|The Webb County commissioner's court wants to wash it's hand of CAA mess.|
The Webb County commissioner's court seems determined to keep the level of respect for their collective offices shamefully low. After interviewing 14 candidates for the vacant CAA Director's position, they narrowed it down to 5 finalists (1 finalist per court member). Now, in the midst of an ongoing FBI investigation, they want to step aside and have the CAA's temporary management team takeover the selection process.
Obviously, this should not be construed in any other way other than an attempt by the court to keep their distance from the toxic situation. Webb Judge Danny Valdez tried to justify their passing the buck to the management team. In speaking to LMT reporter, Andrew Kreigbaum, Valdez stated “It’s another pair of eyes and ears,” he said. “They’ve been overseeing the CAA. They developed the corrective action plan.” Well, Judge, it's actually 3 more pairs of eyes and ears and if you were going to let the management make the final selection, you should have let them handle the process from the start.
The court is treading on a unfamiliar layer of thin ice. According to the Laredo Morning Times, Cynthia Mares, expressed concern about this unprecedented decision:
She said she has never seen the court ask a management team or professional staffers to become involved in selecting the head of a department. "Department head positions all come under the purview of the court, so it is always the court who does the interviews and the selection process,” she said.“It’s venturing into some new territories.”Although it's apparent that Mares find the court's actions questionable, she is on board with the management team taking over the selection process. However, she did remark that they (the management team) would have to work fast to come up with questions for the remaining 5 candidates.
Meanwhile, Juan Vargas, the county's Director of economic development implied that whatever course is taken, there will have to be a unanimous consensus on behalf of the team. Still, he did mention it would be a positive thing to have another review of all the candidates. Having said that, it is rather unlikely that such consensus can be agreed upon. County Auditor Leo Flores, who is the third member of the management team, left no doubt as to where he stands on the issue. As the LMT reports:
Flores said if the management team becomes involved in selecting the new director, he wants to review all 14 original applicants.“If the Commissioners Court doesn’t want to do, that they can do their own picking,” he said.
"I’m not going to pick from those five.”The management team could not make a truly independent recommendation if it were restricted to looking at the commissioners’ finalists, he said.