Less than two months into his new job Director of Economic Development Roland Pena recommended the Development Corporation Board of Directors reduce their meeting frequency to monthly in his review of organizational priorities. He cited the burden of preparing for two meetings a month, as he talked about adding staff, especially a full time office professional to solely support economic development.
This recommendation came after Interim Economic Development Director Bob Schneeman and Senior Administrative Assistant Nora Regino successfully prepared for two board meetings a month for over a year. It came at Pena's third meeting with the COSADC board.
Call me clueless but I sensed an undercurrent in the room. After supporting San Angelo Economic Development via the Chamber of Commerce for three years, Vice President John Dugan is headed to the Metroplex. Dugan is restarting his economic development consulting firm.
When Pena was hired Dugan offered:
“We can always see changes, and we’re going to learn what his priorities are,” explained John Dugan, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think our general mission will change.”Watching the dance between the partners during the planning session it made me wonder if Dugan threw his name in the hat for San Angelo's Economic Development Director. He kept saying he didn't have a dog in the hunt, but Dugan's bark, his hard work for three years, was clearly present.
SanAngelo Live reported on Dugan's move to McKinney:
“It has been great to facilitate and watch the growth in all sectors of business. San Angelo is fortunate to have a great partnership among economic development support groups, and this is a time to leverage those assets to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the ongoing energy surge, he related.I assume Dugan meant what he said, which raises questions as to why he's leaving.
“San Angelo’s future is very bright. I wish the community nothing but the best, and I look forward to watching the development efforts continue with the strong local partnerships that have emerged for job retention, expansion and creation” concluded Dugan.
I found it odd that Roland Pena would detail many organizational changes so quickly and delineate them in his first board level strategic planning session. I heard numerous "I's" in his presentation and very few, if any "we's". It felt a bit like former Director Shawn Lewis, who had a way of dictating to the COSADC board. The economic development dance will continue and it's clear who's in the lead.
Update 3-22-14: The Board background packet with the one meeting a month recommendation is out and will be considered on Wednesday.
Update 5-3-15: As a result of meeting once a month COSADC board made a change to disbursements to vendors. They approved paying checks over $1,000 without their prior approval.