AACOG reveals fears of disbanding; narrows executive director search

New leader expected to be hired at end of October

SAN ANTONIO – While the Alamo Area Council of Governments continues narrowing its search for a new executive director, it was revealed Wednesday that there were fears when a crisis enveloped the organization in early 2014, that AACOG would be disbanded.

AACOG was brought to its knees in early 2014 after former leaders Dean Danos and Michael Quinn's dealings with Jackie Cooper of the TriHM Foundation were uncovered.

The foundation promised to bring in millions of dollars in grant money to AACOG and lease space in the AACOG building.

It did neither, Danos and Quinn lost their jobs and AACOG lost money, public confidence and respect.

AACOG Board chairman Kevin Wolff Wednesday acknowledged that there were fears the organization would fall apart.

"Could there be the possibility that if we don't continue to right the ship, if things don't go well here that this COG could disband," Wolff asked. "Absolutely true. As long as we feel like we've got things on the right track and that we can fix things here, then we're committed to doing that. If we ever feel like we can't, you got good, strong people on this board that aren't afraid to pull the plug either."

Guadalupe County commissioner, Precinct 3, Jim Wolverton agreed.

"One thing that we do not want is this COG being disbanded and absorbed by other COGs," Wolverton said. "AACOG is a wonderful organization, always has been and we need to continue on that path."

On Wednesday, the executive committee of the AACOG board continued the process of hiring a new executive director.

There were 93 applications initially.

That was narrowed to 66 who met the qualifications.

Now board members are being encouraged to narrow their focus to the best 10 to 25 candidates.

"This is very important," Wolff said. "It's going to be the most important thing we do. They've got to continue it the path we started to put it on, but there's still a lot of things to fix here and it's going to be on their shoulders."

Wolverton said the board is moving as quickly as it can on the hiring process, but that they want to be thorough and choose the right applicant for the job.

"We need to right this ship," Wolverton said. "We need to put it on the right course and it's imperative that this committee choose the right individual to lead us into the future.

Board members said they were surprised that the AACOG position attracted the attention of some high quality applicants.

On the list: Former CEOs, a former military general, former city managers and former elected officials.

"When I first got the package a couple of weeks ago I figured okay, this will be easy, I can get through this really quick," Wolff said. "No, it took hours."

After they narrow the list of candidates down, board members will begin face to face interviews and background checks on the top prospects and hope to hire a new executive director next month.