The Killeen City Council reached consensus Tuesday to pursue an investigation into city finances, but the method is not entirely what residents have been calling for.

Residents have demanded a full forensic audit of city finances. The plan set before the council deviates from the original request by choosing to focus on seven points.

As a perceived lack in fiduciary oversight and weakened public trust overshadow the local government, the “management audit,” as City Auditor Matthew Grady has described it, leaves some parts out.

Councilman Richard “Dick” Young did not agree that it is the best type of audit, but supported moving forward.

The draft of the contract with Houston-based McConnell & Jones will examine:

– Planning and quality control ($34,708)

– Capital outlays from fiscal years 2006-2016 ($62,492).

– Use of bond money from fiscal years 2002-2017 ($84,448).

– Interfund transfers from fiscal years 2010-2016 ($32,176).

– Pay increases from fiscal years 2014-2017 ($22,751).

– City/owner agreements from fiscal years 2002-2016 ($36,692).

– Spending during post-recall period from November 2011 to May 2012 ($34,892).

A midaudit briefing at $10,092 and the written report with findings and recommendations at $34,432 bring the total to $394,456, which includes travel and miscellaneous fees, according to a city presentation.

Residents sought a forensic after the council learned in June the city would be $8 million short in its budget, and city data show it had been overspending for three consecutive years.

Residents were concerned about delayed financial reports, money being shifted among funds to cover daily operating expenses and a lack of transparency when financial questions to then-City Manager Glenn Morrison were not answered.

After the council solved the shortfall, city administrators identified $5 million to remedy a 2018 budget problem through “reprioritization of expenditures” and “managerial practices,” raising even more questions.

The council will vote formally at its next regular council meeting on Tuesday to enter a contract with McConnell & Jones, despite former Mayor Dan Corbin’s insistence against it.

Corbin appeared before the council as a guest, given the floor by Councilman Young.

Corbin, who was mayor from 2012 to 2014 and recommended Morrison’s hiring as city manager, used an on-screen slideshow to refute key points made by residents, financial experts previously interviewed by the Daily Herald, and the city’s own data, exceeding his allotted speaking time to finally suggest no criminal wrongdoing is to blame for Killeen’s past or present situations.

“(And) if you proceed with this expenditure, I expect the final results this summer will not reveal ... dishonesty or deceit,” Corbin told the council.

“I fear that the net result will be, Killeen will have $394,000 less in their bank account.

“Killeen will still be subjected to criticism by the Killeen Daily Herald and other ill-informed citizens,” he said.

This was not Corbin’s first appearance. He appeared with four other former mayors in support of Morrison when Morrison received his job evaluation last March.

The former mayor served one term, and has been a vocal opponent to a financial investigation. Some of his leadership, as well as others who served, could potentially be scrutinized.

Residents have previously said that rampant speculation about possible underhanded dealings is corroding faith in the city’s financial decisions.

Past internal audits show some city policies and use of funds to have been questionable or irregular.

“(My constituents) are fired up,” Councilwoman Shirley Fleming said. “I think we do need to give the citizens what they’re asking for.”

WHAT’S NEXT

An up or down vote is set for Tuesday.

If approved, the firm would begin its work the week after the contract is signed.

The audit is officially described by the city as a management audit, and it is a hybrid made up of a risk-based analysis to examine financial controls, with forensic accounting components to test for fraud and gross mismanagement.

It would also determine the extent of the city’s financial losses, if any.

A midaudit report is expected as well as written findings in a final report.

The project’s timeframe is four months at a cost of $394,456.

asierra@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

(7) comments

rs3678

Great article, very well written and in depth. Some people will dislike the fact that the digging into this mess is becoming public but this is presicely the fiscalization of the free press. Job well done!!! Hoahh!!!

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@Youngnco: The statement you have just presented is in my opinion, one of a naive individual, ';one that is just asked without asking any questions'. It is, in my opinion, not a question if 'listening to the concerns of any and all citizens, one in which that particular citizen, the past mayor of this city, and I do not doubt that your placing the question of 'how long' that individual was to speak as the present mayor has been known as of approximately 2 months ago to allow an individual to speak 'longer than he would have given any 'average citizen' to speak.
You say that as a council person, the council has encouraged any citizen to speak before this council, 'but only for 3 minutes'. This is the ploy utilized by the past mayor Hancock when he allowed the council men to speak and take as long as they desired, but when the average citizen spoke, he, or she, was only allowed to speak for the prescribed 3 minutes.
When this council allowed the post mayor Corbin to speak, why didn't you or other council person speak up saying 'the allotted ime for a speaker has been exhausted'. I ask, 'Was there any objection to the speaker Corbin going for over the allotted time'???? I don't think so, so in other words, the mayor Seggara and the past mayor Corbin 'used you as the 'one' to make the gesture' to which you complied not asking any questions'. All I can say is, 'In my opinion, Boy were you duped'.
One of the few who voted..

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@timebandid: 'While I agree that Mr. Corbin does have the right, as a private citizen, to talk before the council, 'for 3 minutes duration only', the fact remains that he, Mr. Corbin, was in fact 'allowed' to go beyond the 3 minute duration.
I also agree with the the statement:
Copy: 'I do agree with Mr. Corbin on the fact that the council may be wasting the taxpayer's dollars by signing a contract of $400,000 that doesn't accomplish what the citizens are requesting.' End of copy.
I too are of the personal opinion that this is indeed a fact that it probably may be a waste of time, and money, that the 'Management audit' is in fact 'wasteful in the way it is presented', The reason for this is, A playful exercise of the English language'. I have included in the earlier write-up 'why I think this is not a valid reasoning in the approach to this language being used'.
Copy: '"Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it." End of copy.
I personally agree with this statement, but I hold a comment relating to our new city auditor and our new city manager until such time as can see them in action.
One of the few who voted.

Youngnco

Alvin i was not duped as you say.. If you will check your memory about last meeting night i requested that Mr Corbin be given 3 minutes. As i have said i am not the time keeper nor have i ever complained about the lenght of time anyone speaks. Lord know we all tend to get long winded at times be it in writing or in person. My advice is that if it bothers people about how long someone speaks ... Then rise from your seat and call a point of order instead of waiting until it is too late to stop them and go into a lenghty diatribe in print. But like addressing the council please feel free to use as much free ink as KDH allows.
I for one agree and disagree at times with your ramblings.
My opinion alone as " 1 who not only votes but serves"

Alvin
Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer'
Copy: 'As a perceived lack in fiduciary oversight and weakened public trust overshadow the local government, the “management audit,” as City Auditor Matthew Grady has described it, leaves some parts out.' End of copy.

Yes, that's right, it leaves the sum of it's parts lacking in, I believe, 'The whole blamed thing'. Why did the council arrive at the consensus to 'separate the parts into individual components and placing different time frames on each? Why did the council 'not' resist in the call for separation of start dates ranging from 2002 to 2010? What happened to the 'Who, What, When, and How'????
Copy: 'Corbin appeared before the council as a guest, given the floor by Councilman Young.' End of copy.
As a private citizen, did the oration of this individual fall under the 3 minute time frame as all other 'normal' citizens are required to do, or was the past mayor exempted from this requirement as the then past mayor Hancock exempted the residing city councilmen for 'however long they wanted, but the average citizens were held to the 3 minute speaking???? And why, by the fact that Corbin 'did in fact exceed the normal 3 minute speaking time that normal citizens are conveniently held to', by presenting a 'Show and tell presentation' and culminated with a bold statement that 'no criminal wrongdoing is to blame for Killeen’s past or present situations,' I believe is a misstatement as 'no criminal wrongdoing is a fact that is yet to be determined'.
Copy: '(And) if you proceed with this expenditure, I expect the final results this summer will not reveal ... dishonesty or deceit,” Corbin told the council.
“I fear that the net result will be, Killeen will have $394,000 less in their bank account.' End of copy.
I believe that this is a supposition that has to be 'proved or disproved' and that is exactly what and why the citizens have been asking for ever since 2011. 'Where is the honesty that this council SHOULD HAVE, but has not been shown heretofore'???? And 'why did councilman Young, who by the way has already stated that he is not presenting himself as a candidate, for personal reasons, give the go-ahead to 'invite and present to this august body', to present the case that 'This council would be wasting the time and money for a task 'that has yet been determined'???? And further, what's with the statement that:
Copy: 'by the Killeen Daily Herald and other ill-informed citizens,” he said.' End of copy.
I must state: 'that this was, I think, a summation of criminal charges yet to be determined' and he presented the Killeen Daily Herald as an entity, but the 'other ill-informed citizens has yet to be identified'. Who are these individuals????' Just asking.
Copy: 'This was not Corbin’s first appearance. He appeared with four other former mayors in support of Morrison when Morrison received his job evaluation last March.
The former mayor served one term, and has been a vocal opponent to a financial investigation. Some of his leadership, as well as others who served, could potentially be scrutinized.'
Continuation of copy: 'Past internal audits show some city policies and use of funds to have been questionable or irregular.
“(My constituents) are fired up,” Councilwoman Shirley Fleming said. “I think we do need to give the citizens what they’re asking for.”. End of copy.
Now I must continue the issue as I am indeed with the councilwoman who declared '(My constituents) are fired up' and I too find am of the personal opinion that reflects the same sentiments as councilwoman Shirley Flemming. If one looks at the findings that city auditor that resulted in, I believe there is 'rampant' reason to not only look into this city's financial standing', but perceive it to be a demanding reason for continuing with this forensic audit .
Copy: 'The audit is officially described by the city as a management audit, and it is a hybrid made up of a risk-based analysis to examine financial controls, with forensic accounting components to test for fraud and gross mismanagement.' End of copy.
I do not see the audit being described as a 'management audit for the following reasons:
Copy: ' management audit, and it is a hybrid made up of a risk-based analysis to examine financial controls'.
Continuation of copy: 'Forensic science is the application of science to criminal and civil laws. Forensic scientists collect, preserve, and analyse scientific evidence during the course of an investigation. While some forensic scientists travel to the scene to collect the evidence themselves, others occupy a purely laboratory role, performing analysis on objects brought to them by other individuals.'
Continuation of copy: 'Management Audit' is a systematic examination of decisions and actions of the management to analyse the performance. Management audit involves the review of managerial aspects like organizational objective, policies, procedures, structure, control and system in order to check the efficiency or performance of the management over the activities of the Company. End of copy.
I perceive that the two are not compatible and the finding of this mayor/council/city management have denoted that this term, 'management audit' is in fact null and void.
I, as an individual and of the personal opinion, are of the belief that this city has been responsible for a total disregard of what this city as a public municipal entity should be striving for.
One of the few who voted.

Youngnco

Alvin
As a council person i am always willing to listen to any citizen and encourage all to be heard by council. Mr Corbin asked to be recognized and i did. I cannot control the lenght of time as that is a function of the mayor. I had no knowledge of what would be said by either speaker i asked to be recognized. I differ in my opinion from either who spoke. I am not sure the what we will get from this audit will satisfy anyone in our community. The group selected purposes a non forensic audit and the rfp specfically asked for a forensic audit. There is my concern.

timebandid

Former mayor, Dan Corbin, has a right to speak as a Killeen citizen, but why anyone would care to listen to him is beyond reason. He is a great part of the problem. It was under his leadership (or lack of leadership) that Glen Morrison was allowed to overspend city finances. It was also under his watch that financial reports from the accounting office were allowed to be 3 to 6 months behind schedule. It was he that bragged on how great a job Glen Morrison was doing as the Killeen City Manager, while in truth our finances were crumbling. Let's be honest here, either Dan Corbin was completely out of touch with the city's finances or he was deliberately covering up for the failures of Morrison. Either way, his opinion counts little in the citizen's desire to have an audit that will openly display where and how our money was spent as well as reveal if there was any misappropriation or illegal activity involved. I do not accuse Mr. Corbin of anything illegal just negligence and dereliction of duty.

I do agree with Mr. Corbin on the fact that the council may be wasting the taxpayer's dollars by signing a contract of $400,000 that doesn't accomplish what the citizens are requesting. We want results that will clearly reveal what has occurred to place us into this financial difficulty. Who is responsible? Is it necessary for the responsible parties to be taken out of their current positions so that this doesn't happen again? "Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it." This type of fiscal maleficence needs to end, now. We, the taxpayers of Killeen, do not want endure these same problems again, in the future. It is my hope and expectation that our new City Manager will help bring stability and confidence back to our city's government. But now, it is up to our city council to vote down this audit that may not give us the answers for which we seek and then they should look for an auditing firm that will agree to our given criteria of a true forensic audit.

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