Two Killeen residents were selected for appointment to the city’s audit committee, according to discussion at the City Council’s workshop meeting.
James “Jack” Ralston and Bob Blair made the shortlist, and would increase to five the number of people on the committee. The two were brought up by Councilman Jonathan Okray, who said that although he had not yet talked to them, “they would be more than willing to do this for the city.”
Mayor Jose Segarra, absent from this week’s meeting, mentioned the idea last week as a way to increase the city’s effort to be transparent. Ralston and Blair would sit alongside Mayor Jose Segarra, and councilmen Jonathan Okray and Juan Rivera, who are current committee members.
What the council didn’t discuss, was how to shape the scope of the audit so it focused on the recent problem years.
The request for qualifications was written to cover a nine-year period, which could dilute the focus of the audit, would cost extra money and could delay getting solid results in the process.
The request was written by outgoing City Auditor Amanda Wallace, who had been in her position during the problem years but had not raised any red flags.
Fleming said she was blindsided and upset that fiscal years 2006-2015 were in the request.
The time frame within the impending investigation can be narrowed, but releasing the RFQ with a nine-year range is potentially the most expensive, which could affect cost and effectiveness.
The council Tuesday, without discussing revising the audit plan, discussed forming an evaluation committee to review proposals by firms replying to the broad request for qualifications.
City Attorney Kathryn Davis said the council can narrow the scope of the audit later.
A decision was postponed to appoint residents to a separate evaluation committee, which will take a look at and rank potential auditing firms, at least until Segarra returns.
“I’m not prepared,” Councilman Jim Kilpatrick said. “This is the first time that I’ve seen this.”
In the meantime, council members will need to find one person each who is “qualified” to sit on the committee.
“The people evaluating these need to understand what it is that we’re asking for,” Davis said. “The people who are actually reviewing the (request for qualifications) need to ... it would be helpful if they actually understood what it is that they’re reviewing.”
The process will be time-consuming, and at 50-page limits on proposals, the material will be concentrated and technical, Davis said, adding that “it’s got to be someone who’s willing to commit that level of time.”
Council members were asked to phone in or have names ready by Monday, when the audit committee meets next.
The evaluation committee will get about a week and a half in November to make its determination. It will report back to the council Nov. 15 at a workshop meeting, and the selected firm will be announced Nov. 22.
Toward the end of the discussion, Councilman Juan Rivera prompted Mayor Pro Tem Brockley Moore to appoint three council members to the evaluation committee — Fleming, Kilpatrick and Young.
“Since I’m appointing you all, you heard the legal team say this stuff is confidential ... this is very sensitive information,” Moore said, and “not even your children” can know details of the behind-the-scenes work.
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