University employees. She serves on 70 boards and commissions with authority ranging from affordable housing to crime victim compensation to land management. Controller Cohen chairs the Franchise Tax Board and serves on the boards of the nation’s two largest public pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards, which have a combined portfolio of $750 billion. The Controller is one of eight statewide constitutional officials who are elected every four years in California.
As the BOE Board Member for District 2, she represented 10 million constituents living in all or parts of 23 counties extending from Del Norte County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south. As Chair of the BOE, she led the effort to modernize California’s property tax system, provide guidance to the 58 county assessors on remote assessment appeals board hearings, and utilize property tax abatements to stimulate affordable housing. Controller Cohen also ensured that the views of all who came before the Board were considered carefully, with respect, civility, and courtesy.
Prior to being elected to the BOE, Controller Cohen served as President of the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco. As a Supervisor, she served as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Audit and Oversight Committee. During this time, she also served as President of the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS), which at the time was a $23 billion pension fund.
Controller Cohen has championed policies and programs that protect public health, foster economic development, promote new affordable housing, and create good jobs through protecting and expanding San Francisco’s manufacturing base. She has dedicated her career to public service, focusing on making public dollars work for all Californians.
Controller Cohen was born and raised in San Francisco and attended public schools. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Fisk University and a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She and her husband reside in San Francisco along with their daughter.
Diana Becton, Contra Costa County District Attorney
District Attorney Diana Becton has spent most of her professional career as a judge, lawyer, and manager. In 2017, she was sworn in as the 25th District Attorney for Contra Costa County. Following her appointment from the Board of Supervisors, she was elected to the position in June 2018. District Attorney Becton served for 22 years as a judge in Contra Costa County, where she was elected as Presiding Judge. She is Past President of the National Association of Women Judges, the nation’s leading voice for women in the judiciary, and Past Chair of the State Bar Council on Access and Fairness.
District Attorney Becton leads a prosecutorial office of approximately 222 lawyers, investigators, and staff. She is the first woman, the first African American, and the first person of color to serve as Contra Costa District Attorney since the office was established in 1850.
Her message of reform and restoring trust includes a vision for an office that is fair, transparent, forward thinking, committed to safeguarding all communities from crimes that threaten our health, well-being, and livelihood, and working on positive outcomes for youth.
A native of California she is a product of Oakland Public schools and a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law. Most recently, District Attorney Becton earned a Masters of Theological Studies at Pacific School of Religion.
District Attorney Becton has received the following honors: Woman of the Year 2019 for Senate District 9, Golden Gate University School of Law, Judith McKelvey Distinguished Service Award 2019, Crystal Gavel 2019, CABL Judicial North, Madam C. J. Walker, 2018, Pioneer Award, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Oakland Bay Area Chapter, Woman on Fire Award, Ladies In Red (2019), Judge of the Year (2017), Black Women Lawyers of Southern California; National Bar Association – Judicial Council, Thurgood Marshall Award 2017 (Toronto, Canada); League of Women Voters, Contra Costa County, “Social Justice Award”; CABL Bernard S. Jefferson, Judge of the Year (2016); California Women Lawyers, “Rose Bird Memorial Award” (2012); Honor for positive contributions to the City of Richmond (2016); National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, “Trail Blazer” for Community Service (2014); BWOPA Honoree 2013; American Business Women’s Association (2012) “Women of Distinction”; California Women Lawyers, (2011-2012) Women of Distinction”; KGO Channel 7 “African American Salute (2012); “Judicial Excellence Award,” California Association of Black Lawyers, Judicial Section (2011); “Judge of the Year” Alameda-Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association (2007); “Award of Judicial Excellence, Charles Houston Bar Association” (2006); Black Women Lawyers of Northern California (2011). She was inducted into the Castlemont High School Hall of Fame in 2007, receiving the highest honor, as a “Knight in Shining Armor,” and she received the “Dumlao Martial Arts Image Award” (2011) for leadership and character within the martial arts studio.