Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 9, 2013

New ETCOG First Vice Chairman named

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The East Texas Council of Governments Executive Committee installed its slate of officers for the new business year last week and named Precinct 2 Henderson County Commissioner Wade McKinney as First Vice Chairman.

The East Texas Council of Governments adopted a $38 million budget for 2014, to be used for the needs of counties, cities, school districts and special districts within the 14-county East Texas region.

McKinney will preside over the committee meetings in the absence of Chairman, Rusk Mayor Angela Raiborn. McKinney was second-vice president in 2012-2013. He has served on the body since replacing Jerry West when he left office in 2011.

“I enjoy serving on the committee,” McKinney said. “It’s a great opportunity to help insure grants are allocated equitably and effectively as possible.”

One function of the committee is to sit in on grant hearings to determine what entities get a share of grant funds that become available.

McKinney said about 23 percent of those funds come from the state and 77 percent from federal sources. The ETCOG then endeavors to funnel the money down where it can do the most good.

“Serving has been a wonderful experience for me, because of the involvement of elected officials outside of Henderson County and building those relationships,” McKinney said. “It’s interesting to see how they do things in Gregg County, as opposed to Henderson County or Anderson County or Cherokee County.”

McKinney said meeting with the other officials at ETCOG teaches that the problems which Henderson County faces are faced by other entities as well.

“This past year, we had a legislative luncheon in Austin trying to bring the local elected officials in with the State Representatives,” McKinney said. “It’s all about networking and the COG provides that.”

At the Oct. 3 meeting, the Executive Committee was looking ahead to the 2013 Workforce and Economic Development Summitt, scheduled for Nov. 6, as well as the slate of officers for fiscal year 2014. In addition to McKinney and Raiborn, they are: Second vice-chair, Carthage Mayor Carson Joines; third vice-chair, Anderson County Judge Robert Johnson; and Secretary-Treasurer, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt.