The Killeen Personnel Hearing Board has filed its recommendation on the case of Barbara Gonzales, the city finance director who was fired in December.
Although board members have reported signing and submitting the document, the city has not said how the board ruled, nor would it confirm whether the city manager received the panel’s nonbinding decision.
“I was informed that it was sent to the city manager’s office,” board chairman Fredrick Bee said Tuesday. “We feel we owe an allegiance to the city to not say anything about our findings until it has been made public by the city.”
City Manager Glenn Morrison has 30 calendar days after receiving the board’s recommendation to make his final decision, according to city policy.
Gonzales was fired Dec. 12 in the wake of the Killeen fleet services scandal. A two-month investigation of the division revealed widespread theft and mismanagement at the city’s motor pool, including thousands of dollars of stolen fuel and tires.
The motor pool was under Gonzales’ purview; however, she was not accused of any theft. She was accused of interfering with the police investigation.
Board members Bee, Brockley Moore, Valerie Jordan and Rosa Hereford heard nearly six hours of testimony April 24 from Gonzales, Morrison and several other city employees regarding the case.
The board can recommend that the city manager uphold the termination or reinstate the employee on the grounds she was discriminated against or treated unfairly.
Killeen employee review policy has fallen under criticism since the hearing because Morrison, who has the final decision over the matter, was also a witness at the April 24 hearing.
If the board recommends reinstating Gonzales, the decision could benefit her in a lawsuit she filed against the city under the Texas Whistleblower Act. Her trial is expected to be heard in early 2014.
Contact Brandon Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552