LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After an executive session in Lufkin, the board of the Deep East Texas Council of Government announced they have chosen a finalist for the open director job and would start negotiations with the candidate.
"We are not announcing the name yet because we want to let the process play out," Suiter said. "My hope is I can negotiate with this person, and we can present them for a full vote at the June meeting. I think the executive board does approve of this person."
The job became vacant in January after then-director Walter Diggles stepped down following a federal indictment in December.
The indictment against DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles and his wife and daughter alleges several schemes carried out by the trio since 2006, all in the name of keeping a church he pastored alive.
The trio has pleaded not guilty to the charges in a Beaumont courtroom.
The indictment explains how Walter Diggles was the pastor of New Lighthouse Church of God in Christ in Jasper, as well as the registered agent of the Deep East Texas Foundation. The offices of the Foundation were located in the church. The indictment alleges it was his position and authority in these entities which allowed the conspiracy to succeed.
The indictment alleges four other people aided in the conspiracy but have not been indicted.
The Foundation received funding almost entirely from DETCOG through federal Social Services Block Grant funding and received $4.4 million in funds from 2007-2012, according to the indictment.
Earlier in the meeting, Suiter was given the yearly East Texan of the Year Award named after Ralph W. Steen.
Suiter has served as a member of the Texas County Judges Judicial Education, served on the board of the National Association of Regional Councils, and has been president of the Texas Association of Regional Councils where he guided the search for their new executive director. He has served the last four years as the President of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments
The Ralph W. Steen Memorial East Texan of the Year Award has become one of the most prestigious and longest running recognitions bestowed in Deep East Texas. Each year past recipients cast ballots to select who will receive the award from nominations received from the 12-county DETCOG region.