Former Killeen Finance Director Barbara Gonzales at the hearing Wednesday. (Photo by Rachel Cox)
KILLEEN (April 24, 2013) --- A four-member panel of residents heard testimony Wednesday related to an appeal lodged by the city’s former finance director who was terminated in December.
Barbara Gonzales has also filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the city.
Her attorney said the lawsuit was in the early phases of discovery and didn't expect any court dates to be scheduled for some time.
During the personnel hearing Wednesday none of the allegations in that lawsuit was allowed to be presented.
Gonzales, Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison, City Auditor Amanda Wallace, Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin, and Killeen Police Officer Lt. Jeff Donohue all testified about internal and criminal investigations that were conducted into the city's fleet services department.
The internal probe was sparked by a report to police that a fleet services employee was in possession of a stolen city engine. Later on the investigation revealed 'petty pilfering' was a rampant issue in the department.
On Wednesday Baldwin said after the investigation revealed the problem was so widespread he opened an amnesty period for fleet services employees in which several items were later returned.
Gonzales testified she was not aware of some of the thefts that were happening in fleet services, which is led by a director then overseen by the finance director.
During the investigation by the police department Baldwin said that he told Gonzales not to go to the fleet services building on Little Nolan Road in Killeen, but said he later learned she had not followed his orders.
Morrison stated he'd lost confidence in Gonzales as the finance director after she'd disobeyed orders, was insubordinate, was repeatedly late, lied to investigators, and was ineffective with presentations that included quarterly financials.
When asked by the personnel panel if he'd ever informed Gonzales about these issues in writing Morrison said he hadn't and had only brought it to her attention orally.
The panel did not issue a recommendation on and has five business days to do so.
The recommendation goes to City Manager Glenn Morrison who then has 30 days to make a decision.