The City of Killeen is in hot water tonight as a new report shows some city officials misused public money possibly over several years. That information coming from initial findings in an external audit still in the works. The audit was ordered back in March after Killeen faced an 8 million dollar budget deficit over the summer, and it seemed no city official could explain at that time where the money went. Now, the initial findings that were just released are leaving some city leaders in shock.
Killeen Councilman Gregory Johnson is one of those city leaders demanding answers.
"The citizens are looking for facts they want to know who, where, why and when. I'm hoping that the findings don't get worse but the facts will be the facts and it will be laid out for the citizens to see themselves" says Johnson.
While only the initial findings have been presented to city council so far, the Houston area accounting firm conducting the investigation says Killeen "lacks critical policies in many areas to guide decision making." They also cite the city's "lack of analysis when looking at long term fiscal impacts." As well as lay out several of the city's bad practices including:
- Bond funds being used for purposes other than the unauthorized use.
- Transfers of bond funds to the general fund used for operating expenses including salaries
- Pay increases that are inconsistently applied
- Monies transferred from the enterprise fund into the internal services fund to purchase vehicles that were not used for the benefit of the respective enterprise fund.
The list goes on. Councilman Juan Rivera who voted against the audit told me today he only did so because he thought some of the issues could have been solved through an internal audit. He goes on to say,
"I think we need to give this more time and see the results once the audit is complete" says Rivera.
While council member Dick Young who is in favor of the audit is being very vocal.
"I was not surprised by the findings and feel we may have just the tip of the iceberg. I hope the citizens will finally get the answers they deserve and policies are put into place to stop future abuse and misuse of public dollars." says Young.
While Councilwoman Shirley Fleming who is on the audit committee, in favor of the audit and up for reelection says,
"What was presented was disturbing and confirmed many of the suspicions that I and many Killeen citizens have had about the mismanagement in Killeen City Government" says Fleming.
With elections days away it's sure to play a major role in citizen's decision making.
"I think a lot of citizens were waiting on this report to come out because it will have an effect on how they vote" says Johnson.
City council will get another briefing next month. The full and final audit report will be released in July.