Just because the management audit of Killeen city finances is over doesn’t mean everyone packs up and goes home — accountability is next and ongoing.
Houston-based public accounting firm McConnell & Jones on Sept. 5 gave the city more than two dozen recommendations — fixes it said the city should consider to better safeguard public money and streamline municipal processes.
It’s up to City Auditor Matthew Grady to check on that progress.
“It’s the end of the (management) audit, … once an audit is completed, it shifts to the implementation and follow-up process,” Grady said. “It’s going to fall to me now to take the baton from McConnell & Jones and follow up on their recommendations.”
Seven areas were examined by the firm in an investigation authorized by the council March 14. Auditors said they found no fraud in the information they reviewed, but they identified problems with the way city administrators managed public money, including what the firm said was a lack of fiscal discipline, rampant overspending and lax oversight.
City administrators had not demonstrated sound fiscal management because expenditures outpaced revenues in the general fund every year since fiscal year 2008, the firm said in its report. As a result, the city’s fund balance, or savings account, decreased and debt increased.
Making sure changes are made in a timely manner goes back to Grady.
He will track the improvement with a matrix containing all of the recommendations, and the city’s responses to those recommendations. Grady will meet quarterly with City Manager Ron Olson and ask him to provide an update on how it’s going and what’s been done.
As issues are addressed, they’ll be closed out, and if there’s more work to be done, a timeline will be provided to figure out when changes will be implemented, Grady said.
That’s not all that will happen.
In a Herald interview Aug. 10, Grady, who is a certified forensic accountant and has experience in deep-dive, number crunching with the Department of Justice, revealed he had started an audit of city credit card use, and outlined his plan on four other areas in the next fiscal year.
These are the areas Grady is likely to include in his audit plans: the Killeen Police Department state seizure fund, city planning and funding for vehicle replacement, Killeen Civic and Conference Center liquor operations and city policies governing the authorization and use of compensatory time.
He started an audit of procurement cards, or city credit cards, which have been used since about 2012. Preliminary work began in April and May, and results are anticipated sometime this month, Grady said.
The city credit card system has never been audited as a program, he said. An audit of the Killeen Police Department’s State Seizure Fund is planned, but Grady has said he will hand it off to the Finance Department because it performed the same function last year.
A 2015 internal audit of the state seizure account showed problems with property records and case files that were incomplete or inaccurate, and showed the department failed to file a seizure case with the Bell County district attorney’s office. Those issues were said to have been corrected, a management response letter attached to the audit read.
The other two areas Grady wants to review have documented concerns, including large inventory variances in the past within the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, and past scenarios of lax enforcement within compensatory time for exempt city employees.
On Wednesday, Grady identified a sixth area he would like to tackle: Animal Services, a department under the Killeen Police Department.
Animal Services was in the headlines most recently during the second of two fiscal year 2018 tax/budget hearings last week, when residents publicly addressed the council about animal welfare at the shelter. Among proposed budget cuts are two vacant personnel positions in that department.
Among its past and current problems: the Sept. 26, 2016, resignation of a field supervisor officials said falsified government records and breached city ordinance when he orchestrated the release of a potbellied pig; reported overcapacity of animals; poor sanitary conditions; euthanasia practices; and funding.
Grady will have no help to get the work done in his office of one, but he’s ready.
“I’ve got my quill pen and my ink,” he said.
Go to http://bit.ly/2wGmoEC to read the firm’s management audit report, see http://bit.ly/killeenfinances for more articles on how municipal government impacts you, and check out http://bit.ly/managementaudit for analysis of the management audit’s results.