After voters in May approved a measure placing the city auditor under the Killeen City Council, officials are taking additional steps to protect the city against fraud.
At a council workshop this week, the council established an audit advisory committee and — at the suggestion of City Auditor Amanda Wallace — introduced new outlets for residents and city staff to report fraud.
Wallace’s position, which was previously under the city manager, became controversial in April, when her audit of the Fleet Services Division was named in a lawsuit against the city.
In the lawsuit, fired finance director Barbara Gonzales accused City Manager Glenn Morrison of breaking state and local finance laws, and called the audit an “undocumented, unfounded and unprofessional hit-job,” because it was under Morrison’s direction. The city has denied Gonzales’ claims.
The purpose of Proposition 12, which passed with more than 80 percent of the vote, was to resolve conflicts in the city charter by no longer giving the city manager the power to hire and fire the city auditor.
The council appointed Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin and Councilmen Jose Segarra and Jonathan Okray as members of the audit committee, which would meet quarterly or as needed.
“We just want to make sure we do everything we can to protect the citizens,” Segarra said. “Now the auditor doesn’t report directly to the person being audited.”
Wallace also asked that the city establish a section of the city website for residents and staff to report fraud through a hotline or a complaint form, which would prompt an investigation.
Currently, the fraud hotline is only published in employee policy documents, Wallace said.
“It’s not widely known and it is very, very rarely used. I think one time since 2008,” Wallace said.
Corbin also suggested putting fraud prevention posters on employee bulletin boards.
The committee will provide direction, appoint and evaluate the city auditor, however, other personnel duties, such as signing paychecks, might go under the management of the city manager.
Corbin said the city should research other cities’ policies and create a document establishing the ground rules for the auditor position.
“This is kind of new ground for us,” Corbin said.