Mike Kanin http://kut.org en City Council Members Concerned About Handling of $231K Employee Overpayment http://kut.org/post/city-council-members-concerned-about-handling-231k-employee-overpayment <p><em>This story comes to us from our city hall reporting partner, the <a href="http://austinmonitor.com">Austin Monitor</a>.</em></p><p>Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Council Member Bill Spelman, who both sit on the Council’s Audit and Finance Committee, as well as a local attorney with expertise in employment law, have expressed concern over the city’s handling of an employee who <a href="http://kut.org/post/clerical-error-causes-city-austin-overpay-ems-employee-200000" target="_blank">received more than $200,000 in salary overpayments</a> but was only required to repay $6,000 of it.</p><p>Cole, chair of the audit committee, told the <em>Austin Monitor</em>, "It is unacceptable for this error to have occurred in 2004 and not be discovered until 2011. The fact that it took two additional years to address the matter adds to my deep frustration upon being made aware of this issue. The employee should be required to repay these public funds to the extent legally pursuable."</p><p>An aide in Cole’s office told the <em>Austin Monitor</em> Thursday that she plans to put the matter on next Wednesday’s Audit and Finance Committee agenda. Fri, 23 May 2014 12:12:55 +0000 Mike Kanin 10481 at http://kut.org City Council Members Concerned About Handling of $231K Employee Overpayment Clerical Error Causes City of Austin to Overpay EMS Employee by $200,000 http://kut.org/post/clerical-error-causes-city-austin-overpay-ems-employee-200000 <p><em>This story comes to us from our city hall reporting partner, the <a href="http://austinmonitor.com">Austin Monitor</a>.</em></p><p>The City of Austin has overpaid a former Austin/Travis County paramedic by perhaps as much as $200,000 over an eight-year period that began in 2004. Though the problem was first discovered in 2011, it took until 2013 for the city to correct it.</p><p>According to a memo from Assistant City Attorney Lee Crawford, the city is legally entitled to “recover the amount of overpaid wages that (the employee) received for the last two years,” as of 2013. Crawford puts that figure at $68,014.55. However, under an agreement between the city and the overpaid employee, the employee was only required to return $6,240.00 of the total. Wed, 14 May 2014 11:17:49 +0000 Mike Kanin 10413 at http://kut.org Clerical Error Causes City of Austin to Overpay EMS Employee by $200,000 Council Withdraws Mid-Year Evaluation of City Manager http://kut.org/post/council-withdraws-mid-year-evaluation-city-manager <p><em>This story comes to us from our city hall reporting partner, the <a href="http://austinmonitor.com">Austin Monitor</a>.</em></p><p>It seems that some City Council members were planning on giving&nbsp;City Manager Marc Ott&nbsp;– and perhaps others – a piece of their minds in private Thursday, but due to the absence of&nbsp;Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole,&nbsp;Mayor Lee Leffingwell&nbsp;was able to at least postpone that confrontation.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The executive session agenda for Thursday included four unusual items, each to do a mid-year evaluation of one of the Council’s appointees: </span>Ott<span style="line-height: 1.5;">,&nbsp;</span><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">City Auditor Kenneth Mory, Municipal Court Clerk Rebecca Stark&nbsp;</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">and</span><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;City&nbsp;Clerk&nbsp;Jannette Goodall.</strong></p><p> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:27:35 +0000 Mike Kanin & Jo Clifton 10250 at http://kut.org Council Withdraws Mid-Year Evaluation of City Manager City, Firefighters Union Headed for Mediation in Hiring Dispute http://kut.org/post/city-firefighters-union-headed-mediation-hiring-dispute <p><em>This article is written by KUT's City Hall reporting partner, the</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/">Austin Monitor</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>The Austin Firefighters Association (AFA) – the union for City of Austin’s firefighters – and city management are headed to federal mediation over lingering accusations of hiring discrimination. Asked how long the mediation process might take AFA head Bob Nicks Tuesday declined to speculate.</p><p>Also, at Tuesday’s work session Council Member Mike Martinez, former head of the firefighters union, announced from the dais that city staff had requested a week’s postponement for council ratification of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.</p><p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 14:47:02 +0000 Mike Kanin 9851 at http://kut.org City, Firefighters Union Headed for Mediation in Hiring Dispute City’s General Fund Ends Fiscal Year 2013 with $14 Million Surplus http://kut.org/post/city-s-general-fund-ends-fiscal-year-2013-14-million-surplus <p><em>This article is written by KUT's Austin City Hall reporting partner, the</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/">Austin Monitor</a>&nbsp;(formerly&nbsp;In Fact Daily).&nbsp;</em></p><p>The <strong>City of Austin’s General Fund</strong> ended fiscal year 2013 with a $14.2 million surplus. That figure amounts to a roughly 1 percent variance from projections made by city staff.</p><p>Despite the positive figure, Austin’s <strong>Chief Financial Officer Elaine Hart</strong> told members of the Council’s <strong>Audit and Finance Committee</strong> Wednesday that management was not planning on coming forward with a mid-year budget adjustment.</p><p> Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:26:18 +0000 Mike Kanin 9728 at http://kut.org City’s General Fund Ends Fiscal Year 2013 with $14 Million Surplus Strains Show Between Council, City Manager Over Auditors' Office http://kut.org/post/strains-show-between-council-city-manager-over-auditors-office <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">This is an excerpt from an article written by our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><em style="line-height: 1.5;"><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/">Austin Monitor</a></em><em style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;(formerly </em><em style="line-height: 1.5;">In Fact Daily</em><em style="line-height: 1.5;">). For more on this topic, see </em><em style="line-height: 1.5;"><em><a href="http://kut.org/post/city-halls-most-powerful-leader-under-austins-change-10-1">our collaborative report with the </a></em></em><em style="line-height: 1.5;"><a href="http://kut.org/post/city-halls-most-powerful-leader-under-austins-change-10-1">Monitor</a></em><em style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>.</em></em></p><p>Tensions continued to mount Tuesday between&nbsp;<strong>City Manager Marc Ott</strong>&nbsp;and a number of&nbsp;<strong>Austin City Council&nbsp;</strong>members. At immediate issue is where to relocate the office of&nbsp;<strong>City Auditor Ken Mory</strong>&nbsp;as City Hall is reconfigured to make room for additional Council members under single member districts.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">During Tuesday’s work session, there was a particularly testy exchange between </span>Ott<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and&nbsp;</span><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Council Member Bill Spelman</strong><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;as </span>Spelman<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> told </span>Ott<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> he should have at least consulted Council members before making a final decision about </span>Mory’s<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> relocation.</span></p><p> Wed, 11 Dec 2013 16:31:11 +0000 Mike Kanin 9347 at http://kut.org Strains Show Between Council, City Manager Over Auditors' Office Is This City Hall's Most Powerful Leader Under Austin's Change to 10-1? http://kut.org/post/city-halls-most-powerful-leader-under-austins-change-10-1 <p><em style="line-height: 1.5;">This article was co-produced with KUT News’ Joy Diaz as part of an ongoing City of Austin reporting partnership between <a href="http://www.infactdaily.com/">In Fact Daily</a> and KUT. Listen to KUT's&nbsp;broadcast story in the audio player below.</em></p><p>Among the changes that will accompany the start of districted representation for <strong>Austin City Council</strong> members, at least one unintended consequence is causing some level of civic heartburn for interests represented by figures ranging from current sitting Council members to the outspoken face of the 10-1 movement: A potential shift in the way things get done at City Hall.</p><p>That change, should it play out, will find the office of <strong>City Manager</strong> – the unelected executive arm of city government&nbsp;–&nbsp;&nbsp;becoming a much more powerful position. “The City Manager, at least temporarily – until people find their footing – is going to have a substantial amount of power,” said longtime Austin political organizer <strong>David Butts</strong>.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/121813382" width="100%"></iframe></span></p><p> Mon, 25 Nov 2013 14:22:10 +0000 Mike Kanin 9259 at http://kut.org Is This City Hall's Most Powerful Leader Under Austin's Change to 10-1?