Interim City Manager Ann Farris

Interim City Manager Ann Farris handled the city’s budget and knew of financial issues as early as 2015, according to a document received by the Herald Monday on the eve of the Killeen City Council’s scheduled discussion about whether to move Farris out of the temporary position.

Farris first told the council of the city’s financial problems on June 30, in advance of annual budget discussions. Farris had been over the finance department for three years, as assistant city manager for internal services, but her level of involvement with the finances had been unclear.

“Farris micromanaged all aspects of budget, delayed hiring finance staff and was more interested in teaching me and (Executive Director of Human Resources) Eva Bark how to be leaders every Wednesday than allowing me time to work on the budget with minimal staff,” according to a city document received city Monday afternoon by the Herald. “She called (the) budget ‘my homework.’”

The handwritten notes appear to be from Karen Evans of the finance department. They are written on an April 13, 2015, memo from Farris to the staff saying Evans had declined the city’s offer to make Evans the executive director of finance.

The note writer said she discussed salary with Farris and told Farris it wasn't worth it because “we are not in good shape due to deficit budget(ing).’

“Ann told me that we can’t tell the “soldiers” (staff) that because it will scare them.”

The three pages of notes started with: “Ann Farris called me to her office to discuss the job offer after telling others I was the new finance director without consulting with me about the offer.”

The notes ended with: “Ann Farris affected my health and my family life. That’s why I did not take the job.”

The Herald contacted Farris, her secretary and city spokeswoman Hilary Shine for a response but had not yet received a comment by deadline.

“Ann spent at least 30 minutes telling me my faults and her virtues,” according to the notes. Farris said she was in Mensa, was the high school valedictorian and was ‘typically the smartest person in the room, in fact, I’m (Farris) the smartest person in any room,’ according to the written notes.

Tuesday (Oct. 4), after a 4 p.m. workshop, the council will consider a memorandum to relieve Farris of her interim duties and consider other options for the position.

The council last Tuesday went into a special, closed session to discuss Farris. Council members all declined to speak about that session.

If the council were to remove Farris, it likely would return her to her previous position of assistant city manager. The assistant city manager reports to the city manager, who reports to the council.

City Charter

According to the city’s charter, the council has complete power to both appoint and remove the city manager, but it’s unclear how that relates to the interim city manager or to an assistant city manager when there is not a city manager.

A city manager who has spent more than six months in office, would have the right to a public hearing prior to the final removal date. During that time, the city manager may not be permanently removed from office, but he or she will be suspended until the hearing is complete.

But there lies a gray area as to whether Farris should be treated as the city manager. According to the same charter, the council cannot make decisions regarding the employment of subordinates to the city manager.

Farris has this title in an interim role, but she received it after the departure of previous City Manager Glenn Morrison in April. Morrison had hired her as the assistant city manager in January 2013.

Moving forward, the council also is scheduled to get an update regarding the ongoing search for a more permanent candidate to fill the position vacated April 5 when Morrison retired amid residents’ and some council members’ continued requests for city financial information.

2 sessions

The discussion on Farris is one of several issues at back-to-back council sessions.

The first session is a 4 p.m. workshop to discuss the potential freeze in pay raises to city employees, including civil service employees, such as police and firefighters. The freeze was factored into the fiscal year 2017 budget approved Sept. 13 but the council later learned an ordinance was required to do that.

Both city council meetings Tuesday are at the city’s Utility Collections building, 210 W. Avenue C. The discussion about Farris will be after the workshop concludes.

Digital Producer Angel Sierra contributed to this report.

(9) comments

eyewatchingu

I still think there is something fishy in the city of Killeen, I think they offered Mrs Ferris a deal if she took all the heat. If she keeps quite, they will let her keep a position so she can cash in on retirement. I think their is a bigger fish to fry or many, and I think Mrs Ferris is just the mud sucker they are going to feed to the masses instead of feeding us the shark.
Think about it, we all have seen it done when it comes to bigger politics, the old bait and switch.
I think its time we the people pull the curtain back and reveal the wizard. Because Mrs Ferris isn't smart enough to pull this off herself. She is a narcissist I grant that to her, she is not a leader, nor does she pose the ability to carry this lie out alone.

Thallus

Although unfortunate, it is plain and simple that members of our city's top staff should be removed from their positions of employment. If there is no city manager in position then, it falls onto the council to stand in and take charge of the business of the city in the area of responsibilities. I know of no ordinance or law that disallows a council to terminate or put on leave employees who have allegedly violated laws and charters while an investigation is pending when there is no city manager in place.
Our city attorney, in my opinion, is a disgrace to the profession or she has forgotten more than she has learned. It is unfortunate. I am sure that at one point in time she may have been an upstanding attorney who, as it seems to, has unfortunately turned to the dark side. Now, she is in danger of not just being on the "dark side" but, ending up on the "wrong side" of some jail bars or the employment statistics.
I am highly disappointed with Dr. Farris. It appears that she has tried to pull a fast one on us all until, as it happens all the time, information comes out that shoots everything down. Shine, who knows, has she been knowingly covering for the corrupt or was she just believing and saying what she was told. Hmmm....the corrupt part seems to be more of the answer for this.
Finally, for Dr. Farris's biggest supporters on the council, Moore and Okray, I hope you guys get a clue on this one. Sirs, I understand someone wanting to cover for a friend as much as possible but, at some point, you have to let them know that they have gone too far - there is nothing else you can do. Gentleman, you must vote for her termination or you will put any hopes of re-election out of reach. For Councilman Okray, I believe that most of Killeen saw him as this city's next Mayor but, not any more. I would advise him to give politics a big rest because his claims of being a Christian and going to church will end up being a practice of an ideology and no longer a practice of his proclaimed lifestyle living holy. A man cannot keep talking about is faith while doing things that are contrary to it. It is going to come back and haunt you one day.

Johnny Smith

I am of the opinion that Farris is wanting to control the Forensic Audit; not wanting the years she was over the finance area to be investigated bc procurement laws, misappropriation of funds just like with Morrison are in the horizon.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@eyewatchingu: Thank you for your correspondence. I have already sent correspondence to the Attorney General's office. Again, thank you.
As you will notice the correspondence that @Truthprevails: I asked an additional question concerning how the words that this person used was 'past tense', copy: 'Therefor they may have faced a law suit if they considered any other action than moving Dr Farris back.' End of copy. By my understanding of the English language, the use of the start of the sentence, 'Therefor they may have faced a law suit,' is past tense usage. So I asked the question, 'if that is a done deal, why then are they going to all the effort of 'voting a second time?' Of course they didn't bother to explain themselves.
Now the question to mind, 'was that really a minuted meeting? If so, can we see how the council voted? If not, then how attended the 'closed meeting'? If there was not the need to take a transcript of the meeting so all of the redundant bodies should not have been present, just the council members themselves, and excluding the intern city manager herself. It is not common practice to include the person being evaluated. And I question of the validity of, copy: 'Not sure of this just a guess from outside the loop.' End of copy.
Boy it sure seems to me that this person had intimate knowledge of the proceedings, but I don't know for sure.
@timebandid: ' there is such a reasoning that they could/can fire her 'for cause'. Didn't do the job, etc. But if the city lawyer is counseling for the individual, well..... But this is only a speculation you understand.
But it is just a personal opinion by this writer, so I can't be for certain just what transpired in the meeting. Boy to be a fly on the wall...
One of the 3% who voted.

timebandid

It is my opinion that when Ann Farris voluntarily accepted the position of City Manager, she also accepted the consequences of failure to properly perform her duties. Therefore, the city council should be able to fire her without legal repercussions. It is not in the greater interest of this city to move her back into her former position where she also failed to meet the financial needs and fiscal discipline required for that position.

I do not believe that Mrs. Farris is guilty of anything illegal, but I do think she is in way over her head. This article demonstrates her inability to focus on the financial needs inherent in her job description. For her to tell an employee that they are to do city budgeting as "homework" is a complete failure to properly lead and direct her staff. She needs to be removed and replaced, not just demoted.

eyewatchingu

Thank you @Alvin and to all others that have taken to the internet and other means to voice your opinions. See Alvin, there are many people that are enlightened and also want answers.
I think we all need to contact Attorney General Ken Paxton here is a link to contact him
Attorney General Ken Paxton https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/contact-form/
Contact info for him is as follows:
Agency Numbers
Main Agency Switchboard
(512) 463-2100
Public Information & Assistance
(800) 252-8011 or (512) 475-4413 (in Austin)
Consumer Protection Hotline
(800) 621-0508
Open Government Hotline
(877) 673-6839 (OPENTEX)
Press Office
(512) 463-2050
FAX
(512) 475-2994
Relay Texas
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call Relay Texas toll free 7-1-1 or 1-800-RELAY-TX (1-800-735-2989)
Mailing Address
Office of the Attorney General
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
Delivery Address
Office of the Attorney General
300 W. 15th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Also if you feel this should be investigated by an out side source I will once again post the listing to the FBI along with what can be reported: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/
Please contact your local FBI office or submit a tip electronically if you have information about:
Possible acts of terrorism, including violence, funding, or recruitment;
Persons sympathetic to terrorists or terrorist organizations;
Suspicious activities that you believe threaten national security, especially suspicious activities that involve foreign powers or foreign organizations;
Computer crimes or intrusions into computer networks, particularly those associated with national security;
Corrupt activities in state, local, or federal governments or in law enforcement;
Racial or hate crimes, human trafficking (involuntary servitude or slavery), or other civil rights crimes;
Organized crime activities;
Financial crimes that involve fraud, especially corporate fraud, mortgage fraud, or other investment fraud schemes where significant dollar losses have occurred, including those impacting you or your place of work;
Fraud in the health care industry;
Persons who have committed or are planning to commit bank robbery, kidnapping, extortion, or thefts of valuable art, large interstate shipments of goods, or monetary instruments; and activities of violent gangs.

In my opinion, we truly need to also take a look at her dealings with in the KISD system, as well as those that may have had contact with her dealings there.
I honestly think if we the people do not stay on top of this they will keep trying to distract us from this. So like I have said before, this is about our children's, children's and so forth future, what kind of place do you want to leave for the people of Killeen 20 years from now, 40 years and so on.

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
Is there no retribution as evidenced by hand written notes that have surfaced from a Karen Evans of the finance department on April 13, 2015. So it appears now that Ms. Farris did in fact have knowledge of the fact that the city of Killeen was deep into deficit spending. But Ms. Farris has stated that 'she was not aware of the fact that the city debt's were in such a state until after the council turned her down on her raise of approximately $30,000 plus a $3,000 extension of her car allowance. That happened on a Tuesday and if memory serves me correctly, she put forth a deficit budget on the following Thursday.
The city had completed what was thought to be a completed budget that included a freeze on city employees and civil service in the budget, but now the city's legal arm has notified the council, it appears, after the fact that, after the September 12, 2016, it was pointed out that an ordinance was required to accomplish this. As the legal entity of this city, a Ms. Kathy Davis who has been in the employ of this city for quite some time, why was this not pointed out before the budget deadline instead of after the city budget had been passed and it was too late to do anything about it.
At this point, the question must be raised, did Ms. Kathy Davis inform the present city council of this city as to the ramifications of the intent to place a freeze on the city personnel and the civil service personnel, and was it duly notified in writing in session of the city council meeting before the apparent deadline and the budget being approved?
Copy: 'The council last Tuesday went into a special, closed session to discuss Farris. Council members all declined to speak about that session.' End of copy.
Isn't that the ploy that was used, successfully I might add, in the firing of Mr. Green and we still have not heard the reasoning behind that venture. Now it has been used, apparently successfully, in the case of 'removing Ms. Farris'.
I wish this question to be placed before the city council in open session. Mr. young, Ms. Flemming, and Johnson, I wish for someone to call this question before any business is conducted. As I have not been successful in the application of asking my district council member #3, a Mr. Kilpatrick, about the application of 'Who is in fact the administrative member(s) of the city of Killeen, call the question of Ms. Farris to continue to be the interim city manager as 'it is apparent she baldfaced lied in her application for this job.

The discussion on Farris is one of several issues today at two council sessions. Call this question as to the legality of her continuing in her present position of interim city manager, and as to whether or not, as she has lied to this council and her ability to continue in her position as as assistant city manager. Call this question first.
As to the question of whether or not the council were to remove Farris, it seems to me that 'as she is currently holding the position of city manager, this council 'has' the power to not only remove her from the position of 'acting or interim city manager', it has the 'obligation' to remove anyone that in the view of the acting or interim city manager as she does occupy this position. Furthermore, it is the opinion that not only does this council have the 'right' to remove her from this position, it has the obligation.
The fact that Ms. Kathy Davis 'has withheld important information' that allowed this current council to come to an agreement, not only on this occasion but apparently, at least once before, has used her office to withhold information from this council, as a legally formed body in the past. This council has the obligation to if not remove, then at least severely reprimand and cause her to lose her position of standing in this city structure. As it was noted that 'the council has the power to remove the city manager, acting or not, then it is apparent, at least to me, that if this council takes action to remove the city manager, once that is completed, this council has the 'right and authority', as the sole remaining acting body of the city of Killeen, to remove any other personnel who report to the city body (council) as they see fit.
And to the council causing a 'properly qualified person to perform the duties of the office of city manager, I would like to say that 'in no instance is the council to be charged with this assignment' as they are not qualified to make such an assignment. I would say that this task, should it necessary, would fall to the council to step in to fill such a vacancy. This cold be by assignment of the council members (2 or 3 councilmen) that would step in and fill in for as long as it takes. This should be an assignment that is filled by a competent individual and has been thoroughly 'vetted' and willing to take on this task, and has been known to be 'an honest person.
By this intent, I am going to cause the writing of a letter to the Texas Attorney General as to the nature of the manipulation of the 'misuse' of the budget, and the misuse of the funds of this city of Killeen. This has 'got to be stopped'.
One of the 3% who voted.

Max167

Since it sounds like it's going to be hard to move Ms. Farris appropriately, could they not just have her committed for being completely delusional? What an embarrassment.

Or better yet, maybe she could share a prison cell with Morrison, Corbin, Cosper, Baldwin, Kathy Davis, Shine & others who have made such an effort to conceal the truth about the shameful (and illegal) mishandling of taxpayer money for quite some time now. Then she can just be the smartest person in the cell...which wouldn't be saying much given her cell mates...

Johnny Smith

KDH has uncovered more; great job! I am sure this is only two of many more employees that have been ignored by the collusion that has been taking place since 2012. I agree with eyesrwatchingu, Alvin, many other concerned citizens; the FBI, Texas Rangers or some outside agency should come in and do a thorough investigation while this forensic audit is being conducted.

As for Farris and her close colleague(s) (Stu), they should be placed on admin leave while an investigation is being conducted on them.

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