• November 27, 2014

Documents detail thefts at Killeen’s fleet services

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Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:17 pm, Sat May 11, 2013.

Documents released by the city of Killeen this month give a detailed account of a culture of theft in the city’s motor pool over the past eight years.

An internal audit performed in October indicated that in eight years, 2,730 gallons of diesel fuel and 48 tires went missing from the fleet services division inventory. The fuel was valued at $7,819.

Fleet services is responsible for all city vehicles, including fire trucks and police cars.

Tools, oil, vehicle parts, a car wash container and a golf cart also were reported missing during video-taped interrogations of 24 motor pool employees; no evidence was found supporting the golf cart theft.

The Daily Herald obtained Killeen Police Department investigation documents through requests made under the Texas Public Information Act.

The two-month investigation was sparked by the Sept. 28 traffic stop of former fleet services mechanic David Riddle near Elms Road, less than a mile from the Fleet Services Division building.

Riddle was pulled over for allegedly stealing an engine valued at $600 from the city’s mechanic shop.

City policy requires that all equipment no longer of use to the city be sold through public auction.

Riddle confessed to the theft and resigned Dec. 13.

The same day, under pressure from City Hall, Fleet Services Director Kim Randall retired, and City Manager Glenn Morrison fired former finance director Barbara Gonzales and fleet services mechanic John Acker.

No criminal charges were filed against any city employees, although police documents indicate widespread theft in the division.

Almost every (fleet services) employee was directly involved or knew someone who had used the city’s fleet services facilities for personal use and this culture appeared to be occurring for some time, the report said.

Acker and Gonzales both filed lawsuits against the city under the Texas Whistleblower Act. Gonzales is seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in compensatory damages from the city.

Bad inventory

Signs of the theft were not well documented until a few months before the investigation began.

On July 19, Randall received an email from a fleet services supervisor reporting stolen gas, however, there is no indication she took action to stop it, according to the police report.

A fuel inventory for a fire truck under Riddle’s purview and based at Skylark Field received hundreds of gallons of fuel that it did not need, according to the city’s internal audit.

It appears that approximately 914 gallons of fuel are unaccounted for that Riddle was responsible for, the report said.

About 120 gallons of diesel fuel went missing under Acker’s authority, according to the internal auditor’s findings.

Attorney Bill Aleshire, who represents Acker and Gonzales, said the police investigation was targeted at his clients.

“The investigation is best described as an incomplete conjecture that gives absolutely false, if not defamatory allegations,” Aleshire said.

“No detail is provided that you could make the kind of conclusions that they made, particularly to point the finger at any individuals.”

Although Gonzales was fired the same day as the other fleet services employees, in public statements, the city has been careful not to link Gonzales to the fleet services thefts.

Her termination letter states her reason for firing as, “a number of issues that have occurred under your management.”

A colleague in the finance department reportedly told police that Gonzales spent an “unusually large amount of her time, 30 percent or so, at fleet (services).”

The former finance director’s lawsuit places scrutiny on the city’s organization of the internal auditor position directly under the city manager and not under the Killeen City Council.

Gonzales and Acker appealed their terminations in addition to the lawsuits. Their appeal hearings are scheduled for April 24 and May 7, respectively. The hearings are open to the public.

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3 comments:

  • Max67 posted at 3:47 pm on Mon, Apr 15, 2013.

    Max67 Posts: 63

    The corruption is at the city manager level. (And given that the city council refuses to hold Glenn Morrison accountable for his actions or even fully investigate him through external means, one has to believe it's likely at the council level.). The reason given for Ms. Gonzales' termination ("# of issues that have occurred under you management") were the issues raised my Barbara Gonzales - each time she tried to stop Glenn from breaking laws. She required him to override her, which created an audit trail of his wrongful actions. Glenn, as we see from the documentation, doesn't like to be questioned - and given the most recent report of fraud, waste, and abuse - received on his old dept. right before he placed Ms. Gonzales on admin. leave, it was getting a little too close for comfort. Remember, Ms. Gonzales questioned events and maintained documentation. Mr. Parks and Rec. was not the documenting kind. This is shown by the fact that his staged investigation didn't even achieve the results he intended (and yet still claims) it did.

    After becoming City Mgr., Glenn stopped audits from being conducted in his prior dept. (for time periods in which he was in charge) - even amidst reports of flagrant fraud, waste, and abuse - including reports from employees w/in that dept.

    When good employees who are loyal to the taxpayers spoke up about the abuse, they were targeted by a "laughable" investigation - intended to tie those employees to wrongdoing. I guess those individuals (Gonzales, Acker, and Randall) were so far removed from any wrongdoing that they couldn't even tie them to the corruption.

    The audit/investigation (if you can call it that with a straight face) did exposé the level of corruption that surrounds Glenn Morrison and some of his key supporters, though. Good job on that, Glenn! Given the level of corruption; Glenn's arrogant ignorance (believing he's above the rules); and Ms. Gonzales' ability to recognize, question, and document wrongdoing, we can only imagine what will come out during the trial.

     
  • Viktor posted at 11:22 pm on Sun, Apr 14, 2013.

    Viktor Posts: 317

    A culture of theft has been ongoing in fleet services? Let's be real. A culture of theft & crooked business within the city is age old. So Barbara's termination letter states her reason for firing as, “a number of issues that have occurred under your management?" Seriously? How about all the issues that existed in parks & recreation department? Didn't that individual get promoted? Barbara must not be part of that in clique but as a finance director, hopefully she was a lady that had her ducks in a row. Somehow the crooked, behind the scenes happenings need to come out. Some exposure of the nonsense in Killeen's city government is better than none.

     
  • Eliza posted at 3:27 pm on Sun, Apr 14, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 867

    @ Almost every (fleet services) employee was directly involved or knew someone who had used the city’s fleet services facilities for personal use and this culture appeared to be occurring for some time, the report said.----
    A fuel inventory for a fire truck under Riddle’s purview and based at Skylark Field received hundreds of gallons of fuel that it did not need, according to the city’s internal audit.
    ----------


    What it seems the tax payers of Killeen have had working for them in Fleet services (from the above KDH description of just two of the incidence ) are a pack of thieves.
    No charges have been filed on anyone, even after evidence of a stolen ($600 ENGINE) was found in the hands of an employee who would have had to have known,it wasn't his for the taking, it belonged to the tax payers who had purchased it , but instead he was allowed to walk away with the only punishment of having to resign!!
    Could any other private citizen have walked off with the same engine, intending the engine to be for their own gain, with no charges of thief being filed? That isn't the way it goes especially when its dealing with public goods.

    Who are protecting the tax payers of Killeen ?
    With in the last several years,there have been money, and now processions, that belong to the tax payers of the city taken or spent with no accounting. Until just recently the reasoning of many of these transactions were not known.Some still aren't known,the reason for the huge payment to Connie Green,Ex city manager.

    There were council members from the last council,plus the city manager,Connie Green, who spent tax payer funds on taking out of town journeys in which the members felt they needed to make them happy, such ridiculous items, as tee shirts, a grill,etc.

    Partly the reasoning for this journey was to include counseling in how to better get along with each other,The counseling itself ran the tax payer Thousands of $$$$$+. That turned out to be money ill spent . But the real fact of the subject,it wasn't the citizens of the town who was responsible topay to teach these adults ,how to get along.

    Then again,the tax payer had money taken above and beyond, by the same council, moneys to eliminate a city manager,it ended with no one being told why, the man was paid a small fortune $750,000, if he would only leave.
    You see the course in how to get along didn't work, money wasted.

    This same man Connie Green was on duty as city manager/as overseer when its been aledged ,the Fleet thefts were on going.
    Why didn't the ex city manager Connie Green know about the thefts himself,( there was enough of it going on) or why didn't his assistant who is now city manager Glen Morrison know about them?

    Fast forward to the present day,We now have a law suit going on through a former employee,and in which she stands a good chance of winning,

    Her charges against the city (which will be us tax payers if she does win0 points to the fact in court documents that she was aware of discrepancies' inside the city government and did try to call attention to it ,arguing with her boss about it at times,even going to the extreme of involving the police dept.
    But all she got out of the deal was being fired !

    In her court documents the complainant against the city, names sources of spending which she as the finance officer of the city saw as being illegal. Some of the foolish spending she saw ,in that,
    money for dinners costing again Thousands of $$$$$ with payment for alcohol included (against city rules), flights paid through the city for family members to fly to other cities for gatherings,employees working at the city attorneys office who were allowed to be away from their job,even though,tax payers were paying them for the time, thousands of dollars in a pay increase for an employee, and, now all of the years of theft at Fleet services even including, a police dept member receiving free service on a personally owned engine, with the hours of service being charged to the tax payer.etc.

    All of the discovery that has happened concerning use of public funds,and brought to the publics attention by reporters of KDH including from the beginning Green incident,reporters Anthony Scott, and now Brandon Janes, has to make the citizens wonder, how much more has been taken from them ! Who has been in charge ! Who else could be receiving funds or items of value from tax money which isn't in the best interest of the tax payers.

    There was a remark made a while back which involved city government,about the lights of broadway being too shiny making some uncomfortable.
    But, what's been uncovered just within the last couple of years and now within the last few months,should tell people,We have to have those bright lights ,even at times, some spot lights .Thats the only way the people are going to be protected from being taken advantage of.
    When the people are promised transparency, but then the door is closed,

    You have to wonder whats up !