LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Unanswered questions remain on the paid administrative leave of Tom Moore, the director of Killeen’s IT services department that is under external investigation.

Last week, Killeen Director of Communications Hilary Shine said Moore’s $101,258 salary was still being paid to him despite Moore being relieved of his duties Nov. 20.

Moore was originally hired by the city in October 2014.

City Manager Ron Olson said Nov. 22 the city was looking for “new vision and leadership” as it awaits the results of an external audit of the IT department performed by Dallas-based CenTex Technologies. Olson said the results of the $22,500 audit commissioned in July are expected around Jan. 1.

The city has not said what specific concerns led to Moore’s leave despite questions from the Herald. The city is currently searching for his replacement, Olson said.

The current acting head of the IT department is Colen Wilson, the city’s GIS manager.

“While I go through this search, a core concern for me is the professional treatment of a professional department head,” Olson said in reference to retaining Moore on salary. “If you take a look across the entire city, the tool that means more than anything else is IT. It is absolutely critical to our success.”

The external audit was commissioned as a follow-up to an internal audit of the IT department’s finances performed by former city auditor Amanda Wallace in 2016. Olson said concerns found in that audit had not been addressed since it was released.

In August, Director of Communications Hilary Shine said the external audit would not target the department’s finances but instead seek weak points in the department’s services.

“The audit is not financial in nature rather it is looking at the technology systems we have in place to identify areas for improvement,” Shine said in an email. “This is part of the City Manager’s ongoing continuous improvement leadership strategy that he’s been referencing since he started.”

Administrative leave

The city of Killeen’s policy on enacting administrative leave for employees is mostly non-specific but does address when an employee should be placed on leave in the event of a criminal or civil investigation.

For regular employees, the employee’s department head, the head of human resources and the city attorney review the facts of a given complaint and then make a joint decision to have the employee placed on leave.

For department heads like Moore, the job of ordering a leave is taken by the city manager’s office in concert with human resources and legal.

The city previously said Moore’s leave was not ordered based on any “wrongdoing,” and Shine clarified last week that he is not being investigated for any possible criminal or civil violations.

In the city’s policy, the city can place employees on administrative leave to determine “fitness of duty” or for “an instance that does not rise to the level warranting an investigation.”

Administrative leave cannot be appealed by the employee, according to the city.

Past audit

While the ongoing audit concerns the “performance” of the IT department, Olson said the current investigation was tied to a previous internal audit that found deficiencies in the department’s accounting over a span of 2014-16.

In that review, conducted by then-city auditor Amanda Wallace, the city found the department had engaged in “inconsistent charging methods and inappropriate charges to restricted funds as well as charges to funds that do not benefit from the purchased software or equipment.”

Moore headed the department during the entire scope of Wallace’s review. It is not clear what spurred the city’s internal investigation.

The city’s IT department is responsible for the operation and procurement of technology and communications infrastructure for the city, including all related equipment, software and personnel, according to the audit.

Some of that infrastructure benefits multiple departments across several funds such as network equipment, financial software and virus protection software. Historically, the allocation of services and funds for IT have been on a fixed percentage among the city’s six major funds, including the general fund, water-sewer, solid waste, aviation, drainage utility and hotel occupancy tax.

In her review, Wallace found the IT department had not kept proper documentation to show the correct allocation of new hardware, had not followed the fixed financial percentages outlined in annual budgets and that software meant for use by one fund had been used in others.

Among her recommendations, Wallace highlighted the need to properly charge funds that benefited from a given service.

“Disbursements should match the department or division that benefits from them,” Wallace wrote. “It is not an acceptable accounting practice to apply charges to a fund that are not related to that fund.”

An external management audit of the city of Killeen’s finances completed in August 2017 did not include a review of the city’s IT department.

Last week, Olson did not specify which of Wallace’s recommendations had not been implemented prior to his commissioning the external audit.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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