Although the management audit of Killeen city finances ended at the beginning of September, the accounting firm that did the work requested nearly $18,000 more than originally agreed upon.

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Lanier - Audit findings

Odysseus Lanier, of Houston-based McConnell & Jones presents results of the management audit Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, during a Killeen City Council workshop at City Hall.

That request by Houston-based McConnell & Jones to get paid for work during “unforeseen” circumstances in the final days of its Killeen audit contract was shut down Wednesday in committee.

McConnell & Jones had promised the Killeen City Council that any extra work performed could be completed without adding to the total cost of up to $394,456.

The firm, however, sent a letter Sept. 27 to City Auditor Matthew Grady and City Attorney Kathryn Davis asking to begin the council process to seek approval for more money.

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Matthew Grady

Matthew Grady

“The total amount they’re asking for is $20,470, which comes out to $17,725 above,” Grady told the Audit Committee at City Hall.

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 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. More than two dozen recommendations were presented to council Sept. 5.

Davis on Wednesday said the final amount the city is required to pay is $2,745, and there is no legal obligation to pay anything beyond that.

Language in the contract outlines what the firm should have done if it needed more money — to ask the council directly — but it didn’t do that.

The firm, in its letter, did not identify which work was beyond the contract.

Results were delayed two weeks, then a month, after McConnell & Jones invoked a component of its contract and asked for a deadline extension due to an “extensive data submission” by the city. The nature of the information was never explained. The extension at no extra cost was approved 6-1; Councilman Gregory Johnson opposed.

On Wednesday, resident James “Jack” Ralston, one of two Killeen residents on the committee, wanted answers.

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James Ralston

James Ralston

“The question for me is what are these unforeseen circumstances?” Ralston said. “Do we have another document that explains why they felt they should change from not charging more to charging more?”

Four of five committee members present rejected McConnell’s request, including Councilman Juan Rivera.

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Juan Rivera

Juan Rivera

“Let me explain something: If I’m doing a job and I know there’s going to be a change order, I would identify that during the process,” Rivera said. “They came back and said they would not charge anymore. It looks like this came after and that’s why I’m concerned.”

Mayor Jose Segarra and resident Bob Blair also rejected the firm’s request.

Councilman Jonathan Okray, chairman of the committee, favored paying the firm, justifying his position by saying the firm went above and beyond in good faith to find answers for the city.

McConnell & Jones’ option now is to petition the council. Under council policy, agenda items must be pre-approved before they can be discussed at a council meeting.

P-CARDS

The committee also discussed city procurement cards. The way procurement cards, or credit cards, have been used since about 2012 is among several audits initiated by Grady.

Preliminary work began in April and May, and although results were anticipated in September, the date was pushed back to Nov. 16 because of the volume and complexity of work, Grady said.

“It’s going to be a tough audit ... the program’s never been looked at,” he said.

asierra@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

(2) comments

SnowWhiteNthe7Thieves

You've served your purpose, you won't get another dime of the money stolen from poor taxpayers, THE BETTERS need it for all manner of things. You did THE BETTERS bidding, and now no more porridge for you. GIT!!!

Alvin

This is the person opinion of this writer.

It seems strange to me for such council activity that is being demonstrated now by some members of city council.

Reflect that on the basis of a contract that was entered into by this city council, in which this city administration did in fact 'cause a delay in substantial portion by causing this contractor, 'Houston based McConnell and Jones to be delayed by the actions of this city administration, did cause a substantial increase in the paper work load at a late date, and then deny the intermediate increase asked for this delaying action. Does this city not see cause for this action????

Copy: “Let me explain something: If I’m doing a job and I know there’s going to be a change order, I would identify that during the process,” Rivera said. “They came back and said they would not charge anymore. It looks like this came after and that’s why I’m concerned.”

Continuation of copy: Mayor Jose Segarra and resident Bob Blair also rejected the firm’s request.' End of copy.

The statements by councilman Rivera are like 'apples and oranges that would result in fruit salad'. The inappropriate statement would seem to reflect a business venture that he has no knowledge of. In the business world, when a contract is offered in which a business offers a contract with a schedule that is attached, it must be assumed that 'both parties will do everything in accordance with the said contract, that when one party does something that obstructs the continuation of the said contract, one must surrender to the obligation of not observing the contract and it's obligation'. The councilman Rivera observations are for the most part 'not congruent with anything at all'. He observes that the party of the first part is totally unaware of the fact that, 'a change order should be requested at the first instant of when there is not a value to be placed on the change order until the total of the change order is finally established'.

Copy: 'Councilman Jonathan Okray, chairman of the committee, favored paying the firm, justifying his position by saying the firm went above and beyond in good faith to find answers for the city.' End of copy.

Causative actions by this city administration it seems to this writer to be justified. If the city does in fact take inappropriate action to meet the schedule that was presented and accepted by the city, and then due to in-action by the city that results in a sufficient delay to cause a slippage in the scheduled activities and final date for closure, then it is this writer's opinion that this contractor is correct and due the money requested. Or to say it terms that every one will know; 'when dancing, it takes two to Tango, and when one party is late in the delivery of materials, then it reflects directly on scheduled events'.

And in accordance with the 'P' cards:

Copy: '“It’s going to be a tough audit ... the program’s never been looked at,” he said.' End of copy.

It all hinges on how much of the data was shredded.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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