Investigative journalist Wayne Dolchefino traveled to San Angelo to ask officials about the internal audit conducted on unauthorized fees charged by Republic Services, formerly Trashaway. The unauthorized fees impacted commercial clients beginning in 2004.
Two city officials referenced the audit in June 2014.
Mahaffey told the Standard-Times that the audit report would not be made public.San Angelo's Public Information Office Anthony Wilson officially started on September 1, 2012. At the time he told the Standard Times:
City Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer said that the audit committee reviewed the findings of the audit of the commercial charges and there will be a press conference held by Republic sometime this week to announce the findings and the resolution.
"We have a responsibility to inform our citizenry what we're doing and why we're doing it. While I believe we deliver an extraordinary level of service, we don't always effectively share that story with the public we serve. We'll aim to tell that story through every available means."Dolchefino wants answers on the 2014 internal city audit referenced by city officials, the one conducted before Republic hired an accounting firm. In the video Wilson talks trash audit, the one conducted by a forensic accountant on behalf of Republic Services after the city effectively re-upped their contract.
Forensic Accounting: the use of accounting skills to investigate fraud or embezzlement and to analyze financial information for use in legal proceedings.Wilson said Republic's forensic audit is available via the fraudulent billing lawsuit filed in Tom Green County Court, a case in which the city has no part.
That means the city has no audit at all, neither the one referenced in June 2014 by the city's internal auditor and Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer nor the forensic accounting audit conducted on behalf of the city's longtime trash vendor. It does have a one page investigation, which can hardly be construed as an audit.
The Standard Times, San Angelo Live and this blog advised city officials, elected and paid to conduct an investigation and share it with the public before acting on a long term trash/landfill contract. I wrote in June 2014:
It seems prudent to extend the Republic contract for six months, have an outside audit investigation, hear those results and corresponding legal considerations and based on those findings consider whether to rebid the trash/landfill contract. Moving forward with many questions unanswered feels like a rush to renew. Unfortunately, that would fit with both language and actions by Council and staff the last ten months.In July 2014 I reiterated:
It's time to take a step back, not rush forward.
I stand by my original suggestion that the new contract be put on hold, the city hire an outside firm to investigate this long term overcharge (under city leaders Will Wilde, Ricky Dickson and Shane Kelton) and share the results of that investigation with the public. What communications occurred between these gentlemen and Trashaway-Republic on unauthorized charges?City leaders chose to go ahead with promises to hold Republic accountable. I don't believe the city can be more hands off in a potential fraud case perpetrated by a sole source vendor over a decade's time. Republic gets to clean up their mess while city officials stick their heads in the sand, pulling it out every now and then to admonish those asking questions.
It's the city's opportunity to effectively share how public officials ever audited Republic with those they serve. Wilson's latest video is way off target.