Gail Hathaway was fired from Workforce Solutions Alamo on Nov. 7. Credit: Courtesy / Gail Hathaway

On Nov. 7, Workforce Solutions Alamo (WSA) fired Gail Hathaway, its CEO and executive director of two years. The WSA board cited a Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) report from October, which found WSA in violation of several of the commission’s procurement and fiscal requirements, as well as issues with appropriate management.

The report stated that, while human resource-related issues were beyond the scope of the review, “we noted significant failures in collaboration among departments primarily due to staff conflicts and a lack of formalized policies and procedures. Finally, many of the interviews alluded to a culture of fear, suspicion, and retaliation.”

A statement issued on Nov. 7 by Board Chair Rudy Garza explained that Hathaway’s two-year employment contract was terminated on Oct. 21, two days after the TWC report was issued. “Ms. Hathaway has continued her employment on an ‘at will’ employments basis,” the report said.

The San Antonio Express-News reported that the board appointed Alan Miller as its interim CEO while it conducts a search for a new, permanent CEO and executive director. Miller previously led WSA as executive director from 2001-2007 before going on to work for Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

The report’s primary findings, which had to do with procurement procedures, found that the WSA appeared to contravene rules on competition, pre-selecting contractors, and lease space. In one instance services were rendered and invoiced prior to official procurement procedures and purchase orders being in place; in another, a letter of intent was used in lieu of a “timely executed contract.”

Overall, the report found that the WSA board’s management of procurements and financial control was too lax, with insufficient documentation, unfair competitive advantage, restricted competition, “complete disregard of, and failure to follow TWC procurement rules.”

WSA serves the 12 counties comprising the “Alamo Area.” Its official purpose is to connect job seekers to employers in the area. The internal audit as an agency of TWC takes place annually.

The lack of transparency and “culture of fear” cited by the report led to Hathaway’s firing, as well as the reimbursement of $28,750 to TWC for a consulting contract executed in violation of the agency’s policy.

In the days leading up to her dismissal, Hathaway was put on administrative leave. She told the Express-News that she did not know the reason for the leave, and that claims of her intimidation and retaliation tactics were not substantiated.

Bekah McNeel

Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.