Local News

COO of OC Power Authority Unexpectedly Resigns

Less than a year into her position, the Chief Operating Officer of the Orange County Power Authority abruptly resigned last week following reports of a conflict between herself and OCPA CEO Brian Probolsky. Antonia Castro-Graham, a key employee who helped to lay the groundwork for the green energy choice agency that includes Fullerton, Buena Park, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and unincorporated areas of the County, submitted a letter of resignation Friday, Dec. 3.

Antonia Castro-Graham. Photo courtesy of OCPA.

The Orange County Power Authority was formed to allow both residents and businesses to choose clean energy alternatives at competitive rates beginning in 2022.

The Voice of OC reported that Graham’s departure occurred after an exchange between herself and Probolsky during the live broadcast of a public meeting, and that in her letter of resignation she wrote that she could not work in a place where she was not respected.

Fullerton Mayor Fred Jung, who serves as Vice Chairman of OCPA’s five-member Board of Directors, said that Graham was “integral to the inception and current progress of the Orange County Power Authority,” and that her “knowledge and acumen in the industry is widely admired.”

Angela Lindstrom, one of two Fullerton residents on the agency’s Community Advisory Committee, said she was saddened with the loss of Graham’s leadership. Lindstrom described Graham as “bright” and “energetic,” and said she “brought her public service experience and network of resources to execute OCPA’s mission with diligence.”

Lindstrom lamented the loss of a woman in the role of OCPA’s COO. “I am also disappointed from an organizational perspective because women are still very underrepresented in leadership roles in public administration. Antonia’s departure isn’t moving the gender gap in the right direction.”

Graham holds master’s degrees in both public administration and sustainability and teaches courses on sustainability at CSUF and Irvine Valley College. Prior to being hired as one of OCPA’s first employees, she served as Deputy City Manager for the city of Fullerton, and earlier, the city of Huntington Beach where “she partnered with the University of California, Irvine and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to create an advanced energy community in a disadvantaged part of the city,” according to OCPA’s website.

Despite Graham leaving, Mayor Jung is optimistic about OCPA’s future. “The Orange County Power Authority has consistent and distinguished leadership on its Board of Directors, and I am confident their guidance will continue to move the agency forward. “

1 reply »

  1. The agency had (and has) no executive leadership experience. Being a COO means something, or at least it should.