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AACOG Board votes to hire new leader

Diane Rath, former Texas Workforce Commission chair chosen

SAN ANTONIO – The Alamo Area Council of Governments board of directors voted Wednesday to hire former Texas Workforce Commission Chair Diane Rath as its new executive director.

The vote came after the board's executive committee met in closed session.

AACOG Board Chair Kevin Wolff presented the committee's recommendation to the full board.

"It is the recommendation of the executive committee to the full board that we make an offer to Diane Rath," Wolff said.

The board then discussed briefly Rath's salary and benefits and voted to hire her with two no votes and a handful of abstentions from the board.

"Diane by far really had the best experiences, especially on a region-wide basis," Wolff said. "She knows where the skeletons are hidden and what needs to be done. Not only here at the local level but what happens at the state level."

Natalia Mayor Ruby Vera was one of the "no" votes.

"We have a lot of visibility and we have to get it right," Vera said.

She favored another candidate who offered something other than experience.

"(With another candidate) we were going to see our vision through a fresh pair of eyes and not someone that had been in somewhat this kind of position before," Vera said. "(I wanted) new blood and someone who was also going to be looking at things differently."

Rath will have an annual salary of $155,000 and there will be no incentive pay.

She will receive the standard benefits package but will get the use of an AACOG vehicle.

In a statement emailed to KSAT 12, Rath wrote:

"I am very honored by the confidence the AACOG Board has demonstrated in me and excited by the opportunity before us.  The strength and leadership demonstrated by the Board combined with the talented, committed staff provides a strong foundation for this region.  I look forward to working with the elected leadership and the community to continue the progress and accomplishments for the Alamo region."

Rath's hiring comes after former leaders Dean Danos and Michael Quinn left the agency after a scandal involving Jackie Cooper of the TriHM Foundation, who promised to bring in millions of dollars in grant money and lease space in the AACOG building and did neither.

Wolff said there are functions at AACOG that still need to be cleaned up.

He hopes Rath can start that work when she starts her new job.

The three others at the top of the list for AACOG included Tim Trevino, AACOG's acting executive director, Tom Shaw of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and retired brigadier Gen. Robert Murdock, the City of San Antonio's military transformation director.