LEAGUE CITY

Three upper-level managers left League City in October, and the city council could choose to not fill one of the vacancies.

But the consensus of the council is to replace the internal auditor and not leave that post open.

“We need a city auditor,” Councilman Larry Millican said. The question he and other council members have had was whether a new city auditor should report to the city council or not.

Michelle Tressler resigned Oct. 6 as League City’s internal auditor and left the council with some decisions about what to do about the position.

The council could refill the position and have the new auditor report to the council just as Tressler did, or the council could change the reporting structure or the council could even choose to do nothing and let the position go open.

Tressler would not comment on why she left the job.

“I enjoyed my time working for the city, and I hope that they continue to have the position of city auditor and that they’re able to find a replacement easily,” she said.

The city created the job in June 2013 with an ordinance that called for the auditor to report to city council and on a day-to-day basis to the city manager.

The creation of the position in 2013 was contentious when it came to who would give the auditor a list of things to audit and who would get the report. One idea was to steer the auditor through the city’s finance committee, but some council members at the time thought the committee or the auditor would alter the reports before they came to council.

The city hired Craig Hametner as its first internal auditor in 2013. He resigned from the post in July 2015. Tressler replaced him.

The internal city auditor checks the books, but he or she also examines procedures. The job description calls for an objective auditor who analyzes operations and internal controls, recommends how to do things in a cost-effective and efficient way, performs financial and statistical analyses, and conducts financial and management reviews.

The council will hire a new auditor from a field of the top candidates, city staff said. This is something the council sorted out without official action during its Oct. 24 work session. City Manager John Baumgartner can move forward on posting a job opening with a consensus from the council, which he got.

But the council members also talked about adding a provision that the council would approve the list of departments or practices they wanted audited. The council would plan out the auditor’s work for the year.

The city could go ahead and open the position and formalize the details of the reporting structure and the audit plan later, Councilman Dan Becker said.

The internal auditor position was a department director level job that paid up to $100,799, according to city documents. Keeping it a director-level position or changing the salary are two of the details the council and the staff are still determining.

Numerous high-level departures have plagued League City for years.

Owen Rock, former economic development director, parted ways with the city in 2015, and Rick Beverlin replaced him in July 2015. Beverlin stayed in the position only eight months before taking a job as assistant city manager in Galveston. Scott Livingston became the new economic development director in May 2016.

Gabriel Menendez, the city’s former public works director, started work in August 2016 and left just a year later. He replaced Rick Harrah, who stepped down in May 2016 after a brief tenure.

Paul Menzies resigned as planning director in October to take a post in Wichita Falls as assistant city manager. Menzies became head of the city’s planning department in May 2014 replacing an interim director, Wes Morrison, who resigned. Tony Allender, the previous director who left in February 2014, had been with the city for six years.

Valerie Wells: 409-683-5246; valerie.wells@galvnews.com

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(1) comment

Diane Turski

In the interest of transparency in government and accountability to the citizens of League City, I would like to know how you can have an "objective auditor" who can only audit the departments and procedures that this "provision" allows certain council members to determine. It seems to me that this provision is designed to open the door to political corruption. Perhaps the council members do not realize that they are giving that impression by including this provision that limits the effectiveness of an internal auditor?

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